New Hampshire Music Festival heads into 61st season
PLYMOUTH — In its 61st season, the New Hampshire Music Festival continues to make strides, which include bringing in a new music director from the San Francisco Symphony and an interim general manager.
Brenda Conklin was recently named the interim general manager after former general manager, Frank Pesci, decided to move with his wife to Berlin, Germany, where she accepted a position with a professional opera company.
Conklin, a long-time resident of Waterville Valley, brings plenty of experience to the Music Festival, previously serving five years as its general manager.
This year, Donato Cabrera joins the festival as the new music director. Cabrera is the resident conductor of the San Francisco Symphony and the Wattis Foundation Music Director of the San Francisco Youth Orchestra.
Returning will be Conductor Laureate Paul Polivnick, as well as Matt Catingub leading the pops as director.
The festival’s office is currently located at 85 Main St., Plymouth, and after the Red Hill property in Center Harbor was sold, it has allowed all proceeds to go directly towards the music.
It will be the 39th year of the Festival’s association with Plymouth State University. Six weeks of concerts will be featured at the Silver Center, which include the full orchestra, chamber music, pops and family concerts.
The season, beginning on July 6, has plenty to offer with headliners including Haydn, Berlioz, Wagner, Verdi, Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Britten, Tchaikovsky and Stravinsky. The festival chorus, with Director Joel Johnson, will sing works by Handel, Mozart, Respighi and Vilvaldi. Other highlights include various violin and cello soloists, as well as the east coast premier of “Pandora” by Mark Volkert.
This year will feature weekly full orchestral classical concerts on Thursdays at 8 p.m., with the first beginning on July 11. It will feature Malcom Stewart on the violin with Cabrera conducting. Works will include Hebrides Overture by Felix Mendelssohn, Violin Concerto No. 4 by W.A. Mozart, Dumbarton Oaks by Igor Stravinsky and Symphony No. 85 by F.J. Haydn. Each of the concerts will have a pre-show lecture series called Word on Music, which will begin at 7 p.m. The orchestral classical concerts will continue on each Thursday throughout the summer, ending on Aug. 15.
There will also be a Chamber Music Series every Tuesday at 8 p.m. between July 9 and Aug. 13. They will take place at the Smith Recital Hall at the Silver Center for the Arts at Plymouth State University. New this year is the Family Concert Series, taking place on July 13 and Aug. 3 at 2 p.m. at the Hanaway Theatre at the Silver Center for the Arts, also at Plymouth State University.
Also offered is the 603 Series, which offers statewide orchestral and chamber music outreach. It begins on Saturday, July 20 in Gilford with the Festival Strings. On Friday, July 26 there will be Chamber Music in Laconia, as well as on Friday, Aug. 2 in Wolfeboro. On Friday, Aug. 9 there will be a full orchestra and chorus in concert and on Friday, Aug. 16 there will be a full orchestra, also in Concord.
Conklin describes 2013 as a year of celebration for the festival.
“For decades, NHMF has been the premier source for superb classical music, with full orchestra, chamber music, pops and music in the schools,” Conklin said.
Conklin added that a unique feature of the Music Festival is the close-knit relationship to the town of Plymouth.
“Residents welcome the musicians as part of their community,” said Conklin. “Members of the orchestra mingle with the audience. Before each show, during intermission and afterward, you will see musicians greeting audience members as personal friends.”
Conklin said that the NHMF has loyal followers who love the music and the people involved, both on and off the stage.
“It is so much to attend a live concert and watch the performers give their all as a team,” said Conklin. “Being part of a cheering standing ovation is overwhelmingly exciting. There is much to celebrate.”
Tickets for all performances are available through the Silver Center Box Office in Plymouth. For more information about the New Hampshire Music Festival, including a full schedule and description of who will be playing over the summer, log onto nhmf.org or call 279-3300.