Annual Music Festival starts Saturday

Sarasota Music Festival attracts artists and fans from around the world

Sarasota Opera House, 61 N. Pineapple Ave, Sarasota, FL 34236
Friday Festivals and Saturday Symphonies will be at the Sarasota Opera House on N. Pineapple Ave.

The annual festival that draws thousands of concert fans to Sarasota is ready to roll on Saturday, 21 days of classical music with students learning from the masters, mixing in with the artists and performing in three Rising Star concerts. But fans of the Sarasota Music Festival will also appreciate the chamber and orchestra concerts with a new twist for the 55th annual festival, an opening night performance on Saturday in Holley Hall, downtown Sarasota.

Saturday’s concert will feature Festival Music Director and Conductor Jeffrey Kahane on piano and acclaimed violinist Angelo Xiang Yu performing three of Johannes Brahms sonatas. The three romantic sonatas for violin with piano accompaniment are sonata No. 1 in G major, sonata No. 2 in A major and sonata No. 3 in D major. The program begins at 7:30 in Holley Hall. There is also an after concert reception for $25 with tickets available through the Sarasota Music Festival website.

For the next three weeks the concert schedule is filled Thursday through Sundays with Artist Showcases, Friday Festivals, Saturday Symphonies and Rising Star performances for a total of 50 classical works. Music scholar Robert Levin returns with his popular lecture on symphony and orchestra insights the last day of the festival June 22. For the artists it is seemingly a non-stop schedule of rehearsals and students pairing with master musicians to perfect their craft.

Rising Stars - Scholarships for Sarasota Music Festival
Rising Stars — Scholarships were offered to 60 students among the 500 musicians who auditioned for the 2018 Sarasota Music Festival. They will perform in the Rising Stars series and ensembles of acclaimed professionals throughout the festival.

These 60 students on the fellow roster arrive from the United States and international destinations from Eastern Asia countries. They apply online with entry deadlines in February and submit an audition video recording to be accepted. Applications for specific instruments of string, wind and piano require a choice of classical music in each category. They are paired in ensembles where they also perform at churches and community gatherings. A librarian fellow application requires a performance review, essay and basic skills test to be admitted to the music festival. The Rising Stars are in concert at 3 PM in Holley Hall on Sunday afternoons June 9 and 16 and Friday, June 20. The students pay for their meals, registration, housing and transportation.

Three Artist Showcases on successive Thursdays performed by an acclaimed staff of faculty members. In the Artist Showcase 1 on June 6 a combination of program of three works from German composer and pianist Robert Schumann, Paul Schoenfeld of Detroit and French composer Pierre-Octave Ferroud to combine for an evening of Fairy Tales and Fantasy.

Windfall is the theme for the second Thursday with two works written for the oboe and clarinet, a third by Ludwig van Beethoven composed for and performed by a string quartet. The evening begins with a sonata composition for the oboe accompanied with piano written by the French artist Francis Poulenc. A clarinet trio in A Minor, op. 114 composed by Brahms is the third in the showcase June 13.

Pianist and composer Fanny Mendelssohn, forbidden to have a musical career, is featured for a piano trio work in D minor, Op. 11. The program begins with a Beethoven string trio work and Austrian sextet composition by Austrian, Ludwig Wilhelm Andreas Maria Thuille. The Artist Showcases will be held in Holley Hall starting at 4:30 PM each week.

Holley Hall at the Beatrice Friedman Symphony Center, 709 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, FL 34236
Artist Showcases and the Rising Star student series will be held at Holley Hall each week of the festival.

Friday Festivals in the Sarasota Opera House combine faculty with fellow artists for three evenings of chamber music, beginning with the Triple Crown where good things come in threes, started by Johann Sebastian Bach’s, triple concerto in D major. It is followed by a Antonio Vivaldi composition, concerto in A minor, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s oboe concerto in C major and Fanny Mendelssohn’s esteemed brother Felix composition with a piano trio No. 2 in C minor, Op. 66.

Return June 14 for Larger Forces, a Friday Festival performance that begins with a Jean René Désiré Françaix work Dixtuor. An octet in E-flat major, Op. 20 features the guest ensemble Pacifica Quartet with fellow artists is the second work for the night. A Brahms piano quartet in F minor, Op 34 completes the evening with Kahane on piano alongside the strings of the Pacifica Quartet.

If you are into Brahms and Beethoven, be sure to be in the opera house audience on June 21 for Friday Festival 3. Bebop to the Meeelaan composition by jazz musician Wynton Marsalis, performed with a bassoon and four string instruments to start the evening. It is followed by Beethoven’s piano trio No. 6 in E-flat major, Op. 70 and Brahms’ serenade No. 1 in D major, Op. 11. All Friday Festivals begin at 7:30 PM at the Opera House.

Full symphonies take the Opera House stage for the Saturday Symphony series of three combining faculty with festival alumni, beginning with Four, Two, One on June 8. The configuration of four, two and one featured artists provide a full sound of symphonic music. Italian composer Antonio Vivaldi’s work, Concerto Grosso in B minor from L'estro Armonico, Op. 3, No. 10, RV. 580, opens the evening with four violins featured. Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante in E-flat major, K. 364, features a violin and viola, followed by the energetic and charismatic Jon Kimura Parker to perform Beethoven’s piano concerto No. 4.

Three Titans of classical music with the works from the father of the symphony, Franz Joseph (Papa) Haydn is the second work of the evening symphony No. 80. An octet in E-flat major, Op 103 work by Beethoven and a clarinet concerto in A major, K. 622 by Mozart begin and finish the second Saturday Symphony, June 15.

The festival ends with the finale of the Saturday Symphonies, Pianos Paired. What could be more fitting than to combine Kahane, Levin and the full symphony to perform Mozart’s piano concerto No. 10. Symphony No. 8 from Vienna born composer Franz Schubert follows. The festival ends with a Franz Schubert, II composition Overture to Die Fledermaus.

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