BAR HARBOR — The Bar Harbor Music Festival will celebrate its 53rd Season from June 30 through July 28. The program includes solo recitals, chamber music, pops, opera, jazz and work by new composters. Young audience concerts at area libraries and performances at Birch Bay Village are also planned.
The festival begins with a Tea Concert featuring soprano Audrey Babcock Sunday, June 30 at 4 p.m. at La Rochelle on West Street, now part of the Bar Harbor Historical Society. Joining Babcock will be pianist Cara Chowning. The two will perform music by Brahms, Debussy, Obradors, Ravel and Copland. Refreshments donated by local businesses will be served during intermission.
Brass Venture, appearing with the festival for a 16th consecutive summer, will play the festival’s opening night concert on Tuesday, July 2, at 8 p.m. at the Bar Harbor Congregational Church. The group will present a completely new program of music by Tim Runsey, Farnaby, Mozart, Ingolf Dahl, Grieg, and Joplin.
Belarussian-American pianist Alexandra Beliakovich returns to the festival on Friday, July 5 at 8 p.m. at the Bar Harbor Congregational Church. Beliakovich, a prize-winner in the World Piano Competition, will perform music by J.S. Bach, Granados, Bartok, and Schubert’s “Wanderer Fantasy.”
Beliakovich will be joined by flutist Allison Kiger and clarinetist Eric Thomas for a program of American classics Sunday, July 7, at 8 p.m. at the Congregational Church. The program will include works by Piston, Barber, Copland, Gershwin and Valerie Coleman.
The Bluenose Inn’s Great Room is the venue for the festival’s annual “Pops” Concert on Tuesday, July 9, at 8 p.m. This year’s theme, “Gypsies, Thieves, and Ladies Who Lunch,” will star sopranos Audrey Babcock and April Martin with Cara Chowning at the piano. They will sing music by Kurt Weill, Leonard Bernstein, Irving Berlin, Stephen Sondheim, Cole Porter, Rodgers & Hart, Harold Arlen, and George and Ira Gershwin. A pre-concert buffet at 6 p.m. is an optional addition for tickets to this concert.
The 23rd annual “New Composers” Forum, curated by Kiger, takes place on Wednesday, July 10 at 5:30 p.m. in Gates Auditorium at the College of the Atlantic and is free and open to the public.
Entitled “Inspiration, Improvisation, and Counterpoint: An Examination of the Role of Musical Notation in Composition,” this forum panel is comprised of composer and pianist Ramin Amir Arjomand, guest composers Terrence Pender and Alfred Lerdahl; pianist Margaret Mills and flutist Kiger. They will be joined by Festival Artistic Director Francis Fortier.
The 36th Annual “New Composers” Concert, is set for Friday, July 12, 8:00 p.m. at the Bar Harbor Congregational Church. Mills will perform piano works by Nicholas Scarim, Ramin Amir Arjomand, Richard Wilson, Brian Schober and Gloria Coates.
Pianist Christopher Johnson will perform works by Beethoven (including the “Waldstein” Sonata), Liszt, and Chopin July 14 at 8 p.m. at the Congregational Church.
Spanish pianist Antonio Galera Lopez returns for his 7th consecutive solo recital with music by J.S. Bach, Franck, Debussy, and Dutilleux on Thursday, July 17, at 8 p.m., also at the church.
The festival’s Opera Theatre presents Georges Bizet’s popular opera “Carmen,” directed by Fenlon Lamb, on Friday, July 19, 8 p.m. at the Criterion Theatre. The cast includes Babcock as Carmen, tenor Adam Diegel as Don José, soprano Janinah Burnett as Micaela, bariton Richard Ollarsaba as Escamillo and soprano April Martin as Frasquita. Chowning is the music director and pianist. The set design is by Jefferson Ridenour of Papermoon Productions.
The Ardelia Chamber Players will perform July 20 at 8 p.m. at the Congregational Church. The group features Janey Choi on violin, Christopher Souza on viola, Andrea Lee on cello and Antonio Galera Lopez on piano. Their program includes music by Turina, Dohnanyi and Robert Schumann.
The Boston-based Wolverine Jazz Band will perform Sunday, July 21, at 8 p.m. at the Jackson Laboratory Commons. The ensemble includes John Clark on clarinet and saxophone, Jeff Hughes on trumpet and cornet, Tom Boates on trombone, Ross Petot on piano, Jimmy Mazzy on banjo and vocals, Rick MacWilliams on tuba and David Didricksen on drums.
The Bar Harbor Festival String Orchestra will perform the 47th Annual Acadia National Park Outdoor Concert at Blackwoods Campground Amphitheatre in Otter Creek on Wednesday, July 24, at 8 p.m. (rain date July 25, 8:00 p.m.). The orchestra is conducted by Francis Fortier, with Jeffrey Ellenberger as assistant conductor.
This is a free concert with voluntary contributions gratefully accepted at the amphitheatre entrances. The orchestra will perform music by Mozart, Vivaldi, Scarmolin, Deborah Fortier, and Tchaikowsky. No concert parking is allowed at the campground; shuttle buses to the amphitheatre will leave the Jackson Laboratory parking lot beginning at 6:45 p.m.
Pianist Antonio Galera Lopez will perform the 15th Annual Bob Noonan Memorial Concert Friday, July 26 at 8 p.m. at St. Saviour’s Episcopal Church. He will perform Mozart’s Concerto in E-Flat Major, K. 449, and works by Geminiani and Tchaikowsky, with the Festival String Orchestra.
The Festival Gala on Sunday, July 28, at 8 p.m. at COA’s Gates Center brings down the curtain on the season. Francis Fortier will conduct the String Orchestra and Ellenberger will be the assistant conductor in music by J.S. Bach, Scarmolin, Mozart, Deborah Fortier and Benjamin Britten.
There will be dancing to the waltzes of Johann Strauss immediately following the concert. The String Orchestra will be performing two entirely different programs on July 26 and July 28. An optional pre-concert buffet dinner will be offered at the Gates Center beginning at 6 p.m.
The Festival’s Community Outreach Program also plans concerts at Birch Bay Retirement Community. On July 16, Pianist Antonio Galera Lopez performs a solo recital. On July 18 the Ardelia Ensemble will perform. These free matinee performances begin at 2:30 p.m.
The Festival’s Young Audience Concerts at Jesup Memorial Library in Bar Harbor are on Thursday, June 20, presenting pianist Deborah Fortier; Tuesday, July 16 with performers from the opera, Carmen, and on Saturday, July 20 with violinist Janey Choi and pianist Antonio Galera Lopez.
Young Audience Concerts at the Northeast Harbor Library are on Monday, July 15, with pianist Antonio Galera Lopez, and on Monday, Aug. 5, with pianist Deborah Fortier.
All Young Audience Concerts begin at 10:30 a.m., are 45 minutes long and are free. “These informal, interactive concerts entertain, educate, and inspire the young and the not-so-young,” organizers said.
In Bar Harbor, regular tickets are $30 and student tickets are $15. Pops, Jazz, and Gala tickets are $45. Opera tickets are $35, $50, and $80. All tickets entitle the purchaser to a reserved seat. The pre-concert dinner price of $45 includes tax and gratuity. A season subscription for $350 saves 20 percent off the single reserved ticket price and includes premier seats.
Contact 288-5744 or visit barharbormusicfestival.org.