BAR HARBOR — The Bar Harbor Music Festival will celebrate its 51st season with its most ambitious festival to date, presenting a unique variety of performances encompassing recitals, chamber music, pops, new composers, opera, jazz, and string orchestra concerts, as well as a New Composers Forum, from July 2 through July 30. In addition, a free Young Audience Concert Series will run from June 22 through July 29.
The festival’s Opening Day Tea Concert will take place at the Maine Seacoast Mission, overlooking Frenchman Bay, on Sunday, July 2, at 4 p.m. Soprano Janinah Burnett will perform music by Mozart, Liszt, Bonds, Adams and Carter. Tea will be served during intermission.
Brass Venture will appear for the 14th consecutive season for opening night at the Bar Harbor Congregational Church on Wednesday, July 5, at 8 p.m. Their all-American music program, sponsored by Bar Harbor Bank & Trust, will feature the world premiere of “Brass Quintet on Original Sea Chanties” by American composer Jeffrey Kaufman.
Pianist Christopher Johnson, festival audience favorite, will give the first of two solo recitals at the Bar Harbor Congregational Church on Friday, July 7, at 8 p.m. He will perform music by Chopin and Rachmaninoff.
The annual Pops Concert is set for the Bar Harbor Club on Sunday, July 9, at 8 p.m. Burnett, bass-baritone David Cushing and jazz pianist Addison Frei will present a musical evening of Broadway hits with songs by Jerome Kern, Stephen Sondheim, Cole Porter, Stevie Wonder and Duke Ellington. An optional pre-concert buffet dinner will be served beginning at 6 p.m.
The 34th annual New Composers Concert: “Frontiers of Music: History, Nature and Perception” will take place at the Bar Harbor Congregational Church on Wednesday, July 12, at 8 p.m. The concert will feature flutist Allison Kiger’s Ensemble Tremblay in a program of works by Cody, Coleman, Galante and Thomas. This concert is made possible in part by a grant from the Alice M. Ditson Fund of Columbia University. Prior to the concert, the 21st annual New Composers Forum will be held at the Congregational Church on Tuesday, July 11, at 5:30 p.m.
Johnson will present an entirely different piano recital at St. Saviour’s Episcopal Church on Thursday, July 13, at 8 p.m. This program will include music by Debussy, Joplin, Gershwin, MacDowell, Christopher Johnson and Sousa.
The festival début of guitarist Christopher Ladd, collaborating with Kiger on flute, to perform music by Haydn, Beaser, Takemitsu, Zenamon, Kusiak, Piazzolla and Merlin, is planned for the Bar Harbor Congregational Church on Saturday, July 15, at 8 p.m. “Fingerstyle Guitar” praised Ladd’s playing as “… rendered confidently and expressively.”
Pianist Antonio Galera Lopez is returning by popular demand from Spain for a recital at the Bar Harbor Congregational Church on Tuesday, July 18, at 8 p.m. The program includes music by de Falla, Faure, Chopin and Granados. “Galera Lopez represents all that we admire in a pianist: warm sound, artistic phrasing and faultless technique,” said The Palm Beach Daily News.
Violinist Claudia Schaer will make her festival début recital at St. Saviour’s on Thursday, July 20, at 8 p.m. She will be joined by pianist Max Lifchitz in a program of music by Matthew Peterson, Stravinsky, Rachmaninoff, Ravel and Franck. A rising young violinist in the music world, Claudia Schaer has been called “A superb musician … she possesses a stupendous breadth of sensitivity and ability,” by Elfanau Parte of “Konzertkritik Magasin.”
The Bar Harbor Music Festival Opera Theatre will present Donizetti’s beloved opera buffa, “Don Pasquale,” at The Criterion Theatre on Friday, July 21, at 8 p.m. Joey Desota is the stage director, Cara Chowning is the music director, and Fenlon Lamb is the producer. This is the only fully staged live opera production north of Portland this summer and a rare opportunity to hear some of the top young operatic talents in the country from the Metropolitan Opera, Wolf Trap Opera, San Francisco Opera, to mention a few.
The ever-popular Ardelia Trio, violinist Janey Choi, cellist Jennifer DeVore, and pianist Jihea Hong Park, will be at the Bar Harbor Congregational Church on Saturday, July 22, at 8 p.m. for a program highlighted by Mendelssohn’s Piano Trio No. 2 in C Minor, opus 66.
The Wolverine Jazz Band will appear for the 13th consecutive season at Jazz Night at the Jackson Laboratory Commons on Sunday, July 23, at 8 p.m. The program will include Dixieland, traditional jazz and swing. Jimmy Mazzy, banjo and vocals, will be the guest artist. John Clark is the leader, on clarinet and sax.
The Bar Harbor Festival String Orchestra, conducted by Francis Fortier, will perform the 45th annual Acadia National Park Outdoor Concert at Blackwoods Campground Amphitheatre in Otter Creek on Wednesday, July 26, at 8 p.m. The rain date is July 27 at 8 p.m. Admission is free (voluntary contribution). The soloist will be oboist Gerard Reuter. Jeffrey Ellenberger will make his festival debut as conductor. Music by J.S. Bach, Jill Jaffe (world premiere), Scarmolin and Dvorak is programmed.
The string orchestra also will play in the 13th Annual Bob Noonan Memorial Concert at St. Saviour’s Episcopal Church on Friday, July 28, at 8 p.m. Galera Lopez will be the guest soloist, performing Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 27 in B-Flat Major, Köchel No. 595. Mozart’s Symphony Number 29 in A Major, Köchel No. 201 and Dvorak’s Serenade in E Major, Opus 22 will round out the evening of music.
The Festival Gala at the Bar Harbor Club on Sunday, July 30, at 8 p.m. will bring the curtain down on the 2017 season. Fortier will conduct the string orchestra. Reuter will be the oboe soloist and Ellenberger will be the assistant conductor in music by J.S. Bach, Jill Jaffe, Scarmolin and Grieg. There will be dancing to the waltzes of Johann Strauss immediately following the concert. An optional pre-concert buffet dinner will be offered at the club beginning at 6 p.m.
Hosting a sold-out Road Scholar Tour July 18-23 will add a significant new dimension to the 2017 Festival. In addition to attending four performances, the group of music lovers will be engaged in four lecture-demonstrations with festival artists.
The Festival’s Community Outreach Program is growing, with two concerts at Birch Bay Retirement Village. The Ardelia Trio will play on July 20. Galera Lopez will play on July 27.
In addition, the outreach efforts include the inaugural season of the Bar Harbor Music Festival at Belfast, sponsored by The Belfast Stagehouse with the support of the Maine Community Foundation. Kiger and Ladd will perform on flute and guitar at the Bayside Community Hall in Northport on Sunday, July 16, at 4 p.m. Johnson will play piano at The First Church in Belfast, UCC, on Friday, July 21, at 4 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. The Ardelia Trio concludes the Belfast series at the Belfast Free Library on Sunday, July 23, at 4 p.m.
In Bar Harbor, regular tickets cost $30, and student tickets cost $15. Pops Concert, Jazz Night and Festival Gala tickets cost $45. Opera tickets cost $35, $45, $50 and $80. All tickets entitle the purchaser to a reserved seat. The pre-concert dinner costs $45, including tax and gratuity. A season subscription for $350 saves 20 percent off the single reserved ticket price and gives patrons the best seats in the house, as well as entrance to rehearsals and lecture-demonstrations.
For tickets and information, visit www.barharbormusicfestival.org or mail Bar Harbor Music Festival, The Rodick Building, 59 Cottage St., Bar Harbor, ME 04609-1800, call 288-5744 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tickets also are available at Sherman’s Books and Stationery in Bar Harbor.