Sebago-Long Lake Music Festival will begin July 17

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HARRISON — Principal players in orchestras from Maine to California, recording artists and performers in festivals across the country and abroad will converge at Deertrees Theatre next month for the Sebago-Long Lake Music Festival.

Celebrating its 40th season of presenting world-class chamber music, the festival will present concerts at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday evenings beginning July 17 and concluding Aug. 14. 

Featured will be many musical styles: classical to modern, trios to small chamber orchestra, strings, piano, voice, woodwinds and brass.

Violist Laurie Kennedy, whose hallmark as music director is variety, has added Jewish and Russian folk tunes, plus a little ragtime, to make this season’s concerts truly celebratory.

The concert schedule follows:

July 17, “Jerusalem Mix” — The festival will open with works by Poulenc, Bolcom, Dorman and Beethoven. Appropriately, the first work, Trio for Oboe, Bassoon and Piano by Poulenc, was part of the festival’s inaugural season, featuring two of the founders, Homer and Judith Pence. Performers for this concert are oboist Theodore Baskin, bassoonist Janet Polk and pianist Yuri Funahashi.

“Let Evening Come,” by William Bolcom, is a contemporary setting of poems by Maya Angelou, Emily Dickinson and Jane Kenyon. It is scored for voice, viola and piano.

“Jerusalem Mix,” by Avner Dorman, is a portrait of Jerusalem, the quintessential city of contrasts — old versus new, life versus death, joy versus melancholy. Beethoven’s Quintet in E-flat Major, Op. 16 for Piano and Winds, is Beethoven at his jolliest. 

July 24, “Cafe Music” — Flutist Susan Rotholz will be featured in Mozart’s Flute Quartet in D Major, known for the slow serenade in which the flute is accompanied by pizzicato strings. Other works are Brahms’ emotional Piano Quartet in C Minor Op. 60; Hummel’s Trio for Flute, Cello and Piano in A Major, variations on a Russian/Jewish melody; and Paul Schoenfield’s “Cafe Music,” a piece that combines blues, ragtime, African-American spirituals, Yiddish melodies and show tunes.

July 31, “Debussy at 150” — This program will be presented in honor of the 150th anniversary of Debussy’s birth. “Lyric for Strings” is an early work by African-American composer George Walker for string quartet. It reflects the influence of Debussy, whose music Walker admired as a young man.

Debussy’s String Quartet in G Minor is his only string quartet, and was written just before his famous “Apres- midi d’un faune,” beginning his transition from Romanticism to Impressionism. Tchaikovsky’s passionate Piano Trio in A Minor, his only piano trio, was commissioned by his patron, Madame von Meck, whose young “house” pianist happened to be Claude Debussy. Festival musicians for this concert will be violinists Timothy Lees and Philip Palermo, Kennedy, cellist Bonnie Thron and pianist Mihae Lee. 

Aug. 7., “SLLMF 40th Anniversary” — For this celebration, organizers have gathered many of the artists who have participated in the music festival over the years. The program will open with Schubert’s Fantasie in F Minor for Piano 4-Hands, which was performed during the first season in 1973 by Stephen and Frieda Manes. Forty years later, Stephen Manes will be joined by Lee. Other works are Copland’s Suite from “Appalachian Spring,” commissioned for dancer Martha Graham, performed in the original version for 13 instruments; acclaimed present-day composer Osvaldo Golijov’s “Doina and Lullaby,” based on Yiddish and gypsy themes; and Bruch’s Octet for Strings, a work that looks back to the German Romantic tradition. 

Aug. 14, “Russian Finale” — The last program will showcase the diversity of Russia’s celebrated composers, starting with Prokofiev. His Overture on Hebrew Themes for Clarinet, Strings and Piano was written for friends in New York City who  introduced him to Jewish music.

Aram Khachaturian’s Trio for Clarinet, Violin and Piano displays the characteristic lively Armenian style for which Khachaturian is known. Shostakovich’s String Quartet No. 11 is marked by dark moods and intensity. Turning from shadows, Glinka’s Grand Sextet for String Quartet, Bass and Piano is an exuberant work from the father of Russian nationalistic music.

Tickets are $100 for the series of five concerts, $25 for individual concerts. Tickets for anyone 21 and younger are free, and available at the door on a first-come, first-served basis. Tickets may be ordered online at www.sebagomusicfestival.org; ordered by mail (SLLMF P.O. Box 544 Harrison ME 04040); reserved by phone, 583-6747; and purchased at Bridgton Books, Harrison Library, Country Sleigh in Naples, Books N Things in Norway or Cry of the Loon in Casco.

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