Bowdoin’s renowned event
celebrates art of friendship

BRUNSWICK — The Bowdoin International Music Festival opens its premier Festival Friday series on July 3 with works by Ludwig van Beethoven, César Franck and Johannes Brahms. This summer, the festival celebrates “Music: The Art of Friendship,” with a selection of repertoire and artists celebrating the significance of friendship within the world of classical music and at the Bowdoin Festival.

Beethoven’s “Twelve Variations in F for Piano and Cello” on “Ein Mädchen oder Weibchen” from Mozart’s “The Magic Flute, Op. 66” was written when Beethoven was still a career pianist, performing with cellist friends from the King of Prussia’s Royal Court. It will be performed by Amir Eldan, former principal cellist of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, with Pei-Shan Lee, the festival’s director of collaborative piano.

Friends Ilya Kaler, violin, and pianist Boris Slutsky were both born in Moscow into families of musicians, each swept every major competition in their respective instruments, and both are admired for their teaching skills, which match the passion they bring to performing. Touring partners, and a favorite festival pairing, they will perform Franck’s “Sonata for Violin and Piano in A Major.”

Kaler’s wife, Olga, also a renowned violinist, will bring the concert to a close with a troupe of festival teaching artists and top student players to present Brahms’ “Serenade No. 1 in D Major, Op. 11.” Artists include Ms. Kaler, Michelle LaCourse, viola; Keiko Ying, cello; Kurt Muroki, bass; Derek Bermel, clarinet; and virtuosi from the Kaplan Fellowship Program on flute, oboe, bassoon and horn.

Festival Fridays concerts are held at 7:30 p.m. at Brunswick High School’s Crooker Theater. Tickets are $40.

Dover Quartet in Monday Night Showcase

Monday, July 6, marks the opening of the Monday Showcase series, which presents renowned American string quartets performing string quartet repertoire as well as larger works in collaboration with friends on the festival faculty.

The series’ first concert features the Dover Quartet and special guest, pianist Julian Martin. After they swept the Banff International Quartet Competition in 2013, The Wall Street Journal observed, “The Dover Quartet has quickly established a burgeoning presence in the music world,” while The New Yorker deemed them “the young American string quartet of the moment.”

Martin, a highly respected performer and instructor from the Juilliard School, returns after a seven-year hiatus from the festival stage. Monday’s repertoire includes Robert Schumann’s “String Quartet in A Minor, Op. 41 No. 1”; Victor Ullmann’s “String Quartet No. 3, Op. 46” and “Piano Quintet in F Minor” by César Franck.

The Dover residency is a homecoming for violist Milena Pajaro-van de Stadt, who studied at the Bowdoin Music Festival for five years; this season marks her first return to the festival as a guest artist.

Monday Showcase concerts are held at 7:30 p.m. in Studzinski Recital Hall on the Bowdoin College campus. Tickets are $40.

Wednesday Upbeat! Concert Features Sounds of China

The Wednesday Upbeat! concert on July 8 features works by Johannes Brahms, Sergei Prokofiev and Pulitzer Prize finalist and festival composer-in-residence, Chen Yi.

Violinist Ani Schnarch opens the evening’s concert with Prokofiev’s “Sonata for Solo Violin, Op. 115.”

Chen Yi’s Fiddle Suite presents traditional sounds of Chinese violin in a work featuring erhu virtuoso Wang Guowei. With only two strings and no fingerboard, the distinctive voice of the erhu evokes a wide range of emotions to its listeners. This is an opportunity to see and hear a new work for erhu performed in an intimate setting.

After intermission, clarinet virtuoso Jon Manasse makes his Bowdoin Festival debut in Brahms’ “Quintet for Clarinet and Strings in B Minor, Op. 115.” Although retired as a composer, Brahms was moved to write this work after listening to his friend and mentor Richard Mühfield play clarinet. Performing with Manasse, are Susie Park, violin; Kurt Sassmannshaus, violin; Carol Rodland, viola; and Keiko Ying, cello.

Wednesday Upbeat! concerts are held at 7:30 p.m. in Bowdoin’s Studzinski Recital Hall. Tickets are $40.

Artists of Tomorrow

Artists of Tomorrow student concerts feature the festival’s top students and will be held at 7:30 p.m. on Sunday, July 5, Tuesday, July 7, and Thursday, July 9. Repertoire is announced the day of the concert. To sign up for email announcements of the Artists of Tomorrow programs, visit

Artists of Tomorrow concerts are held at Studzinski Recital Hall on the campus of Bowdoin College, suggested donation $10.

Bowdoin Festival Extra with the Dover Quartet

The public is invited to observe the Dover Quartet in their role as educators and mentors as they instruct festival students in the art of group practice and performance.

The Dover Quartet met at Curtis Institute of Music and, after demonstrating exceptional musicianship and earning the respect of teachers and peers, they were invited to be the first-ever quartet in residence at Curtis. The event is free and at 10 a.m. Tuesday, July 7, in Studzinski Recital Hall.

John Manasse in Beethoven Clarinet Trio July 10

Jon Manasse returns to the stage Friday evening, joining friends David Ying, cello, and Elinor Freer, piano, to perform Ludwig van Beethoven’s “Trio for Clarinet, Cello and Piano in B-flat Major, Op. 11.”

Audiences will be treated to sounds reminiscent of Chinese flute with percussion, cello and piano in Chen Yi’s “Qi.” Performers include Amir Eldan, cello, Tao Lin, piano, Luke Rinderknecht, percussion, and Beomjae Kim, flute.

Ilya Kaler, violin, and Boris Slutsky, piano, return in a faculty ensemble with Carol Rodland, viola, and Paul Katz, cello, to perform Robert Schumann’s “Piano Quartet in E-flat Major, Op. 77.”

Festival Fridays concerts are held at 7:30 p.m. at Brunswick High School’s Crooker Theater. Tickets are $40.

For a complete schedule of festival concerts, ticket information and to sign up for emailed program updates, visit Tickets may also be ordered at the box office, 207-­725-­3895.

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