Calidore String Quartet

BRUNSWICK — This summer the Bowdoin International Music Festival, one of the world’s premiere classical music festivals, celebrates its 55th season in Brunswick. Between June 24 and Aug. 2, the festival will present 20 ticketed concerts featuring world-renowned musicians such as Tessa Lark, Yefim Bronfman, Imani Winds, the American String Quartet, Calidore String Quartet, Ying Quartet, Jupiter String Quartet, Horszowski Trio and more than 50 extraordinary faculty musicians.

In addition to ticketed concerts, the festival will present 175 free events, including Young Artists performances, master classes, lectures, community outreach events, museum concerts and children’s concerts.

Continuing a 55-year commitment to contemporary classical music, the festival welcomes many of the world’s leading composers. Derek Bermel, Lee Young-Ja, Steven Mackey and Melinda Wagner will teach and guide composition students while sharing their creative process through public presentations.

Ticketed events for June 24 to 30

Monday, June 24: Calidore String Quartet, 7:30 p.m., Studzinski Recital Hall; tickets, $45. The season opens with one of today’s most vibrant and exciting young ensmbles. Fresh Avery Fisher Career grantees, the Calidore String Quartet have prepared a program that combines characterful classics with a centerpiece by Caroline Shaw. Shaw, whom the Washington Post recently called the most ‘idiomatic composer’ for string quartet since Bartók, composed “Three Essays” specially for the Calidore Quartet last year. Violist Masumi Per Rostad joins them for Mozart’s last major chamber music work, composed the year of his death.

Wednesday, June 26: Beethoven, Janáček, Arensky, 7:30 p.m., Studzinski Recital Hall; tickets, $45. Wednesday evenings offer eclectic programs spanning the range of the chamber music repertoire and featuring artists from across the festival. After opening with Beethoven’s middle-period cello sonata, the program departs for Eastern Europe: first, to Brno, where a mature Janáček composed his only violin sonata at the outbreak of World War I; then, onward to Moscow, where Arensky commemorated the life of Tchaikovsky with this string quartet – remarkable for the deep sonorities brought about by its unusual instrumentation for two cellos.


Friday, June 28: Saint-Saëns, Suso, Dvořák, 7:30 p.m., Studzinski Recital Hall; tickets, $45. The season’s first Friday evening opens with Saint-Saëns’s luminous postcard from the Mediterranean coast, where he composed his “Fantaisie” at the age of 70. Kronos Quartet alumnus Jeffrey Zeigler interprets the work of Gambian-American composer Foday Musa Suso, who drew inspiration from the achievements of 19th-century botanist and inventor, George Washington Carver, for his 2018 work, “Salumba.” The second half takes a dramatic turn with Dvořák’s mature trio.

Free events for June 24 to 30

Monday, June 24: Guide to Rehearsing Chamber Music, 11 a.m., Studzinski Recital Hall. The festival’s public educational programs begin with a special event with the Calidore String Quartet demonstrating chamber music rehearsal.

Thursday, June 27: Meet the Composer: Derek Bermel, 11 a.m., Studzinski Rehearsal Hall. An opportunity to learn about and experience the creative process of a living composer. These distinguished artists will discuss aspects of their music and inspirations, then accept questions from the audience. The festival’s composer-in-residence, Derek Bermel is also the artistic director of the American Composers Orchestra at Carnegie Hall. His awards include the Alpert Award in the Arts, the Rome Prize, Guggenheim and Fulbright Fellowships and the American Music Center’s Trailblazer Award.

Thursday, June 27: Young Artists Performance, 7 to 8:30 p.m., Studzinski Recital Hall. Performances by the festival’s students. Since 1964, more than 6,500 musicians have trained at the Bowdoin International Music Festival. Students come from more than 25 countries and 30 states and have dedicated their energy and passion to a life in music. Festival alumni include Jennifer Koh, Emanuel Ax, Paul Neubauer, Anne Akiko Meyers, Ray Chen and Sebastian Currier.

Saturday, June 29: Flight Deck Brewing Community Concert, 2 p.m., Flightdeck Brewing. The Community Concert series offers students the opportunity to engage with various audiences in nontraditional venues. Concerts feature a variety of traditional classical repertoire and are typically 45 minutes in length.

Saturday, June 29: Guinea Pigs in Bow Ties, 10 p.m., Studzinski Recital Hall. This special evening features works written within 48 hours prior to the concert start time. Exactly two days before, student composers randomly draw performer names and instruments out of a hat. Using the resulting instrumentation, composers are tasked with immediately writing a new piece of music for “guinea pig” musicians. Audience members will hear fresh and experimental music created specifically for the event.

Sunday, June 30: Young Artists Performance, 2 to 4:30 p.m., Studzinski Recital Hall. Performances by the festival’s students.

Tickets may be ordered at the box office at 181 Park Row, over the phone at 207-­373-­1400, online or purchased at the door the night of the concert. For a complete schedule of events, ticket information and to sign up for emailed program updates, visit

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