While the first performance of Music@Menlo’s 2010 is tonight at the festival’s newest venue, the Center for Performing Arts at Menlo-Atherton, a free open house at Menlo School on Saturday offers the opportunity to discover the inner workings of the festival, which is in its eighth season.
Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons and Music for a Summer Evening by George Crumb kicks off the chamber music festival. “The stage capacity [at PAC] allows us to try some new things that we haven’t been able to do in our more intimate venues,” says Wu Han, who with husband David Finckel are the festival’s Artistic Directors. “For example, Music for a Summer Evening is a fantastically colorful work by the American composer George Crumb. This piece is scored for two amplified pianos and a huge percussion set-up. It’s a piece that you don’t get to experience too often because of the logistical challenges involved, but the new hall at Menlo-Atherton allows us to introduce this great piece to our audience.”
The Chamber Music open house begins on Saturday (7/24) at 8:30 am with a Q&A Coffee with the Han and Finckel. This is followed by open rehearsals (on this day only) and open coachings, two ways to view the creative process in action. The day’s offerings also include the season’s first Prelude Performance at 5:30 pm (free) and first Encounter,” Das Land ohne Musik and the Search for English Musical Identity,” led by R. Larry Todd in Martin Family Hall (7:30 pm, tickets required).
“The heart of Music@Menlo’s offerings is our main concert series, which this year features some of the greatest works in the repertoire, including some that a lot of listeners might not be familiar with: works like the Elgar Piano Quintet, Benjamin Britten’s The Holy Sonnets of John Donne, and Richard Strauss’ Metamorphosen, ” says Han. “But surrounding the concerts with loads of context and offering listeners a wide array of opportunities to discover great music has been a hallmark of Music@Menlo from the very beginning. There’s something very special about exploring music in a festival setting that sets it apart from simply attending a concert.”
The chamber music festival runs from July 23 to August 10. Complete program information, including repertoire, artists, concert venues, times and ticket prices can be found at Music@Menlo.
Photo by Tristan Cook, courtesy of Music@Menlo.