[ Director's Welcome ]

Welcome to Norfolk

Summer 2017

I welcome you to another wonderful summer at Norfolk, in my first year as director.  Even though this position is new to me, in my previous visits as performer and teacher, I have fallen in love with this place. The stunning natural surroundings, the talented students, and the inspirational concerts are familiar to returning patrons, and are things I hope to introduce to a wider audience.

Each Friday evening program is centered around a particular idea, and the works performed all illuminate some aspect of that theme.  To put each Friday evening program into the context of its theme, Professor Paul Berry will lead a pre-concert conversation at 7pm before the concert.  You will definitely enjoy him and what he has to say – his classes are so popular at Yale that he was awarded a University teaching award! I am particularly excited about the three-week Dvořák mini-Festival that occupies the third, fourth, and fifth weeks.  This mini-Festival explores different aspects of Dvořák’s music and influences, and you will see that there are programs devoted to “Dvořák and Brahms,” “Dvořák and the Folk Tradition,” and “Dvořák and America.”  This Dvořák celebration culminates in our annual Gala, which this year will feature the faculty and fellows performing the Dvořák Serenades.

We feel that the Fellows, who come from this country’s finest music schools, are a hidden gem of the Norfolk festival. Many of you are already familiar with the weekly Emerging Artists concerts, but we are featuring the Fellows in an even more visible way, by including several of them in every Friday evening program.  You will be amazed at their poise and artistry as they perform alongside their more experienced colleagues.  The proceeds from the Gala will go towards scholarships for the Fellows, and we are starting a campaign to sponsor every Fellow.  If you are interested in sponsoring one of our Fellows, please talk to me or the Festival’s General Manager Jim Nelson.

This summer many of your favorite groups and musicians are back, including the Brentano and Emerson quartets, Boris Berman, Peter Frankl, David Shifrin, William Purvis, Wei-Yi Yang,  Ransom Wilson, Steven Taylor, Dashon Burton, Ole Akahoshi and Frank Morelli. You will also have the chance to see and hear some new faces, like the Miró quartet, Harumi Rhodes, Jennifer Frautschi, Atar Arad, and Benjamin Hochman. This group of extraordinary musicians and teachers will make this summer of music a memorable one!

I am appreciative that Paul Hawkshaw, the director for many years, agreed to oversee the completion of phase-two of the Shed renovation which will be finished in the fall and will further improve air flow and make you more comfortable during the warm summer evenings. The third and final phase of the Shed project involves an annex at the back which will provide new rehearsal spaces, enlarged and modernized bathrooms, and a green room for the musicians.  The anticipated cost of this final phase is $3,000,000, and we are in the beginning stages of raising money for this phase. Please help if you are able – feel free to talk to me or Jim Nelson about this.

I and the Faculty, Staff, and Fellows, are most grateful to Dean Blocker, the Yale School of Music, the Ellen Battell Stoeckel Trust, the donors, patrons, volunteers, and friends for their generous and committed support of this summer’s season. Without the help of so many dedicated contributors, this festival would not be possible.

Finally, I would like to reiterate my warm welcome to all of you, as we enjoy another summer together of “Music Among Friends!”

Melvin Chen,