[ Director's Welcome ]

Welcome to Norfolk

Spring 2019

Welcome to another season at the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival! For me, it is very gratifying, after months of hard work by all of us in the office, to share what we have planned for you this summer. We hope that as you look through our offerings, you will find not only familiar artists and pieces, but will also be surprised and delighted by the new and unexpected.

The theme we will explore in many of the programs this summer is “Hidden Influences” We sometimes forget that classical music, and chamber music, is a living, breathing art form that changes over time, mirroring, absorbing, and incorporating trends and cultural shifts that occur in the world at large. Some of these trends are ones we readily recognize, but others are more subtle and hidden. For example, in one program we explore the ways in which technology influenced music and composers. How did music change when the metronome was invented, and composers became aware of its existence? In another program we explore how the traditional chamber music concert became what it is today, by going back to a time when the format we are familiar with had not been set. I hope that this theme will provoke you and tickle your curiosity.

Other aspects of the Festival will be familiar to you. Our spectacularly talented Fellows will be showcased not only in the Emerging Artist Series concerts, but also they will be seen performing alongside their faculty mentors on every Friday evening concert. Paul Berry returns to present his popular Pre-Concert Conversations on Friday evenings. And we have a mix of faculty artists, from stalwarts like the Brentano Quartet, William Purvis, Scott Hartman, Ransom Wilson, Frank Morelli, Ani Kavafian, Ole Akahoshi, Robert Blocker, and Wei-Yi Yang, to more recent Norfolk artists like the Miró Quartet, violist Melissa Reardon, cellist Raman Ramakrishnan, to other artists who are new or have not been to Norfolk in years, including violinist Martin Beaver, pianists Gilbert Kalish and Wendy Chen, and oboist James Austin Smith.

You won’t want to miss our Gala this year on June 29, which features the vocal ensemble Roomful of Teeth, described by The New Yorker as “revolutionizing choral music.” Their embrace of global choral traditions, along with traditional and modern choral music, make this group one of the most exciting in classical music today.

Please look through the this season’s offereings. I know that there will be several concerts that are sure to grab your interest. See you at the Music Shed!

Melvin Chen,
Director