by Rory O’Donoghue
The Kent Blossom Music Festival returns this weekend, marking the 51st season of Kent State University’s collaboration with The Cleveland Orchestra. From June 30 to August 4, the Festival boasts a five-concert Faculty Series and a ten-concert Young Artist Series, including its annual side-by-side performance between students and The Cleveland Orchestra under the direction of Bramwell Tovey.
“Our faculty concert series will feature fantastic artists from The Cleveland Orchestra, Kent State’s revered faculty, the Miami String Quartet, pianist Spencer Myer and other guest artists,” Festival director Ricardo Sepúlveda said in his letter introducing this year’s season. For these musicians, their tenure at Kent Blossom is more than just performance based — they’ll be working closely with the 43 visiting students accepted this year.
Each student will learn at least four different chamber works. “Every year, artistic coordinator Danna Sundet and I come up with the repertoire in late April or early May and communicate with the students so they can arrive well prepared,” Sepúlveda said in an interview with ClevelandClassical.com last year. The students take part in daily rehearsals, coachings, and lessons, a busy schedule designed to nurture artistic development — there’s also plenty of practice time.
The Young Artists will have several opportunities to showcase their work during the ten student concerts, which run July 12 through July 16 and August 1 through August 3. The chamber music repertoire populating these events runs the gamut from the standard — Beethoven, Mozart, Mendelssohn — to the underperformed, like Madeleine Dring’s Trio for Flute, Oboe and Piano and Joaquín Turina’s La Oración del Torero. Free and open to the public, concerts in this series take place in Ludwig Recital Hall, Hudson Library and Historical Society, Ravenna’s Reed Memorial Library and Hudson’s Laurel Lake Retirement Community. Click here to view the complete schedule.
In addition to chamber music, the students will also form a chamber orchestra led by Cleveland Orchestra assistant conductor Vinay Parameswaran, which will be featured in a 7:00 pm Blossom Festival prelude concert on July 27. They’ll play Mendelssohn’s Hebrides Overture and Ravel’s “Mother Goose” Suite before joining with The Cleveland Orchestra for the 8 pm concert, which includes a side-by-side performance of Elgar’s Enigma Variations. Working together with the professionals embeds the students in a real, orchestral experience, which Festival alumni often fondly refer to as their favorite part of the summer.
The 2019 Faculty Concert Series opens just one week from today on July 3, when Mark Kosower, principal cello of The Cleveland Orchestra, joins pianist Jee-Won Oh for an evening of Bach, Beethoven, Schubert, and more. All performances of the Faculty Concert Series take place on the Kent State University Kent Campus in the Hugh A. Glauser School of Music’s Ludwig Recital Hall on Wednesdays at 7:30 pm.
July 10 marks the return of the celebrated collaboration between “Northeast Ohio favorite,” the Miami String Quartet, and pianist Spencer Myer. The next two weeks’ concerts on July 17 and 24 feature members of the Orchestra and special guests, including principal oboe Frank Rosenwein (KBMF ‘99), principal clarinet Afendi Yusuf, assistant principal bassoon Barrick Stees, principal keyboard Joela Jones (’68, ‘69), assistant principal cello Richard Weiss (‘72), flutists Mary Kay Fink and Jessica Sindell, clarinetist Robert Woolfrey, and pianists Carolyn Gadiel Warner and Randall Fusco.
The finale of the Faculty Concert series welcomes The Kalichstein-Laredo-Robinson Trio as the Kulas Visiting Artist on Wednesday, July 31 at 7:30 pm, an appearance made possible by a grant from the Kulas Foundation. Pianist Joseph Kalichstein, violinist Jaime Laredo and cellist Sharon Robinson have charted an impressive international career over the past forty-some years, consistently delivering “technical mastery, expressive depth, and magnetism to the concert stage.” They’ll perform André Previn’s Trio No. 2, Maurice Ravel’s Piano Trio in a, and Mendelssohn’s Piano Trio No. 1 in d. Their multi-day residency also includes masterclasses and numerous mentorship opportunities.
Subscriptions and single tickets for the Faculty Concert Series are available here, with prices ranging from $60-$85 for a season subscription, and $5-$20 for single tickets. Children 18 and under are free.
Published on ClevelandClassical.com June 26, 2019.
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