And Away We Go: Classical Summer Music Festivals 2011

Tanglewood patrons enjoy music on a balmy evening. i

Tanglewood patrons enjoy music on a balmy evening. Stu Rosner/courtesy of Tanglewood hide caption

itoggle caption Stu Rosner/courtesy of Tanglewood
Tanglewood patrons enjoy music on a balmy evening.

Tanglewood patrons enjoy music on a balmy evening.

Stu Rosner/courtesy of Tanglewood

There's always a feast of choices for summertime festival going, but sometimes those options veer between a ridiculously sublime overabundance—how many states can we be in simultaneously on July 2?—and noting a parade of the same names popping up just about everywhere in a span of less than twelve weeks. (Ah, to have such a life as a concertizing soloist!)

Have no fear: we here at Deceptive Cadence know that in the precious little vacation time you probably have, you need to make some informed choices. That's where we come in—we're pointing out some of the performances that we'd love to attend ourselves in the coming months.

  • Ravinia (June 9-September 11) is the Chicago Symphony Orchestra's summer home, and one of their warm-weather guests is pianist Lang Lang, who plays Liszt's First Piano Concerto July 7 with conductor Christoph Eschenbach. But the music doesn't stop with the CSO; On August 11, conductor Nicholas McGegan, the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra and soloists including Clint van der Linde in the title role perform Handel's Orlando.
  • The census may say that the permanent population of Round Top, Tex. hovers in the high double digits, but the cultural scene thrives here with the presence of the Round Top Festival (June 14-July 16). On July 2, JoAnn Falletta leads a program of Strauss' Don Juan and Elgar's Enigma Variations, while Carol Wincenc is the soloist in Christopher Rouse's Flute Concerto.
  • In the Pacific Northwest, there's the beautiful summertime tradition of the Oregon Bach Festival (June 23-July 10), headed by conductor Helmuth Rilling. On June 26, he leads the Brahms Requiem with soprano Tamara Wilson and baritone Rod Gilfry along with the Schola Cantorum of Venezuela and the festival's own chorus and orchestra. On July 2, Marin Alsop launches her Joan of Arc at the Stake project, based on Arthur Honegger's little-heard cantata before taking it to Baltimore, New York and London.
  • Virginia's Castleton Festival (June 25-July 24) launched just two summers ago, but this Loren Maazel-helmed endeavor is already making big waves, especially with such starry programming as the June 30 Shakespeare program, which features Dame Helen Mirren and Jeremy Irons and Bard-inspired music by Prokofiev, Tchaikovsky and Mendelssohn. On July 21, mezzo Denyce Graves comes to help mark the 150th anniversary of the First Battle Of Manassas in a concert of American music.
  • The lovely Caramoor estate (June 25- September 25) is close by New York City. On June 26, pianist Christopher O'Riley hosts a live taping of the NPR radio show From The Top. The festival continues its tradition of "Bel Canto at Caramoor," featuring a cast of rising young singers in Rossini's William Tell with conductor Will Crutchfield.
  • Though this summer's offerings have been entangled in James Levine's health woes, the Tanglewood festival continues in full force (June 25-September 4). On June 28 & 29, choreographer Mark Morris presents his collaboration with cellist Yo-Yo Ma and costume designer Isaac Mizrahi in a program of Bach and Stravinsky. On July 29, pianist Leon Fleisher performs Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 12 with the Boston Symphony Orchestra and conductor Hans Graf, who also perform Mahler's Symphony No. 5.
  • The name is a little cumbersome, but Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival (June 26-August 3) has plenty of great music. On July 23, the soulful and fast-rising young violinist Augustin Hadelich performs Mozart's "Turkish" Concerto with the New York Philharmonic and Alan Gilbert, who also perform Mahler's Fifth. On July 31, there's an intimate house concert with the festival's artistic director, pianist Anne-Marie McDermott, who has invited bass master Edgar Meyer and other friends to play Schubert's "Trout" Quintet.
  • The Aspen Music Festival (June 29-Aug. 21) is at one of the most beautiful festival environments in the world. On July 7, the vocal group Anonymous 4 arrives for an eclectic program of 14th-century Spanish music and early American folk tunes. On July 15, David Robertson leads a program that includes Ravel's G Major Piano Concerto with Jean-Yves Thibaudet, a new work by Bechara El-Khoury (Unfinished Journey), and Beethoven's Fourth Symphony.
  • The Santa Fe Opera's season (July 1- August 27) includes a new production of Gounod's Faust directed by Stephen Lawless and conducted by Frédéric Chaslin, with tenors Bryan Hymel and Dimitri Pittas sharing the title role. If you're a fan of "Mad Men," check out Gian Carlo Menotti's The Last Savage, about a young anthropologist who falls in love with the title character — and learns that 1960s America is the real jungle.
  • The Cleveland Orchestra is in full bloom at the Blossom Festival (July 2-September 10). They close out their season with conductor Jiří Bělohlávek leading James Oliverio's Dynasty, a concerto for double timpani and orchestra featuring the drumming brothers Paul and Mark Yancich, followed by Beethoven's Ninth with soprano Janice Chandler-Eterne, mezzo Kelley O'Connor, tenor Sean Panikkar and bass-baritone Ryan McKinn.
  • This summer, the Grand Teton Music Festival (July 2-August 20), at the gateway to Yellowstone National Park, is celebrating its 50th anniversary. The program led by Donald Runnicles on July 8 and 9 carries a nature theme with Hamish MacCunn's Land of the Mountain and the Flood, Dvorak's Cello Concerto played by Lynn Harrell and Beethoven's "Pastoral" Symphony. On August 19 and 20, soprano Christine Brewer joins Runnicles and the Festival Orchestra for Richard Strauss' Four Last Songs; the program also includes the world premiere of Pulitzer winner Jennifer Higdon's All Things Majestic.
  • One of the centerpieces of this year's Lincoln Center Festival (July 5-August 14) is the U.S. premiere of director Peter Brook's take on Mozart's opera The Magic Flute — it's called A Magic Flute and has a revised plot.
  • Led by pianists Richard Goode and Mitsuko Uchida, the iconic Marlboro Music Festival marks its 60th season in 2011; from July 16 to August 14, the musicians — a mix of famous players and talented students — present the results of their collaborations in weekend concerts.
  • The Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival (July 17-August 27) is always a gem. On July 27, hear music of both Robert and Clara Schumann in a performance featuring soprano Dawn Upshaw and pianist Gilbert Kalish. Two nights later, the Calder Quartet and friends play works by Eötvös, Takemitsu, Rouse and R. Murray Schaefer.
  • Classical music meets Silicon Valley at Music at Menlo (July 22-August 13). Led by pianist Wu Han and cellist David Finckel, this year's festival centers on Brahms; one fascinating program focuses on the affinity for Gypsy music Brahms shared with Haydn, Dvorak, Kreisler, Ravel and so many other European composers.
  • The Bard Music Festival (August 12-21), with the American Symphony Orchestra and conductor/Bard College President Leon Botstein, lavishes its attentions this year on the music of Sibelius. The opening night concert features not just Finlandia and the Symphony No. 5, but selections from the Humoresques, Luonnotar and the Third Symphony as well.
  • Mostly Mozart (August 2-27) is a New York institution, but fresh life has been injected into the programming in recent years. On August 4, Don Giovanni arrives in an unusual staging led by Ivan Fischer with the Budapest Festival Orchestra and a roster of young singers making their festival debuts.

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