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Music Academy Gives Chamberfest a New Sound

The series, which starts Tuesday, will showcase the genre's lesser-known compositional range.

The Music Academy of the West is poised to launch an innovative performance series that will challenge traditional conceptions of chamber music by highlighting the venerable genre’s vast — and often overlooked — compositional range. Chamberfest, as the series is known, will include six recitals in its inaugural run as part of the academy’s 2008 Summer School and Festival. Featuring academy Fellows, faculty and guest artists, the performances will take place at 8 p.m. Tuesdays in Santa Barbara’s Lobero Theatre.

Chamberfest replaces Tuesdays @ 8, the academy’s long-running chamber music series at The Lobero. The series hasn’t been merely renamed, however. It’s been reconceptualized as a showcase for lesser-known treasures of the chamber repertoire, particularly compositional gems of relatively recent vintage. Series highlights will include works by contemporary composers Elliott Carter, Steve Reich, Charles Wuorinen, Einojuhani Rautavaara, Karl Korte and William Bolcom, the latter of whom will be in residence at the academy from July 28 through Aug. 10. The series also will include pieces by Olivier Messiaen, Pierre Gabaye, Aaron Copland, Rachmaninoff, Sir Arthur Bliss, Max Bruch, Samuel Barber and Leos Janáček.

Chamber music traditionalists also will be well served, as the 2008 series will include compositions by the likes of Mozart, Bach, Schubert, Haydn, Schumann, Strauss and Ravel. In addition to Bolcom and mezzo-soprano Joan Morris (July 29), guest performers will include the famed Takács Quartet (July 14), whose members also will be in residence at the academy this summer.

“Our intention is to present programs that are consistently wide-ranging and that do justice to chamber music’s capacity to engage and delight listeners of all tastes,” said Richard Feit, vice president for artistic programs and operations at the Music Academy of the West.     

The series will kick off Tuesday with a program featuring Bolcom’s Graceful Ghost Rag, Messiaen’s Le loriot and Theme & Variations, Carter’s Caténaires and Wind Quintet, Ravel’s Piano Trio in A Minor, and Bach’s Trio Sonata in G Major, BWV 1038. Complete series information is below.   

Patrons can purchase a series pass, which includes a single ticket to each Chamberfest recital, for $204. Individual tickets cost $38. Patrons save $5 when they buy a single Chamberfest ticket at least seven days before a given performance.

The Lobero Theatre is at 33 E. Canon Perdido St. in Santa Barbara. The series is supported by Robert Weinman and Santa Barbara Bank & Trust.

The academy will present the West Coast premiere of Bolcom’s opera A Wedding, as well as performances by conductor Peter Oundjian and pianist Christopher Taylor as part of the academy’s 61st Summer Festival. The academy will present 188 events during its 2008 Summer School and Festival, which began June 23 and will conclude Aug. 16. Other highlights include a performance by the Canadian Brass, and conducting turns by Larry Rachleff, George Manahan, Anne Manson, Nicholas McGegan and Daniel Hege. Featuring the academy’s exceptionally talented Fellows, with guest performers and faculty, the events will be presented at the academy’s scenic Miraflores campus and in venues throughout Santa Barbara.

For tickets and information, click here or call 805.969.8787.

Tim Dougherty represents Music Academy of the West.

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