POWERS_Keith.jpg

Leonore Overture

collects the music and arts criticism of Keith Powers

Summer over? Nah. Festivals open this month in Newburyport, Manchester

 Manchester Summer Chamber Music celebrates its 10th season. Here, a quartet in the Barn at Castle Hill.

Manchester Summer Chamber Music celebrates its 10th season. Here, a quartet in the Barn at Castle Hill.

The summer festival season for chamber music continues. Intimate and decidedly robust concert series from the Manchester Summer Chamber Music and the Newburyport Chamber Music Festival open next week, both with a blend of house concerts, family presentations and main-stage events. 

The festivals bring a mix of the new and familiar. At MSCM, co-directors Lorna Tsai and Sage Cole kick off their tenth season with a two-day tour of the Danube. Pianist Ryo Yanagitani adds a second performance to his popular concert/lecture format at the home of Isabella and Stephen Bates (open to the public). This year’s opening program explores works of Dohnanyi, Brahms and Liszt—who all composed along the famed river that flows through Vienna, Budapest and other Eastern European capitals. 

Tsai and Cole build the majority of their programs around single movements from major works, a welcoming format for new audiences and interested young listeners. The opening concert at the Barn at Castle Hill—home to three of the festival’s programs—captures the season in a nutshell: single movements from the great Mendelssohn octet and the Bach D minor concerto for two violins, along with infectious contemporary pieces by Piazzolla, Pärt (the great “Spiegel im Spiegel”) and Golijov.

Tsai and Cole are joined this season by many musicians who have highlighted MSCM’s first decade: cellists Jacques Lee Woods and Estelle Choi; guitarist Simon Powis; violists Kerry Kavalo and Sophie Heaton; violinists Emilie-Anne Gendron and Emma Frucht. Pianist Anna Fedorova and bassist Nicholas Schwartz team up with Tsai, Choi and Kavalo for a special performance of Schubert’s Trout quintet on Aug. 16 in Hamilton.

Newburyport artistic director David Yang always offers a wide variety of concerts, open rehearsals, family events and discussions. Even before this summer’s first main-stage performance—an Aug. 16 concert featuring music of Shostakovich (the string quartet No. 11) and Mozart (“Hoffmeister”)—the festival presents three house concerts, three open rehearsals and three family events. 

Auricolae Music Troupe and Theater in the Open team up to begin the season with two free puppet/music shows, the first at Maudslay State Park (Aug. 8) and again the next day at Inn Street’s Fountain and Splash Pond. Sitarist Indrajit Roy-Chowdhury joins composer-in-residence Fung Chern Hwei for improvisations and a world premiere at the season-closing main-stage presentation Aug. 18, a major program that also features Beethoven’s Op. 130 quartet, with the daunting Grosse Fuge.

Manchester Summer Chamber Music runs Aug. 8 through 25 at various locations, including the Barn at Castle Hill. For tickets and information visit www.manchestersummerchambermusic.org or call 978-704-1041. The Newburyport Chamber Music Festival runs at various locations in Newburyport from Aug. 8 through 18. Visit www.newburyportchambermusic.org or call 978-701-4914.

Emerson, Beethoven. At Cape Cod Chamber Music Festival, Aug. 2

Parker Quartet, in concert at Summer Star Sanctuary, Sunday, Aug. 5