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Classic love

Romantic performances statewide
By BEN MEIKLEJOHN  |  June 13, 2007

Classic summer starts with a rock-and-roll fundraiser? “Ahem, excuse me.” -classical snoot gasps in shock, angrily discontinues reading. But seriously. The PORTLAND CONSERVATORY OF MUSIC, training students in classical and jazz, had a great response to their “School of Rock” program last summer, and they’ll be doing it again. A fundraiser slated for June 23 at the Station will feature emoters the Killing Moon, indie rockers Headstart, and indie poppers Are You a Fox?, among others.

Fear not, there is real classical music, but you likely have to get out of the city to enjoy it (redeeming itself, the Conservatory starts its INTERNATIONAL PIANO FESTIVAL concerts on June 25). In Brunswick, catch the annual BOWDOIN INTERNATIONAL MUSIC FESTIVAL — a series of concerts from June 23 to August 4, with the theme “The Great Romantics.” Ah, summer — time for romance. Works by Schumann, Brahms, Dvorak, Britten, Bartok, Tchaikovsky, Beethoven, Stravinsky, Ravel, and Saint-Saens will fill the air with love. The festival additionally hosts the CHARLES E. GAMPER FESTIVAL OF CONTEMPORARY MUSIC from July 26 to 29, featuring works by John Adams, Elliott Carter, Simone Fontanelli, Joshua Gates, Arvo Part, Perry Townsend, and Jack Vees.

June 30 is R.B. HALL DAY, an official Maine holiday celebrating our beloved “King of Marches” Robert Browne Hall (1858-1907), an internationally recognized Maine composer. Sixteen Maine community concert bands will celebrate Hall’s life with an all-day free concert at Fairfield Park in Fairfield, including the Bangor Band, which Hall conducted more than a hundred years ago.

The BAR HARBOR MUSIC FESTIVAL starts on June 30, lasting until July 29. On July 18, Maine composer ELLIOTT SCHWARTZ will moderate “New Composers Forum: New Music for Piano.” The next day, July 19, there will be the 24TH ANNUAL NEW COMPOSERS CONCERT with the NEW PIANO QUARTET. Slip back into the familiar on July 20 with a performance of Verdi’s La Traviata, with vocalists Angela Gilbert, Scott Scully, Ryan Taylor, and Fenlon Lamb.

Kneisel Hall, on the slopes of Blue Hill Mountain, calls itself the “cradle of chamber-music teaching in America,” and offers a CHAMBER-MUSIC FESTIVAL from June 22 to August 25. Works by Haydn, Shostakovich, Mozart, and Hindemith will be played, and Romantic greats Schubert, Dvorak, Schumann, Beethoven, Brahms, and Ravel will continue to spread their summertime mountain love. The PORTLAND CHAMBER MUSIC FESTIVAL, from August 16 to 25, will feature, in addition to works by Bach, Mozart, and Stravinsky, works by Romantic legends — proving there is indeed love in the city. Those close, intimate chamber ensembles sure do like Romanticism.

And summer romance without opera? Forget it. PORTOPERA brings drama vocally rendered from June 22 to July 29, with one-act performances of Haydn’s Lo Speziale and La Canterina and Rossini’s Il Barbiere di Siviglia. The ROCKPORT OPERA HOUSE hosts BAY CHAMBER CONCERTS from July 5 to August 16, with a Baroque showcase on August 15 and 16 (Vivaldi and Telemann), and — heart throbs heavily — Romantic works throughout the season (yes, classical too!).

The SEBAGO LONG LAKE MUSICAL FESTIVAL, in Harrison, hosts concerts from July 17 to August 14, including — get this — “Romantic Evening” on August 7. Of course, more romance abounds (naturally), with “Schubert for Frieda” on July 24 and “The Gadley, the Dissonant, and Dvorak” on August 14.

Finally, take your date to a PORTLAND SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA outdoor “INDEPENDENCE POPS” concert, June 29 through July 3, but you’ll have to leave Portland for Cape Elizabeth, Old Orchard Beach, Bridgton, Sanford, or Brunswick. Heck, summer is time to get out of the city. Your lovers want you to take them places. Travel in the summertime is romantic. And so are Maine’s classical concerts.

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