Don’t look now, but the summer music festival season is already upon us.
The DaPonte String Quartet’s summer schedule began Saturday at the Denmark Arts Center. The program will be repeated at Centennial Hall in Harpswell on July 9 and St. Columba’s Church in Boothbay on July 11. The first series is devoted to trios by Beethoven, Schubert and Dohnanyi.
Series 2, “From Russia with Love,” will feature string quartets by Haydn, John Adams and Alexander Borodin. It will be performed at Centennial Hall on July 23, in South Bristol at the Union Church on July 24, and at St. Columba’s Church on July 25.
Later on in the summer, the quartet will also appear at Laudholm Farm in Wells at the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens, the Cathedral Church of St. Luke in Portland, and finally at the First Baptist Church of Paris Hill during Labor Day weekend.
For further information about the summer series and to order tickets, go to the quartet’s website at daponte.org.
NEXT UP will be the opening concert of the Sebago-Long Lake Music Festival on July 16 at Deertrees Theater in Harrison. The festival continues every Tuesday night until Aug. 13.
I always enjoy the Sebago-Long Lake festival for the great acoustics at Deertrees and for the imaginative programming of festival co-founder Laurie Kennedy. This season’s programs are no exception. The first is devoted to the two Mendelssohns, Fanny and Felix, and the results of their studies of Beethoven.
The next will cover three centuries of Italian chamber music, including a trio by “The Godfather” trilogy composer Nino Rota and a string quartet by the great opera composer Giuseppe Verdi in celebration of his 200th birthday.
There will also be a dark Germanic mood, with transcriptions of Strauss and Mahler by Schoenberg (don’t miss that one) and takes on the Kreutzer Sonata, from Beethoven through Tolstoy and Janacek. Tolstoy thought the sonata provoked illicit passions, Jancek’s stock in trade.
For more information and tickets, visit sllmf.org.
THIS SEEMS to be the year for Dvorak’s conception of Native American Music. The third concert of the Salt Bay Chamberfest (Aug. 16 in Barrows Barn at Round Top in Damariscotta) will begin with Penobscot traditional singing and drumming by the Burnurwurbskek Singers, followed by “Taago Dez’a” by Navaho composer Raven Chacon and the Dvorak Piano Quartet in E-flat, written before Dvorak came to the United States.
Music director Wilhelmina Smith has assembled some other fascinating programs for the festival, which runs Aug. 6-17. One couples Ives and Bartok; another Schubert’s “Shepherd on the Rock” and “Fantasy in C” with Karin Rehnqvist’s “Puksanger-Lockrop (Timpanum Songs and Herding Calls).”
On Aug. 9, it will present the world premiere of Derek Bermel’s new “Piece for Rap, Bass and Drums.”
For tickets and information, go to saltbaychamberfest.org.
IT’S HARD TO BELIEVE, but 2013 marks the 20th anniversary of the Portland Chamber Music Festival, which began at Westbrook College and now frequents Hannaford Hall of the University of Southern Maine in Portland.
The festival, which runs Aug. 8-17, is noted for its presentation of contemporary music “sandwiched” between fine renderings of better-known classics. It also sponsors a PCMF Composers Competition, the winner of which, from among 175 contestants, will be announced at the Aug. 11 concert.
The festival opens with a gala celebration concert on Aug. 10 featuring the Bach Sonata in D major played by violist Jessica Thompson and harpsichordist Peter Sykes. This year’s resident composer, Anna Weesner of the University of Pennsylvania, will introduce her Duo for Violin and Cello. The program concludes with the festival’s first performance of the “Concert” of Ernest Chausson.
Three don’t-miss works are an arrangement of Ravel’s “Mother Goose” suite, Aug. 10; the Barber woodwind quintet’s “Summer Music,” Aug. 15; and the Mozart Horn Quintet, Aug. 17.
For information and tickets, go to pcmf.org.
AND WHILE all this and much else throughout Maine is going on, that musical mega-event, the Bowdoin International Music Festival, will be presenting more than 80 classical concerts. It’s enough to give a critic a split personality.
Christopher Hyde is a writer and musician who lives in Pownal. He can be reached at: