Tuesday June 28, 2011 | 11:46 PM

Two classical performances in an intimate setting opened this year's Bowdoin International Music Festival. The Dine On! gala served as a fundraiser for the festival's scholarship program, and featured a cocktail party followed by dinner in the grand Moulton Union reception room on the Bowdoin College campus. Between the first and second courses, pianist Eric Zupert performed "Isle of Joy" to enthusiastic applause from the crowd.

Between the main course and dessert, Sissi Zhang on violin and Tao Lin on piano performed the first movement of Beethoven's "C Minor Sonata," eliciting an equally appreciative response from the crowd.

All three students are attending this year's festival with financial help from the scholarship fund.

The affable Mike Fear, who owns Now You're Cooking in Bath, used his persuasive British style to raise almost $20,000 in the live auction.

Now in its 47th season, the festival's signature concert series starts tomorrow with the first of the Wednesday Upbeat! performances. The initial Artists of Tomorrow concert (all of which are free) takes place on Thursday. This Friday July 1 brings the first Festival Fridays concert, Sunday July 3 offers another Artists of Tomorrow concert and Monday July 4 ushers in the Monday Sonatas series. The schedule continues in the same manner through August 5.

With the party's motto of "If music be the food of love ... Dine On!," the meal concluded appropriately enough  with a white chocolate and almond semifreddo served with fresh strawberries and basil oil. The dish was specially created for the guests by April Robinson, the pastry chef at Fore Street.

Be sure to pick up a copy of the July 3 Maine Sunday Telegram, where I'll have more photos and the scoop on what party guests had to say about the festival.

Until then, I hope to see you out and about.

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Avery Yale Kamila dishes about southern Maine's hottest parties.

Avery can be contacted at 791-6297 or akamila@pressherald.com
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