Beginning this week, parents of a violin student from China will be able listen to their son or daughter perform live from Brunswick, thanks to a new streaming service of the Bowdoin International Music Festival.

The festival, which begins its 53rd season on the Bowdoin campus on Monday, will stream some of its recitals, concerts, lectures and other events as a way to expand its reach and connect with people who are not part of the recital-hall audience.

The streaming service, #FestivalLive, will cost the festival $20,000 this year and is part of a larger effort to increase the festival’s appeal, especially among tech-savvy young people – and parents of students who live thousands of miles away.

In addition to streaming concerts, the Bowdoin festival also is hosting more free concerts in non-traditional venues, including Rising Tide Brewing Co. in Portland on July 20.

“It’s all about accessibility,” said Casey Oakes, the festival communications director. “Now a mom in China can get a text from her son saying, ‘I’m about to go on stage,’ and she can log on and watch her son perform live.”

So can anyone else with an internet-connected device. The festival will stream all of its Young Artists Series performances from Studzinski Recital Hall and the Festival Insight events, which include performances, talks and master classes.


The first streaming event will be a demonstration of rehearsal techniques hosted by the Ying Quartet at 11 a.m. Tuesday. Quartet members David and Phillip Ying are co-artistic directors of the festival. The first streaming concert will be the season’s inaugural performance of the Young Artists Series, at 7 p.m. Thursday.

At this time, there are no plans to stream the festival’s ticketed concerts, which take place at Studzinski and at Brunswick High School, although that might be an option in the future.

This year, the festival has 270 students on campus from 24 countries. Students from more than 50 countries applied, Oakes said. Students from 42 states represent the United States.

The festival’s live-streaming service taps into shifting audience trends and preferences that suggest digital access is a necessary evolutionary step, Executive Director Daniel Nitsch said. Several national opera companies and orchestras have made live-streaming part of their strategy for reaching new audience members, and “we want to do the same with chamber music,” Nitsch said.

The Ying Quartet hosts the first streaming event with a demonstration of rehearsal techniques at 11 a.m. Tuesday.

Oakes said live-streaming will help sell tickets. “We’re not going to lose any audience,” he said. “For me, live-streaming is a tool to get people to come and experience the concerts in person. It’s not meant to replace the live music experience.”

The streaming service can be accessed through the Livestream tab of the festival’s website, which has undergone a redesign with more photos and stories about faculty and alumni, and more interactive opportunities for visitors and prospective students. After the festival begins, it will include student profiles and other features.


The festival presents about 100 concerts each summer. Of those, 18 require a paid ticket – three weekly concerts on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Two of the Festival Fridays concerts will feature concerto performances by guest soloists Anne Akiko Meyers and Joseph Kalichstein.

The Monday Showcase series features established ensembles, like the Borromeo, Jupiter, Parker and Ying quartets and the lesser-known Rolston String Quartet.

This year, the festival begins a new series, “The Music of,” which will explore the creative process of working composers. The artists will discuss aspects of their music and inspiration for 90 minutes and answer questions from the audience. This year’s series will include composers Derek Bermel, Andreia Pinto Correia, Jennifer Higdon, Aaron Kernis, Paola Prestini and Andrew Norman.

Staff Writer Bob Keyes can be contacted at 791-6457 or at:

[email protected]

Twitter: pphbkeyes

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