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2020 Bar Harbor Music Festival’s 54th season goes online

Jun 23, 2020

The Bar Harbor Music Festival will celebrate its 54th season online over Facebook and/or YouTube from June 28 through July 26. Performances will be live and pre-recorded videos of: Solo Recitals, Chamber Music, “Pops”, “New Composers”, Opera, Jazz, String Orchestra conducted by Maestro Francis Fortier, a “New Composers” Forum, and Young Audience Presentations by Deborah Fortier. Each performance will be broadcast on the web through the Bar Harbor Music Festival Facebook page. Audiences should “like” the Festival page for access to the concerts. All performances are available to the public free of charge, but all viewers will be able to donate to the festival directly from the page.

On Sunday, June 28, at 4 p.m., April Martin, soprano, and Cara Chowning, piano, will perform lieder by Hahn, Argento, Liszt and more.

On Friday, July 3, at 8 p.m., festival-favorite pianist Christopher Johnson will perform his first of two recitals. Celebrating 250 years of Beethoven, the performance will include the Piano Sonata in E-flat Major, Op. 31 No. 3, a brilliant four-movement work full of freshness and vigor, plus a world premiere by Deborah Fortier, concluding with Sousa’s Stars and Stripes, made famous for piano by Vladimir Horowitz. Recent critics have called Mr. Johnson “utterly convincing and technically astounding.”

Saturday, July 4, at 8 p.m., Brass Venture will present a festive, patriotic program for brass trio of trumpets and trombones. Their 17th consecutive summer with the festival, Brass Venture’s talent combined with engaging repartee make this a great holiday concert.

Wednesday, July 8, at 3 p.m., composer Patrick Zimmerli will lead the 24th Annual New Composers Forum with the Bowers-Fader Duo. They will be joined by internationally recognized composers to discuss the topic, “CONTEMPORARY RESPONSES TO 20TH CENTURY MUSIC: TONAL VS. ATONAL.”

The 37th Annual New Composers Concert is Friday, July 10, at 8 p.m. where the Bowers-Fader Duo will perform live from New York City. The program will include a World Premiere by Patrick Zimmerli as well as music by Scott Wheeler, Tim Mukherjee, Paul Salerni, and more. This concert and the New Composers Forum are both made possible in part by a grant from the Alice M. Ditson Fund of Columbia University.

On Sunday, July 12, at 8 p.m., artists from the Bar Harbor Music Festival Vocal Program present a program of vocal “Pops.” Downeast favorite, baritone Isaac Bray, is joined by singers Chloe Olivia Moore, Stephen Carroll, and Alice-Anne Leight with pianist Cara Chowning to perform favorites from stage and screen, including “The Impossible Dream” and “Maria.”

Spanish pianist Antonio Galera Lopez returns Tuesday, July 14, at 8 p.m. for his eighth consecutive recital with music by Beethoven, Debussy, and Ginastera. As a prize-winner of several competitions, including the Yamaha Music Foundation of Europe Award, his national career has brought him performances in major halls and festivals throughout the world, receiving outstanding reviews – “extraordinary sensibility," “infallible technique control," and “very rare musicality."

On Friday, July 17, at 8 p.m., the festival broadcasts arias from “Barber of Seville, “The Magic Flute,” and “I Pagliacci,” sung by Isaac Bray, Stephen Carroll, Chloe Olivia Moore, and Alice-Ann Leight.

On Saturday, July 18, at 6 p.m., the Ardelia Chamber Players will present the online interactive forum “Making Music Together, Apart.” What is “chamber music” in a time when musicians can’t gather? The origins of chamber music date back hundreds of years — before the internet, radio or recordings. It was an intimate way for musicians to essentially have “musical playdates” in the salons or “chambers” of someone’s house. While we are grateful that technology can bring us together, across international borders, our musician souls still ache for the time when we will be able to collaborate again in person. In their online interactive forum (via Zoom), the Ardelia Chamber Players (Janey Choi, Antonio Galera and Jennifer DeVore) will be exploring Mozart’s g minor Piano Quartet, as well as a piano trio by lesser-known French pianist/composer Cécile Chaminade (1857-1944), the first female composer to be granted admission to the Order of the Legion of Honour. Please join them, as we demonstrate, discuss and answer your questions about how we can still create and be collaborative artists during this time of socially distancing.

The Wolverine Jazz Band, one of Boston’s finest Dixieland traditional jazz and swing bands, appears for their 16th consecutive season for Jazz Night on Sunday, July 19, at 8 p.m. This all-star ensemble includes John Clark on clarinet and saxophone; Jeff Hughes on trumpet and cornet; Tom Boates on trombone; Ross Petot on piano; Jimmy Mazzy on banjo and vocals; Rick MacWilliams on tuba, and David Didricksen on drums.

On Monday, July 20, at 5 p.m., Deborah Fortier will present Part One of “Learning to Read Music Through Poetry.”

On Wednesday, July 22, at 5 p.m., Deborah Fortier will present Part Two of “Learning to Read Music Through Poetry.”

On Friday, July 24, at 8 p.m., festival-favorite pianist Christopher Johnson will perform his second festival recital of 2020: Celebrating 250 Years of Beethoven. The program will open with music by American composer Gary Eskow, including a world premiere, and finish with the Piano Sonata in F Minor, Op. 57 “Appassionata,” by Beethoven. Considered his greatest sonata, the “Appassionata,” with its searing passion and relentless energy, is the most extreme and explosive sonata of its time.

Sunday, July 26, at 8 p.m. marks the end of the summer online series with a performance by the Bar Harbor Festival String Orchestra conducted by Francis Fortier. The orchestra will perform music by Eine Kleine Nachtmusik by Mozart, Allegro from Vivaldi’s mandolin concerto with Jeffrey Ellenberger, soloist, and the Waltz and Finale from Tchaikovsky’s Serenade for Strings.

For more information, visit and find the festival on Facebook.

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