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Enjoy string quartet and more at Seal Bay Festival

Jul 03, 2019
Cassatt String Quartet

VINALHAVEN/BELFAST — The internationally celebrated Cassatt String Quartet will be featured in the 17th Seal Bay Festival of American Chamber Music, with local performances running from July 14 through 17. Established in 1985, the Cassatt String Quartet has collaborated with a vast array of artists and Pulitzer-prize winning composers. This year, the Seal Bay Festival is pleased to celebrate the 75th birthday of the widely renowned and beloved pianist Ursula Oppens.

Area concerts are as follows:

Sunday, July 14, 1 to 4 p.m.; Vinalhaven Public Library, 6 Carver St, Vinalhaven; Open Rehearsal; Cassatt String Quartet, Rutty, Rose, Sonenberg; free admission.

Sunday, July 14, 7 p.m.; Godfrey Residence, Coombs Neck, Vinalhaven; Partners In Island Education Concert; Cassatt String Quartet with Peter Weitzner, Bass; fee admission.

Monday, July 15, 6 p.m.; Vinalhaven School, Smith Hokanson Memorial Hall, 22 Arcola Ln, Vinalhaven; Cassatt String Quartet and Pianist Ursula Oppens; Works by Galaganov, Ritter, Armetta, Welcher, Edinoff and Pollack; free admission, suggested donation $10.

Tuesday, July 16, 7 p.m.; Vinalhaven School, Smith Hokanson Memorial Hall, 22 Arcola Ln, Vinalhaven; Cassatt String Quartet and Pianist Ursula Oppen; Works by Edinoff, Welcher, Rutty, Rose, Godfrey, Shende and Kaminsky; free admission, suggested donation $10.

Wednesday, July 17, 3:30 to 4 p.m.; Waldo County General Hospital, 118 Northport Ave., Belfast; Cassatt String Quartet; free admission.

Wednesday, July 17, 7 p.m.; Waterfall Arts, 256 High St, Belfast; Cassatt String Quartet; Works by Galaganov, Ritter, Pollack, Armetta, Rutty, Sonenberg, and Rose; tickets $10.

The goal of the Seal Bay Festival is to make American chamber music an exciting and vibrant experience for concert audiences, artists, composers, composition students and school children in the storied geographical and cultural setting of coastal Maine, serving both the year-round and summer populations, while offering a unique exposure to contemporary music. The 2019 Festival is on the theme “Seeing Sound,” with concerts taking place in art galleries and museums, with each concert preceded by a talk in the space by a visual artist and art historian. The Seal Bay Festival Composer Institute offers a select group of college and conservatory level composers the opportunity to participate in a series of master classes with the distinguished guest faculty composers and to have their works workshopped and performed by the Cassatt String Quartet.

Joining the Quartet are composers Laura Kaminsky, Vineet Shende, Michael Alec Rose, Alejandro Rutty, Daniel Sonenberg, Delvyn Case, Daniel Strong Godfrey, pianist Ursula Oppens, bassist Peter Weitzner, visual artist Rebecca Allan and actress Signe Mortensen.

The Seal Bay Festival is supported by The National Endowment for the Arts, Aaron Copland Fund for Music, Alice M. Ditson Fund for Music, Amphion Foundation, BMI Foundation, Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation, Maine Arts Commission and the Davis Family Foundation.

For more information about the Seal Bay festival or concerts (including those outside Knox and Waldo counties), please email, or call 718-825-7528. Information may also be found online at

About the Cassatt String Quartet:

The Cassatt String Quartet was the first quartet chosen for Juilliard’s Young Artists Quartet Program. Since then, they have performed at New York’s Alice Tully Hall, and Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, Tanglewood Music Theater, the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., Theatre des Champs-Élysées in Paris, the Beijing Central Conservatory in China and for Queen Elizabeth II's Sapphire Jubilee Celebration in London. At the Library of Congress, the Cassatts performed on the library’s matched quartet of Stradivarius instruments, and they performed the three complete Beethoven Quartet cycles at the University at Buffalo.

The Cassatt String Quartet has been heard on NPR’s Performance Today, Boston’s WGBH, and New York’s WQXR and WNYC. They have 30 recordings, and were named three times to Alex Ross’ 10 best classical recordings of the year in The New Yorker Magazine.

The quartet is named for the celebrated American impressionist painter Mary Cassatt.

Cassatt members include: Muneko Otani and Jennifer Leshnower, violins; Ah Ling Neu, viola; and Elizabeth Anderson, cello.

"As a string quartet made up of four women, we not only admire Mary Cassatt's work, but she was someone who was ahead of her time as a female pursuing a serious career as an artist,” explained cellist Elizabeth Anderson. “Mary Cassatt is most well-known for her paintings of mothers and children, although she never had her own children. Gratefully, all of us in the Cassatt String Quartet are moms, and we have been fortunate to simultaneously pursue our career as a professional string quartet."

Learn more about quartet at

About Ursula Oppens:

Pianist Ursula Oppens, one of the very first artists to grasp the importance of programming traditional and contemporary works in equal measure, has won a singular place in the hearts of her public, critics and colleagues alike. Her sterling musicianship, uncanny understanding of the composer’s artistic argument, and lifelong study of the keyboard’s resources, have placed her among the elect of performing musicians.

Driven by an enduring commitment to integrating new music into regular concert life, Oppens has commissioned and premiered many compositions, and recorded extensively. After 14 years as the John Evans Distinguished Professor of Music at Northwestern University, she is now a Distinguished Professor on the faculty of the Conservatory of Music at Brooklyn College and the CUNY Graduate Center.

The Arts & Entertainment deadline is Thursdays at 5 p.m. for events dated on/between the following two Thursdays. Please email press releases/photos to A&E Editor Christine Dunkle at

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