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The SANTA FE CHAMBER MUSIC FESTIVAL
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BIT OF HISTORY:
The Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival is regarded as one of the world’s preeminent music festivals, renowned for its innovative spirit, inspirational performances and commitment to artistic excellence.
Founded in 1972 in Santa Fe, New Mexico, among the beautiful Sangre de Cristo Mountains, the Festival is one of the oldest in the country. The legendary cellist PABLO CASALS was the Honorary President of its 1973 inaugural season which featured only six performances and 14 artists. The Festival has grown from these modest beginnings, marking its 36th anniversary this 2008 season with over 40 concerts, recitals, master classes, youth concerts and open rehearsals performed by more than 80 artists and ensembles in a 6-week season that draws thousands of enthusiastic music lovers to enchanting Santa Fe each summer.
The Festival holds its performances, which run this season from July 20 to August 25, in three locations: Santa Fe’s ST. FRANCIS AUDITORIUM in the New Mexico Museum Of Art, THE LENSIC PERFORMING ARTS CENTER, and the KiMo Theatre in downtown Alburquerque where three concerts hosted by American General Media Foundation’s new classical music concert series, KHFM PERFORMANCE LIVE will be held.
The Festival has been a consistent contributor to the contemporary chamber music repertoire since 1980. It has commissioned 47 new works from such eminent composers as AARON COPLAND, NED ROREM, ELLEN TAAFFE ZWILICH, and JOHN HARBISON, to name a few. The 2008 season premieres co-commisioned works by KAIJA SAARIAHO (Serenatas), ROBERTO SIERRA (Concierto de Camara)– featuring the Miami String Quartet with the Imani Winds (part of the ensemble’s Legacy Commissioning Project), HUANG RUO (Real Loud), and JOAN TOWER (A Gift).
It has transformed the chamber music festival model by extending its musical
hallmark, that of a presenter of great masterpieces and advocate and contributor
to the contemporary repertoire, to include works of fine art by local artists,
underscoring the relationship music has with other art forms.
Each season the Festival incorporates local art through its performance locations (this season features the Allan Houser sculpture, ‘Rio Maden), and with program books, posters, or CD covers—having begun the tradition with the reproduction of GEORGIA O'KEEFFE's "Music, Pink and Blue No. 1" as the cover of the Festival's first program book. Artists have included DAN NAMINGHA, WILLIAM LUMPKINS, HARRY FONSECCA, NILS HOGNER, LAURA GILPIN and WILLIAM PENHALLOW HENDERSON. The 2008 season will showcase the artworkof internationally renowned Navajo painter Emmi Whitehorse.
During the off-season, the Festival reaches out to adults and young people in Santa Fe schools with education and outreach programs, including "Music in our Schools", which involves approximately 3,800 students in eight elementary public schools, and "Strings in our Schools", which provides violins and weekly violin lessons to students at two elementary public schools.
Since 2005, the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival’s performances have been broadcast as a 13-week, hour-long radio series produced and distributed nationally by The WFMT Radio Network. Other national radio broadcasts have included American Public Radio, Minnesota Public Radio, NPR, and BBC Radio 3. Festival performances will be distributed again this year by The WFMT Radio Network. Continuing its international presence, the Festival’s 2007 series will also be aired again on the United Kingdom’s BBC Radio 3 in its Lunchtime Concert series.
The Festival ended its 2007 season with the successful completion of the Festival's 35th Anniversary Endowment Campaign, which surpassed its $5 million goal by $1.7 million.
Conductor, French horn player, and CD producer STEVEN OVITSKY has been the Festival's Executive Director since 2004, and composer-pianist MARC NEIKRUG its Artistic Director since 1998.
CLICK HERE for 2008 Season Highlights.
Photo credits: Christian Steiner, Kent Lacin, Paul Labelle, Trent Cook, Lois Greenfield/ courtesy Grant Communications, Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival.
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