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Music on the mountain

Posted on Saturday, July 5, 2014 at 8:00 am

Sewanee Summer Music Festival is in full swing


kali bolle


Known as one of the “best keep secrets on the mountain,” the Sewanee Summer Music Festival has kicked off and is featuring talented musicians from across the country and the world over.

For over 50 years, the SSMF has been dedicated to educating talented young musicians through close work with faculty mentors, intensive orchestral and chamber music study, and frequent performances.

Promoters of the festival define it as fostering an atmosphere of collaboration and inspiration, and the belief that all people are elevated through the experience of making and hearing great music together.

Held each year at The University of South, the festival focuses on building musical lives, and great lives through music.

Deemed a “unique learning experience,” the faculty works continuously with students during their time at camp by rehearsing and working alongside students and attending their performances.

Benefits for students include building confidence on stage, learning the value of every role of the orchestra by learning to perform in each chair, and gaining relationships with peers, faculty, conductors and guest artists.


Music for everyone

The Sewanee Summer Music Festival also offers a series of student, faculty and guest artist performances each summer of the highest quality. The goal of the festival is music accessible by keeping all events open to the public and ticket prices as low as possible, with children under age 12 always admitted free.

SSMF strives to support the surrounding community and remain an integral part of summer at Sewanee.


The lineup

This year’s festival will include returning performers Béla Fleck and newcomers Jo Ann Fallatta and Rossen Milanov.

Béla Fleck

Béla Fleck

Fleck is widely acknowledged as one of the world’s most innovative and technically proficient banjo players, and is best known for his work with the bands New Grass Revival and Béla Fleck and the Flecktones.

The recipient of Multiple Grammy Awards going back to 1998, Béla Flecks’ total Grammy count is 15 Grammys won, and 30 nominations. He has been nominated in more different musical categories than anyone in Grammy history.

Today he bounces between various intriguing touring situations, such as performing his concerto with symphonies, in a duo with Chick Corea, a trio with Zakir Hussain and Edgar Meyer, concerts with the Brooklyn Rider string quartet, duos with Abigail Washburn, with African artists such as Oumou Sangare and Toumani Diabate, in a jazz collaboration with The Marcus Roberts Trio, doing bluegrass with his old friends, and rare solo concerts. And Béla Fleck and the Flecktones still perform together, 25 years after the band’s inception.

For his upcoming performance at SSMF, he will premiere a new piece commissioned for the Sewanee Summer Music Festival. He will also perform his concerto, “The Imposter,” at the festival’s Finale Concert. The festival will present a documentary on Fleck’s creation during week four of the festival.

Jo Ann Fallatta

Jo Ann Fallatta

JoAnn Falletta is new to this year’s festival lineup. The internationally celebrated vibrant ambassador for music and an inspiring artistic leader, Falleta has won a number of prestigious conducting awards, including the Seaver/National Endowment for the Arts Conductors Award in 2002, the Stokowski Competition, the Toscanini Award, Ditson Award and Bruno Walter Award for conducting

She has also has received 11 awards from ASCAP for creative programming, as well as the American Symphony Orchestra League’s John S. Edwards Award.

Falletta has championed the work of several contemporary American composers throughout her career, with an extensive repertoire of new works and over 100 world premieres to her credit.

Rossen Milanov will perform for the first time at the festival. The Symphony Orchestra Music Director Rossen Milanov is the principal conductor of Orquesta Sinfónica del Principado de Asturias (OSPA) in Spain and also serves as music director of the nationally recognized training orchestra Symphony in C in New Jersey.

Rossen Milanov

Rossen Milanov

An established conductor, Milanov has achieved a considerable national and international presence. His recent conducting highlights include debuts at the Musikverein in Vienna, Grant Park Music Festival in Chicago, Zurich Opera, and a world premiere of Sergei Prokofiev’s incidental music to Pushkin’s Eugene Onegin with the Princeton Symphony Orchestra.

This season, Milanov debuts with the Colorado Symphony Orchestra, Deutsche Radio Philharmonie Saarbrucken, KwaZulu-Natal Philharmonic in South Africa, Sapporo Symphony and Tokyo City Philharmonic, and returns to the Milwaukee, Vancouver, Columbus, Fort Worth, Aalborg, and Latvian National Symphony Orchestras; National Symphony Orchestra at the Kennedy Center, Zurich Opera, Hyogo Performing Arts Center Orchestra and his Link Up education projects with Carnegie Hall and the Orchestra of St. Luke’s.

Along with special performers and student performances, the faculty will perform for the concert series. Entitled, “Copland’s Appalachian Spring,” the faculty artist series will include favorites by Dvorak, Brahms, Tchaikovsky, and the winner of the series’ first ever composition contest, former SMMF student Nicolas Bizbub.


Hike to a concert

The Sewanee Summer Music Festival’s Hike to a Concert will be held at a natural Sewanee landmark, Lake Cheston, on Friday, July 11. The event begins at 6 p.m.  The community is invited to bring walking shoes for strolling, or a picnic basket and blanket to experience the concert from a single vantage point.

Hike to a Concert is an annual event held by the Sewanee Summer Music Festival that aims to provide “a unique and fascinating experience, fusing the acoustics of an orchestra with the natural mountain setting.”

Signage will inform patrons of best picnic spots and strolling paths. Limited parking is available at the picnic area. SSMF encourages able-bodied patrons to walk or carpool and save nearby parking for those with limited mobility.  Pets are welcome, but as there may be young children present the Festival requests that any pets be on leashes and good around people. Insect spray is recommended.

Up to date information about the program will be posted on the Sewanee Summer Music Festival’s website at sewaneemusicfestival.org.

In the event of a rainout, the hike event will take place on Saturday, July 12, and information will be posted on the web.


If you go

The complete lineup for the 2014 Sewanee Summer Music Festival is available at www.sewaneemusicfestiva.org.

All student performances are free to the public. Ticket information for special performances is also available online. The festival runs through Sunday, July 20.