(GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass.) – Aston Magna Music Festival, a pioneer of the early-music movement performed on period instruments, celebrates its fortieth anniversary season this summer in the Berkshires in a concert series from June 8 through July 7, 2012, devoted to music spanning the 17th to 20th centuries. The 40th anniversary will be celebrated with a gala concert at Ozawa Hall at Tanglewood in Lenox, Mass., on Saturday, June 9, at 6 p.m. A preview of this concert will take place at the Slosberg Auditorium at Brandeis University on Friday, June 8 at 8 p.m. Tickets to the Gala Concert at Ozawa Hall are $50.
The gala concert will feature madrigals by Monteverdi, excerpts from Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas and Handel’s Triumph of Time and Truth, and Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto no. 1. Vocal soloists will include sopranos Kristen Watson and Roberta Anderson, mezzo-soprano Deborah Rentz-Moore, alto Lynn Torgove, tenors Frank Kelley and William Hite, and baritone David Ripley. Aston Magna artistic director and violinist Daniel Stepner will lead a full baroque orchestra.
The gala concert will be followed by a celebratory reception at Cranwell Resort in Lenox. Tickets for this event may only be acquired in conjunction with concert tickets, by calling 413.528.3595 or 800.875.7156.
The regular 2012 season of Aston Magna concerts will be performed at Slosberg Auditorium at Brandeis University in Waltham, Mass.; Olin Hall on the Main Campus of Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, N.Y.; and at the Daniel Arts Center at Bard College at Simon’s Rock in Great Barrington. A pre-concert lecture will be featured one hour before all concerts.
The celebratory theme will continue into the regular season, which begins the following weekend, on June 14, 15, and 16, with Music of Three Bachs and Villa-Lobos. Works by Johann Sebastian, Johann Christoph, and Wilhelm Friedemann will all be performed, featuring Dominique Labelle, soprano;. Stepner and Nancy Wilson, violin; David Miller, viola; Loretta O’Sullivan, violoncello; Anne Trout, bass; and Catherine Liddell, theorbo. The concert will be performed at the Slosberg Auditorium at Brandeis University (June 14 at 8 p.m.); Olin Hall on the Main Campus of Bard College (June 15 at 8 p.m.); and at Bard College at Simon’s Rock in Great Barrington (June 16 at 6 p.m.).
The second concert, entitled Gran Partita, will take place on June 21, 22, and 23. Clarinetist Eric Hoeprich will be featured in a program devoted to Viennese classicism. Works of Mozart will begin and end the program: the Kegelstatt Trio and an arrangement of the Gran Partita. Along more eclectic lines, a clarinet quartet by the highly successful Czech composer Franz Krommer will also be performed. Oboist Stephen Hammer will also join Stepner and ensemble. The concert will be performed at the Slosberg Auditorium at Brandeis University (June 21 at 8 p.m.); Olin Hall at Bard College (June 22 at 8 p.m.); and at Bard College at Simon’s Rock (June 23 at 6 p.m.).
A workshop will be offered at Brandeis leading up to these two concerts: Stepner will offer sessions on Bach’s works for unaccompanied violin to both modern and baroque violinists, June 11-15. Sessions will also be offered by Mr. Hammer, oboe, and Mr. Hoeprich, clarinet, on Mozart’s wind instruments, June 18-22.
“Baroque à l’Italienne: The ubiquitous Italian spirit” is the title of the third program, on June 29 and 30, exploring the Italian Baroque and its wide influence. Music by two transplanted Italians, Antonio Bertali and Domenico Scarlatti begins the concert. It continues with music by Henry Purcell and concludes with an Italian comedy by Georg Philipp Telemann. Soprano Nancy Armstrong and baritone David Ripley will be accompanied by an ensemble led by Stepner. The concert will be performed at Bard College (June 29 at 8 p.m.); and at Bard College at Simon’s Rock (June 30 at 6 p.m.).
To close the season, the festival will turn its attention to two extraordinary masters in a Violin Extravaganza on July 6 and 7. For this event, Stepner will be joined by Stanley Ritchie, a founding violinist of Aston Magna. Three concertos by Antonio Vivaldi will be followed with three by Johann Sebastian Bach. Two concertos from Vivaldi’s L’estro armonico will be featured, including one for two violins and cello and another for four violins. The other concerto will be for one violin and two cellos. Bach’s A minor solo violin concerto and the D major concerto for three violins will bracket the energetic Brandenburg no. 3 in G major. The concert will be performed at Bard College (July 6 at 8 p.m.); and at Simon’s Rock (July 7 at 6 p.m.).
For information or to order tickets to the concerts at the Olin Hall on the Main Campus of Bard College, Annandale on Hudson, N.Y., phone 845.758.7425. Tickets to concerts at Olin Hall at Bard College are not available on-line.
Subscriptions to the festival are available at multiple levels. All three concerts at the Slosberg are available for $60, any two concerts are available for $45. Individual tickets are $25, $15 for seniors.
Subscriptions to the Daniel Arts Center concerts only (excluding the Gala Reception) begin at $65 for two concerts, $97.50 for three concerts and $130 for four concerts. The Ozawa Hall concert may also be included in a subscription for an additional $15: $80 for two concerts, $112.50 for three concerts, and $145 for four concerts. All five concerts in The Daniel Arts Center and Ozawa Hall may be had for $165. Individual tickets for Ozawa Hall are $50, and $35 for concerts at the Daniel Arts Center at Bard College at Simon’s Rock, with senior tickets available for $25, and $10 student tickets available at the door.
Tickets to concerts at the Daniel Arts Center at Simon’s Rock may be ordered by calling 413.528.3595, 800.875.7156; sending a check or money order with a self-addressed, stamped return envelope to Aston Magna, P.O. Box 28, Great Barrington, MA 01230 or online at Aston Magna Music Festival.