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Beloved Festival Resumes in New Hampshire


Jaffrey Centre Meeting House
Jaffrey Centre Meeting House

Monadnock Music’s 49th season gets underway Saturday night in the Peterborough Town House with an all-Mendelssohn concert featuring the Monadnock Chamber Orchestra under Gil Rose with rising star Tessa Lark as the concerto soloist. The full calendar of the six week festival is here. Further down in this article Gil Rose will tell us about the season which includes 12 free village concerts with some New England composers as well as the predictable mainstream ones. There is nothing more emblematic of the Monadnock Music Concerts than the free concerts in quiet, acoustically satisfying country churches. The three subsequent ticketed concerts in the Peterborough Town House will offer a piano recital by Geoffrey Burleson (Bach to Zappa), a concert for orchestra and four vocalists of music by Aaron Copland and Lukas Foss, and finally a concert of John Adams and Samuel Barber played by Rose’s Boston Modern Orchestra Project.

Part of the news from Monadnock Music this summer is a change of the administrative guard. Gone are executive director Will Chapman and publicist Gregg Sorenson. Of the administrative team of four from last season, only one man was left standing last fall. That would be Christopher Sink, who became managing director almost by default.

In an interview with BMInt, Sink explained the situation at the end of last season. With a deficit of nearly $100k and management’s double-digit growth plans entailing possible deficits in future seasons, , the board determined on a leaner approach to ensure future viability.

Believing that Monadnock Music should not be attempting to rival much larger festivals, Sink proposed a 2014 season that would produce a surplus sufficient to erase much of the organizations’ debt. This entailed cutting expenses by reducing staff, reducing the number of Peterborough Town House Concerts from seven to four, by dropping a large-scale opera, increasing the free Village Concerts by two, simplifying the 80 page program book, and reducing the number of artists requiring local housing.

The board and funders reacted to these plans by quadrupling their contributions, confident that the organization would be on track for its 50th Anniversary Season next year.

An interview with Gil Rose

BMInt: Gil, tell us how you put together the season. Is there a theme? I see rather more of the New England Second and Third School composers than one normally does in a summer festival. Especially if you make Ives and Copland honorary New Englanders. That’s not a stretch with Copland since he had a McDowell grant.

G. R.: There isn’t really an overall theme, but the reason you see so much Chadwick and Beach and Fine is that the NEA gave us a grant to feature 12 iconic New England composers, so we tried to find tie-ins in the other repertoire we’re playing. It’s not a whole lot more complicated. The twelve I proposed are Chadwick, McDowell, Beech, Ives Foss, Fine, Ruggles, Shapiro, Piston,Bernstein, Schuller,and Adams.

Tell us about the orchestra personnel this year—two of the Town House Concerts lists BMOP but the other one, designated Monadnock Chamber Orchestra must be drawn from the same players.

There are a lot of players from the Boston scene—not all on the BMOP list. It’s drawn from a hybrid list of players I know. The BMOP concerts are happening because BMOP’s being used by the Harvard Summer Chorus, and we moved some of those concerts up here. And we’ll have forty or more players for the Mendelssohn opener and for the Copland/Foss Concert.

Gil Rose by Michael Lutch
Gil Rose by Michael Lutch

What are the highlights at the Village Concerts:

Twelve free concerts will be happening meeting houses and churches throughout our region in beautiful and acoustically interesting spaces. Highlights include a co-production with the Walden School featuring the noted Spektral Quartet, a solo performance by Monadnock Music’s popular cellist, Rafael Popper-Keizer, and a performance of Benjamin Britten’s Curlew River in Peterborough’s beautiful All Saints Church.  Other concerts will feature the Monadnock Players Piano Trio, the Monadnock Players String Quintet and the Monadnock Quartet.

In closing?

Our season is going to be a little different from last year, a bit reduced, but we still will be doing orchestral concerts, a theater piece, and a choral piece as well as our Village Concerts with old and new composers, which gets us back to our traditional roots—that’s been my desire for all three of my seasons here. This season will also be a set up for our 50th anniversary next year.

We’re spending a lot less on marketing this year so we have more to put up on the stage. I hope we get the word out and that you and your readers come up.

Tickets are on sale now for the Peterborough Town House events and will be available at the door before each concert. Tickets are $25, $10 for students.  A four-concert pass is available for $85.

For a full season schedule and more information, visit the Monadnock Music web site here. Also check BMInt’s “Upcoming Events.”



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