Chamber Music on the Mountain Summer festival July 17-29 features mix of free concerts, a chamber music jam and more

Chamber Music on the Mountain Summer festival July 17-29 features mix of free concerts, a chamber music jam and more

“There’s no chamber music with one person missing,” Tomoko Kashiwagi explains. “I think it’s very special and different from, say the symphony, where there could be multiple people in a section.”

For this year’s Chamber Music on the Mountain Summer Festival, Kashiwagi, the associate professor of piano and collaborative piano at the University of Arkansas, has invited local musicians to join members of professional orchestras from around the country for a concert series that aims to make chamber music accessible to everyone.

The two-week series of concerts July 17-29 aligns with the yearlong centennial celebrations at Mount Sequoyah Center in Fayetteville and aims to recognize the “Past, Present and Future.”

“We really wanted to incorporate the chamber music festival as part of the 100 celebration, because we have a whole series of events that are happening throughout the year,” adds Emily Gentry, president and CEO of Mount Sequoyah Center.

The festival opens in Millar Lodge at Mount Sequoyah at 6:30 p.m. July 17 with “Musical Chairs.” Named for the children’s game, the event aims to put “the play back in play,”with a chamber music-style jam session.

“Believe it or not, musicians do what we call ‘sight reading,’ [where] we basically get together and read through music, and it’s fun for us,” Kashiwagi insists through laughter. “It sounds like a stretch, but the idea is that we play music, but we don’t play with music enough.”

The night will be “like a party,” she adds. Participants should bring their instruments, and she says not to sweat it if you’re not super great at reading sheet music.

“Even if somebody is not very advanced, they can still sit in and play something together. I think it’s a really important experience,” she says.

Another event open to local musicians will be a Musicians Spotlight on July 23, which she says can be “anybody, anything.”

Folk dancing and traditions in chamber music provide the basis for concerts at the Fayetteville Public Library and Ozark Mountain Smokehouse.

“I picked pieces that have a folk influence” for the program, Kashiwaga explains. “Our flutist is from Ecuador, and he just released a CD, so we have one piece from Ecuador. There’s going to be one piece from Japan because I’m Japanese.”

There will also be a folk music piece featuring Little Rock violinist Charlotte Crosmer, who has won the Arkansas State Old-Time Fiddling Championship. Later Arkansas composers will be featured for the July 27 Apple Blossom concert at 6:30 p.m. July 27.

The festival’s largest show, “A Century Apart: Bach 1723, Kuhlau 1823 and Faure 1923,” on July 22 will focus on the theme of 100 years as heard through chamber music.

Jeremy Allen, professor of composition at the university, was commissioned to bring the festival to the future for the closing performance.

“He’s taking different pieces of history that he’s dug up on Mount Sequoyah as inspiration for what he’s composing,” says Jessica Debari, who oversees organizational development for Mount Sequoyah.

“It’s exciting to be able to contribute to the repertoire of chamber music that’s out there. Another exciting future piece [of the festival] is Amos Cochran playing at Miller Lodge on [July 28]. He’s not a chamber music composer but a modern composer,” Debari emphasizes.

Cochran’s concert will be one of several events featuring local cuisine. Tickets are required for this show.

All of the concerts are family friendly, especially the Chamber Music in the Garden concert planned during Terrific Tuesday Nights at the Botanical Garden of the Ozarks on July 25. That event will also feature dancing by the Northwest Arkansas Historical Dance Group.

“Every year we’ve had people bring kids, and when they got restless they just danced in the back of Millar Lodge,” Debari laughs.



Chamber Music on the Mountain

WHEN — July 17-29

WHERE — Mount Sequoyah Center and other locations around Fayetteville

COST — Individual tickets are $25 and include one free child admission. Individual tickets for 18 and younger are $15. Festival passes are $100 for adults, $60 for children.


Categories: Music