The Baroque on Beaver Festival’s name might make you think you’ll only hear one thing. The reality is very different, say Baroque’s Music Director Robert Nordling and its Executive Director Matthew Thomas. “In addition to honoring the great music of the past – and in particular the Baroque Era - we are very focused on perpetuating classical music and the artists and composers who will create and perform the great music of the next 1,000 years,” says Nordling. “The upcoming season shows this in a number of ways.”
“To begin, last season we added a new-music concert (What’s New, Baroque?). Our audience raved about how surprisingly accessible and enjoyable it was. Second, we’ve created a biennial commission program. Every two years, we will pay a composer to create something new just for us,” Thomas said. “Our most recent commission was in 2017 with Mara Gibson’s Secret Sky: one hundred veils to fall. 2022 will bring a world-premiere performance of new music by Brazilian-American composer Clarice Assad ( www.clariceassad.com ) on our Opening Night Gala with The Lincoln Trio.” Ms. Assad’s numerous commissions for the 2022-23 season include the Camerata Pacifica, Music Accord, the League of American Orchestras, the Oregon Symphony, Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Chamber Music America, the Fry Street Quartet, San Jose Chamber Orchestra, and the Philadelphia Orchestra. “Baroque on Beaver will now join that illustrious list thanks to a generous grant from the Charlevoix County Community Foundation and a major gift by Beaver Island resident Tim Turner. We are so grateful for the partnerships with our community and its residents, and this is another wonderful example,” Thomas said. To further illustrate that point, he added that the Gala concert will be sponsored by a separate major gift from Beaver Island residents Bob Sramek and Ed Max. Finally, said Nordling, “This commission becomes even more special since we will welcome another Beaver Island resident, soprano Martha Guth (www.marthaguth.com ), to premiere the piece with Lincoln Trio. I can’t think of a better opening night to begin our next twenty years.”
Notably, this extraordinary Festival season will bring two commissions, not one. Petoskey resident Tony Manfredonia ( www.manfredoniamusic.com ) has been asked to compose a brass fanfare. “The arts world is all about partnerships,” says Nordling, “and this happens in many ways, not just with communities or musicians onstage but with other organizations: We have partnered with the Bandung Philharmonic Foundation to co-commission Tony’s fanfare. It will have two premieres, one here on Beaver Island and the other in Bandung, Indonesia.”
Baroque is committed to paying it forward on multiple fronts: creating and performing new music; artistic and community partnerships; and, finally, by championing young artists. “We do this in two ways,” says Thomas. “One is our partnership with New York’s Young Concert Artists to host their brilliant performers. This year’s guest will be Nathan Lee ( www.yca.org/artist/lee-nathan ), a pianist who has already embarked on a notable career, having performed with the Cleveland Orchestra, Seattle Symphony, and the Orchestra of St. Luke’s. The other is our new Young Soloist’s Competition.” Open to all high-school age instrumental soloists who reside and attend school in Michigan, it is made possible by a generous financial commitment from Island residents Bev and Larry Seiford. Three cash prizes will be awarded with the first-place winner invited to perform with the Baroque on Beaver Festival Orchestra at the summer 2022 Festival. “We take our role in these collaborations and partnerships very seriously,” concluded Nordling. “It is our responsibility and privilege.” The 2022 Baroque on Beaver runs from July 29 through August 6. For artist, program, and ticket information please visit www.baroqueonbeaver.org .