Midsummer’s Music Reimagined for 2020
Midsummer’s Presents a 5 Week Virtual Season Showcasing Classical Favorites and Seldom Heard Treasures by Women and Composers of Color
Midsummer's Music, whose concerts have been hailed as “exiting, pulse-pounding, and riveting” will present a virtual season of chamber music concerts for 5 weeks starting August 5. Devoted Midsummer’s fans and new chamber music enthusiasts can enjoy the free concerts which will be streamed at midsummersmusic.com, YouTube, and via Facebook allowing audiences to enjoy performances in the comfort of home. Nationally recognized radio personalities John Clare of 107.3-St. Louis & Sirius XM, Lisa Flynn of WFMT-Chicago and Norman Gilliland and Lori Skelton of Wisconsin Public Radio will serve as concert hosts.
In consideration for the safety of its audiences and musicians, which is of paramount concern to the organization, Midsummer’s Artistic Director Jim Berkenstock and Assistant Artistic Director Allyson Fleck cleverly reimagined the 30th Anniversary season with consideration given to COVID-19 pandemic social distancing guidelines and welcomes global audiences to experience and celebrate Wisconsin’s oldest summer chamber music series.
The virtual season will feature five programs performed by world-class musicians, including returning favorites, violinists David Perry and Ann Palen, violist Sally Chisholm, cellist Paula Kosower, pianist Jeannie Yu, flutist Heather Zinninger-Yarmel, clarinetist Dan Won, and new to Midsummers, cellist Greg Sauer, to name a few. Midsummer’s artists will, as always, draw upon on the extraordinary talent of musicians from the Chicago Symphony, Chicago's Lyric Opera, Milwaukee Symphony, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, Indianapolis Symphony, Aspen Music Festival, China National Symphony, the Ravinia Festival, and the renowned Pro Arte Quartet.
The diverse programs will offer works of female composers, composers of color, a world premiere by Midsummer’s award-winning Composer-in-Residence Jacob Beranek, and composers from a wide range of nationalities. Highlights include works by Florence Price, who was the first African American woman to have a symphony performed by a major orchestra in the U.S., when the Chicago Symphony premiered her Symphony No. 1 in 1933, Germaine Tailleferre, the only woman to be a member of the influential artistic group in Paris in the early 20th century, Les Six, Melanie Bonis, who used the name Mel Bonis to hide her gender, the U.S. premiere of Louise Alphonse Le Beau’s String Quintet, and Elfride Andrée of Sweden’s Piano Quintet. Andrée’s Piano Quintet is featured on Midsummer’s Centaur recording. Additional highlights include Reynaldo Hahn’s energetic and winsome Piano Quintet, Coleridge-Taylor’s Five Fantasy Pieces for String Quartet, and George Walker’s Lyric for String Quartet. Complementing these seldom heard gems are works of Grieg, Tchaikovsky, Haydn, and Beethoven.
Each of the five programs will be divided into two concerts, each approximately 30 minutes. The first part of a program will be broadcast on Wednesdays at 7:00 pm (CT) and Fridays at 8:00 pm (CT), while the second part of a program will be broadcast on Thursdays at 7:00 pm (CT) and Saturdays at 8:00 pm (CT). The first and second parts of the program will be combined and broadcast as matinées on Sundays at 3:00 pm (CT). Sunday virtual matinées will feature additional content including live interviews with the artists, Jim Berkenstock and more. The virtual series will also serve as an opportunity to showcase some of the beautiful settings in the hidden vacation paradise of Door County where concerts are set in a variety of cultural, historical, and scenic locations, including art galleries, museums, historic sites and private homes with several venues offering panoramic views of Lake Michigan and the waters of Green Bay.
A special Labor Day weekend live concert where social distancing guidelines can be respected is being planned to include works by Anton Reicha and Ludwig van Beethoven. More details to follow in the future.
Midsummer’s Music was co-founded in 1990 by Jim and Jean Berkenstock, long-time Door County summer residents and principal orchestral players with the Lyric Opera of Chicago. In 1991, Midsummer’s Music was inaugurated performing three of its first five concerts at Door County’s annual Fyr Bal Festival, celebrating the area’s strong Scandinavian heritage and the summer solstice, when daylight is so prolonged in contrast to the long winter nights, and the banishment of the “winter witch” with traditional singing, dancing, music and bon fires on the beach. The Berkenstocks were inspired to create something that embodied this joyous spirit and to spread it beyond the solstice throughout the entire year. Rather than celebrating a specific date, Midsummer’s Music celebrates the spirit of the solstice celebration with fine music, food, and friendship in stunningly beautiful locations.
Midsummer’s Music continues its partnerships with local arts organizations including the Woodwalk Gallery and Write On, Door County featuring collaborations with visual artists and noted area poets who create original pieces based on inspiration from the music being performed. The Midsummer’s Music Quartet-in-Residence, the Griffon String Quartet also provides concerts, education and outreach programs throughout the calendar year. Previously Midsummer’s Music showcased a series of water-themed concerts in collaboration with the Celebrate Water Door County initiative bringing awareness to water supply protection.
What began as two concerts among friends has become one of the Midwest’s most anticipated chamber music series. In past seasons, the series has brought thousands of chamber music enthusiasts from around the globe to the Door County Peninsula. While Midsummer’s Music is looking forward to the time when they can again play for audiences in person, the musicians are pleased to be able to perform virtually in concerts that will be accessible globally, attracting a growing, dedicated following via midsummermusic.com, YouTube and Facebook, and continue to be enjoyed by thousands more via Wisconsin Public Radio broadcasts, on Live from Chicago's WFMT Radio and American Public Media’s Performance Today.
Visit midsummersmusic.com for the complete schedule, repertoire and more, or call 920-854-7088.