Music in the Mountains: A sensational SummerFest

“ONE FESTIVAL, A WORLD OF MUSIC,” is the motto for Music in the Mountains’ SummerFest, from June 16 to July 5. For its 34th season, MIM brings contemporary and classical together in a two-week long celebration of community, art and music.

It is an inspiring and exciting lineup, ranging from “dazzling and grand to intimate,” as Artistic Advisor Pete Nowlen sums up. Along with classical musicians, ballet dancers and the magic of cirque, one of the headliners is popular singer-songwriter Randy Newman.

A mini-festival kicks off MIM’s SummerFest, largely featuring locally composed music. Young composers works are featured June 16-17, Wet Ink featuring the Left Coast Chamber Ensemble is on June 19 and Messiaen, Quartet for the End of Time, is on June 20—all at the Peace Lutheran Church in Grass Valley.

The SummerFest classic series, comprised of three concerts at the Amaral Center at the Nevada County Fairgrounds, is next. For the first time, the classic series is being offered as a subscription package, offering discounted ticket prices.

“The Glory of Russian Ballet” is June 24, featuring Maia Wilkins and Michael Levine, former principal dancers of the Joffrey Ballet. The guest conductor is Daniel Stewart, music director of the Santa Cruz Symphony. (Levine is the son of Howard and Peggy Levine of Grass Valley).

“The Mozart Requiem,” featuring the MIM Chorus and soloists is June 28, with resident conductor Ryan Murray. It includes Mozart’s final masterpiece, paired with the symphony Haydn wanted to be played at his own funeral.

Beethoven’s “Emperor” Concerto is July 1, with Constantine Kitsopoulos of the Queens Symphony Orchestra as guest conductor. The concert features pianist Conrad Tao, who has performed at Carnegie Hall and has been called “an artist of probing intellect” by The New York Times.

In addition to the classical series, MIM will feature concerts under the stars at the fairgrounds.

Randy Newman, who has won six Grammy Awards, three Emmys and two Academy Awards, will perform on June 26. “He is a master musician and storyteller,” says MIM Executive Director Cristine Kelly.

Cirque de la Symphonie, featuring aerialists, acrobats and clowns, returns to the outdoor state on June 27.

Happy Birthday USA is July 3, celebrating Broadway, Disney and popular patriotic tunes.

Encore performances include pianist Tao in a recital on July 2, and singer-actress Storm Large on July 5. Large’s remarkable voice has sold out the Kennedy Center, Hollywood Bowl and Carnegie Hall.

(Photo: Laura Domela)

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