Moving into Mendelssohn’s midlife years, the festival celebrated his creativity by showcasing the music of his contemporaries and his compositional heirs. A stellar woodwind quintet, composed of Carol Wincenc, Anthony McGill, Bill Bennett, Dennis Godburn and Bill VerMeulen performed Ligeti’s mercurial Bagatelles, and after intermission, were joined by string players for Spohr’s Nonet. In between, there was Mendelssohn’s four-hand version of the Midsummer Night’s Dream Nocturne and Scherzo, and a stunning Schumann d minor trio with Jeffrey Kahane, Joey Swensen, and cellist Paul Watkins, making his festival debut. Three concerts, one in St. Mark’s and two in Stent Hall, were all sold out.
in David’s words…
Last weekend’s Young Performers Concerts in Martin Family Hall were so packed that video monitors had to be set up outside for overflow listeners.
The two concerts presented a wide variety of repertoire, all of it prepared by our visiting performers and our artist faculty, comprised of returning International Performers Gloria Chien, Ed Klorman, Shan-Shan Yao, Dmitri Atapine, and Institute Director Hasse Borup.
Wu Han coached an absolutely extraordinary Faure "Dolly" Suite in her master class on Saturday.
Today’s highlight (prior to the Pacifica’s concert tonight) was the Poetry Reading held this year in honor of the event’s creator, the late Michael Steinberg. Michael’s gentle but irresistible enthusiasm inspired countless musicians over the years to come to the stage, having selected poems collected and offered at the edge of the stage. The readings were often commented upon or even coached a bit by Michael, with such tender support that even the youngest and most timid came out of themselves to share meaningful words with their friends and colleagues. Today’s event was organized by festival artistic administrator Patrick Castillo, who had worked the closest with Michael over the years preparing his legendary Encounters. In preparing and leading the session with the same steady hand as Michael always did, Patrick rightly stepped into his shoes, and the Music@Menlo Poetry Reading took on new life as an institution at the festival that will continue far into the future.