Since its start 20 years ago, the Methow Valley Chamber Music Festival has always been a grassroots part of summer in the valley – in fact, the first concerts were literally performed in a meadow in Mazama. This summer the festival is building on that tradition, making music accessible to all ages – in- and out-of-doors – at local eateries, galleries, and on museum lawns. Better yet, much of that music is free.
In Winthrop, look for the festival’s teaching ensemble, the Fellowship Quartet, playing classical repertoire at the Copper Glance bar and lounge, as well as at a special outdoor concert at the Shafer Museum.
In Twisp, festival musicians will be at Confluence Gallery, part of a collaboration between the festival and gallery on the Music as Muse exhibit. That partnership will bring a chamber ensemble perform a concert at the gallery, as well as opportunities for people to sit in on free rehearsals for the festival’s Centerstage concerts in the intimate gallery space.
Up at Signal Hill Ranch, where the festival’s five main concerts are held, artists connected with the Confluence will provide lectures about links between visual and auditory art. Concertgoers will also be able to enjoy a long-standing feature of the festival, an exhibition of works by local artists inspired by music, which are for sale to support both the artists and the festival.
While at Signal Hill, festivalgoers can tour the piano garden, a home-grown sculptural installation where discarded keyboards have been given new life as elements of visual and participatory art.
The festival is also building on relationships from past years. The Fellowship Quartet will work with the Pipestone Music Camp, playing alongside the campers during their orchestra rehearsals. And the campers will be in the audience at the music festival, broadening their exposure to chamber repertoire.
There will be free performances in Mazama and, as always, free rehearsals at Signal Hill Ranch every morning before a Centerstage concert.
The 2016 summer festival runs from July 28 through August 6.
DATE: Thursday, July 28-Saturday, August 6 LOCATION: Signal Hill Ranch MORE INFO: www.methowmusicfestival.org