Children and the Eastern Music Festival

What picture do you suppose many people associate with “string quartet”? A bunch of old white men dressed like penguins playing stodgy old music for a few people who have learned to hold it in awe? Children don’t know that. When they hear a string quartet, or any kind of classical music, they love it. I got a chance to witness it in person at one of the Eastern Music Festival’s “EMF Encircling the City” concerts. Greensboro violist and EMF faculty member Diane Phoenix-Neal conceived and started the series three years ago as part of the celebration of the festival’s … Continue reading

Student chamber music at the Eastern Music Festival

Somehow I stumbled on to the Eastern Music Festival’s free student chamber music recitals for the first time this year. I wish I had known about them earlier. Five recitals took place over the last two weeks of the festival. They featured standard ensembles (string quartets, brass quintets, piano trios, etc.) and non-standard ones (four violins; horn, violin, and piano; flute, viola, and double bass, and others.) Very few of the groups played every movement of a multi-movement work, and there were seldom two pieces in a row with the same instrumentation. I confess to listening with no little jealousy. … Continue reading

Four new organ concertos from the Eastern Music Festival

What do you get when you cross the Eastern Music Festival and the American Guild of Organists? Organ concertos. Just as the Easter Music Festival was getting started, the Region 4 meeting of the American Guild of Organists was coming to a close. The world premier of four new took place on June 29, 2011 at Christ United Methodist Church in Greensboro, North Carolina. Three of them were commissioned by Greensboro organist and publisher Wayne Leupold and the last by the Greensboro chapter of AGO. Besides featuring the organ, about the only thing all four pieces had in common was … Continue reading

Eastern Music Festival turns 50

Fifty years ago, Sheldon Morganstern organized a summer music festival for student musicians, and on the night of the first concert, wondered if anyone would come. They did, and in gratifying numbers. What began as the Guilford Music Camp has since been renamed the Eastern Music Festival. Despite a fundraising shortfall that almost destroyed it about ten years ago, the Eastern Music Festival celebrates the half-century mark with more than 100 concert during its five-week run this year. Morganstern’s original aim continues: to allow students a chance to study with top professional musicians for five weeks and demonstrate what they … Continue reading

Eastern Music Festival

The Eastern Music Festival has been an institution in Greensboro, North Carolina for almost 50 years now. This year’s Festival takes place June 26 through July 31 under the direction of Music Director Gerard Schwartz. It looks to be a great five weeks. It is one of the premiere music education programs in the country. The Young Artists Orchestra, made up of students from 14 to 22 years of age, will be presenting nine concerts. The Festival’s faculty, leading musicians from all over the world, make up the Festival Orchestra, which is presenting five concerts, with soloists Lynn Harrell (cello), … Continue reading

The birth of an ancient tradition: the gorsedd at the eisteddfod

The eisteddfod, a traditional Welsh competition in literature and music, has served for a little over two centuries as a rallying point to define and glorify Welsh culture, customs, nationhood, and above all, language. The competition itself can be traced back to the twelfth century. Its revival in the eighteenth century introduced some new practices, although the person who invented them never admitted it. The earliest reliably documented eisteddfod was summoned in 1176, although others undoubtedly took place much earlier.  From the earliest times until the seventeenth century, eisteddfods occurred at irregular intervals, with at least one purpose being to … Continue reading