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August Music Festivals

Through 9/3- BELLEAYRE MUSIC FESTIVAL, at Belleayre Mt. Ski Area, Highmount—Yes, it’s a bit of a haul up Rte.28, making your way up into the Catskill plateau, up into the ski elevations. So you really should make a day of it: do some hiking, enjoy the scenery, check out the cool little towns—Shandaken, Big Indian, Phoenicia—maybe go tubing there at Town Tinker! Then get on up there to Belleayre—all shows start at 8 PM—because the back half of the Belleayre Music Festival season (sorry if you missed k. d. lang, Tommy Tune, Creedence Clearwater Revisited, KJ Denhert, or Global Noize earlier) is pretty hard to beat.

It’s not easy living up to the name of a legend, but that hasn’t stopped RAVI COLTRANE (Fr 8/5), who, like his papa John, is both an adventurous tenor saxophonist and visionary composer/arranger, with killer quartet accompanying. Then it’s the 50th anniversary celebration of jazz legend Miles Davis’ hugely popular and influential album Kind of Blue, with the music of Miles performed by that album’s drummer JIMMY COBB with his SO WHAT BAND (Sa 8/6), featuring Larry Willis, Buster Williams, Javon Jackson, Vince Herring, and Christian Scott. Car enthusiasts won’t want to miss the 2nd Annual Belleayre Mountain Car Show (Sa 8/13, 9 AM-3 PM), complete with music, trophies, and goodie bags for guests.

Did they say music at the car show? Well, if it isn’t the smiling man in the black hat: CLINT BLACK (Sa 8/13) is one of the few country superstars in the last few decades whose career has had real legs. Since his 1989 smash debut Killin’Time—five Number One hits, triple-platinum—Black has won every country music award worth winning, notched up nearly two dozen more Number Ones, and stayed on the road with his notoriously hot band. Next up is the less easily-pegged MARY CHAPIN CARPENTER (Sa 8/20), who, over the course of her successful 12-album career—five Grammys, 13 million sold—has kept audiences returning with a blend of pop, folk, and country elements forming a unique style and vision. A youthful double bill follows: THE PUNCH BROTHERS (Sa 8/27) is a neo-bluegrass quintet featuring ex-Nickel Creek mandolinist extraordinaire Chris Thile known to push the limits of the genre. They’re paired with indie folk-rocker JESSICA LEA MAYFIELD, recently hailed by Spin magazine as “the Next Big Thing for 2011.”

The series closes with a bang: though the group has always been consistently exciting and interesting in all incarnations, this BELA FLECK AND THE FLECKTONES: THE ORIGINAL LINEUP (Sa 9/3) show is one you really shouldn’t miss, thanks to the return of harmonicist/pianist Howard Levy. As great as the other ‘Tones are, Levy levitates the inventively virtuosic group to its rightful plateau, in my humble. Early arrivers (6:15-7:45 PM) to festival evenings will find an outdoor café with burgers, sandwiches, wraps, and cash bar, to hang out at while enjoying music by regional artists: Lou Smaldone & Friends (8/6), Harmony Street (8/13), Alvaro Road Show (8/20), The Trapps (8/27), and Sister Sparrow and the Dirty Birds (9/3).

The Belleayre Music Festival is located at Belleayre Mt. Ski Resort, Rte. 28, Highmount, and is presented by The Belleayre Conservatory in association with the NYSDEC. Visit or call 845.254.5600 ext. 1344 for ticket information. All shows 8 PM.

Through 8/21- SPIEGELTENT performance venue and cabaret, plus late night SPIEGELCLUB, at Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson—If you haven’t already, you owe it to yourself to at some point visit the “mirror tent” apparition on the Bard College campus known as Spiegeltent. For the summer months only, this circular party joint is assembled, and a whole assortment of varied entertainment is summoned to keep things interesting, often in tandem with goings-on over at the nearby Fisher Center. They’ve got a fully stocked bar and lunch/dinner menu as well, and if the family afternoon/adult evening proceedings aren’t enough, the Spiegelclub dance party (with DJ Jordan Matthews, guest DJ Prephab 8/13 & 20) takes it late into the night on the weekends (9 PM-1 AM). Here’s the schedule for August:

Fr 8/5- LEA DELARIA (jazz) 8:30 PM
Sa/Su 8/6 & 7- SWINGIN’ JAZZ FOR KIDS, with Lea Delaria 3:30 PM
Sa 8/6- Tango night with NOCHE PORTEÑA 8:30 PM
Fr 8/12- CHECKPOINT KBK (klezmer) 8:30 PM
Fr 8/19- STARLIGHT SWING NIGHT (swing music) 8:30 PM
Su 8/21- Summerscape Closing Party, with House DJ JORDAN MATTHEWS 9 PM

Through 8/21- 22nd ANNUAL BARD MUSIC FESTIVAL “SIBELIUS AND HIS WORLD” at the Richard B. Fisher Center and Olin Hall, Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson—Sometimes it does take the vindication of history to realize the value of a true artist. Though Finnish composer Jean Sibelius (1865-1957) enjoyed a fairly successful career in his lifetime, he had the misfortune of being a lover of consonant sonority right at the period when the prevailing movement in composition trended toward the atonalism and serialism of Schoenberg through Stravinsky. As a result, he was considered a Romantic period holdover, his music was considered tonally “safe” and “undemanding.” He was dismissed by the cognoscenti, considered of the “old style,” and in his last 30 years of life—he died at 91—he wrote no more. The rest is history: his rediscovery (well, the Finns never stopped loving their most famous composer) has revealed a distinct and original Scandinavian voice, tonal sensibility, and uniquely expressive use of orchestration. (If you can’t visualize fjords and glaciers while listening to his Finlandia, I feel sorry for you.) As always, the Bard Music Festival looks at its chosen subject through a variety of lenses. From the press release: “This year’s Bard Music Festival seeks to unravel key enigmatic and paradoxical aspects of Sibelius’s life, music, and influence. It will explore the full range of Sibelius’s work, his Scandinavian predecessors and contemporaries, his colleagues in Europe and North America. The festival will orient Sibelius in Finland and beyond, with politics, literature, painting, and architecture all brought to bear in an effort to explode the many clichés about Sibelius that, through praise and criticism alike, trap us in an idea of the composer as quintessentially Finnish and Nordic.”

All Bard Music Festival performances are at the Fisher Center and Olin Hall, on the Bard College campus. Ticket information and program updates are available at

WEEKEND ONEImagining Finland—shows the composer’s powerful artistic link to his homeland, and its link to him. “His music helped unify a Finland struggling for independence from Tsarist Russia, and established him not only as its leading composer but also as one of its greatest national figures. Nevertheless, Sibelius was neither Finland’s first composer of note nor the first to draw on Finnish legend; Bard introduces the less familiar figure of Robert Kajanus, once the nation’s most prominent composer, in addition to music by other Scandinavian and Russian composers of Sibelius’s time.”

FRIDAY AUGUST 12Opening Night Dinner at Spiegeltent, 5 PM (tickets at, 845.758.7414)— program one: Fisher Center—The American Symphony Orchestra (ASO), conducted by Leon Botstein, music director, presents “Jean Sibelius: National Symbol, International Iconoclast” Music: Jean Sibelius: Finlandia, Op. 26 (1900) from Humoresques, Opp. 87 and 89 (1917), Luonnotar, Op. 70 (1913), Symphony No. 3 in C major, Op. 52 (1907), Symphony No. 5 in E-flat major, Op. 82 (1915, rev. 1916 and 1919). Time: pre-concert talk 7 PM, performance 8 PM

SATURDAY AUGUST 13Panel discussion—“Why Did He Fall Silent? The Public and Private Sibelius,” Olin Hall, 10 AM-12 PM — program two: Olin Hall—chamber and choral music: “Berlin and Vienna: The Artist as a Young Man” Music: Jean Sibelius: Fugue for Martin Wegelius, JS 85 (1889), Piano Quintet in G minor (1890); Karl Goldmark (1830–1915): Cello Sonata in F major, Op. 39 (1892); Albert Becker (1834–1899): Adagio religioso no. 7, Op. 94 (1898); Robert Fuchs (1847–1927): Piano Trio in F-sharp minor, Op. 115 (1926); Ferruccio Busoni (1866–1924): From Ten Choral Preludes, BV B 27 (1898). Time: pre-concert talk 1 PM, performance 1:30 PM — program three: Fisher Center—Bard Festival Chorale, directed by James Bagwell and ASO presents “Kalevala: Myth and Birth of a Nation” Music: Jean Sibelius: Lemminkäinen and the Maidens of the Island, Op. 22 (1895; rev. 1897, 1939); Kullervo, choral symphony, Op. 7 (1891–92); Robert Kajanus (1856–1933): Aino, symphonic poem (1885). Time: pre-concert talk 7 PM, performance 8 PM

SUNDAY AUGUST 14program four: Olin Hall—choral and chamber music: “White Nights—Dark Mornings: Creativity, Depression, and Addiction” Music: Jean Sibelius: Svartsjukans Nätter (Nights of Jealousy) (1888); Valse triste, Op. 44/1 (1904); Edvard Grieg (1843–1907): From Lyric Pieces, Op. 54 (1889–91); Songs by Wilhelm Peterson Berger (1867–1942) and Frederick Delius (1862–1934). Time: performance 10 AM — program five: Olin Hall—chamber music: “Aurora Borealis: Nature and Music in Finland and Scandinavia” Music: Jean Sibelius: Six Part Songs, Op. 18 (1895–1901); Skogsraet (The Wood Nymph), Op. 15 (1895); Johan Svendsen (1840–1911): Romance, for violin and piano; Edvard Grieg (1843–1907): Haugtussa, Op. 67 (1895); Christian Sinding (1856–1941): Rustle of Spring (1896); Wilhelm Stenhammar (1871–1927): Quartet No. 4 in A minor, Op. 25 (1904–9); Toivo Kuula (1883–1918): From Part Songs, Op. 11 (1906–10). Time: pre-concert talk 1 PM, performance 1:30 PM — program six: chamber music: “To the Finland Station: Sibelius and Russia” Music: Jean Sibelius: Kyllikki, Op. 41 (1904); Canzonetta, Op. 62a (arr. Stravinsky, 1963); Pyotr Tchaikovsky (1840–93): From Duets, Op. 46 (1880); Aleksandr Glazunov (1865–1936): String Quintet, A, Op. 39 (1891–92); Sergey Rachmaninov (1873–1943): Fantaisie-tableaux, Suite no.1 for piano duet, Op. 5 (1893); Songs by Nikolay Rimsky-Korsakov (1844–1908) and Jean Sibelius. Time: pre-concert talk 5 PM, performance 5:30 PM

WEEKEND TWOSibelius: Conservative or Modernist?—shows the composer bearing witness to the musical innovations of composers like Igor Stravinsky and the Second Viennese School, and though his own music was being considered overly accessible, he found his reputation solidifying over time, as more composers and music aficionados recognized the composer’s more subtle innovations.

FRIDAY AUGUST 19—Bertlesman Campus Center: SYMPOSIUM: “Architecture, Design, and Finnish Identity,”10 AM-12 PM, 1:30-3:30 PM — program seven: Fisher Center—choral and chamber music: “Nordic Purity, Aryan Fantasies, and Music” Music: Jean Sibelius: Seven Songs (Runeberg), Op. 13 (1891–92); works for brass; Anton Bruckner (1824–96)/Gustav Mahler: From Symphony No. 3 in D minor, arr. for piano duet (1872–73; arr. 1880); Amy Beach (1867–1944): Piano Quintet in F-sharp minor, Op. 67 (1907); Selim Palmgren (1878–1951): Spring, Op. 27; Kurt Atterberg (1887–1974): From Piano Quintet, Op. 31bis; Howard Hanson (1896–1981): Pastoral, Op. 38 (1949); Songs by Yrjö Kilpinen (1892–1959). Time: pre-concert talk 7:30 PM, performance 8 PM

SATURDAY AUGUST 20program eight: Olin Hall—choral and chamber music: “From the Nordic Folk,” with commentary by Daniel Grimley, Music: Jean Sibelius: Six Finnish Folksongs (1902–3); Edvard Grieg (1843–1907): From Slåtter (Nordic Dances), Op. 72 (1902–3); Percy Grainger: La Scandinavie (Scandinavian Suite) (1902); Belá Bartók (1881–1945): Improvisation on Hungarian Folk Tunes, Op. 20 (1920); Karol Szymanowski (1882–1937): From Mazurkas; Toivo Kuula (1883–1918): Folksong arrangements for violin and piano, Op. 3. Time: performance 10 AM — program nine: Olin Hall—chamber music: “Finnish Modern” Music: Jean Sibelius: String Quartet “Voces intimae,” in D minor, Op. 56 (1909); songs; Erkki Melartin (1875–1937): String Trio, Op. 133 (1926–27); Leevi Madetoja (1887–1947): Syksy (Autumn), Op. 68 (1930); Aarre Merikanto (1893–1958): “Schott” Concerto (1925). Time: pre-concert talk 1 PM, performance 1:30 PM — program ten: Fisher Center—ASO presents “The Heritage of Symbolism” Music: Jean Sibelius: The Oceanides, Op. 73 (1914); Lemminkäinen’s Return (1895, rev. 1897, 1900); Symphony No. 4 in A Minor, Op. 63 (1911); Carl Nielsen (1865–1931): Symphony No. 3, Op. 27 (Sinfonia espansiva) (1910–11); Vainö Raitio (1891–1945): Joutsenet (The Swans), Op. 15 (1919). Time: pre-concert talk 7 PM, performance 8 PM

SUNDAY AUGUST 21Panel discussion—“Sibelius and the 20th Century,” Olin Hall, 10 AM-12 PM, — program eleven: Olin Hall—chamber music: “Nostalgia and the Challenge of Modernity” Music: Jean Sibelius: Piano Sonatina in F-sharp minor, Op. 67/1 (1912); Five Esquisses, Op. 114 (1929); The Lonely Ski Trail (1925); Richard Strauss (1864–1949): Sonatina No. 1 “Aus der Werkstatt eines Invaliden” (1943); Ottorino Respighi (1879–1936): Il Tramonto (The Sunset) (1914). Time: pre-concert talk 1 PM, performance 1:30 PM — program twelve: Fisher Center—ASO presents “Silence and Influence” Music: Jean Sibelius: Tapiola, Op. 112 (1926); Symphony No. 7 in C major, Op. 105 (1924); Samuel Barber (1910–81): Symphony No. 1, Op. 9 (1936); Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872–1958): Symphony No. 5 in D major (1938–43, rev. 1951). Time: pre-concert talk 3:30 PM, performance 4 PM

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