Week Two of the Chesapeake Chamber Music Festival Opens with a Czech Concert

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Pianist Robert McDonald

The second week of the renowned Chesapeake Chamber Music Festival will begin with a lively Czech-inspired concert and reception on Sunday, June 11 at 3 p.m. at the Aspen Institute, situated on the banks of the Wye River.  A Czech-inspired picnic will follow the concert and will include such delicacies as Czech-style latkes and meatballs, a variety of savory open-faced sandwiches and dips, wild mushroom tarts and salmon croquettes, as well as trifles, bread puddings and compotes for dessert.

According to Festival pianist Robert McDonald, “The Sunday concert at the Aspen Institute is drawn from the works of the three most important Czech composers—Dvorak, Janacek, and Smetana. Their styles succeed at being both strongly individual and complimentary all at once. National folk influences along with heartfelt emotional directness represent the defining strengths in their music.”

The Smetana G Minor Trio that closes the June 11 program is a tribute to Smetana’s beloved four-year old daughter who had died and, according to McDonald, is one of the truly memorable works in the Romantic chamber music literature.

During the week, Festival-goers will then be enthralled by the energetic music of Italian, French, Hungarian and Russian composers at concerts to be held at the Oxford Community Center, the Academy Art Museum and the Avalon Theatre.  And, after enjoying the music of Italian composers Vivaldi and Tartini at the Oxford Community Center on Wednesday, June 14 at 5:30 p.m., concert-goers can make reservations afterwards for an optional, Italian-themed dinner created by Chef Mark Salter at the Robert Morris Inn.

McDonald adds, “Though most concert programs that we play are constructed of works by composers from a variety of national backgrounds, it is always refreshing to put together recitals that draw exclusively from a single country as inspiration. This offers listener and performer alike a chance to compare the enormous range of musical styles that exist under the umbrella of a shared language, history, and national customs.”

Musicians performing at the Avalon Theatre at the opening concert of this year’s Chesapeake Chamber Music Festival. Photo by Cal Jackson.

The Festival wraps up with the Angels Concert at Watermelon Point in Easton featuring music of Latin America, with a catered reception by Gourmet by the Bay. The reception will feature such Eastern Shore favorites as crab-n-corn fritters with red pepper remoulade and charred vegetable gazpacho with lump crab, as well as such Latin favorites as fried plantains with a spicy pineapple relish and a tapas buffet including vegetable empanadas, chorizo stuffed mushrooms with queso blanco, and jerk chicken drummettes. Desserts will include salted dulce de leche tarts, banana coconut pudding shots, chocolate tres leches cake bites, and key lime raspberry tarts.

Sponsors of this year’s Festival include the Talbot County Arts Council, the Maryland State Arts Council, The Star Democrat, Talbot Spy, and What’s Up Media. Additional generous financial support from corporate, public and private benefactors enables Chesapeake Music to offer affordable tickets for Festival concerts and recitals; open rehearsals are free to the general public. 

This year’s concerts offer the opportunity to travel the world through an incredible variety of music with internationally-acclaimed artists right here on the Eastern Shore.  To purchase tickets, visit www.ChesapeakeMusic.org or call 410 819-0380. To make reservations for the optional fixed-price dinner at the historic Robert Morris Inn, call 410-226-5111. Registrations for the Angels Concert must be made by June 12.

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