, Newburyport, MA

August 27, 2013

Chamber Music Festival a joy for all

Newburyport Daily News

---- — To the editor:

Aside from concert halls, many classical musicians and composers become known while playing in a variety of music festivals held throughout the world. For example, Marlboro, Ravinia, Prussia Cove (UK), Festspiel, Mecklenbury-Vorpommern (Germany), Taos, Aspen, Banff. If one reads the program from the 12th Newburyport Chamber Music Festival that just concluded, the list of credits for the amazing musicians assembled lets us know they perform on a world stage and have blue ribbon credentials.

For a dozen years now, we have had such a festival right here in Newburyport. Jane Niebling is the executive director who has teamed up with David Yang as artistic director. Jane has worked hard at obtaining local support, setting up the venues and accommodations for the musicians. David plans the programs and finds the musicians and performs himself during the festival. Director of Chamber Music at the University of Pennsylvania and a member of the trio Ensemble Epomeo, his list of contacts in the musical world is formidable. Each year, he brings a variety of musicians, and he has had pieces composed just for our festival. For example, this year Robert Maggio‘s piece “TriangleTrade” had its world premier. Composed for string quartet, steel drum quartet and marimba: “It relates specifically to Newburyport in the 17th-19th centuries, which was part of the transatlantic slave trade between New England (rum), the Gold Coast of Africa (slaves) and the Caribbean (sugar/molasses).”

The steel band, Plum Island Pans, has its roots right here in Newburyport at the Zach Field Drum Studios.

The week-long festival is held in a variety of locations and includes open rehearsals, pre-concert lectures and a Kid’s Workshop.

The musicians work hard, and their performances dazzle and amaze. This is classical music at its best with twists, like a steel band, added for extra pizzazz. Thanks to Jane and David, to each of the musicians and composers, and to the critical supporters and listeners who get lost in the music and find their way back home, right here in Newburyport. An ongoing standing ovation to all!

Betsy H. Woodman