Sarasota Music Festival performances garner headlines most every day through the three week schedule, and last night's closing concert drew cheering ovations.
"... [A]udience revelry ... greeted the student musicians after their performance of Haydn’s Symphony No. 104 in D major, Hob. I:104 (London). The decision to have the entire orchestra stand, save the cellos, was not the sole reason this performance was so close to perfection," Gayle Williams wrote in the Sarasota Herald-Tribune, "but it did add a previously unheard vibrancy. In Haydn’s day, standing was common practice. If this quality is the result, let all orchestras stand! Llewellyn drew out vigorous contrasts in the strings, and when given the chance, the winds soared admirably. From pristine to robust, the students threw themselves and their hearts into the mix and behold the results. Tears and cheers for all for the beauty served."
The annual festival brings promising young musicians from around the world to Sarasota for three weeks each June. Coupled with the renowned faculty artists who mentor and perform, the Sarasota Orchestra program blends master classes with exceptional concerts.
Last night marked the end of the 48th annual festival. Resolve to attend next year's version.
Co-founded in 1965 by Paul Wolfe, the Sarasota Music Festival was designated the "Official Teaching and Performing Festival of the State of Florida." About 500 students from top-ranked music programs at colleges and conservatories worldwide audition for the Festival, but only 58 are accepted, according to Sarasota Orchestra. The students work with a group of 40 music masters, who make up the guest faculty. Any given day during the Festival, a student may rehearse in a faculty-coached ensemble, play in master classes and perform on stage. Interspersed, are rare opportunities for the public to hear these visiting artists rehearse or perform together.
Today Artistic Director Robert Levin leads Sarasota Music Festival, and its more than 40 guest artists include many festival alumni. These musicians represent nearly all major American orchestras and a cross-section of renowned music schools, conservatories and institutes of music. The students range from professional-level musicians to superior students in music schools and conservatories. Several students travel from other countries to participate.
From the audience's point of view, festival goers enjoy Thursday afternoon Artist Showcase Concerts, Friday and Saturday evening Chamber Concerts, and Festival Orchestra Concerts. Festival Passes, which allows them access to the artists' master classes and rehearsals. There also are popular lectures by Robert Levin, and several student concerts to attend.
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