Monadnock Music

2021 Summer Festival Program


From the Artistic Director

Rafael Popper-Keizer credit:Yoon S Byun

Dear Friends,

Looking back on the events of the past year, it is impossible to ignore the difficult, heartbreaking moments: the anger and frustration, the struggle and the profound loss that have touched everyone’s lives – if not directly, then once or twice removed. All of these moments deserve remembrance and demand our commitment to a world of deeper understanding and greater compassion. Yet as I reflect upon my first season as Artistic Director of Monadnock Music (a more unusual and challenging one than I could have possibly imagined!), what I feel overwhelmingly is optimism and gratitude. I have been awed by the resilience I have seen around me every single day in my extended community of artist friends and colleagues – by the need to find ways to create and inspire in even the most difficult of circumstances. And I have been humbled by the generosity and loyalty of the members of the communities we serve, whose support has helped keep the flames of creativity burning (and the electricity on!)  It’s easy to think of music as a luxury, as something to entertain and divert us once our more pressing needs have been met. Those of us who have been nourished and comforted by its transformative power, over the past year, over our lifetimes, know that it is not.

Our season this summer is a glorious return to form, celebrating both the familiar and the unknown. Whether you want to hear new and exciting music by Valerie Coleman and Billy Childs, discover lesser-known gems by Frank Bridge and Max Bruch, or revel in beloved masterworks by Mozart, Mendelssohn, and Brahms, we’ve got you covered! And our eleven free concerts, as well as three ticketed events, all feature truly world-class musicians, electrifying in the passion and joy they bring to every performance.

As always, it is an honor and a pleasure to share our music, new and old, with all of you. Thank you for your support – I hope to see you soon.

Rafael Popper-Keizer

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From the Board Chair

Paul Venezia and his daughter Bella

Hello, and welcome to Monadnock Music’s 2021 season!

We are very happy to have you here with us, especially so after the events of 2020 and early 2021. It has been a very hard year for everyone as we’ve been buffeted by gales of worry and uncertainty due to the pandemic and the unavoidable ripples it brings.

We’ve made it through a year with essentially no live music, no parties, no gatherings of friends. We’ve made it through a year of quarantining, COVID testing, uncertain school and work schedules -- uncertainty at just about every level of life. It has been a hard time for all of us. But today, we can clearly see better and brighter days ahead.

In early 2020, Monadnock Music had developed plans for a great season, including some large performances and our usual collection of smaller performances in venues all around the region. Garden parties were planned, string quartets were scheduled, and full orchestral events organized. But it became clear in March and April of 2020 that all of our plans needed to change.

Thanks to diligent efforts from Director Laina Barakat, Board President Will Fregosi, Artistic Director Rafael Popper-Keizer and the rest of the board and trustees, we were able to change our season dramatically and produce many performances via online streaming, including Flute and Violin Duo Rachel Braude & Charles Dimmick, classical guitarist David William Ross, or local favorites Tara Novak & Ciarán Nagle with Scott Nicholas on piano.

It wasn’t the year we’d planned for but it was what we had to work with, and we made it through. We made it through also in large part due to the support from the community and the donations we received throughout the year, even as our ability to provide live performances was effectively eliminated for the first time in our 55 years as an organization.

But that was last year. This year, we are back. This year, we are again planning live music all around the Monadnock Region. This year, we will see some return to normal.

With the widespread availability of several effective vaccines and the dramatic decrease in COVID-19 cases and severity, restrictions are lifting on gatherings and events, and we have planned a great season of live music. As always, we will follow government safety mandates and guidelines throughout the year.

I would like to take the opportunity to thank Will Fregosi for over a decade as Monadnock Music Board President. He was a tireless and devoted supporter and benefactor of Monadnock Music. Will retired from the board earlier this year and we thank him for his extensive efforts on behalf of this organization, and wish him well.

In his stead, the Monadnock Music board has elected me as the new President, so allow me a moment to introduce myself. I grew up in the Monadnock region in a home with classical music constantly playing throughout the house. My father, though not a musician, has an unmatched appreciation and encyclopedic knowledge of classical music (with an emphasis on the Baroque period, he would undoubtedly add). That was a major influence for me, as I share his love of music and have been a professional musician since the age of 16.

To this day I continue to play, record, and produce a wide range of music, it’s a major part of my life. I have been a member of the Monadnock Music board for several years now, and I am humbled that the Board has chosen me to fill this role. I will endeavor to do my best for this wonderful organization.

So, from the promise of late spring to the warm embrace of summer and the crispness of early fall, Monadnock Music will once again be making exceptional music accessible to all in intimate and informal settings in the towns and villages of the Monadnock region and beyond.

Thank you so much for your support and staying with us through this past year. Let’s look forward to the great days ahead, and enjoy the performance!

Paul Venezia

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From the Executive Director

Laina Barakat

To My Music Lovers,

I joined Monadnock Music six seasons ago, and I cannot believe how quickly the years have gone by! This past year has been different for all of us. We have longed to see each other face to face. We have carried the weight of fear and worry on our shoulders in isolation. Musicians were out of work and audiences were starved for the thrill of live in-person concerts. Many of us have suffered real loss and illness. Our children suffered without their usual routine to feel safe in, and less social support than they are accustomed to. Our lives were put on hold and will in many ways never be the same. But let’s not focus on what we have lost…

In 2020, we gained time to be quiet, to be still. We pulled away from social obligations and turned inwards. Perhaps we worked on ourselves. Perhaps we honed new skills. Our households became the center of our universe with new life springing forth from dusty places. I wrote letters. I made fresh pasta and bread. I cherished the ones I had around me while I longed for those far away.

And here we are, almost as if last summer’s vacuum of live music did not happen. Yet marked by it all the same. It is my hope that we are marked with a new and invigorated need for classical music… that composers, old and new, are elevated and celebrated this summer in memorable ways... that our audiences and musicians experience an intimate reunion that is a balm to their solitude.

The pandemic hit every industry hard – businesses and non-profits alike. We were not exempt from that. Fortunately, we came off of several strong years and we feel confident that with your support we can make up for last season’s losses. For those who can, please consider increasing your membership this year. If you too were hit hard financially, we ask you to help us in a different and very meaningful way: Invite new friends to our free Village Concerts. Share our website and events on social media. Send an email to local lovers of cultural happenings, sharing your experience of MM and listing our offerings. Bring your children and grandchildren to a concert! Help us expand our audiences so our music reaches more ears than ever, and our mission is carried further despite the hardships!

Together, I believe we can rebuild and regain our losses…

Yours, as always, in the music,

Laina Barakat
Executive Director

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Supported by:

David V N Taylor Foundation   The Dorothy E. & Frank C. Gebhardt Charitable Trust   Grimshaw Gudewicz Charitable Foundation   James Burgess Boote Fund   Monadnock Harvard & Radcliffe Club   The Memtom Fund   Penates