2023 Summer Festival Program
Dear friends of Monadnock Music,
Summer is a time for celebration, in every sense of the word: a time for joyous festivity and general merriment, certainly, but also to honor and reflect upon what is most dear to us: our communities, our values, and - perhaps most importantly - those who have guided and inspired us along the way. This April, we were deeply saddened by the loss of Jocelyn Bolle, who co-founded Monadnock Music with her husband James. Serving as Executive and Artistic Directors respectively, Jocelyn and Jim fostered a rich and varied community of performers and composers, both locally and nationally, and gifted them with an artistic haven for the summer and an opportunity to share their joy and love of music with the Monadnock community. Their rich and vibrant legacy is an invaluable and fundamental part of Monadnock Music’s cultural identity as we prepare to look forward into our sixth decade. I will forever be grateful for their kindness and generosity.
Celebration, joy, and remembrance this summer takes many forms: on our first village concert in Jaffrey, we celebrate local composer and guitarist Frank Wallace alongside Croatian singer-songwriter Lana Janjanin and the gentle charms of notorious Italian virtuoso Niccolo Paganini. In Keene, as a co-presentation with Keene Pride, we celebrate six brilliant LGBTQ+ composers of art song, including Aaron Copland, Francis Poulenc, and Dame Ethyl Smyth. In Milford, we explore the popular 19th century phenomenon of the Romantic Melodrama for narrator and piano, featuring truly gorgeous music by Franz Schubert, Robert Schumann, Liza Lehmann, and two fantastically touching ghost stories set by Franz Liszt. And we are thrilled to present audience favorite Sophie et Adam, an eclectic folk/classical duo, at our ticketed lawn concert in Wilton. In between, we explore some of my favorite music, both new and old, from Mozart’s exuberant “Prussian” quartet and Brahms’ soulful clarinet trio to Israeli-Indian composer Simon Sargon’s jazzy Patterns in Blue and the lush, generous lyricism of the Fantasy Pieces of Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, known during his lifetime as the "African Mahler." We pay homage, as well, to one of the most brilliant and influential composers of the past century, Finnish spectralist Kaija Saariaho, who passed away this June, with two deeply thoughtful and incisive works for strings.
Thank you, as always, for being a part of the Monadnock Music community – your support and fellowship means everything to us. I hope you will join us this summer, to help us celebrate our past and dream our future.
Warm greetings to all, and welcome to a new season of Monadnock Music!
This year, I have a confession to make — I’m late writing this yearly letter to you, our members. But I have a reasonably good excuse: this has been the busiest spring for us since 2019. Last year marked the first spring season launch with a more normal compliment of our usual concerts and performances than during the Covid years, and this year we are able to offer even more events, performances, and gatherings throughout the region. I can say with utmost assurance that Monadnock Music is better than ever.
Throughout the winter, our Executive Director Laina Barakat and Artistic Director Refael Popper-Kaiser worked diligently to prepare for all of the events planned for the 2023 season, and it’s one of the most exciting seasons we’ve been able to produce in many years. In fact, we’ve already started with several performances held in the off season, with the fantastic “An Evening Remembering Steven Sondheim,” a celebration of Sondheim’s music and songs in November of 2022, and we hosted our first jazz concert just before Valentine’s Day in February of this year in collaboration with Eugene Uman and the Vermont Jazz Center. Both performances were at the Park Theater in Jaffrey. These shows were heavily attended and wildly successful. We will be definitely be planning more events like those in the future.
This spring and summer we have a full compliment of village concerts from Nelson to Milford and many points in between. We have the Garden Party, the Supper Club series, the Salon Concert, and of course our Gala Under the Stars in August featuring pop-up musical performances and amazing aerial acrobatics from Cirque du Soleil performers. Last year’s event was simply incredible, and if you missed it — or even if you were there — I urge you to attend this year. You won’t be disappointed.
We have also added several new members to the Monadnock Music board: Tonya Marshall, Christine Paryl, and Tommy Barth.
So as we begin the 2023 season, I would like to thank Laina and Rafael for all of their hard work, the board for their efforts in volunteering their time and money to advance this wonderful organization, and most importantly, thanks to all of our members for their support, this year and every year. This organization would not exist without you.
The warm weather is here, the flowers are blooming, the birds are singing, and the music is flowing. Get out and enjoy it!
As we enter this beautiful summer season, I feel the great loss of one of our founders, Jocelyn Bolle. When I first took this position at Monadnock Music, and every year since, I sat with Jocelyn to get her guidance, hear her thoughts on how the organization was doing, and learn anything I could from such a brilliant woman. Her humility and kindness hit me every time. She was truly remarkable – someone who understood how to bring people together in simple, sincere, and surprising ways. Her particular legacy within Monadnock Music, beyond our school program and endowment, both of which have been monumental to our mission and sustainability, was the sense of community she provided for both artist and audience.
Several years back, inspired by one of our conversations, the Monadnock Music Supper Club was born. It is a place where patrons and music lovers can come together, break bread, go deeper in the music, and get to know our musicians better.
The hope was that this Supper Club would not only sustain and support the caliber of musician we invite to our region, but tap into that electric sense of community that our founders so aptly fostered. We have enjoyed many a beautiful evening since!
I encourage you to join the club this year in honor of Jocelyn, and enjoy several private evenings, as well as the opportunity to bring music into your own home!