International festival of orchestral and chamber music, solo recitals, and staged works, established in 1963 in Aptos, California. It was founded by Lou Harrison, the bassoonist Robert Hughes, and Ted Toews, an instructor at Cabrillo College. Held for two weeks in August in the Santa Cruz Civic Auditorium and at various other locations, such as the Mission San Juan Bautista, the festival is noted for its innovative programming and emphasis on the works of living composers: it has staged at least 120 world premieres and over 60 US premieres. The first music director, Gerhard Samuel, was succeeded by Richard Williams in 1969, Carlos Chávez in 1970, Dennis Russell Davies in 1974, John Adams in 1991, and Marin Alsop in 1992. The directors have stressed making the artists accessible to their audiences through workshops and “Meet the Composer” sessions, open rehearsals, and a composer-in-residence program, in which John Adams, William Bolcom, John Cage, Elliott Carter, Carlos Chávez, Aaron Copland, John Corigliano, Michael Daugherty, Philip Glass, Osvaldo Golijov, Lou Harrison, Jennifer Higdon, Keith Jarrett, Aaron Jay Kernis, Libby Larsen, Tania León, Pauline Oliveros, Arvo Pärt, Christopher Rouse, Joseph Schwantner, Virgil Thomson, and Joan Tower have participated. The festival orchestra consists of about 65 musicians from leading orchestras in the United States and Canada....
revised by Megan E. Hill
revised by Michael Mauskapf
Orchestral programs modeled after European promenade concerts of the 19th century, in which light classical music was played while the audience was served refreshments. The development of pops concerts in America reflected an emerging emphasis on the audience and an explicitly articulated division between so-called serious and light classical music propagated by conductor Theodore Thomas and others. Such concerts were traditionally structured in three parts, in which lively pieces—overtures, marches, and galops—were played in the outer sections while the middle section typically included waltzes and occasionally more serious works; encores were a regular feature. These concerts often took place in outdoor venues during the summer season, and featured audience promenades during the intermissions. Initially, works by European composers such as Rossini, Grieg, Liszt, and J. Strauss dominated the programs of pops concerts, but excerpts from musicals and operettas by De Koven and Herbert, among others, soon became a significant component. In general these concerts were understood as a vehicle to reach new audiences and broaden the appeal of orchestras and orchestral music....
A male chorus festival (“singers’ festival”) in the German tradition. German Sängerfeste originated in the 1820s and by the 1840s featured choruses of 2000 or more, allowing Germans to cross boundaries of region, social class, and religion, develop a standardized male chorus repertory, communicate politically, and foster hopes for a unified state.
The Sängerfest in North America took off in the wake of increased immigration following the failed 1848–9 Revolutions. As in Europe, a Sängerfest was organized by a Sängerbund (federation of male choruses), the first of which, the Nord-amerikanische, was founded in Cincinnati in 1849. Others included the Northeastern (1850), German-Texan (1855), and Northwestern (1856).
A Sängerfest brought male choruses from a multi-state region to a host city for three to five days in the spring. It offered concerts, choral competitions, parties (including Kommers, or drinking parties), balls, picnics, tourist excursions, parades, and time for socializing by chorus members, host city residents, and festival attendees. Dozens of committees organized the event, sometimes even building a Sängerhalle to accommodate an audience of thousands. In some cities, public buildings were decorated and businesses and schools shut down for the opening parade, allowing an entire population to participate. Unlike pre-Revolutionary Sängerfeste in Germany, however, an American Sängerfest lacked covert political activity because of German immigrants’ loyalty to the US system of government....