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
Festivals held to commemorate St Cecilia's Day (22 November). The custom of celebrating the day by musical performances long existed in various countries, and many associations were formed for the purpose. The earliest recorded association was established in 1570 at Evreux, Normandy, under the title of ‘Le Puy de musique’; various liturgical performances were followed by a banquet after mass on the feast day and prizes were awarded for the best motets, partsongs, airs and sonnets.
Not until a century later was any similar association established in England. In 1683 a body known as the Musical Society initiated a series of annual celebrations in London; their practice was to hold a service (usually at St Bride's church), at which a choral service and anthem with orchestral accompaniment were performed by a large number of musicians, and a sermon, usually in defence of cathedral music, was preached. They then moved to another place (often Stationers' Hall), where an ode in praise of music, composed for the occasion, was performed. Such odes were written by Dryden (...
An annual series of orchestral, chamber and solo concerts, with occasional operas, held in June or July and lasting one to two weeks. It was instituted in 1945 by the Borough of Cheltenham as the Cheltenham Festival, and since 1947 has been additionally supported by the Arts Council of Great Britain, devolved to South West Arts from 1992. Until 1962 it was announced as a ‘Festival of British Contemporary Music’, and primarily featured new works by British composers in a context of more general programmes. In the first 25 festivals a total of 291 works by 142 British composers received their first public performances.
The decision to organize such a festival was taken during wartime, in 1944, on the proposal of G.A.M. Wilkinson, the borough entertainments manager, who advocated the inclusion of one new work by a British composer in each programme as a means of giving the festival a distinctive musical character. He served as festival organizer for 25 years, until ...
Parisian series of concerts founded in or after 1782 to replace the defunct Concert des Amateurs. The series was sponsored by the masonic Loge de l’Olympique de la Parfaite Estime; in 1786, the 364 members paid dues of 120 livres per year, which gave them admittance to twelve concerts. Some members played in the orchestra alongside professional musicians known as associés libres. The lodge commissioned, and later published, Haydn’s symphonies nos.82–7 and 90–2. The concerts ended in July 1789 when the Gardes Françaises closed the lodge headquarters in the Palais Royal. See Paris, §IV, 2.BrenetC; BrookSF ‘Liste des membres qui composent la Société Olympique’, F-Pn H18751, 1786 ‘Tableau des membres qui composent la R. L. de la Parfaite-Estime et Société Olympique’, F-Pn Baylot FM2153, 1788 J.L. Quoy-Bodin: ‘L’Orchestre de la Société Olympique’, RdM, vol.70 (1984), 95–107 P. Chevallier: ‘Nouvelles lumières sur la Société Olympique’, XVIIIème Siècle, no.19 (1987), 135–47...
Austrian festival, held each September in Eisenstadt, capital of the Burgenland, where Haydn spent much of his working life in the employment of the Esterházy family. Founded officially in 1987, the festival has developed around the Austro-Hungarian Haydn Orchestra under the direction of Adam Fischer. Each festival includes symphony concerts, lieder and chamber recitals, often featuring rare Haydn repertory such as the baryton trios, and the production of a Haydn opera. In addition to the concerts and opera performances, held in the Esterházy palace, one or more Haydn masses are given each year in their liturgical setting in the Bergkirche....
A competitive festival of Welsh origin, devoted mainly to music and literature. The word ‘eisteddfod’ (literally ‘a session’) did not come into common use until the 18th century, but the festival to which it refers originated in the medieval gatherings held from time to time to determine the professional requirements and duties of the bards. The earliest of these for which we have reliable documentary evidence was that summoned by Lord Rhys ap Gruffydd at Cardigan in 1176, but it is likely that similar convocations were held even before this date. Lord Rhys's festival is of particular interest because of certain features it had in common with the modern eisteddfod, namely the inclusion of competitions, the awarding of chairs to the victors, and the fact that it was proclaimed one year in advance throughout the British Isles. Similar meetings are recorded in other parts of Wales during the 14th and 15th centuries, the most important being that held by Lord Gruffydd ap Nicolas at Carmarthen in about ...
Bulgarian music festival. The festival began as an initiative of the Ruse Philharmonic Orchestra, the conductor Sasha Popov, and the conductor and composer Iliya Temkov, for the purpose of fostering friendship and cultural cooperation between Bulgaria and the German Democratic Republic. The first concert, given on 10 March 1961, opened with the première of the September 1923 Overture by V. Kazandzhiev. The partnership between the Ruse Philharmonic Orchestra and the musical ensembles of East Berlin Radio grew steadily over the next few years. In 1964–5 the festival was dedicated to new Bulgarian symphonic works, and in 1965 it expanded to include chamber music and other instrumentation. After 1976 the festival has been held in the second half of March. At present the festival is funded by the Municipality of Ruse and other sponsors. Since 1992 the International Music Academy takes place during the festival; the teachers, in various disciplines, have included Vanya Milanova, Mincho Minchev, John Kenny, Robert Cohen, Yuri Bashmet, Patrick Gallois, Erwin Ortner, Markus Stockhausen, Anatol Vieru, Wolfgang Schultz, Sir Neville Marriner, the Arditi String Quartet, Andreas Hermann, Emmanuel Séjourné, and Paul Badura-Skoda....
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....
Informal concerts at which inexpensive tickets are sold for standing room or floor space (although not actually for ‘promenading’ in the manner of the 18th- and 19th-century London pleasure-garden concerts; see London §V 3.). The most famous, the London Henry Wood Promenade Concerts, started in 1895 and have been given in the Royal Albert Hall since World War II. They were anticipated by other informal concerts given from 1838, themselves modelled on those given in Paris by Philippe Musard from 1833. ‘Proms’ have been given elsewhere in Britain, notably in Manchester by the Hallé Orchestra. From 1972 opera and ballet proms were given at Covent Garden, and in 1976 they were introduced at the Scottish Opera in Glasgow. Similar informal concerts are given in the USA, sometimes with refreshments served to the audience; they include the ‘Boston Pops’ and, in New York, proms and the ‘rug concerts’ initiated by Boulez....
Summer festival held in the small town of Round Top, Texas. It was founded in 1971 by the pianist James Dick. About 100 musicians, all on full scholarships, come to Round Top each June and July to study and perform with faculty such as Martin Lovett, Pascal Verrot, Christopher Hogwood and the Dorian Wind Quintet. In addition to a 1200-seat concert hall featuring the woodwork of local artisans, the 200-acre festival grounds comprise a recording studio and a number of restored historic buildings. Among the works that have been commissioned for the festival are three large-scale pieces for piano and orchestra celebrating Hindu philosophy by Malcolm Hawkins, Chinary Ung and Dan Welcher....
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....
A Latin American music festival presented in New York City by the American Composers Orchestra (ACO) in cooperation with Carnegie Hall. Developed by composer-conductor and ACO music director Dennis Russell Davies and composer Tania León in 1994, the festival featured a weeklong series of events dedicated to the performance and discussion of Latin American music. Intended to respond to the increased presence of Latin American culture and musical production in the United States, the festival was also conceived as a call to broaden and diversify the repertoire of U.S. orchestras and chamber groups. Latin American composers and performers were invited to participate in master classes at several colleges, guest lectures, meetings with professional music organizations, symposia, chamber music performances, an orchestral concert in Carnegie Hall, and composer-to-composer forums. Performances were broadcast on National Public Radio, reaching cities in Latin America and the United States. The festival received positive reviews from critics, politicians, composers, and performers as a sign of good relations between the United States and Latin America but ended after Davies retired from the ACO in ...
revised by John C. Phillips
An annual event, of six to eight days’ duration, substantially but not exclusively choral in character, based in turn in the cathedrals of Gloucester, Worcester and Hereford. Its precise origins are not documented. However, the Worcester Postman of 10 July 1713 records a special service at which was performed ‘Mr. Purcell’s great Te Deum, with the Symphonies and instrumental parts, on Violins and Hautboys’. Six years later, in August 1719, the same journal published a notice calling on ‘Members of the yearly Musical Assembly of these Parts … by their Subscription in September last at Gloucester … to meet at Worcester on Monday … in order to publick Performance, on the Tuesday and Wednesday following’. In 1920 official recognition was given to the year 1715 as that of the first ‘festival’, thus making the festival of 1977 the 250th festival in an annual series broken only by two world wars....
Rita H. Mead
Concert series sponsored by the Worcester (Massachusetts) County Music Association, held annually from October to April in the city of Worcester. Musical conventions were held there from 1858: several hundred teachers and singers gathered to study, practise and perform selections from Handel and Haydn oratorios (following the example of the Boston Handel and Haydn Society). During the 1860s the number of concerts increased in imitation of English festivals, and Carl Zerrahn (conductor ...