Chesapeake Music brings renowned musicians to delight, engage and surprise today's audiences, and educate, inspire and develop tomorrow's.
Behind the Scenes at the Chesapeake Chamber Music Festival
Much goes into the planning of the annual Chesapeake Chamber Music Festival, but the true backbone of a successful Festival is the engagement of world-class musicians and the selection of inspiring musical programming that creates an intimate bond between the performers and the audience. This is the responsibility of the Festival’s co-artistic directors, cellist Marcy Rosen and violinist Catherine Cho.
Read more >
Spy Review: Chesapeake Chamber Music Festival Opens at Ebenezer by Steve Parks
The return of the Chesapeake Chamber Music Festival to live concerts after a 2020 virtual series of prerecorded and livestream performances is reason enough to celebrate. But the impeccable elegance of the Chesapeake Music’s new home made the evening a visual and musical sensation starring, among others, cellist Marcy Rosen and violinist Catherine Cho, the festival’s co-artistic directors.
Read more >
Chesapeake Music Festival: Music to My Ears and Food for the Soul by Maria Grant
This weekend, I had the distinct pleasure of attending Chesapeake Music’s inaugural concert at Easton’s Ebenezer Theater.
Like everything the Prager’s do, the Ebenezer Theater, now part of The Prager Family Center for the Arts, is perfection. The intimate setting for the new home for Chesapeake Music concerts is housed in Easton’s former Ebenezer Methodist Church, originally built in 1856, on Washington Street—a sublime setting for the chamber concerts that Chesapeake Music offers.
Read more >
The Orion String Quartet Comes to the Ebenezer Theater in Easton
A treat awaits our 2021 Festival goers! The renowned Orion String Quartet will perform Beethoven’s “Razumovsky” String Quartet in C Major on June 10. And on June 12, the Quartet will join pianist Robert McDonald, to delight the audience with Brahms Piano Quintet in F minor.
Read more >
Chesapeake Music Festival Notes by James N. Carder
Chesapeake Music recently concluded its 36th annual Chamber Music Festival. Held in its new permanent home, the recently-renovated Ebenezer Theater in Easton, Maryland, the six concerts were directed by cellist Marcy Rosen and violinist Catherine Cho and featured repertory that ranged from Haydn and Mozart to Still and Bolcom. Musicians and audience members alike were thrilled by the return of in-house concerts, which were also streamed. As Executive Director Donald Buxton remarked, “The interconnection between the musicians and the audience was palpable. The musicians couldn’t wait to perform for our loyal audience, and when they did, the energy level was really something!”
Read more >
June 5 Chesapeake Chamber Music Festival Concert Opens With Two Composers You Will Want to Know
Appeared in Attraction Magazine by Cecily Lyle
Joseph Bologne, Chevalier de Saint-Georges (1745-1799) and William Grant Still (1895-1978) – the two composers whose works will open the “Dynamic Duos” concert on June 5 – may not be familiar today, although they were certainly well known to their contemporaries.
In the mid-18th century on the island of Guadeloupe, Joseph Bologne was the illegitimate son of a wealthy planter and a household slave. At the age of seven, the child was sent to Paris where he attended the Academie Polytechnique. By the time he had finished school Joseph was a champion fencer and a member of the king’s bodyguard.Simultaneously, to everyone’s astonishment, the newly designated ‘Chevalier de Saint-Georges’ revealed himself to be both a violin prodigy and a budding composer; in his lifetime he created an impressive number of chamber works, vocal works, and “Opera Comiques.” As the leader of the best symphonic orchestra in Paris, he commissioned Haydn’s “Paris Symphonies,” which were performed before Queen Marie-Antoinette.
The story of the Chevalier de Saint-Georges resembles a romantic novel. He flourished as a favored musician in the court of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette, conducted concerts in France and England, and during the Revolution, was made a colonel in the first Black regiment known in Europe. Disappointingly, this service to his country ended as the Chevalier spent 18 months in jail, ostensibly having neglected military duties for musical pursuits. He died at 54, after a brief illness.
In 1895, only 32 years after the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation, William Grant Still was born in Woodville, Mississippi. He started playing the violin as a teenager and before long had taught himself to play the clarinet, saxophone, oboe, double bass, cello and viola.
At Wilberforce University, instead of pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree as planned, Still immersed himself in music, conducting the University band, composing, and doing orchestrations. He enrolled in Oberlin Conservatory of Music and later studied privately with Edgard Varèse and George Whitefield Chadwick.
In the 1920s, Still played in W.C. Handy’s band, then in well-known pit orchestras and dance bands. In the 1930’s he worked as an arranger of popular music. In 1931 his first composition for orchestra, “Symphony No. 1, Afro – American,” was performed by the Rochester Philharmonic conducted by Howard Hansen, and in 1936 Still conducted a performance of his own works in the Hollywood Bowl with the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra.
He arranged music for many films and composed “The Song of a City” for the 1939 World’s Fair in New York City. Although the exhibit “Democracity” played it continually, the composer required police protection at the fair unless he agreed to attend only on “Negro Day.” Still composed several operas, one of which, “Troubled Island,” was performed by the New York City Opera, and he continued to conduct and compose until his death in 1978.
Although 150 years separated their birthdays, the Chevalier de Saint-Georges and William Grant Still had some things in common. Both were frequently frustrated by racial bias underrating their talents and holding back the recognition that they deserved. Yet, the intensity of their devotion to music and their unflagging discipline meant that both composers would not only rise to acclaim, but remain successful for years to come. Although their gifts brought them attention at an early age; it was their musicianship and professionalism that secured their places in history.