Special Reports

[Off The Beaten Path]
Monadnock Music

March 31, 2015

Location: Petersborough, NEW HAMPSHIRE
July 8-August 10, 2015

Monadnock Music is set among the hike-worthy hills, sparkling lakes, and white-painted old towns of southern New Hampshire, an hour or two from Boston, and runs for five weekends in July and August. Largely funded by loyal local donors (with an assist from the New Hampshire State Arts Council), Monadnock, which is celebrating its 50th year, is intentionally small scale, with no single centerpiece group or venue: music as part of a summer’s retreat in the country rather than its principal focus. Founders James and Jocelyn Bolle wanted to explore the music venues of this bucolic, unfashionable region and give up-and-coming artists a chance to perform for attentive audiences outside the big cities.

The town of Peterborough is at the heart of things, but the summer’s dozen or more events take place in other scenic villages as well, sited in town halls, churches, and meeting houses, generally constructed between 1790 and 1830—rooms whose individual acoustics suit the festival’s varied fare. Programs run from recitals and chamber music to small orchestra concerts, from ancient music to contemporary, familiar to unknown, though in the past particular attention has been paid to such regional stars as Edward McDowell, Amy Beach, Charles Ives, and Gunther Schuller as well as more usual suspects.

Gil Rose, who has led the festival since 2011, draws on his winter jobs heading the Boston Modern Orchestra Project and Odyssey Opera to attract participants from around the country and a few international artists as well. This year many alumni are expected to return to celebrate the 50th anniversary on the weekend of July 25. The festival opens on July 8 in Peterborough’s Town House, with Rose leading an all-Gershwin program, including the original jazz-inflected orchestration of Rhapsody in Blue created for Paul Whiteman’s Band. Village concerts request a donation; more official events are $30 a seat, $50 for the grand anniversary concert. —John Yohalem



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