A Review of the 2020 Summer Festivals Season
Themes for the season include the 250th anniversary of you-know-who’s birth, celebrated at, among many others, the Tanglewood Festival, which is also planning a weekend-long tribute to what would have been Isaac Stern’s 100th birthday. Austria’s Grafenegg Festival also bows to Beethoven, featuring major artists like Pretty Yende and Jonas Kaufmann on its multiple stages, while the Montreal Chamber Music Festival’s tribute includes the complete cello sonatas with cellist Amit Peled and pianist Alon Goldstein; and Oxford’s Piano Festival in the U.K. hosts Paul Lewis playing the Moonlight and Hammerklavier sonatas along with the Diabelli Variations.
The concertos and symphonies are everywhere, as performed by a vast range of ensembles, from the Lucerne Festival Orchestra in Switzerland to the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra in Latvia (at the Riga Jurmala Music Festival) to the Vienna Philharmonic at the Salzburg Festival, whose organizers like to call that esteemed orchestra their “house band.”
Women are also getting some attention, with the Bard Music Festival focusing on "Nadia Boulanger and Her World" and Aspen devoted to "Uncommon Women of Note," exploring works by Julia Wolfe, Joan Tower, Kaija Saariaho, Melody Eötvös, and others of their ilk. Another anniversary being honored is the 75th of the Caramoor Music Festival, which in turn pays tribute to the centenary of the Harlem Renaissance, with a retelling of Shakespeare's Midsummer Night's Dream by the Classical Theater of Harlem and Orpheus Chamber Orchestra.
COVER PHOTO: Overlooking the Crosby Theatre at the Santa Fe Opera. PHOTO CREDIT: Robert Goodwin