Barbara Rose Shuler, Intermezzo: A classical Fourth of July celebration

Monterey County Pops! celebrates Independence Day in Carmel’s Devendorf Park with its Celebration of Freedom program.  Music director Carl Christensen conducts the 40-member orchestra in patriotic favorites, “A Night at the Movies” featuring music by composer Alan Silvestri, an American medley, an Armed Forces salute, the “1812 Overture” by Tchaikovsky and more.

Pops! board president Steve DeCarli says, “We’re so grateful to the city of Carmel for hosting our Fourth of July concert again this year. We are thrilled to be back with a new program on this very special occasion.”

The performance, which begins at 2 p.m., includes a presentation of “Tubby the Tuba” featuring Reg Huston as narrator and tuba soloist Jim Paoletti.  This feature served as part of the Pops! elementary school program this spring and was presented at 12 schools as a video.

Tuba soloist Jim Paoletti will be featured in a presentation of "Tubby the Tuba." (Courtesy photo)
Tuba soloist Jim Paoletti will be featured in a presentation of “Tubby the Tuba.” (Courtesy photo)

The Silvestri movie themes include music from “The Avengers,” “The Polar Express,”  “Forrest Gump,” and “Back to the Future.”  Also on the program is “Our America” by John Higgins, a medley that includes “Yankee Doodle,” “This Land Is Your Land,” “You’re a Grand Old Flag,” and more.

Also on the program will be “Chester,” written in 1957 by the American composer William Schuman,   based on a 1778 anthem by William Billings, which was adopted by the Continental Army and sung around campfires during the American Revolution.

The program also pays tribute to two other countries, Ukraine and Mexico.  “Prayer for Ukraine” by Mykola Lysenko was published in 1885.  Christensen has adapted José Pablo Moncayo’s “Huapango,” the most popular orchestral work in Mexico by a Mexican composer.  Composed in 1941, it was inspired by the popular music of the Veracruz region on the Gulf of Mexico.  Christensen, a trombonist, played the work on many international tours with the Mexico City Philharmonic.

For more information about Monterey County Pops! see www.montereycountypops.org.

Youth Music at Fisherman’s Wharf

Celebrations on Monterey’s Fisherman’s Wharf include a free performance by the Loma Linda Academy String Orchestra, an ensemble of 30 young musicians on tour to the Central Coast, who will present a program of light classics and patriotic music.  They perform from 3-4 p.m. in front of Rockfish Harbor Grill.

Conductor candidates

The Carmel Bach Festival begins its 85th season July 14 with a rare concert series showcasing three conductor candidates.  The guest conductors will join the Bach Festival artistic leadership team for two concerts each on consecutive Thursday and Saturday evenings, drawing on repertoire from the Baroque to modern eras.

Instead of the usual seven repeated main concerts, patrons will have 10 concerts to choose from, of which only four will be repeated.  The repeats will be Sunday’s St. John Passion, conducted by the Festival’s longtime associate conductor Andrew Megill, concertmaster Peter Hanson’s Monday evening string concert, the Wednesday Carmel Mission concert conducted by Megill, and Friday’s crossover concert with the duo Fire & Grace.  The guest conductors are a distinguished trio of candidates hailing from the U.K., San Francisco and Norway.

British conductor Dinis Sousa launches the summer music on July 14 with an orchestral program of Baroque masters: Henry Purcell, Handel and Bach.  Sousa has worked closely with preeminent conductor Sir John Eliot Gardiner and his ensembles, the English Baroque Soloists, Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique, and the Monteverdi Choir.  This culminated in his appointment as the Monteverdi Choir & Orchestra’s Assistant Conductor.  On July 16, Sousa will conduct Brahms’s German Requiem.

On July 21, Grete Pedersen conducts an intriguing program of works by Charles Ives, Heinrich Biber, Schubert, and Beethoven’s monumental 7th symphony. Her July 23 program focuses on choral and instrumental works by Bach spiced with Norwegian folk music.

In 2019, Pedersen was appointed Knight 1st Class of the Royal Norwegian St. Olav’s Order for her merit and outstanding achievements in the arts and was awarded the distinguished Lindeman Prize to honor her significant contribution to the musical life of Norway. Music director of the Norwegian Soloists’ Choir since 1990, she has taught conducting at the Norwegian State Academy of Music for over 25 years.

The 2022 Festival concludes with the San Francisco Bay Area’s Nicholas McGegan, hailed as one of the world’s finest Baroque conductor.  He is the celebrated music director of the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, the artistic director of the Göttingen Handel Festival, and has guest conducted New York, Los Angeles, and Hong Kong Philharmonics among many other prestigious orchestras.

McGegan has made more than a hundred recordings, including two Grammy nominations with Philharmonia Baroque.  He will conduct music from Haydn and Schubert, and Bach’s Easter Oratorio for his two programs July 28 and 30.

The Festival returns to its pre-COVID experience of main concerts, chamber programs, pre-concert lectures, family events, outdoor brass music, and master classes.  The events will take place in a variety of locations

“The 2022 Festival is exciting in many ways,” says Festival Executive Director Steve Friedlander.  “At last, patrons, musicians, friends, and colleagues will gather in large numbers, savor the transformative power of music, and renew the special personal connections and relationships that define the Carmel Bach Festival.”

As a safety precaution, the main concerts will last approximately 75 minutes without intermissions.  An exception is Sunday’s St. John Passion, which will have an intermission and last two hours.

Every patron must show proof of COVID-19 vaccination.  Masks are required indoors.  For tickets and information call 831-624-1521 or see the web at bachfestival.org.

Contributed by local news sources

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