This year’s festival will take place from 6 to 17 August 2023 among the beauty of the Adirondacks in upstate New York
The Lake George Music Festival is reinventing the meaning of the phrase cultural destination.
Every August, top-notch classical and ‘new music’ performers and composers from around the world descend upon the region for two weeks, sharing the fruits of their talent and hard work through traditional and experimental concerts, open rehearsals, public receptions, and informational talks—held at the historic Carriage House on the ground of the Fort William Henry Hotel.
Lake George is no stranger to the flowering of classical music in America. In the early 20th century, it attracted such luminaries as contralto Louise Homer and her husband, composer Sidney Homer. It brought soprano Marcella Sembrich, whose studio on the lake’s west shore remains open to the public today as a museum and intimate performance space. In the second half of the century, the ’Queen of the Lakes’ spawned the Lake George Opera.
Nowadays, the Lake George Music Festival is transforming the region into an exciting destination for experiencing the 21st-century blossoming of classical and new music.
Programmes are tantalisingly diverse and span solo piano and chamber music to large orchestral works. There are fresh interpretations of the classics—from Bach to Brahms, Mozart to Mahler. There are pieces by 20th-century experimentalists such as Xenakis and Reich. And, there are performances—even premiere performances—of contemporary works, many written by the festival’s own composers-in-residence. In addition, the ’Sounds of Our Time’ series pairs the festival’s symphony orchestra with cutting edge artists in such popular genres as indie rock and electronic dance music (EDM). Ensembles-in-residence, be they focused on percussion or art song, further expand the range of musical offerings.
Yet, what makes this festival transformative isn’t just that it attracts so many world-class performers and composers, but also that its organisers make it a priority to cultivate an invigorating spirit of cooperation and camaraderie among the musicians, local residents, and summertime visitors.
Open rehearsals occur throughout the community—from church to outdoor amphitheatre, from art gallery to auditorium, from hotel rooftop to steamboat on the lake. Local families take the musicians into their homes as guests. Everything from wine-tasting events to post-concert receptions make it easy for all who attend to mingle informally with one another and with the musicians.
Finally, there’s the extra enchantment that comes from all this taking place surrounded by the beauty of the Adirondacks. If residents, visitors, and musicians intertwine like voices in sublime counterpoint, they do so around a cantus firmus that is the silvery shoreline of Lake George.
Welcome to classical music in the 21st century! Experience great music as a resounding Lake George ’Welcome!’
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