Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Exciting new developments with Musica Maestrale

After chatting with Hideki Yamaya, early music specialist and artistic director of Musica Maestrale, I told him I'd email him a few questions as it sounded like some exciting stuff was happening with Musica Maestrale and a new music festival in Astoria that's slated to begin this summer.

LW: State of the Union vis-a-vis: Musica Maestrale in 2016.  And the state is---

HY: Good!  We have a very exciting lineup for the rest of the season: the next concert is on Jan. 29, which I will talk about later.  Then on Apr. 10, we have a concert with Mara Winter, a wonderful historical flutist from Olympia, WA.  She is a recent winner of the Early Music America Barbara Thornton Memorial Scholarship, and is a rising star in the early music world.  We will present a program for Renaissance flute, a notoriously difficult and beautiful instrument, accompanied by lute.  For the last concert of the season, on May 14, we have a program of early 17th-century Italian chamber music, my favorite.  We invited Christine Beckman and Courtney Kuroda, both fantastic violinists from Seattle, joined by local favorite Max Fuller on cello, for this one.  Should be a very exciting program; you wouldn't want to miss it!  

We are also expanding our concerts further afield; we are presenting all three of these programs out in Astoria in addition to the show in Portland.  As you know, I have been a part of the Astoria Music Festival for many years now, and I have been cultivating an interest in early music out there.  I am hopeful that MM would go over very well out on the coast.

But by far the most exciting thing for MM is that we are starting a brand-new summer early music festival in August!

LW: So you're starting a new music fest in Astoria.  What can you tell us so far?

HY: It will be called simply 'Musica Maestrale Festival--Early Music in Astoria": [the title] is easily recognizable and direct.  It will run from Aug. 18 to 21, and there will be 4 concerts, 2 jam sessions, and 4 workshops, so it will be a fun-filled weekend for audiences and student/participants alike.  And who wouldn't want to spend a few days in Astoria in August?  We are working on the roster of performer/instructors right now, but we can confirm that the Renaissance power couple Gayle and Phil Neuman will be joining us. More details as they develop!

LW: Can you tell me a little bit about MM's new Executive Director?

HY: Yes, Carol Shepherd is our new executive director.  She is the former general manager of Astoria Music Festival, and when she resigned from that position last summer, we snatched her up!  She is a musician herself; she sings and plays brass.  So far it's been a very good fit, and the summer festival was originally her idea.  I'm very happy to be working with her.

LW: And how about a quick note on your upcoming concert this Saturday, January 29th?

HY: The program is entitled "Lessons of the Dark: Sacred vocal music of François Couperin".  It'll be on Jan. 29 at 7:30PM, at First Christian Church downtown.  It will feature two great sopranos Arwen Myers and Catherine van der Salm, accompanied by Max on viola da gamba and myself on theorbo.  The featured piece will be 'Leçons de ténèbres', a masterful setting of the Lamentations of Jeremiah, a story of the destruction of Jerusalem by Babylon in the Old Testament.  It's a glorious piece, and the third lesson, written for 2 sopranos, was featured in the movie 'All the Mornings of the World (Tous les matins de monde).

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