The internationally known festival is a tribute to the creativity and humanity of Swiss-born composer Ernest Bloch, who lived and composed at Agate Beach from 1940 until his death in 1959. He received an honorary doctorate from Linfield College in 1948. The festival is being organized by Sylvain Frémaux, artistic director, under the aegis of Newport's BAY Music Association.
A day-long piano master class will be offered for credit by the Linfield Division of Continuing Education. Guest artists Jill Timmons and Judith Cohen will lead the master class Saturday, July 20, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. The class is devoted to the two-piano, four-hand and solo piano repertoire. College credit is available through Linfield, and the class can also be audited. All auditors may register at the door. Youth auditors, ages 14 and younger, have free admission to the master class. Payment for performing participants is due July 2.
Timmons and Cohen will also present a duo piano recital, "An American in Paris," on Sunday, July 21, at 3 p.m. Frémaux will provide the concert narrative. The recital will feature works by Gershwin, Copland, Tailleferre and Tansman and is a sampling of American and French composers and their special kinship with one another and Ernest Bloch. These composers also shared a love of Paris, the city that inspired many international artists during the 1920s.
The Linfield-sponsored class and recital is only a portion of what will be offered during the 13-day Ernest Bloch Music Festival. The festival will also include a weeklong Composers' Symposium, under the direction of Henry Mollicone, July 21-28. Pulitzer prize-winning composer David Del Tredici will lead discussions and perform and conduct some of his own music. Los Angeles soprano Hila Plitmann will be guest soloist and actor David Ogden Stiers, associate conductor of the festival, will narrate Stravinsky's chamber version of "The Soldier's
Tale." The symposium will also host the Fourth Annual Young Musicians' Program, directed by John Stewart of Harvard University. Symposium concerts will be held July 25 and 26 at 7:30 p.m., and a young musicians' performance will be Saturday, July 27, at 1:30 p.m.
The festival's closing event, "Bach to Bloch," will feature the Festival String Orchestra at 8 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 3. Under the direction of Frémaux, the program will span music from the 18th to the 20th centuries.
Blüthner Pianos and Classical Grands of Seattle, Wash., are providing two concert grand pianos for the event. In addition, Steve Brady is serving as piano technician for the festival.
For more information on the Ernest Bloch Summer Festival, call 541-867-6326. For more information on the two-piano recital or taking the class for credit through the Linfield Division of Continuing Education, call 800-452-4176 or Jill Timmons at 503-883-2407.