37th Annual Vermont Mozart Festival

Words by Julie Seger

The Vermont Mozart Festival has come to define summertime for Vermonters. Running July 18th through August 8th this year, the festival celebrates the 200th anniversary of the birth of Frederic Chopin (1810-1849). Both of Chopin’s piano concertos and many of his renowned solo piano works will be performed; a repertoire this extensive his has never been undertaken by the festival. Be sure to enjoy this Vermont treasure and the chance to experience internationally acclaimed musicians doing what they do best in some of Vermont’s most breathtaking places. Visit www.vtmozart.org to help us support the festival this season; it will be Big Heavy World and The Radiator's second year as a media sponsor for the Vermont Mozart festival.

The Vermont Mozart Festival began in 1974 after Melvin Kaplan and 8 other involved community members asked, “What could we dream up to do in the summer?” Inspired by Vermont’s beauty and its similarities to Mozart’s own Austria, Kaplan envisioned a European-style festival comprised of a variety of interrelated musical events in a variety of gorgeous settings. “It’s about what’s happening here, Vermont in the summertime, the lake, the mountains, and music. Simple universal music that expresses everything humanity has to do with.”

This season, the Vermont Mozart Festival welcomes featured pianists Philippe Entremont and Jean-Claude Pennetier from France; Jean-Francois Latour from Canada; Gil Shohat from Israel; and Reiko Aizawa from Japan. With such a diverse array of international performers, the festival is a rare opportunity to see some of the world’s finest musicians in a Vermont setting.

Outdoor concerts will take place at majestic venues including the Inn and Coach Barn at Shelburne Farms, the Trapp family lodge, Grand Isle Lake House, Kingsland Bay State Park, and a children’s series at Vermont Teddy Bear factory. Many of the outdoor venues invite picnicking before show time. Indoor venues include the Barre Opera house, the Essex, Middlebury Town Hall theatre, the Ponds at Bolton Valley Resort, Vergennes Opera house, and the West Monitor Barn in Richmond. With this selection, festival goers are welcome to tailor their experience according to their own needs and preferences.

And yes, the Vermont Mozart Festival will feature a number of Mozart’s masterpieces. As festival founder and artistic director Melvin Kaplan said, “With an appreciable amount of his work in this summer’s program, Mozart is taken care of as he should be.” Performances of other American favorites are also part of the program, including Aaron Copland’s Appalachian Spring, and Gilbert & Sullivan’s The Yeomen of the Guard.

Brought into the VMF press conference via Skype, featured pianist, composer, and conductor Gil Shohat reflected on the festival’s uniqueness all the way from Tel Aviv. “Every summer, I cross the ocean to Vermont to be with you. It truly feels like a family. This is the only festival I’ve known where the director [Melvin Kaplan] of the entire festival is also first oboe in the orchestra.” After making his debut performance at the Vermont Mozart Festival in 2007, Shohat has played every year since.

Be sure to take part in one of Vermont’s most cherished summertime traditions and support the Vermont Mozart Festival. For the complete summer calendar, venue information, and to purchase tickets, please visit www.vtmozart.org or call 802.862.7352.