Celebrating 63 Years of Inspired Music Making!

June 22 – July 27, 2024

Preview provided by Eastern Music Festival.

Eastern Music Festival (EMF) is making its highly anticipated return this week with in-person performances and stunning live music. EMF is celebrating its 60th anniversary this year bringing hundreds of young musicians and acclaimed faculty together to experience fantastic music study and live performances to celebrate the occasion. The first week of performances run Tuesday, June 29, through Saturday, July 3. EMF’s home stage, Dana Auditorium at Guilford College, will host the majority of EMF’s 2021 concerts this summer.

The season opens on Tuesday, June 29, at 8 p.m. with the Eastern Chamber Players. This will be the first time audiences will get to hear these stellar musicians in performance since 2019. The evening will feature these beloved chamber music works: Robert Schumann (Three Romances for flute and piano, op.94), John D. Stevens (Petites Pensées), Erich Korngold, arr. Julian Schwarz (Much Ado About Nothing suite for cello and piano, op.11), and Antonín Dvořák (Piano Quintet in A major, op.81). 

Pianist Awadagin Pratt will lead the first Signature Performance of the season on Wednesday, June 30 at 8 p.m., in a recital of classical and modern works for the piano. Pratt, a member of EMF’s piano faculty, has performed with the New York Philharmonic, Orchestra of St. Luke’s, and multiple symphonies across the nation. Works will include audience favorites such as Tchaikovsky’s Intermezzo from The Nutcracker and Chopin’s Nocturne in B major, op.62, no. 1, as well as the second performance of Pēteris Vasks’ Castillo Interior. This work has been commissioned by the Art of the Piano Foundation. Pratt founded the Art of the Piano Festival in 2011 to create an environment where young pianists could hone and master their artistry with master classes hosted by expert-level artists.

Experience the next generation of emerging talent at the first Young Artist Showcase on Thursday, July 1, at 8 p.m. Each week will feature EMF’s Young Artists in ensembles of various shapes and sizes. This week, EMF will feature the Stamps Wind Quintet performing Jeff Scott’s Homage to Duke, a touching contemporary work dedicated to the great Duke Ellington. The Stamps Wind Quintet was formed at the Frost School of Music at the University of Miami as part of the Stamps Scholars program. The quintet will be studying at EMF this summer. Two pianists from Awadagin Pratt’s music studio will take the stage to play Variations on a Theme of Paganini by Alexander Rosenblatt and Beethoven’s “Apassionata” movements 2 and 3 to close out the night.

EMF Brass Faculty Artists come to the front of the stage in Fanfares and Flourishes, an evening of works for brass ensembles large and small on Friday, July 2, at 8 p.m.. Brass chamber ensembles will be led by EMF music director Gerard Schwarz. Works by Praetorius, Altenburg, Bruckner, Susato, Bach, and more. Come early for the first Musically Speaking preconcert conversation to learn more about this diverse program. Musically Speaking events are free and held in the Moon Room at Dana Auditorium starting at 7 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.

The first week of the Festival closes on Saturday, July 3, at 8 p.m. with the return of the Eastern Festival Orchestra led by Gerard Schwarz. The concert will open with Schwarz’s Brass Quintet Concerto after Handel featuring EMF principal brass faculty artists. The audience-favorite Mendelssohn Violin Concerto in E minor, op.64, with EMF concertmaster Jeff Multer closes the first half. The world premiere orchestral version of Peter Boyer’s Fanfare for Tomorrow, a composition originally performed by the United States Marine Band for the 2021 Presidential Inauguration. This joyous concert concludes with Schuman’s Symphony No. 2 in C major, op.61.

Concerts and recitals will be performed in compliance with current local, state, and federal health guidelines, including fewer performers on the stage, social distancing, and wearing face masks. Most performances will be at 8:00 p.m. in Dana Auditorium on the Guilford College campus and limited to 500 socially distanced seats per show, in accordance with current venue capacity restrictions. To note: programs and available seating may change in response to any updated guidelines from the State of North Carolina.

As varied as these season highlights appear, the EMF Experience each summer is so much more than the performance. EMF is an unforgettable learning experience for dedicated young artists from across the nation, an enriching and entertaining social encounter for our patrons, and a celebration of incredible artistry.

Individual tickets available online at easternmusicfestival.org/tickets. All tickets will be reserved-in-advance touchless/paperless to ensure the safety of patrons and staff. EMF Box Office hours are Wed. – Fri., Noon – 4:00 p.m. (336-333-7450 x222). For additional program details, featured soloists and more information, visit easternmusicfestival.org/calendar.