Jill Overacker, Great Lakes Chamber Music Festival
The 2012 Great Lakes Chamber Music Festival featured world-renowned musicians and up-and-coming ensembles shared their talents performing works by Russia’s greatest composers. Due to the support of a $20,000 grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the Festival was able to bring rich artistic collaborations to Metro Detroit on the Festival’s three Saturday night performance – June 9th, 16th, and 23rd.
The Festival kicked off on Saturday, June 9 with a near sold-out concert at Seligman Performing Arts Center in metro Detroit. The concert featured a collaborative performance between the Festival and two Michigan State University (MSU) ensembles – the MSU Chorale, and the MSU Percussion Ensemble. In addition to the Michigan State University ensembles, four vocal soloists and four pianists took the stage to perform a thunderous rendition of Stravinsky’s “Les Noces” (The Wedding).
The following Saturday, June 16, Festival musicians collaborated with Eisenhower Dance Ensemble to present a fully-staged production of Stravinsky’s “The Rite of Spring.” The angular music was performed by pianists Elisabeth and Eugene Pridonoff while Percussion Group Cincinnati highlighted the arrangement with bursts of percussive energy. Eisenhower Dance Ensemble performed original choreography by Laurie Eisenhower, captivating the audience. The Detroit Free Press Music Critic, Mark Stryker, gave the performance ‘4 out of 4 stars’ and stated “[the Festival’s] ambition paid off handsomely in an inventive production that aimed high and often soared higher.” The performance of “The Rite of Spring” was repeated the next day, giving an additional viewing opportunity to those who missed Saturday’s sold-out performance.
The Festival’s closing night concert on Sunday, June 23 featured Detroit Chamber Winds & Strings and, for the first time ever, the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. The ensembles joined together in front of a packed auditorium to perform Stravinsky’s “Mass” and “Concerto for Piano and Wind Instruments.”