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Alain Barker
IU Jacobs School of Music

Linda Cajigas
IU Jacobs School of Music

Last modified: Tuesday, April 29, 2008

2008 IU Summer Music Festival offers a wide variety of world-class performances

April 29, 2008

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Grammy Award-winning African American female a cappella ensemble Sweet Honey in the Rock will kick off the 2008 Indiana University Summer Music Festival on June 15 at 8 p.m.

Filling the Musical Arts Center (MAC) with their unique sound rooted in gospel, blues, jazz improvisation and traditional African music, the legendary sextet has sung about hope and social justice for 35 years throughout the United States and around the world.

Sweet Honey in the Rock

Sweet Honey in the Rock

Featuring more than 40 additional free and ticketed events performed by guests, faculty and students from the IU Jacobs School of Music, the 2008 IU Summer Music Festival (June 15-Aug. 9) offers an extraordinary array of orchestral concerts, opera, chamber music, jazz evenings, recitals and outdoor band concerts. Many of the ensembles invited to perform at the festival -- including Canadian Brass, the Beaux Arts Trio, Chanticleer, the Festival Jazz Orchestra and more -- have Jacobs School faculty or alumni in their ranks.

The host of American Public Media's daily program "Performance Today," Fred Child, will join the festival for two days (June 17 and 18) in a collaborative project with public radio station WFIU, leading discussions, hosting "Performance Today" from Bloomington, and introducing festival performances.

The all-male vocal ensemble Chanticleer will return to the IU Summer Music Festival July 27. This Grammy Award-winning group of 12 male voices has been hailed by the New Yorker as "America's favorite choral ensemble" and lauded by the Los Angeles Times for its "luxurious perfection."

Acclaimed singer Maureen McGovern will add to the festival's vocal variety, bringing her 35 years of experience on Broadway, in film and concerts, and on her many acclaimed recordings. Her groundbreaking concert on Aug. 8 at 8 p.m., with IU Professor Steve Houghton and students from the Jacobs School, includes a hard-swinging big band during the first half, followed by the beautiful sounds of the great American songbook with a studio orchestra in the second.

Beaux Arts Trio

Beaux Arts Trio

Print-Quality Photo

The Beaux Arts Trio, headed by IU Distinguished Professor Menahem Pressler, has been described by the New York Times as "the gold standard of trio playing." Bloomington audiences will hear the legendary ensemble for the last time on June 28 in the MAC at 7:30 p.m., following more than 52 years of touring.

IU's own Jeff Nelsen plays horn for Canadian Brass, the celebrated quintet described as "the world's leading brass ensemble" by the Washington Post. The quintet will take the MAC stage Aug. 3.

This year's Festival Orchestra will be led by renowned conductors Lawrence Renes, Xian Zhang and Robert Spano. Taking place June 26 and July 17 and 31, respectively, the concerts will feature a wide range of selections, including Strauss's Don Juan, Stravinsky's Divertimentofrom The Fairy's Kiss and contemporary work Blue Cathedrals by celebrated composer Jennifer Higdon. Considered one of the finest ensembles in the region, the Festival Orchestra's musicians include distinguished faculty members and students at the Jacobs School.

The Symphony Orchestra, comprised of Jacobs students, will perform July 8 and Aug. 5 and be conducted by Cliff Colnot, principal conductor of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra's contemporary MusicNOW series and of the Civic Orchestra of Chicago.

The Festival Jazz Orchestra, led by esteemed jazz educator and composer IU Distinguished Professor David N. Baker, returns to the MAC July 14. The ensemble includes a number of the finest Jacobs School alumni who have made their mark in the world of jazz performance, as well as outstanding members of the IU jazz faculty.

The festival's chamber music series will feature a number of performances by eminent faculty members, such as violinist Jaime Laredo and cellist Sharon Robinson in the Kalichstein-Laredo-Robinson Trio, pianist Yael Weiss and violinist Mark Kaplan in the Weiss-Kaplan-Newman Trio, and violist Atar Arad. The Biava and Penderecki quartets also return to the festival, with Penderecki performing June 29 and July 1 and Biava appearing June 17 and 27 and July 2 and 6.

Solo faculty and guest performances to look forward to include pianists Edward Auer, Evelyne Brancart and Logan Skelton; cellist Amir Eldan; violinists Sara Caswell and William Harvey; and tenor Alan Bennett.

The popular Outdoor Band concerts, featuring the talent of the IU Department of Bands, will again be held on the lawn of the MAC. The concerts, featuring marches, popular favorites, solos and light classics, are scheduled for 7 p.m. July 9, 16 and 23.

Two opera offerings round out the festival's schedule. IU Opera Theater will present Jerry Bock's award-winning popular musical She Loves Me -- a warm romantic comedy that follows two feuding clerks who find solace in their anonymous romantic pen pals, unaware these correspondents are none other than each other. This wonderful story is familiar to many due its many film adaptations -- most recently, You've Got Mail, starring Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks. She Loves Me will be at the MAC July 25-26 and Aug. 1-2.

ˇUnicamente la Verdad! is a unique opera-film project centered on the Mexican drug trade and the musical tradition it has inspired. Sponsored by a New Frontiers in the Arts and Humanities grant and featuring the IU Contemporary Vocal Ensemble, the opera will be at the Buskirk-Chumley Theater in downtown Bloomington Aug. 8-9.

Some events are free and some require tickets. A Festival Pass, discounted by more than 50 percent, is offered to the general public (with further reductions for any full-time students). Tickets and Festival Passes will be available beginning May 5.

For a complete list of Summer Music Festival performances and further information, visit

Additional activities

The IU Jacobs School of Music academic second summer session provides support for much of the IU Summer Music Festival. Other activities during the summer include Summer Adult Workshops in arts management, clarinet, natural horn, violin, viola, kodály, opera, wind band conducting and music cataloging. Summer Academies include ballet, college audition preparation, piano academy, string academy, percussion academy and a summer music clinic.

For more information on these activities, go to