HARVARD —Musicians from around the world will be visiting town common this month to collaborate and perform classical music together for the second time.
Fivesparks, formerly known as the Harvard Cultural Collaborative, will host its second annual Harvard Musical Festival from June 16 to 23. The festival not only welcomes global culture into town for local residents but also allows various musicians to perform and connect with each other.
Judith Eissenberg, one of the three co-directors of the festival, said this year’s festival will bring in 27 students visiting from South America, China and Europe. The musicians attend the festival in ensembles of two to six, playing piano and string instruments. The participants either find nearby lodging or live with local residents who volunteer their homes for temporary residency, allowing the musicians to easily commute to the Harvard Unitarian Universalist Church’s Fellowship Building for rehearsals throughout the week. Not only will the musicians be rehearsing together and being coached by the three directors of the program, but those events will be open to the public. The festival will culminate with a final concert at the church.
“It’s about a process, not a final product,” Eissenberg said. “Artists embedded in the community can come to find out how music is made. I believe an event is successful when the audience is also a creator. We’re deepening the audience experience with this.”
Participants range in age and experience, ranging from novice players who are just 18, to older, seasoned veterans of classical music. The players will build their repertoires from pieces of classical from the romantic period and composers like Bela Bartok. Eissenberg pointed out one of the pieces some of the quartets will be practicing is “Grosse Fuge,” a 15-minute Beethoven piece that she described as “so on the edge of tonality that it’s almost atonal.”
As far as future festivals go, Eissenberg said she could see it expanding to five weeks long and covering multiple genres. Being a Tennessee girl herself, she said she would love to have participants take a deep dive into country music. Those interested in playing at the festival should also have that drive to dive deep, according to Eissenberg.
“We’re looking for them to have a passion for what they’re doing and you can hear that within minutes of them playing,” she said. “We want someone invested in going deeper and deeper into music and what it tells us.”
Jon Winkler: firstname.lastname@example.org