Artistic Director Manuel Bagorro of Bay Chamber Concerts in Rockport is shaking things up at the venerable organization with a robust summer concert series that turns up the volume on contemporary classical music. Bay Chamber Concerts’ 2013 Summer Concert Series and Summer Festival will feature 95 artists in 35 performances over 56 days.

Bagorro said the concerts include more new music than ever before, played by groups that are forging reputations for championing contemporary repertoire “and establishing chamber music as a dynamic and unapologetic 21st-century art form.”

The summer series of concerts on Thursday and Friday nights runs July 11 through Aug. 30, concluding with A Late Summer Soirée, a 60-minute program with The Declassified at the newly renovated Union Hall in Rockport. Aug. 14 through 18, a new Bay Chamber Concerts Festival will take place, transforming venues and streets in Rockport and Camden into a bustling arena of family-friendly, hands-on music and live performance.

Opening the summer season is a concert with Brooklyn Rider that includes quartets by Mozart and Bartok, as well as new works by the group’s violinist, Colin Jacobsen. The virtuosic Bridget Kibbey, a close friend of Bagorro’s and intrepid collaborator, performs the following day, first in her solo Music Box program of all newly commissioned works, followed later the same evening by an eclectic program with Brooklyn Rider.

Bagorro clearly believes chamber music is not only about classical music in concert halls, and his summer program includes jazz saxophonist Bill McHenry’s quartet performing at Rockport Marine Park, as well as the Grammy Award-winning Arturo O’Farrill & The Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra, performing at the Camden Opera House on the first night of the Festival.

The new music thread is spectacularly evident July 25 and 26, when the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), along with the ground-breaking violinist Cornelius Dufallo and soprano Jessica Rivera, present three concerts of explosive new repertoire. The concert on July 25 includes the world premiere of a work commissioned by Bay Chamber Concerts to mark Bagorro’s first season, “The Hubble Cantata.” A multi-media, multi-sensory experience, “The Hubble Cantata” brings together newly released Hubble images with music created by high-flying composer Paola Prestini, librettist Royce Vavrek, film by Carmen Kordas and the recorded voice of astrophysicist Mario Livio. Two concerts on July 26 include multi-media works for solo violin and electronics performed by Dufallo and an assumption-exploding program of new music performed by ICE. Also on tap are performances by the sensational trio miXt, (Jose-Franch Ballester, Benjamin Beilman and Ran Dank) and David Krakauer.

Bay Chamber Concerts is broadening its musical offerings also is looking for ways to enhance the quality of the experience for its audiences, said Bagorro. Outdoor concerts, street interactions and performance of Francis Poulenc’s opera in a barn at Brewster Point all celebrate its magical Midcoast setting. The new Friday night concerts at the restored Union Hall in Rockport offers an opportunity for audiences to connect even more intimately with the music, sitting at café tables and enjoying a glass of wine while listening.

Two programs of Baroque repertoire include works by Bach including his esteemed Brandenburg Concerto No. 3; two of Mozart’s best known string quartets, his Kegelstatt Trio and E-Flat Major Quintet for Piano and Winds; two of Beethoven’s Opus 59 “Rasumovsky” Quartets and his luminous Septet Opus 20; works by Schubert including his Piano Trio in E-Flat Major, Trout Quintet, Quartettsatz in C Minor and String Quartet No. 14 “Death and the Maiden”; and works by Brahms are featured this summer — the Clarinet Quintet in B Minor, Violin Sonata in D Minor, Clarinet Sonata in F Minor and Cello Sonata in E Minor. Bay Chamber Concerts is marking the 50th anniversary of Poulenc’s death with performances of his Trio for Oboe Bassoon and Piano, Sonata for Clarinet and Bassoon, Sextet for Piano and Wind Quintet and a full performance of his emotionally charged opera for soprano and orchestra, “La Voix Humaine.”

Other familiar gems dot the summer’s engaging program including performances of Mendelssohn’s Octet, Barber’s Adagio for Strings and Elgar’s Piano Quintet in A Minor, in which Bagorro, an noted pianist, will make his performance debut at Bay Chamber Concerts.

“I wanted my first summer program to be a multi-course banquet with the refinement and reassurance of classic dishes placed alongside the sensory stimulation of newly created delights — my feeling is that the experience of both familiar repertoire and new music is improved by placing them alongside each other in a summer program that truly offers a range of diverse musical experiences,” he said.

During the festival in August, students and faculty of Bay Chamber Music School, along with visiting musicians and local talent perform free mini-concerts in various Camden and Rockport venues; and New York collective Found Sound Nation set up pop-up mobile street studios to link festival musicians with residents and visitors as they create new works together, downloadable the same day from the Bay Chamber Facebook page.

The summer season begins with a free Independence Day fireworks concert Thursday, July 4, in Camden Harbor Park featuring the classic funk of New York-based band The Engagements.  Free public events are in addition to the Community Engagement program established since Bagorro took over as Artistic Director last year, taking concerts and music projects to community venues, including six concerts at Maine State Prison over the last 10 months.

“Everyone connected with Bay Chamber Concerts believes in the transformative potential of music in our lives — our community engagement program is part of our commitment to reaching as many people in our community as possible through the Concerts and Music School, particularly those with limited access to live music and creative opportunities,” said Bagorro.

Full information about the Bay Chamber Summer Concert Series and Festival, as well as the Bay Chamber Music School, is available at

Courier Publications’ A&E Editor Dagney C. Ernest can be reached at (207) 594-4401, ext. 115 or