The 14th Seal Bay Festival of American Chamber Music, based on Vinalhaven, returns Thursday, July 14, through Friday, July 22. This year, the festival explores the theme Seeing Sound. In addition to public concerts, there are master classes for composers, as well as a visual arts component.

This year’s festival is in memory of former Camden resident John Duffy, visionary, composer and new music champion; as well as Thomas Godfrey, teacher, sculptor, architect and father.

The internationally celebrated Cassatt String Quartet will be featured. Established in 1985, the Cassatt String Quartet has collaborated with a vast array of artists and Pulitzer Prize-winning composers. Named three times by The New Yorker magazine's Best Of The Year CD Selection, the Cassatt has recorded more than 25 commercial releases for the Koch, Naxos, New World, Albany and CRI Labels; and can be found on YouTube.

Scheduled string quartets of the featured guest composers include Ellen Taaffe Zwilich’s “Voyage”; Dan Visconti’s “Black Bend”; Chris Rogerson’s String Quartet No. 2; and Kaminsky’s String Quartet No. 6, “Rising Tide,” all Maine premieres, as well as the world premiere performance of “Pulse-Space” by Hannah Lash.

Rebecca Allan, a New York-based visual artist and art critic, will lead a workshop in drawing and painting during the festival, as well as hold pre-concert talks about the work on exhibit at each gallery where the Cassatt String Quartet is performing. Immersing individuals in the making of art, as well as simply in its appreciation, is an exciting new dimension of the Seal Bay Music Festival and one that guarantees a dynamic week of creative discovery for all who participate.

Concerts are: Friday, July 15, at 7 p.m. at Colby College’s Lorimer Chapel in Waterville, as guests of the Atlantic Music Festival; Tuesday, July 19, at 7 p.m. at the New Era Gallery on Vinalhaven; Wednesday, July 20, at 6:30 p.m. at Waterfall Arts in Belfast (followed by a wine and cheese reception where the audience can meet the composers and musicians); and Thursday, July 22, at 7 p.m. at Portland's Space Gallery. In addition, there are five composer fellows (Hohstadt, Toren, Tanaka, Slonezewski and Nourbakhsh) whose music will be featured in a concert Monday, July 18, at 6 p.m. at Vinalhaven Public Library.

Free outreach concerts will take place Friday, July 15, at 1 p.m. at the Colby College Museum of Art; Wednesday, July 20, at 2:45 p.m. at the Waldo Country General Hospital’s Best Café, Belfast; Thursday, July 21, at 1 p.m. at the Portland Children's Museum; Friday, July 22, at 10:45 a.m. at the Maine Medical Center lobby and at 11:30 a.m. for the Barbara Bush Child Life Program, located in Maine Medical Center.

For more information about the Seal Bay festival or concerts, email or call (718) 825-7528. Information may also be found online at

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