Seeing Sound: Seal Bay Festival

Jul 05, 2018
Photo by: Anna Ablogina Named for the celebrated American impressionist painter, the Cassatt String Quartet features, from left, Ah Ling Neu, viola; Elizabeth Anderson, cello; and Jennifer Leshnower and Muneko Otani, violin.

The 16th Seal Bay Festival of American Chamber Music will open Thursday, July 12, to run through the 21st. The goal of the Vinalhaven-based Seal Bay Festival is to make American chamber music an exciting and vibrant experience for concert audiences, artists, composers, composition students and school children in the storied geographical and cultural setting of coastal Maine.

The 2018 Seal Bay Festival has a Seeing Sound theme; concerts take place in art galleries and museums, each preceded by a talk in the space by a visual artist and art historian. The opening concert is at Barbara Bush Children's Hospital in Portland. Midcoast concerts are on Vinalhaven and in Belfast.

The Seal Bay Festival Composer Institute offers a select group of college and conservatory level composers the opportunity to participate in a series of master classes with distinguished guest faculty composers; and to have their works performed by the resident Cassatt String Quartet and guest artists. The internationally known Cassatt String Quartet has been heard on NPR’s “Performance Today,” Boston’s WGBH and New York’s WQXR and WNYC. They have 30 recordings and have been named three times to Alex Ross’ 10 best classical recordings of the year in The New Yorker Magazine.

In addition to the Cassatt String Quartet, 2018 Seal Bay Festival participants include composers Melinda Wagner, Vineet Shende, Ljova, Gerald Cohen, Daniel Sonenberg, Pablo Aslan, Delvyn Case, Laura Kaminsky and Daniel Strong Godfrey; clarinetist Vasko Dukovski; bassist Pablo Aslan; and visual artist Rebecca Allan.

The Midcoast events are as follows: Sunday, July 15, at 1 p.m., open Cassatt rehearsal at the Vinalhaven Public Library, 6 Carver St., free; at 7 p.m., Partners in Education fundraiser at Coombs Neck, donations for library; Monday, July 16, Composers Institute concert at the Vinalhaven School, 22 Arcola Lane, suggested donation $10; Tuesday, July 17, at 7 p.m., pre-concert gallery talk at New Era Gallery’s Windy Way Barn, 60 Main St., Vinalhaven, followed by 7:30 p.m. concert, $15 (reservations recommended at 863-9351); Wednesday, July 18, at 3:30 p.m., free outreach recital at Waldo County General Hospital, 118 Northport Ave., Belfast; and at 7 p.m., concert at Waterfall Arts, 256 High St., Belfast, $10.

For more information, visit The Seal Bay Festival is supported by The National Endowment for the Arts, Aaron Copland Fund for New Music, Alice M. Ditson Fund for New Music, Amphion Foundation, BMI Foundation, Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation, Maine Arts Commission, Davis Family Foundation, Libra Foundation and Chamber Music America.

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

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