The first week of Salt Bay Chamberfest’s 24th festival, “Troubadours & Tangos,” is underway. The Friday, Aug. 10, evening concert is the second of four taking place at Darrows Barn at Round Top Farm and will feature a number of new performers.
Issam Rafea, a renowned performer and educator of Middle Eastern music in both Syria and the U.S., will bring the oud (Middle Eastern lute) to Salt Bay Chamberfest for the first time. The oud dates to ancient Egypt, and its haunting and beautiful sound will be on full display in traditional improvisations and original compositions by Rafea.
Friday’s concert also features the young pianist and composer Conrad Tao. Only 24 years old, Tao has already been commissioned to write a piece for the New York Philharmonic, among other ensembles. Like Rafea, he will be performing his own solo works as well as collaborating with other musicians including his frequent duo partner, violinist Stefan Jackiw.
This night’s concert features the works of Tárrega - “Capricho árabe,” Rafea - “Al Jamal” and “Ala Ajaleh”), Tao - “Duo,” Kreisler - “La Gitana,” and Ravel - “Alborada del gracioso” and the “Piano Trio in A minor.”
On Tuesday, Aug. 14, the third concert of the Festival will star the Brentano String Quartet in its first of two Darrows Barn performances. The ensemble, a frequent and favorite presence at Salt Bay Chamberfest, will present part of its project titled “Lamentations.” Mark Steinberg, first violinist of the Quartet, writes in its program notes, “This program of lamentations celebrates that art of cathartic expression in songs of lamentation … evincing strength and vulnerability in equal measure, through the intimacy and immediacy of the string quartet.”
This program features works by Purcell - “Dido’s Lament;” Haydn - “Seven Last Words of Christ;” Shostakovich - “Elegy;” various madrigals by Gesualdo; Carter - “Elegy;” and Lekeu - “Molto Adagio” performed by the Brentano String Quartet; and Franck’s “Piano Quintet in F minor” performed by the Quartet and pianist Thomas Sauer.
Salt Bay Chamberfest is presenting four performers/composers this year, all performing their own compositions for Damariscotta audiences: Julien Labro, accordion (Aug. 8); Issam Rafea, oud and Conrad Tao, piano (Aug.10); and Steven Mackey, electric guitar (Aug.17).
Tickets are $35 for adults, and $5 for students. For more information and a full schedule of events, visit www.saltbaychamberfest.org, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or by calling 207-522-3749. The Darrows Barn is located at 110 Belvedere Rd., Damariscotta.