Manchester Music Festival (MMF) is pleased to announce the world premiere of an original composition by critically-acclaimed composer Christopher Theofanidis at its 2019 season opening concert on Thursday, July 11. 

This composition is the first piece ever commissioned by the Manchester Music Festival. It was made possible by the generous sponsorship of the James H. and Irene M. Hunter Charitable Trust. Theofanidis’s past commissions include compositions for the American Ballet Theatre, Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, and the San Francisco and Houston Grand Opera companies.

 “We are extremely grateful for the generosity of the Hunter Charitable Trust," said Adam Neiman, MMF artistic director. "Contributing to the music of our time is a moral imperative for any world-class festival. A commission by one of America's most celebrated contemporary composers truly embodies the legacy of MMF as a leading American music festival and we are honored that Mr. Theofanidis will be present to introduce the work himself.”

Theofanidis is composer-in-residence at the Aspen Music Festival and serves on the faculty of Yale University. He received a 2017 Grammy nomination for Best Contemporary Composition. His original works have been performed by major orchestras around the globe, including the London Symphony, New York Philharmonic, and Philadelphia Orchestra.

The Festival piece, Quintet for Clarinet and String Quartet (2019), will debut at the Southern Vermont Arts Center’s Arkell Pavilion with Theofanidis in attendance.   It will be performed by clarinetist Alexander Fiterstein, winner of the 2001 Carl Nielsen International Clarinet Competition,  alongside the Ariel Quartet, winners of the  2006 Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition.  Theofanidis’s composition bears programmatic titles for each of its three movements: I. The War in Heaven; II. Aria For a Lost Beauty; and III. Fire and Magic.

In addition to the premiere of the composition, the opening night of the festival promises to be a glittering evening, featuring masterworks by Brahms, Schubert, and Schumann, and boasting a lineup of virtuoso artists in addition to Fiterstein and the Ariel Quartet, including pianist Jon Nakamatsu, 1997 Van Cliburn International Piano Competition Gold Medalist,  and violist Toby Appel of the The Juilliard School faculty.

Tickets are $39 and are now available online or by calling the Festival office at 802-362-1956.

The community will also  have the opportunity to spend an evening with Theofanidis through a partnership between MMF and Green Mountain Academy for Lifelong Learning. Together, they will present “In Conversation with Composer Christopher Theofanidis” on Tuesday, July 9 at 5:30 p.m. at Burr & Burton Academy. The program will also feature Adam Neiman as a guest speaker. Advance tickets to the GMALL event are $15 and available online at