The Manchester Music Festival will raise the curtain on its 45th season of virtuoso classical music at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, July 11 at the Southern Vermont Arts Center.

In a recent interview, Artistic Director Adam Neiman spoke enthusiastically about the star-studded lineup of award-winning musicians he has assembled for the 2019 season. “This season will be one to remember,” Mr. Neiman said. “Some of the finest classical music artists in the world will be here in Manchester and their performances will surely bring audiences to their feet.”

The season lineup includes such luminaries as Jon Nakamatsu, the 1997 gold medal winner of the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition; Alexander Fiterstein, the 2001 winner of the Carl Nielsen International Clarinet Competition; the Ariel Quartet, winner of the 2006 Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition; critically-acclaimed composer Christopher Theofanidis–whose original composition written especially for the Festival will be performed at the opening night concert; and Ignat Solzhenitsyn, principal guest conductor of the Moscow Symphony Orchestra.

Mr. Neiman noted that in addition to the Thursday night concerts, season highlights will include an extraordinary Young Artists series, a family concert, masterclasses, recitals, lectures, the ever-popular “A Night at the Opera,” a culminating orchestral evening, and special opportunities to meet close-up with featured artists in a non-performance setting. On Tuesday, July 9, Mr. Neiman will lead a discussion with Christopher Theofanidis at a Green Mountain Academy event at Burr and Burton Academy. “This will be a chance to learn how musicians–and especially a renowned contemporary composer–think,” he said. 

“We’re also very pleased to announce the formation of a partnership with the Manchester Public Library for this season’s masterclasses,” he said. Eight masterclasses are on MMF’s schedule for the coming season and will be co-presented by the library. “Masterclasses are an insightful forum for an audience to observe a master teacher working closely with members of the MMF Young Artists program. Each participating young artist performs solo selections and the guest teacher guides the student through the process of improving selected aspects of that performance,” Mr. Neiman said. The first two masterclasses of the summer are at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, July 13 with Mr. Nakamatsu and at 1:30 p.m. with the Ariel Quartet. On Saturday evening at 5:30 p.m., Mr. Nakamatsu will be featured at a free recital and Q&A at the Library. These events are free and open to the public.

The Young Artists concert series begins at 4:00 p.m. on Sunday, July 14. These students, aged 18-26, who are on the brink of their international careers, are selected from scores of applicants from around the globe. They receive a full scholarship from MMF which provides them the opportunity to study here in Manchester with visiting guest and faculty artists and to perform live onstage. To kick off the season, the July 14 Young Artists concert features works by Schulhoff, Mozart, Beethoven, Bridge, and Fauré.

Subscriptions and individual tickets to all Manchester Music Festival events are now on sale on the MMF website or by calling the Festival office at 802-362-1956. Tickets to the opening night concert at SVAC are $39 for adults. Tickets to the weekly Young Artists concerts at the Manchester Community Library are $10.