Daniel Andai, Killington Music Festival’s artistic director and concertmaster of the Miami Symphony, first came to the festival as a young violin student from Florida.
“In fact, I can recall a Dohnanyi quintet being performed, and being mesmerized by the faculty who were performing — and I still remember the feeling I had.
“So I know that the work we do is impactful,” he said recently by phone.
Andai will be joined by French pianist Simon Ghraichy in César Franck’s Sonata in A major for Violin and Piano at 7 p.m. Saturday, June 29, at Killington Resort’s Ramshead Lodge, opening the festival’s “Music and the Mountains” series of faculty concerts.
“I’m excited about hearing Dani play. He’s an excellent violinist,” Maria Fish, Killington’s longtime executive director, said.
Ghraichy will perform solo works during the first half of the concert. He will also conduct a master class for Killington piano students, open to the pubic, 4 to 5 p.m. Tuesday, July 2, at Ramshead.
Now in its 37th season, Killington Music Festival, a chamber music school for high school through graduate school instrumentalists, will present its “Music and the Mountains” faculty concerts at 7 p.m. Saturdays through July 27. Young Artists concerts are at 7 p.m. Fridays, July 5, 12, 19, Wednesday, July 24, and Thursday, July 25, also at Ramshead.
“The times have changed, and the way that we interact with students has also changed,” Andai said. “We have had to become more creative. I feel that faculty today have to be more aware of the world, and that students have more information than they ever had. We just always have to remember to break it down to the essentials.”
Essential is tradition — but how it fits into the 21st century — “so that the things that they do feel relevant in their lives and not just something that we feel passionate about,” Andai said.
Some 40 music students — strings, piano and woodwinds (oboe, flute and clarinet) — are about to descend upon Killington Resort to spend five weeks immersed in classical music, chamber music in particular.
The young instrumentalists practice and rehearse in chamber groups during the day, at which time they may have individual lessons. Master classes (open to the public) are afternoons and evenings. Chamber groups meet daily, six days a week.
“These are serious musicians, but we sometimes go to the rec department; we do field trips on Sundays; they go hiking,” Fish said. “This is a gorgeous state, so we try to show them some of that beauty.”
The practicing and rehearsing isn’t only for themselves. In addition to the free Young Artist concerts at Ramshead, the students perform outreach concerts at Rutland Regional Medical Center, senior centers, Boys & Girls Club of Rutland County and Marble Valley Correctional Center, among others. The Young Artists also perform free concerts at Rutland Free Library at noon Wednesdays, July 17 and 24.
“It gives the students performance opportunities, and I like that they’re giving back to the community,” Fish said.
And not only the Killington-Rutland area community.
“One of my favorite things is when the students take back the knowledge they learn at Killington and make their communities better too,” Andai said. “I think that’s what makes Killington special.”
Still, Killington’s public face is the “Music on the Mountain” series by the festival’s international faculty. On July 6, “Third Time’s a Charm,” features Dvorak’s Terzetto, Mendelssohn’s Piano Trio in D minor, and Schoenfield’s “Café Music.”
In “Winds through Green Mountains,” July 13, the wind faculty perform music by composers new to Killington, Kokai and Moeran, while other faculty perform Saint-Saëns and Chopin. On July 20, “Remembrance” focuses on those who inspired some of the most influential compositions today, including Shostakovich’s String Quartet No. 7, Barber’s Adagio (from his string quartet), and Glinka’s Grand Sextet.
“Grand Finale at Ramshead Lodge,” July 27, features a string quartet of faculty members with young guest violin soloist Virgil Boutellis-Taft. He will perform Vitali’s Chaconne, Piazolla’s “Oblivion” and Bach’s Double Concerto with Andai.
“What’s the whole festival centered around?” Andai asked. “Communicating music with other musicians and then transferring that to audiences, which include the community and the students. So everything that feeds that, whether it’s through education or performance.
“The whole idea of communicating music is what the festival is here to do,” Andai said.