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Killington Music Festival: Music in the Mountains

Killington Music Festival brings world-class music education and classical music concerts to Central Vermont


STORY BY BENJAMIN LERNER


In the heart of the summer, Killington Music Festival (KMF) will bring glorious classical music performances to the storied slopes of Pico Mountain and the nearby town of Rutland. Their enthralling “Music in the Mountains” concert series runs every Saturday from June 24 -July 22 at Pico Mountain Lodge at 7PM, providing local community members and visitors with cultural experiences that are truly elevated in every sense. Over the past four decades, KMF has built an established legacy of musical excellence. They have hosted exceptional classical music programs in Central Vermont every summer since 1982, which have served as anchoring highlights of the regional cultural calendar.

KMF’s Resident Artist program is comprised of gifted high school, college, and graduate

school-aged musicians, who represent a broad spectrum of nationalities and experience levels. Every summer, Resident Artists travel to the fabled foothills of Killington Resort with the intention of bettering their musical skillset. While there, they work with KMF’s esteemed faculty members, who also hold positions at vaunted music education institutions such as The Juilliard School, Peabody Institute, New England Conservatory, and The Manhattan School of Music. This year, KMF’s Artistic Director, Daniel Andai—a marvelous violinist—will be joined by acclaimed violist Amadi Azikiwe, star pianists Simon Ghraichy and Reed Tetzloff, and many others. Their phenomenal skills will be expertly displayed at the highly-anticipated Music in the Mountains concerts, such as the Season Opener on June 24, which features Beethoven’s timeless and poignant Spring Sonata. Additional concert highlights include a performance of York Bowen’s Fantasy Quintet for Bass Clarinet and Strings (July 1), and a dynamic concert where Reed Tetzloff will perform solo pieces and join the faculty in chamber music performances (July 8).

Though the high-profile performances by world-renowned virtuosos are certainly inspiring, the backbone of KMF’s educational program is built around the Young Artists Concert Series, which begins with three consecutive Friday concerts at 7PM on June 30, July 7, and July 14. The Friday primetime performances by KMF’s Resident Artists will be followed by two additional Young Artists Concerts on July 19 and July 20 at 7PM, which lead up to the final Music in the Mountains Performance on July 22. At the concerts, Resident Artists perform technically-demanding chamber music repertoire on the same stage where their faculty counterparts hold the Music in the Mountains Concerts. According to Daniel Andai, Resident Artists need more than masterful musical technique to complete a successful performance. “It requires collaborative skills, executive function, confidence, and communication.” Andai believes that the Young Artists Concerts are a tool that assists KMF’s faculty in furthering their greater mission of musical education. “I tell the students that the concerts are labs,” says Andai. “The goal is to give them a safe, respectful environment where they can learn how to perform under pressure, overcome their nerves, and test things out. We make sure that the faculty that we have on the mountain are nurturing in their approach. Our Resident Artists should be building confidence in themselves throughout the course of the festival—we want to teach them skills that go far beyond the music, so that they can fully commit to their future artistic, personal, and professional goals.”


Resident Artists will also be given the opportunity to share their music with the local community through two additional Student Outreach concerts at the Rutland Free Library on July 12 and July 19. KMF’s Executive Director, Maria Fish, says that the Student Outreach concerts hold a special place in her heart. “They offer local residents and community members a chance to experience the transformative power of classical music.” In the past, KMF has performed free concerts at nursing homes, Rutland Regional Medical Center, Boys & Girls Clubs, and similar organizations. “Our Resident Artists often perform for people who have never seen a live concert before,” adds Fish. “It’s a life-changing experience for both the Resident Artists and the community members who get to see them perform.” Fish also touts the scenic beauty of KMF’s surrounding environment, and believes that it plays an important role in strengthening the Resident Artists’ creative growth. “The natural sites and hiking trails around the campus are absolutely phenomenal. There’s nothing better than walking out in the woods around Killington, taking in the sights, and coming back grateful and refreshed.”

At the conclusion of every KMF season, the faculty and Resident Artists return to their respective communities with an expanded cultural perspective and strengthened artistic sensibilities. Andai says that the overall KMF experience is designed to motivate Resident Artists to engage with their communities on multiple levels, both artistic and otherwise. “Here at KMF, we believe that when Resident Artists go back home, the education that they receive here is entirely transferable. The ideas and skills that we teach transfer deeply to the core of our students, and they pass on the nurturing encouragement that they receive at KMF to those who need it most in their own communities.” Andai and Fish don’t just want to catalyze musical change through KMF’s programming – they also hope to directly influence positive social change, human growth, and personal development. “We use the masterclasses, private lessons, and rehearsals to reinforce themes of communication, mutual respect, and accountability,” says Fish. “That’s why we get so excited about our festival. It’s about much more than just the music.”


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