Summer Music Festival August 10 - 12,
Summer Music Festival Schedule:
Thursday, August 10, Beyond the Aria performance at the Mammoth Lakes Foundation Edison Theater to benefit the ESS
An innovative mix of opera, cabaret and more featuring artists and alumni from the Lyric Opera of Chicago's Ryan Opera Center, curated and hosted by pianist Craig Terry. General Admission includes appetizers and wine before the performance.
Friday, August 11, FREE Community Concert conducted by Edwin Outwater
Music by Mozart, Barber and Gabriela Lena Frank. Featuring Horton Kohl violin soloist Amy Sze, tenor Jonathan Johnson and composer Gabriela Lena Frank.
Saturday, August 12, Festival Concert conducted by Edwin Outwater
Music by Dvorak. Schumann, Mahler, Barber and Jessie Montgomery. Featuring baritone Hugh Russell and soprano Diana Newman.
Friday and Saturday Concerts at St. Joseph's Catholic Church, Mammoth Lakes
The Sierra Summer Festival is the oldest summer festival in Mammoth Lakes. When it started, it encompassed many different genres of music and even some other arts, but it has recently coalesced into a professional symphony orchestra festival. The Eastern Sierra Symphony 2015 concerts were, by all reports, the highest quality symphony concerts ever heard in Mammoth Lakes. This summer, thanks in part to the funds from the TOML, SSF/ESS was able to invite three times as many professional musicians as had ever performed there before. In addition, the Symphony was able to expand the orchestra fellowship program which brings talented pre-professional musicians up to Mammoth to sit side-by-side with the seasoned professionals. The combination of the youthful enthusiasm with the professional’s experience produced a feeling of electric excitement felt by all of the audience.
This program is not only unique to the Eastern Sierra, it is practically unique to the country. There is no other side-by-side program that we are aware of that keeps the professionals, the pre-professionals, and the students all working together for the entirety of the festival. In the summer of 2015, the youngest member of the orchestra was 9 years old, and the oldest was in his 70s. Creating this unique dynamic and learning experience has been a goal of the Sierra Summer Festival for several years, and it is gratifying and rewarding that SSF was able to create this quality learning experience and concert week.
This year the audiences were larger than they have ever been, and still to this day SSF is receiving notes and emails talking about the high level of the concerts and the musicianship of the participants. Over the last ten years, the Town of Mammoth Lakes has been developing an ever more sophisticatedclassical music culture. The Sierra Summer Festival’s Eastern Sierra Symphony is a unique resource for audiences and students that they otherwise could find only in the larger metropolitan areas.
The support from the community is evidenced by the hundreds of hours that people donate to the festival. Indeed, the volunteer base is the reason that the SSF exists and at such a high level. SSF estimates that volunteers donate some 1,200 hours of time per year to the administration and planning for the festival, and at least half of the musicians’ housing is donated as well. This allows SSF to spend the monies given by the Town of Mammoth Lakes and others on the most important ingredient for the success of the festival: the world-class musicians.
The Symphony is in the process of hiring a new music director who has both a national and an international reputation which will further enhance the festival’s value to the community as well as the artistic level of the symphony. Continued support from the TOML will be instrumental in maintaining the high professional quality that has been established at the Eastern Sierra Symphony.
SSF is proud that its audiences and performers came from as far as Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Reno, as well as locally from the 395 corridor and from Mammoth Lakes. SSF organized busses of retirees to facilitate their attendance and also reached out to the large group of students studying string musical instruments in the Town of Mammoth Lakes.
The Eastern Sierra Symphony/SSF side-by-side program would be unique anywhere. That it is located more than 200 miles from the nearest professional symphony orchestra in a beautiful setting and in a community that supports and loves the symphony makes it unparalleled. SSF has been able to leverage the existing resources of the Eastern Sierra Symphony to form an orchestra that rivals any large Symphony Orchestra in the United States. Indeed, members of the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the San Francisco Symphony, having heard of the high level of playing this past summer, are now asking to be included in the 2016 season.
Public monies allocated to this non-profit arts organization, along with the vision and the hard work of many people, has created an world-class symphony orchestra coupled with a conservatory-level training program in Mammoth Lakes. This is the perfect place to have year-round arts programming. The town is showing its support by moving forward with a performing arts venue. The Eastern Sierra Symphony is a critical part of the fine-arts picture in the Eastern Sierra, and, with support, will continue to grow and innovate, providing wonderful, educational programming, and, for many, the only chance they have to hear live Symphonic music.