For the past 12 years, I?ve been captivated by the incredible beauty of the five world class trout rivers nestled in the valleys of these magnificent Catskill Mountains. Throughout history composers and performing artists alike have drawn some of their greatest inspiration from environments such as these. Even in my own lifetime my summer musical experiences were inextricably associated with beautiful locations including Aspen, the Adirondacks, and the Alps. The desire to create an enclave for artists and a series of concerts was a direct outgrowth of that synergy between nature and the creative process.
So, in 2009 my friend, Matt Batschelet, General Manager of the West Branch Resort, and I took the plunge into inaugurating the West Branch International Music Festival with a series of two concerts. The next step was easy, as I have over the years enjoyed collaboration with some of the best chamber music colleagues anyone can hope for. In no time, nine distinguished artists were signed on and in the process for preparing the inaugural season began. As 2009 was the bicentennial of Mendelssohn?s birth, his music featured heavily on our programming. The response from the community and the attending artists was overwhelming. But, for me, an important element of the festival was missing. Partnering with and mentoring of young talent has always been extremely important to me, and an extremely important part of my musical life and that of my colleagues. We felt a broader mission to include a high-level training program and academy with a low student to teacher ratio would suit this need. The addition of the academy, transforming the West Branch International Music Festival to the West Branch International Music Festival and Academy would provide additional exciting young artist performances and fulfill artists? obligation to pass on the traditions of western classical music to new generations. As the festival and academy develop it is our further hope to introduce other disciplines and forms including Jazz, Blue Grass, Country and more.
Please explore the festival gallery to view concerts, artists, photos, and testimonials from 2009.
I hope you enjoy this years musical offerings!