Music appreciation

A packed July for the Martha’s Vineyard Chamber Music Society.


The Martha’s Vineyard Chamber Music Society (MVCMS) has quite the lineup for summer 2023, with one hit after another coming in July. MVCMS board president Kim Baumhofer discussed the schedule of stellar performances.

To begin, the Manhattan Chamber Players Clarinet Quintet (MCP) perform at the Chappaquiddick Community Center on July 15, and at the Old Whaling Church on July 16. The quintet is a collective of New York–based musicians who share the common aim of performing the greatest works in the chamber repertoire at the highest level. Audiences will hear Mozart’s “Clarinet Quintet in A major,” and Johannes Brahms’ “Clarinet Quintet in B minor, Op. 111.”

Formed in 2015 by artistic director and violist Luke Fleming, MCP is made up of an impressive roster of musicians who are current and former members of numerous chamber music ensembles. All MCP members have independent careers as soloists and chamber musicians, but strive to take advantage of the opportunity to come together for this special collaboration.

Two special-event concerts are up next, the first of which welcomes back the MVCMS’ summer family programming. On July 22 at the Performing Arts Center, David Gonzalez, known for his funky, family-friendly poetry and education programs for students, will tell the story of Camille Saint-Saëns’ “Carnival of the Animals,” transcribed for solo piano and played by Frederic Chiu. Using the music as a source of inspiration, Gonzalez shapes a uniquely delightful path into the lyricism of the famed suite where each poem is embodied in Saint-Saëns’ music. While the performance is a joyful introduction to the possibilities of classical music for children, it will be a musical treat for any age.

“Mr. Gonzalez has the gift of creating magical worlds and drawing his audience into them,” the New York Times said, and “BBC Music Magazine” called Chiu “a stunningly virtuosic pianist with a dynamic range that almost defies the capabilities of modern recording techniques.”

On July 23, Chiu will perform solo at the Old Whaling Church, in an evening which will feature an interactive dialogue where Chiu asks the audience to vote for their favorite composer across three categories that will be explored together: earliest pieces, major contributions, and “rondo versus rondeau.”

On July 29, a quartet from A Far Cry, a chamber orchestra based in Boston, will perform at the Chappaquiddick Community Center. The group will offer another program that features the music of young composers on July 30 at the Chilmark Community Center. The performance will include Caroline Shaw’s “Plan and Elevation: The Grounds of Dumbarton Oaks,” Antonin Dvořák’s “String Quartet No. 12 in F major,” and Quinn Mason’s “String Quartet No. 2.”

A Far Cry has been referred to as a worldwide phenomenon by Boston’s WBUR, and received two Grammy nominations for their 2018 album “Visions and Variations.” The group has nurtured a distinct approach to musicmaking since its founding in 2007, and offers consistently thoughtful, innovative, and impactful collaborations with celebrated performers and composers.

“We didn’t know that A Far Cry was going to play these young composers, but it makes a nice combination of pieces across the concerts,” said Baumhofer.

Let music be the muse this season with MVCMS’s glorious offerings for all tastes and ages.

See for performances by the Martha’s Vineyard Chamber Music Society, and for those at the Chappaquiddick Community Center.