News Column

Multidisciplinary Wintergreen Summer Music Festival examines perception of creativity

June 7, 2013

YellowBrix

June 07--While you're looking through the new Wintergreen Summer Music Festival schedule, seeing different compositions and performers listed might send your mind wandering through your visual memory bank. That just means you're already getting into the festival spirit.

This year's theme, "In My Mind's Eye: Image, Imagery and Imagination in the Arts," takes its name from a line in "Hamlet." Perception of creativity can be just as important as creativity itself, and both are worth a little closer examination, composer Larry Alan Smith said.

"As we look into the mind of the creator, we see almost endless possibilities," said Smith, the festival's artistic and executive director. "That's kind of what we're exploring."

As 232 events unfold between July 8 and Aug. 4 at the Wintergreen Resort, in surrounding Nelson County and a couple of Charlottesville locations, expect to see and hear plenty of connections -- and draw your own conclusions.

"Upon Second Hearing," for instance, will give listeners two chances to hear a new composition -- once without any information shared other than the fact that composer Michael White penned it for string trio, and then again after a panel discussion with the composer and Wintergreen Chamber Players performers. The program for the concert, set for 7:30 p.m. July 15 at the Big Red Barn at Rodes Farm in Nellysford, also will include Mark O'Connor's "F.C.'s Jig" and Antonin Dvorak's "String Quartet in E-flat Major, Op. 97, B. 180."

"We're not going to tell anything about the piece" before the first performance, Smith said with a smile. "To me, as a composer, it's interesting. What do people perceive when they listen to my music? When do they see art?"

Similar issues are considered in Yasmina Reza's award-winning play "Art," which will be presented July 30 through Aug. 3. When a man sinks a lot of cash into a canvas depicting white lines on a white background, the heated exchanges he enters about the work's value and the nature of art itself almost sink some of his best friendships. Stevie Zimmerman will direct Matt Dewberry, Dylan Myers and Frank Britton at the Big Red Barn.

Music in Unusual Places, which takes different combinations of Wintergreen Summer Music Academy musicians to mountain overlooks, lobbies, grocery stores and other offbeat locations, will be popping up on Charlottesville's Downtown Mall this year. If you happen to be near Chroma Projects at 6:30 p.m. July 17, 22, 24, 29 and 30, keep an ear out for the student performers.

And if your mind drifts to the story of Marcel Proust's madeleine and its delectable dance with involuntary memory, get ready for Garden Parties. Following the festival's successes in previous seasons with gelato and other treats, 2013 is "the year of the cupcake," Smith said. Just head to Shamokin Terrace immediately after the Friday night concerts on July 12, 19 and 26 and Aug. 2, where the Cupcake Company of Penn Laird will serve four varieties each week.

"I forced myself to test them," Smith said.

The intersections of artistic creativity and the natural world will be explored by visual artist Karen McCoy and composer Robert Carl. Their Sight and Sound Walks are set for July 22 on Paul's Creek Trail in Stony Point, July 24 at Shamokin Springs Nature Preserve, July 27 at Fringe Tree Overlook on the Appalachian Trail and Aug. 1 on the Old Appalachian Trail.

Both artists use art to respond to cues from the natural world, and McCoy will supply improvised listening devices to help hikers pick up on subtle, influential sounds in the environment. Wear sturdy shoes with good tread and bring water for the hikes, which will be of easy to moderate difficulty.

McCoy's "Humanature" exhibition, which focuses on two decades of work examining the relationship between nature and culture and a series of experiences examining the links between the environment and the human body, can be seen at Chroma Projects from July 5 to Aug. 24. So can "Elemental Encounter" by McCoy and Carl.

A second Charlottesville connection brings the summer festival back to Les Yeux du Monde, where "In My Mind's Eye: Saudi Arabia Through Janice Levy's Lens" will be up through July 16, by appointment only. Levy spent a 10-month sabbatical teaching photography to women in Saudi Arabia, capturing aspects of the desert kingdom rarely seen by women.

Extending the festival's reach into the Shenandoah Valley, artist P. Buckley Moss will be opening the Barn, her Waynesboro home, from July 12 to 14 to meet collectors and sign prints. Academy students are planning two Music in Unusual Places appearances there on July 13.

Another new perspective will be offered by the festival's main concert venue -- the Dunlop Pavilion itself. The rented "tent structure" replaces the Evans Center, which survived last summer's fierce derecho but took such a beating in a later storm that several panels were shredded, Smith said.

The new structure, which will keep seating capacity in the 300- to 400-person range, will face a different direction than its predecessor.

"I think it will be nicer for people. It should have more of a mountain view," Smith said.

It's not too early to take a good look at the schedule at www.wintergreenperformingarts.org, because tickets for many events already are selling briskly. Tickets may be ordered on the website or by calling 325-8292.

Wintergreen Summer Music Festival and Academy

July 8 to Aug. 4

Wintergreen Resort

www.wintergreenperformingarts.org

325-8292

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(c)2013 The Daily Progress (Charlottesville, Va.)

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