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Skaneateles Festival begins August 8

Four weeks of summer in a land of music

Mike Seeger & company send folk tunes out over the Brook Farm lawn for evening listeners.

Mike Seeger & company send folk tunes out over the Brook Farm lawn for evening listeners.

— Each year more than 7,000 listeners trek to the scenic village of Skaneateles to hear some of today’s finest musicians give intimate performances of masterpieces old and new. The Skaneateles Festival, tucked away in the Finger Lakes, is world-renowned as a rare opportunity to witness extraordinary music-making.

Weekday concerts take place in the acoustic haven of the beautiful First Presbyterian Church, and on Saturdays, listeners roll out the picnic blankets for signature outdoor concerts at the lakeside estate of Brook Farm, where the rolling lawn slopes down to the water itself.

The 2012 Skaneateles Festival runs from Wednesday, Aug. 8, through Saturday, Sept. 1.

Artistic Directors David Ying (cellist) and Elinor Freer (pianist) have crafted four specially-themed weeks designed to delight, enlighten, and inspire:

Week One

Bach and Beyond – Considered to be one of the greatest composers of all time, J.S. Bach took the Baroque to its zenith and created music still unrivaled in its technical, artistic, and spiritual power. The Skaneateles Festival opens the season with a tribute to Bach's genius and influence: his masterpieces are paired with complementing and contrasting musical delights on each successive night.

Week Two

We Shall Overcome – The most engaging music often reflects composers' personal struggles or the external turmoil of the times in which they live. Here the festival presents an exploration of profound and powerful music, from the inner battles of Beethoven, Smetana and Schumann to expressions of faith, war, and social injustice by Bloch, Schulhoff, and the Imani Winds' own Valerie Coleman. In this series of concerts, music becomes the helmsman for the human spirit through its most dangerous and magnificent storms.

Week Three

Tickling the Ivories – Join the festival in its love affair with the keyboard in all its many guises. Don’t let the congeniality of the familiar piano blind you to the charms of its near-and-dear relatives, the organ, harpsichord and accordion. They all make their stage appearances during Week Three, when listeners have the opportunity to hear top performers of these remarkably versatile instruments play in as many styles and combinations as could be conjured, from folk and Baroque to the ever-lovely vocal duet.

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