Delaware Chamber Music Festival celebrates 30th anniversary

     The Festival Quartet: L to R, Burchard Tang (Viola), Hirono Oka (Violin), Clancy Newman (Cello), Barbara Govatos (Violin)(photo courtesy of Delaware Chamber Music Festival)

    The Festival Quartet: L to R, Burchard Tang (Viola), Hirono Oka (Violin), Clancy Newman (Cello), Barbara Govatos (Violin)(photo courtesy of Delaware Chamber Music Festival)

    The Music School of Delaware in Wilmington will host the Delaware Chamber Mustic Festival, which kicks off tomorrow night.

    The festival quartet features Barbara Govatos and Hirono Oka, violins; Burchard Tang, viola and Clancy Newman, cello.  They will present four concerts over two weekends—June 12 & 14 and June 19 & 21.

    To mark the three-decade milestone, DCMF music director Govatos has put together a set list featuring works by classical, romantic and contemporary composers, as well as some jazz.

    “It’s a really outstanding program but then I think all my programs are outstanding,” she says.

    • WHYY thanks our sponsors — become a WHYY sponsor

    The June 12th opening concert will pair Schubert’s much loved Piano Quintet in A Major, (“The Trout”) with Gaspar Cassado’s Piano Trio, a work that combines Shostakovich-like intensity with Spanish melodies in a powerfully virtuosic way.

    On Sunday, June 14th, audiences will hear guest pianists Charles Abramovic and Alexandre Moutouzkine join forces to perform Brahms’ “St. Anthony Variations” and Brubeck’s ballet

    “Points on Jazz”. “It’s very classical but with Brubeck jazz in it, like “Blue Rondo a la Turk” which is probably his most famous piece,” says Govatos.

    Govatos says it should be an interesting performance by two very versatile artists, “Charlie plays a lot of modern music but is also at home with classical and romantic music, so it’s great we’re going to see both sides of Charlie. Alexandre is a fabulous Russian pianist with ‘fingers-on-fire’ who also likes jazz.”

    Abramovic and Govatos will also perform Heidi Jacob’s “Winter Light”, as the festival reaffirms its commitment to women composers.

    “She’s always doing something different,” says Govatos. “This piece was inspired by the Ingmar Bergman film of the same name.”

    A themed concert—”A Little Night Music”—opens the festival’s second weekend.

    “It’s different composers’ takes on their ideas of the music they hear in the night,” says Govatos.

    Mozart’s iconic serenade “Eine Kleine Nachtmusik” is on the bill, as is George Crumb’s “Four Nocturnes” for violin and piano, a contemporary American composition featuring all manner of playing and a wide range of dynamics.

    “There’s strumming and plucking of the strings inside the piano,” says Govatos. “He uses every technique imaginable. It’s a very challenging piece to play but I think the audience will like it.”

    The festival closes with a program of Janacek (String Quartet No. 1, “Kreutzer Sonata”) and Smetana (String Quartet, “From My Life”). The musicians will read from the composers’ personal letters to give the audience some background on the works.

    “We do spoken program notes,” says Govatos. “I think it’s much more intimate to have the perspective of the musicians who are about to play the piece talk about it a little bit.”

    As in the past, the DCMF is inviting young artists to participate. This year double bassists Xavier Foley and Newark, Del. native Brent Edmondson will perform.

    Edmonson was inspired to pursue a career in music when the DCMF visited his middle school as part of their outreach program. He now serves as principal double bassist with the Lancaster Symphony and the Philadelphia Philharmonic.

    “It’s not so often that you get to plant some seeds and get to see some results,” says Govatos. “It’s so satisfying.”



    For program details, performance dates and times and to purchase tickets go to

    Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

    Together we can reach 100% of WHYY’s fiscal year goal