Bloomington's abuzz about more than parking this summer.
The IU Summer Music Festival kicked off June 17, showcasing once again the phenomenal musical skill that floods this landlocked city through the Jacobs School of Music.
Running through Aug. 4, this 30-event festival blends the sounds of summer with the flair of students, faculty, conductors and internationally renowned alumni alike.
Hosted by the music school, this annual event will satisfy the pickiest music connoisseur's hunger with a combination of diverse performances, from orchestral concert bands to solo artists to opera theater productions.
The Kalichstein-Laredo-Robinson Trio launched the festival on June 17 at Auer Hall. Trio members include faculty members violinist Jaime Laredo and cellist Sharon Robinson, along with pianist Joseph Kalichstein.
They performed the works of Beethoven, Danielpour and Brahms. Though this is its debut IU Summer Music Festival performance, the ensemble celebrates its 30th anniversary this year.
Several other trios will make their way to Bloomington within the next month and a half for the festival, including the energetic Weiss-Kaplan-Newman trio. Violinist Mark Kaplan and pianist Yael Weiss, two recent additions to the Jacobs School faculty, bring with them cellist Clancy Newman.
In addition to the list of ensembles is the Watts-Shifrin-Wiley Trio, a combination of two Avery Fisher Prize winners - pianist Andre Watts and clarinetist David Shifrin - along with Avery Fisher Grant cellist Peter Wiley.
Most anticipated is a Grammy-award winning male ensemble of 12, Chanticleer, a surprise addition to the festival.
The San Francisco-based group includes a Jacobs School alumnus and will perform a single concert on July 6 before continuing on tour.
The Festival Jazz Orchestra, led by jazz educator and composer and Pulitzer Prize nominee David Baker, will perform on July 16.
This traditional event marks the return of IU alumni who have entered the world of jazz performances elsewhere and are uniting once again for this performance.
The Beaux Arts Trio, July 8 and 9, will be among the chamber music ensemble performances filling Auer Hall throughout the festival.
Others include the young Biava Quartet on June 18, 24, 29 and July 5; the American Chamber Players on June 19; and the Penderecki Quartet on June 24 and 27.
These groups, composed primarily of students and faculty, spent the past year in preparation for this festival.
The Seventh USA International Harp Competition will feature harpist and Jacobs Distinguished Professor Susann McDonald, who founded the competition in 1989. It has grown into one of the largest and most prestigious in the world.
The Festival Orchestra, held in the Musical Arts Center, will be led by world-famous conductors Michael Stern, director of the Kansas City Symphony; internationally known Roberto Abbado; and David Robertson, conductor of the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra.
Their performances will include Rachmaninoff's Third Symphony, as well as Mahler's Fourth and Fifth. The orchestra consists of Jacobs faculty and students.
Performing Liadov's Kikimora and more will be the Symphony Orchestra, led by conductor Cliff Colnot.
Free sunset band concerts held outside of the Musical Arts Center will feature solo performances, marches, light classics and popular favorites.
The festival boasts a full slate of premier solists.
Among them are violinists Carole Cole, Sara Kapustin, Soovin Kim and Vilmos Szabadi; violists Atar Arad and Evelina Chao; cellist Csaba Onczay; double bassist Peter Lloyd; and pianists Chih-Yi Chen, Christopher Harding, Jeannette Koekkoek, Yong Hi Moon, Tali Morgulis, Ann Schein and Corey Smythe.
Bringing the festival to a close, the IU Opera Theater will perform Gaetano Donizetti's The Elixir of Love, a romantic tale about the confusion of love.
While most of the events are free, some require tickets. A festival pass, available online and at the performances, is open to the general public at a discount of up to 50 percent.
Ashley Deon can be reached at .