Endless Mountain Music Festival spans states

The Endless Mountain Music Festival, a festival featuring the finest classical and contemporary compositions, will perform its eighth season this year in Wellsboro, Mansfield, Blossburg, Troy, Canton, Pa., and Corning and Elmira, N.Y. A total of 16 concerts will be offered during the 2013 season of the festival.

The festival is a community endeavor, a nonprofit organization and is under charge of internationally recognized conductor Maestro Stephen Gunzenhauser. The event will feature world- renowned guest artists, festival orchestra and chamber music concerts, solo recitals, performance previews and receptions with the musicians.

The Endless Mountain Music Festival also will present six “Inspirational” concerts specifically for their younger and senior audiences, according to their official information website.

Born in New York, Maestro Gunzenhauser is a graduate of the city’s High School of Music and Art. He received a bachelor’s degree in music from Oberlin College, along with a master’s degree in music from the New England Conservancy. He also holds an honorary doctorate degree from Widener University and an artist’s diploma from the Mozarteum in Salzburg, Austria.

Boasting the perfect small town charm and breathtaking scenery, the idea for the festival was born in the summer of 2003, Gunzenhauser visited the area for a week along with his wife, Rochelle. Gunzenhauser was taken aback by the scenery of the region and figured that the area’s vast mountains, surrounded by a brook and enchanted with the gas-lit Main Street of Wellsboro, would be perfect for a classical music festival.

The couple took their idea to the Wellsboro Chamber of Commerce, then to Dr. Kenneth Sarch, the Mansfield University music professor, and his wife, Margarita, the Wellsboro Community Symphony Orchestra conductor. With much support from the community, a board of directors was born along with the classical festival itself.

David Morris, from the festivals official board of directors, said that the festival features, “first class, world class musicians coming from the Commonwealth, as well as coming nationally.”

The festival will kick off at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at the Steadman Theatre in Mansfield University, Mansfield, with a performance by the Festival String Orchestra. Opening night will begin with an exchange of musical thoughts in Vaughn Williams’ Fantasia on a theme by Thomas Tallis.

As they move from English Renaissance to Baroque, the orchestra will present Bach’s piano concert in F minor. Next, the harp is featured as they perform Debussy’s “Danse sacre’e et profane.” The first evening of the classical festival will end with Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto in D minor. The Festival String Orchestra will again perform at 7:30 p.m. the next night, Sunday, at the Corning Museum of Glass Auditorium, Corning, N.Y.

There will be concerts featured every night until Aug. 11 in different regions of the Northern Tier of Pa. and the Southern tier of N.Y., with the closing night of Aug. 11 having the Festival String Orchestra perform in the Endless Mountain Festival’s hometown of Wellsboro.

The “Inspiration” Concert series, which is free for all ages, will be held four days, starting at the Westfield Child Development Center in Wellsboro at 11 a.m. on Monday, then at the Memorial Library in Blossburg on Tuesday, at 10 a.m., then again that day at 2 p.m. at Mansfield YMCA, Aug. 5 at the Southeast Streuben County Library in Corning at 11 a.m., then later the same day at the Rockwell Museum of Western Art, Corning at 2 p.m., concluding Aug. 6, at the Deane Center Lobby, Wellsboro, at 11 a.m.

Guest artists for this season’s festival include virtuoso Robert Bokor, Mezzo-Soprano Ruth Kenote, pianist Adam Mahonske, pianist Santiago Rodriguez and pianist Bram Wijands.

All tickets are available at Canton Independent-Sentinel/Troy Gazette-Register office, (Canton) and MC Insurance Office (Troy).

For more information about the schedule and history of the festival and its participants, visit www.endlessmountain. net or call 787-7800.