Wild Shore Fest starts Saturday

When three expatriate Alaskans and I returned in 2013 to present concerts and workshops of new classical music, the guest musicians were blown away by Homer. But we did not anticipate the overwhelming enthusiasm and participation from the community. 

So we’re back. Wild Shore is presenting concerts and workshops in Seldovia and Homer from July 5-8 (wildshore.org), ending in a community jam session at Down East Saloon (come play with us). But first come hear our guest artists at Bunnell Street Arts Center on Sunday, July 6. The first half of the mainstage program showcases the Grammy-nominated pianist Vicki Ray and vivacious new-music trio Concert Black. We begin with a solo maraca piece that must be seen to be believed. Then Andrew Norman’s Sonnets for bass and piano isolates images from Shakespeare and transforms them into music. Irish composer Donnacha Dennehy blends live and recorded piano to hypnotic effect. Rob Honstein’s Halfway is a soothing, tender work inspired by a wayward dating website message sent to the wrong person.

The second half of the program highlights Alaska composers and connections. Matthew Burtner’s Syntax of Snow bends our ears to the many sounds of snow and their possible meanings. Composer and flutist Jane Rigler, who came to Alaska in 2012 to work with Burtner, employs a Native Alaska vocal game in her percussive and infectious flute duo.My own composition, Getting There, deals with hitting the trail, hitting obstacles, and arriving somewhere unexpected. We close the program with Pulitzer Prize-winning composer David Lang’s bubbly sweet air, and Stephen Feigenbaum’s benedictory Angel, which reminds me of climbing Grace Ridge and staring out across Cook Inlet. 

I hope that you’ll join us on Sunday, July 6, at 2 p.m. or 7 p.m. (two chances to catch the show) for this very special program.

Conrad Winslow