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The 38th Annual Rockport Chamber Music Festival runs from June 14 to July 14, with a theme of “Source and Inspiration.” The Festival includes world-renowned artists, as well two August Annex performances by the Handel and Haydn Society and David Finckel and Wu Han.

“This summer we shine a light on the creative process of Source and Inspiration,” says artistic director Barry Shiffman. “In a wide range of programs, our audience will follow a journey that peels back the layers, letting us peek into that creative process. Whether it is seeing a drawing, reading a text, hearing a rhythm, or even being enamored with a personality, inspiration abounds. The potential for inspiration is around us all every day.”

Below are a few highlights to keep an eye out for during the first week of the festival:

On Friday, June 14 at 8 p.m., the Festival Opening Night brings music of the Roaring 20’s with an all-star cast including the Parker Quartet, violinist Blake Pouliot, soprano Cristina Zavalloni, pianist Stephen Prustman and the Vera Quartet. The ensemble brings an evening of music by Ravel, Milhaud, and an original score by Stephen Prutsman performed to Buster Keaton’s 1927 film College, highlighting how the explosion of jazz during the 1920’s inspired classical music and the world around it. Tickets start at $50.

On Saturday, June 15 at 7:30 p.m., the Festival brings music of Mozart and Brahms with the Grammy Award-winning Parker Quartet, currently the Blodgett Artists-in-Residence at Harvard University, along with the New York Philharmonic’s thrilling principal clarinetist Anthony McGill, principal cellist of Camerata Pacifica Ani Aznavoorian, and artistic director (and violist) Barry Shiffman.  

At 10 pm on that Saturday, soprano Cristina Zavalloni, violinist Blake Pouliot and pianist Stephen Prutsman bring aWeimar Cabaret with works of Bartok, Kreisler and a cabaret set with songs by Kurt Weill, Hanns Eisler, N. Schultze, and more.

On Sunday, June 16 at 5 p.m., pianist Barry Douglas, Gold Medalist at the 1986 Tchaikovsky International Piano Competition and currently Artistic Director of Camerata Ireland and the Clandeboye Festival, joins with cellist Ani Aznavoorian and clarinetist Anthony McGill for the Brahms Trio.  He performs works by two of the composers that lead to his historic 1986 Tchaikovsky win—Mussorgsky and Tchaikovsky. Pre-concert talk at 4 p.m. Tickets start at $45.

In the second week of the Festival, on Thursday, June 20 at 8 p.m., violinist Philippe Graffin brings the U.S. Premiere of a lost Ysaÿe work, his Sonata posthume, Op. 27, No. 7 which Graffin completed and performed the world premiere of in 2018. Graffin is joined by pianists Marisa Gupta and Piers Lane and a quartet of violinists Benjamin Bowman, Danny Koo, and Barry Shiffman, and cellist Thomas Wiebe. Tickets start at $47.

On Friday, June 21 at 11 am, all are invited to attend the free film Mountain, a unique cinematic and musical collaboration between the Australian Chamber Orchestra and BAFTA-nominated director Jennifer Peedom. Narrated by Willem Dafoe, the 2017 documentary film shares dazzling images and cinematography of the high peaks and mountains around the world, depicting more than just their tremendous beauty, but representing that “the mountains we climb are not only made of rocks and ice…but also dreams and desires.” Free, no tickets required. 

On Friday evening at 8 p.m., pianist Piers Lane performs the Chopin Nocturnes by candlelight for an intimate evening of music. He has performed five times as soloist at the BBC Proms in London’s Royal Albert Hall and has recently been appointed Artistic Director of the Sydney International Piano Competition. Tickets start at $47.

On Saturday, June 22 at 7:30 p.m., cellist Pieter Wispelwey performs with pianist Pei-Shan Lee and violinist Benjamin Bowman in a program of Brahms, Debussy and Ravel. Cellist Pieter Wispelwey has enjoyed a long, lauded career built upon his ease with both period and modern works, combined with an original interpretative ability and phenomenal technical mastery. His career spans five continents and he has appeared as soloist with many of the world’s leading orchestra, as well as regular recital appearances at some of the world’s finest halls.  Tickets start at $45.

At 10 p.m. on Saturday, June 22, the second Cabaret, Inspired by Beethoven, will be brought by pianists Piers Lane and Andrew Burashko, as well as Barry Shiffman on viola.  Tickets are $25 seated and $10 standing.P

On Sunday, June 23 at 5 p.m., the Art of Time Ensemble from Toronto brings “Hosted by Glenn Gould” with works by Beethoven and Shostakovich. Glenn Gould was known as both a musical genius and a great eccentric. His perspective is presented, via screenings of CBC’s Glenn Gould on Television, as introductions to live performances of chamber music by Shostakovich and Beethoven. The musicians include pianists Andrew Burashk and Pei-Shan Lee, cellist Pieter Wispelwey, violinists Benjamin Bowman and Danny Koo, violist Barry Shiffman, and cellist Thomas Wiebe.  Tickets start at $45.


The 2019 Rockport Chamber Music Festival will bring a musical presence throughout the town with several pop-up concerts around Rockport and Gloucester, family concerts held in the Shalin Liu Performance Center, and the Classical Cabaret series. Additionally, pianist Stephen Prutsman returns, along with the Vera Quartet, with a special outreach program held for the autistic community. Held on Saturday, June 15 at 10 a.m. at the Shalin Liu Performance Center, attendance to the event is coordinated through the North Shore Education Consortium and the Rockport Schools Special Ed department.

Visit or call the box office at 978-546-7391 for more details and ticketing information.