35th Annual Virginia Best Adams Masterclass

Nola Richardson & David Newman

With only a few days away from opening night at the 2019 Carmel Bach Festival, we had an opportunity yesterday afternoon at First Presbyterian Church in Carmel to observe the first in the series of the Virginia Best Adams Masterclasses. As in previous years, it was a moving experience to hear four exciting young singers in the early stages of their careers. Presiding master class teacher David Newman, addressing the singers seated in the first row, informed them, “A few decades ago I was siting where you are now as a young Virginia Best Adams Fellow.”

During the twenty years that Franz Liszt was resident in Weimar, he remarked to a friend that as he walked the cobbled streets of Weimar he often felt the presence of Johann Sebastian Bach. Today, as spectators to the latest round of Virginia Best Adams Fellows, we felt the presence of David Gordon, whose absence this year invokes many memories of his guiding spirit over three decades that helped elevate the Adams Masterclasses to the status they enjoy today.

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Archived in these categories: Baroque, Master class, Vocal


Carmel Bach Festival 2018 – Virginia Best Adams Vocal Master Class

David Gordon, Master Class Director

This year’s sessions of the Adams Master Class are being led by Master Class Director David Gordon, Festival Associate Conductor Andrew Megill and Festival Vocalists Mhairi Lawdon, Meg Bragle and David Newman. I was fortunate enough to be able to attend the last of the sessions on Thursday, July 26, at Carmel Presbyterian Church in Carmel. The culmination of these sessions will be the Virginia Best Adams Masterclass Showcase Concert at 1:30 pm on Saturday afternoon, July 28, also at Carmel Presbyterian.

All too often master classes involve distinguished performers lording it over young students, who become victims of the master class teacher’s vanity and ego. Nothing could be further from the truth during the Adams master classes. The participants we heard today are young professionals already successful in their careers, and the Adams Master Classes represent advanced coaching from a seasoned professional to younger colleagues. The interaction between David Gordon and the young young singers was always warm, courteous, respectful and gently inspiring.

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Archived in these categories: Baroque, Carmel Bach Festival, Master class, Vocal


[email protected] — Cello Masterclass with Laurence Lesser

Laurence Lesser

Cellist Laurence Lesser

The concert series by [email protected] Chamber Music Festival reflects a high artistic quality by international artists during three weeks every summer, and concludes this year on August 8. Less well publicized is the Chamber Music Institute. The Young Performers Program attracts young musicians ages nine to eighteen, while the International Program is for musicians ages eighteen to twenty-nine. This year there were forty-two musicians invited to participate in the two programs. The participants have daily interaction with the performing faculty in the form of master classes and performances. It’s an intensive immersion in chamber music that can be a big boost to a talented young musician.

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Archived in these categories: 20th Century, Cello, Master class, Romantic Era


Carmel Bach Festival 2015 — Adams Vocal Master Class

CBF logo JPEG

Some of the most interesting Carmel Bach Festival events every year are the open sessions of the Virginia Best Adams Vocal Master Classes, which give us an intimate glimpse of some of the most outstanding members of the CBF Chorale, who are young professionals well on their way to establishing their own careers. David Gordon usually presides over these master classes, but since he was occupied in rehearsals Monday afternoon, standing in for him on this occasion was David Newman, a distinguished member of the CBF Chorale. Newman introduced himself to the audience saying that twenty years previously he had been a Virginia Best Adams Fellow sitting in the first row where the four young singers were seated while waiting to participate in the session. The assisting pianist for these classes is the versatile Michael Beattie, who seems to be at home in just about any style you can imagine, whether it be opera, oratorio, art songs, or Lieder.

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Archived in these categories: Baroque, Carmel Bach Festival, Master class, Vocal


Oboist Elaine Douvas and Friends at Hidden Valley

Gaudi, Shapiro & Douvas 6-8-15

Christopher Gaudi, Marc Shapiro & Elaine Douvas

Attending a concert at Hidden Valley is always a special event. As I departed hastily to make an early morning deadline, Peter Meckel, Hidden Valley’s Director, called out to me, “Where else could you hear the principal oboe players of the Metropolitan Opera and the San Francisco Symphony coming together in such an intimate setting?” He was correct. Whether it be an orchestra concert, a group of ensemble players or a solo recital, not only is there is usually a considerable distance separating the members of the audience seated at a lower level from the performers on stage, but there also tends to be an invisible curtain wall separating the audience seated in semi darkness from the players brightly illuminated on stage.

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Archived in these categories: 20th Century, Chamber music, Classical Era, Hidden Valley Music Seminars, Master class, Oboe, Piano, Romantic Era, Woodwinds