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Members of The Cleveland Orchestra, students from the top music schools in the world, Kulas Guest Artist Jennifer Koh and the Miami String Quartet are all part of the 2017 Kent/Blossom Music Festival.
The "festival is in partnership with Cleveland Orchestra," said Ricardo Seplveda, director of the festival. "The first season started in '68. We're celebrating 50 years. We bring 40 students from all over the world. We have really phenomenal faculty concerts planned and a great violinist coming in from New York."
The June 28 through July 29 season will consist of a faculty concert series highlighting members of The Cleveland Orchestra and guests, a free student concert series and side-by-side performance under the stars at Blossom Music Center.
Concert No. 1 takes place on June 28 at 7:30 p.m. Violinist Jennifer Koh, named 2016 Instrumentalist of the Year by Musical America Worldwide, will perform Bach's "Sonata for Solo Violin No. 2." and Missy Mazzoli's "Dissolve, O My Heart" among others. Koh made her debut with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra at age 11.
Highlights of the season include a recital by Miami String Quartet with pianist Spencer Myer and Steinway Artist pianist Jerry Wong joined by Cleveland Orchestra's principal cellist Mark Kosower. Faculty concerts take place in Ludwig Recital Hall.
The student recitals are free and open to the public and consist of a wide variety of musical pairings from violin duos to piano quartets and string sextets.
"There's so much repertoire the students learn we decided to add one concert to the student recital," Seplveda said. "We used to have eight."
The first recital takes place on July 7 at Ludwig Recital Hall. The students in the program will perform at Kent State University, Hudson Library & Historical Society and Laurel Lake Retirement Community.
"Each student is going to learn at least four different pieces of chamber music," Seplveda said. "They study in the morning and afternoon. They're being coached four times per piece. It's quite a big endeavor to arrange a big puzzle with faculty and student schedules. They rehearse for two weeks and then perform."
This year, KBMF will be joined by 43 students representing a multitude of countries: Taiwan, Singapore, South Korea, China, Japan, Colombia and the United States.
"It's quite competitive," Seplveda said. "Close to 200 students apply. We only accept 43. We have a student from Juilliard, Indiana Jacobs School of Music, Cleveland Institute of Music, one from Akron and a couple from KSU represented in the festival. It's a high caliber of performers."
The students will spend mornings and afternoons rehearsing chamber music immersed with private lessons and masterclasses. Koh will spend one week, of the five-week festival, to work intensively with the most talented students.
The festival culminates on July 22 with a side-by-side performance with The Cleveland Orchestra at Blossom Music Center. Tickets are available through The Cleveland Orchestra.
For tickets or a full schedule, visit kent.edu/blossom.