Some world-class classical musicians are spending their spring preparing for six days in August.
From Aug. 17 -22, ChamberFest Brown County will thrill the public in downtown Nashville with their first festival. The programs include concerts, lectures and multimedia presentations.
“ChamberFest Brown County was born out of love — love for music, love for people and love for nature,” said artistic director Andreas Ioannides in a phone interview.
Events will feature contrasting styles of music that revolve around a unifying theme: that icon of creativity, Beethoven. Each program, therefore, will include one piece by Beethoven. Ludwig van Beethoven, born in December 1770, was a pioneer in transforming his era’s love for operas, symphonies, string quartets and piano into music they could recognize as coming from musicians who were interested in politics and full of passion.
“Last year COVID canceled our festival, for Beethoven’s 250th birthday,” said Ioannides.
And the festival, whose goal is to give the treasure of classical music to all, urges everyone to feel welcome.
“This is not a high-brow affair,” he said. “It is available to all.”
ChamberFest Brown County, produced by RiverSong Music Inc., an Indiana-based nonprofit organization founded in March 2017 as a 501(c)(3), has proved to be a major undertaking.
“It’s one thing to plan an event,” Ioannides said, “and quite another to actually put it together. We had never attempted anything of this magnitude, such as which performers to invite, insurance, rentals, email lists and every other detail that goes into an almost weeklong festival.”
“Where Music and Nature Meet” is the festival’s title, and the four-member board selected Nashville because of its beauty, proximity to Indiana University and its well-established love of music. Brown County, long known for its bluegrass, folk and country and western music, seemed just the right place for trying a bit of classical music. The many different kinds of musicians there are working to cross-promote one another.
“We (classical musicians) want to be part of this Nashville (Indiana) community,” he said.
Ioannides is also planning to reach young audiences; local school programs such as extra-credit field trips and meet-the-musicians events are in the works.
“Everybody deserves an opportunity to appreciate this.”
Ioannides grew up in Cyprus and knew from the beginning that he longed for the ever presence of classical music in his life. While at IU Jacobs, he studied piano with world-renowned Menahem Pressler.
Pressler is a founding member and pianist of the Beaux Arts Trio and is one of the world’s most honored musicians, with a career lasting more than 60 years.
Pressler, born in Germany in 1923, escaped Nazi Germany in 1939, emigrating to Israel. His remarkable career began, in 1946, upon winning first prize at the Debussy International Piano Competition in San Francisco.
“Studying with (Pressler) changed my life,” Ioannides said. “After you learn from him, your ears are totally transformed.”
RiverSong Music supports education and community involvement through classical music. “We are so fortunate here in Brown County to enjoy a wide variety of visual and musical arts along with the natural beauty,” said Annie Hawk, president of RiverSong Music Inc., in a news release.
IU funding for the festival is supported by the Office of the Vice Provost of Research and the Arts and Humanities Council at IU in partnership with the Center for Rural Engagement and the Jacobs School of Music.
“During the festival people can have a nice walk in Nashville and then enjoy some beautiful music,” Ioannides said.