Daily Bow: Marlboro – A Place For Musical Immersion


In almost stark contrast to the Heifetz interview featured earlier this week on String Visions, it would seem that the participants of Marlboro did not receive the message not to practice too much. The Marlboro festival (which we also wrote about on Monday) is renowned not only for extraordinary performances, but also for the immense dedication each musician puts in to their respective piece.

As the article highlights, it is not, “uncommon for a chamber music recital in a major city like New York to get just one rehearsal prior to a performance.” Yet, at the Marlboro festival, up to 20 hours can be spent on an octet composed by Louis Spohr. The Marlboro festival is a time in which musicians go to immerse themselves in music, to try and experience music in a new and exciting way. While Heifetz spent merely three hours a day practicing, performers at Marlboro become completely saturated with music.

It can be tough to wrap one’s head around the old-school Marlboro concept at first — a fact that’s not helped by the heavy air of reverence that surrounds the festival, which can be off-putting to a first-time visitor. Histories of the festival founders – including pianist Rudolph Serkin and violinist Adolph Busch — can read like biographies of Gandhi or Mother Teresa and imply that nowhere else is music-making approached with such seriousness of purpose and integrity. And Marlboro is hardly on the vanguard when it comes to contemporary music, multimedia or technology for that matter — cell phone reception, for example, is almost nonexistent.

“This is a place where people get together in order to immerse themselves in what they love, and to rediscover the reasons why they love it,” says pianist Richard Goode, who is Marlboro’s co-artistic administrator with pianist Mitsuko Uchida. “Mostly we’re not thinking about the outer world at all. We’re all immersed in it in some way, but here the idea is to have as rich and varied and full a musical experience as possible.”

See Article Here! 

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