Summer 2020 is ON… but not as you expect

This is precisely the time when artists go to work. There is no time for despair, no place for self-pity, no need for silence, no room for fear. We speak, we write, we do language. That is how civilizations heal. I know the world is bruised and bleeding and though it is important not to ignore its pain, it is also critical to refuse to succumb to its malevolence. Like failure, chaos contains information that can lead to knowledge -- even wisdom. Like art.

Toni Morrison
March 2015

Some of you have been wondering what we are going to do this summer with COVID-19 followed by the foundation-rocking and (hopefully) transformative events of the last few weeks. We stand in solidarity with those raising their voices in the fight against racism and in support of justice and equality.

The Peripatetic Musician

We aren’t cancelling NCMF summer 2020 but instead of our usual events we’ll have a kind of summer version of Christmas caroling. From Friday, August 14 to Sunday, August 16 a string quartet will stroll through Newburyport and neighboring towns playing mini-concerts for free. If you happen to open your window or are watering or sitting on your porch sipping a martini you might find four musicians sorely in need of a haircut playing for you. It might be solo Bach or a Haydn quartet, Telemann, Mozart….if you are lucky you could catch Barber’s Adagio. Then we’ll move on.

People are starved for live music and we have all been staring at our screens way too much. From the start this festival has been about live music rooted deep in the community. This is not only taking matters to the next level but is also a way to give something back to this most special of special towns. A schedule of times we’ll be in specific neighborhoods will be posted in a few weeks.

The days leading up to this would normally be a festival week. Instead of our usual concerts, open rehearsals, lectures, panel discussions, storytelling, and family concerts, each day I’ll be posting an interview with all the artists who were scheduled for this summer along with a clip of them playing.

You’ll hear from Yonah Zur (violin), Sebastien van Kuijk (cello), and Eliana Razzino Yang (cello), and also meet Rebecca Anderson (violin), Scott Devereaux (tuba), and composer Eric Ewazen. Due to COVID-19, only Yonah, Becky, and Eliana will be with us in person this summer. You’ll have to wait until summer 2021 to hear Seb and Scott in Eric’s new work for tuba and string quartet (!).

If anyone has questions you would like me to ask, please email me at I’ll try my best to get them in.

Approach with caution, especially while playing Schoenberg
2020 artists Anderson, Zur, Yang, Razzino Yang

[paintings by Jane Niebling]

There will also be a live-streamed concert on Saturday night, August 15 to raise money for a local non-profit (to be determined).

That’s the plan for this summer. Pray for good weather and see you in August!

David Yang, Artistic Director

Yonah, Lisa, Seb, and me from summer 2019
- feels like a lifetime ago.

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