Featuring a cast of familiar as well as emerging artists in the world of chamber music, the Mimir Chamber Music Festival returns to TCU for its 17th season July 3-8.
“Founded in 1998, the Mimir Chamber Music Festival features outstanding artists from the world’s leading orchestras, music schools and concert halls who share a love for a chamber music,” according to the festival’s website.
In addition to Mimir, Fort Worth hosts another festival called the Fort Worth Chamber Music Society. While both festivals are similar, Dr. Curt Thompson, the director of the festivals, said the Mimir Festival is like an off-season concert.
“What distinguishes us is that we offer it at the highest level in North Texas,” Thompson said.
“We’ve done this for 17 years, so we have a track record. We are nationally recognized as one of the premiere chamber music summer festivals.”
The festival has been included in the Dallas Morning News’ “Top 10 Musical Events of the Year” seven times and has been called a summer “hot spot” for classical music by the New York Times and Travel & Leisure Magazine.
“As a result of that notoriety, we also teach,” Thompson said. “We’ve got young, sort of ‘trying to make it’ as professionals string quartets flying in from Japan, Australia and Cleveland this year.”
“Their level is very, very high, and our ability to attract kids of that level, because they can go to any other festival they wanted to, is because they’ve heard about us and they know that this is a place where they can really get some fantastic training.”
Thompson was a violin professor at TCU for 15 years.
“All this time, TCU had been our sponsor.” Thompson said.
Since his departure from TCU two years ago, Thompson said the Mimir Festival’s relationship with TCU has become more of a hosting relationship or partnership.
“Mimir is an independent organization now,” he said. “TCU couldn’t continue the former relationship because I don’t work there anymore but they are very supportive,” says Thompson.
The festival features concerts by five Mimir artists and two Mimir Emerging artists. , It is expected to feature familiar Grammy award-nominated recording artists, members of the Cavani String Quartet and the Los Angeles Philharmonic, according to mimirfestival.org.
Thompson said the festival is a concert where they perform in groups of two to five, which is quite a bit more difficult than playing in an orchestra. Thompson added they try to keep the same performers every year as much as they can.
“That gives us a big advantage when it comes time to put pieces together so quickly, because we have, on average, anywhere from four to five hours to assemble a piece that might be 45 minutes in length,” he said.
“So the rate at which we’ve got to get that stuff together is incredibly fast.”
Thompson says this year the group is presenting a piece written by one of its members, John Novacek. The piece is called “Elegy” and is scheduled to be presented during Concert 3.