As much as Alex Lombard has enjoyed exploring new venues for the Lake George Music Festival to put on its schedule, he is feeling the need to find a permanent home.
"We are actually in the early stages of drafting a strategic plan to build our own facility in Lake George," said Lombard, executive director of the Lake George Music Festival, which opens its 2018 season Sunday with a performance at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Lake George by LGMF'S resident ensemble, "Loadbang," and musicians from Lincoln Center Stage. "In 2018 we have a dozen or so different performance and rehearsal venues. It adds a wonderful depth to the festival experience for all. But our own venue will be complete with performance space, musician housing and office space. A real Lake George 'Great Camp,' which our area never had."
The Lake George Music Festival is in its eighth year, having been formed by Lombard, Barbora Kolarova and Roger Kalia. Lombard and Kalia have been friends since their days at SUNY-Potsdam (Lombard graduated in 2009), and the pair met Kolarova at the Bowdoin International Music Festival in Maine. The three also got together at the Aspen Musical Festival in 2009 where they came up with their idea for putting on a series of musical performances in the Lake George area every summer.
Over the next two weeks, the LGMF will present traditional and experimental concerts, open rehearsals, public receptions and informational talks along with a concert each day. Included among its ranks are musicians from the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, the Czech Philharmonic Orhcestra and major symphonies from Atlanta, Kansas City, Detroit and Charlotte, to name just a few.
"Everyone is so talented," said Lombard, a pianist. "We auditioned over 300 composers and musicians this year for about 20 open spaces. The level is extraordinarily high."
Lombard said there is plenty for music fans to get excited about this summer in Lake George.
"We have 60 international musicians gathering in Lake George for two weeks," he said. "The entire family atmosphere of the festival is the most exciting thing each season. We look forward to these two weeks all year long."
Among the highlights of this year's series will be "Sounds of Our Time," Aug. 16 at 7:30 p.m. at the Shepard Park Amphitheater on Canada Street in Lake George. Created by Kalia, "Sounds of Our Time" explores the connection between musical genres.
Also, Grammy Award winner Steven Mackey will perform Aug. 22 at 7 at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in an event called "Star Gazing." A German native born to American parents, Mackey has played electrical guitar with many top orchestras around the country, including San Francisco, Los Angeles and Chicago.
The festival concludes on Aug. 24 at 7:30 at the Lake George High School Auditorium. Kalia, the music director, will lead the full LGMF Orchestra in a performance of Dvorak's Symphony No. 9, "From the New World," and a world premiere performance by composer Christopher Rogerson.
Rogerson's music has been hailed by the New York Times as 'virtuosic exuberance" and "haunting beauty." He has played with major symphonies in San Francisco, Houston and Atlanta. A Philadelphia resident, Rogerson is just 30, having studied recently at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, the Yale School of Music and Princeton University.
A festival pass for the entire series is $199.99 (with a $10.99 fee) and must be purchased by Sunday, Aug. 12. Prices vary for other concerts. For more information visit www.lakegeorgemusicfestival.com. Here is the complete schedule.
- Aug. 13 - "Opening Night," at Sacred Heart Catholic Church, 50 Mohican St., Lake George, 7 p.m.
- Aug. 14 - "Wine & Chocolate at Wiawaka," Wiawaka Holiday House, 3778 State Route 9L, Lake George, 6 p.m.
- Aug. 15 - "Bernstein at 100," Sacred Heart Catholic Church, 50 Mohican St., Lake George, 7 p.m.
- Aug. 16 - "Sounds of Our Time," Shepard Park Amphitheater, Canada St., Lake George, 7:30 p.m.
- Aug. 17 - "Back to the Future," Sacred Heart Catholic Church, 50 Mohican St., Lake George, 7 p.m.
- Aug. 18 - "Afternoon Matinee," St. James Episcopal Church, 172 Ottawa St., Lake George, 1 p.m.
- Aug. 18 - "Children's Concert: The Conductor's Spellbook," Shepard Park Amphitheater Canada St., Lake George, 5 p.m.
- Aug. 18 - "Late Night Concert," Lake George Steamboat Company, 57 Beach Rd./Steel Pier, Lake George, 8:45 p.m.
- Aug. 19 - "Piano Mania!" Tannery Pond Community Center, 228 Main St., North Creek, 1 p.m.
- Aug. 20 - "LGMF Uncorked," Lake George Club, 4000 Lake Shore Drive, Diamond Point, 6 p.m.
- Aug. 21 - "Hidden Treasures," Silver Bay YMCA, 87 Silver Bay Rd., Silver Bay, 7 p.m.
- Aug. 22 - "Star Gazing," Sacred Heart Catholic Church, 50 Mohican St., Lake George, 7 p.m.
- Aug. 23 - "Around the World with a Premiere," Zankel Music Center, Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs, 7 p.m.
- Aug. 24 - "Festival Symphony Orchestra," Lake George High School Auditorium, 381 Canada St., Lake George, 7:30 p.m.