The Hot Springs Music Festival brings together hundreds of musicians each year to the city. From June 3-16 around
200 international musicians present 20 concerts and over 250 free open rehearsals of symphony
orchestra, chamber orchestra, chamber music, oratorio and opera.
“We have at least one concert every day,” said festival
director Todd Cranson. “There is
a concert every evening for two weeks.”
A goal of the event is to make sure classical music is and
remains relevant to people today by making the music easily accessible to a
wide audience range. Central to the festival is a mentorship program, which
pairs world-class musicians with pre-professional apprentices. The two groups
play side by side throughout the festival.
The event brings in over 100 young musicians on the cusp of
entering their professional careers. “They are very creative and are very
influenced by what audiences are influenced by and the music they make is not
necessarily what people think of when they think classical music,” said
“We are going to be doing plenty of Bach and Mozart and
Beethoven but we are also going to be doing some new things that today’s
classical musicians are doing,” he added.
This includes bringing in musicians such as Rick Robinson,
who goes by the alter ego name Mr Cuttime “When you hear the term classical
music right off the bat some people think they might not be interested,” said
Cranson. “Well, Rick Robinson sees
that, acknowledges that, understands that and is on a mission to change that.
So he is going to bring his own brand of music and will be reaching out to new
audiences, younger audiences, to more diverse audiences. To try to show people
who don’t already know about classical music that there is something there they
High caliber musicians are signed on to perform including
the Cassatt String Quartet. “What is special about that is these folks are
considered one of the top chamber ensembles in the country,” said Cranson. “And
they’ve been playing together for almost 30 years. They are coming to use from
New York…Hot Springs has a lot of great music including chamber
music going on but some of the pieces we present at the festival would not be
able to be played here except by the best musicians in the world and that is
the kind of things we are able to offer by bringing these people in,” he added.
The festival takes place in a variety of venues around town
including art galleries, hotel ballrooms and historic buildings.
The schedule highlights a variety of musical options. A few
of these include opening day festivities( June 3) that showcase a
brass ensemble outside on the steps of the Arlington Hotel. The Cassatt String
Quartet will be playing in the evening in the ballroom.
A new event on Saturday June 9 features a free concert down Bathhouse Row. The concert is led by Rick Robinson, a
longtime bassist with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, and will progress from
Buckstaff Bathhouse, down Bathhouse Row to the Superior Bathhouse.
There is also a concert on June 14 that stars young
musicians and “some of the new things being done and not what you think of when
you think of classical music,” said Cranson. “It’s going to be things that musicians like and that we thing the audience will
“One of things that the festival does that is very important
for the community is producing large scale symphonic works and extremely high
level chamber music,” he added. “For two weeks Hot Springs gets to be home to an entire orchestra of world-class musicians.”
Detailed concert and program information is available at the
festival’s website. For more information on the Hot Springs Music Festival call
501-623-4763 or visit www.hotmusic.org.