PLYMOUTH — The New Hampshire Music Festival will honor trumpet player Keith Johnson, who has been with the festival for 50 years, on Thursday, August 15.
Donato Cabrera conducts the Festival Orchestra at the Silver Center at 8 p.m. in a program of the Berlioz Les nuits d'ete featuring the acclaimed Heather Johnson, mezzo soprano, followed by Beethoven's triumphant Eroica Symphony No. 3.
The concert is titled "Heroic Summer Nights" because it is dedicated to two heroes of the Festival, Keith Johnson, celebrating 50 years of service, and the late Louise Canafax, beloved viola player who enriched the lives of concert-goers for over 30 years.
In the spring of 1964 Keith was a graduate student majoring in trumpet at the University of Illinois when one of his classmates asked him if he might be interested in a summer symphony job. Johnson sent an audition tape to the New Hampshire Music Festival and received a letter from Music Director Tom Nee telling him that he was hired for the summer. At the time, Nee was a faculty member at Macalester College in St Paul and Associate Conductor of the Minneapolis Symphony. The following year Johnson was invited to return and has been a member of the orchestra ever since.
Johnson is the author of two highly regarded books, The Art of Trumpet Playing (Iowa State University Press) and Brass Performance and Pedagogy (Prentice-Hall), which have been translated and published in several languages.
The NH Music Festival musicians are professionals from orchestras all over the country from Maine to California, and are professors of music at schools from West Virginia to Idaho. The Festival has been based at Plymouth State University for 40 summers of its 61-year history of music-making in the Lakes Region.