Downtown Staunton Enchants with European-Style Music Festival

Get ready for a week of dazzling performances.SMF_Blackfriars

“Staunton Music Festival pushes the boundaries of classical music. We want challenge the audience to ‘rethink classical” and delight them with powerful performances and innovative programs.” – Jason Stell, Executive Director

Staunton Music Festival’s summer season kicks off on Friday, August 16th and runs through Saturday, August 24th. During these nine days, Staunton Music Festival (SMF) will present twice daily chamber music concerts, plus lectures and workshops.

The concert series features acclaimed performers from Europe and the United States.  Among the talented and celebrated artists performing in Staunton are Vladimir Mendelssohn (viola and composer), Antti Tikkanen (violin), Andrew Willis (fortepiano), Minna Pensola (violin), Igor Begelman (clarinet), and Sivan Magen (harp).

Highlights of the 2013 season include an evening of Handel and Purcell at the American Shakespeare Center’s Blackfriars Playhouse; an evening of Baroque featuring period instruments and renowned vocalists; and the the Early Keyboard Extravaganza which will feature eight period instruments – all on loan from private collections. This is a rare opportunity for anyone on the East Coast to see and hear so many historical keyboards assembled and performed by recognized masters at one occasion!

Carsten Schmidt, the festival’s artistic director, enjoys a flourishing career with extensive performance and broadcast activities as a chamber musician and soloist with orchestras throughout Europe, North America, and Japan. He has been heard in such venues as Kennedy Center, Carnegie Hall, and the Moscow Conservatory, as well as in broadcasts worldwide.

“It’s a rich festival experience, featuring a packed schedule of concerts, two and three per day – all centered in downtown Staunton. It’s very rewarding for us to see people traveling here from more distant places like D.C., Richmond, and Philadelphia.”

With the intimate performance venues in Staunton, there are no bad seats.

SMF_Minna The festival has a strong following, so reserve your seat as soon as possible. Tickets for the evening concerts are available at or by calling (800) 838-3006. Regular performance ticket pricing is $20 adult / $18 senior / $8 student (ages 16-and-under are free). Every day at noon there will be a free concert. All seats are unreserved. Doors open one hour prior to concert.  The full festival schedule is available online.

All performances take place at historic venues in beautiful downtown Staunton, Virginia – recently designated as one of the “best small towns in America” by Smithsonian magazine.

Staunton’s Got Talent!

Musical Protégés Perform in Staunton for Heifetz International Music Institute

Heifetz Institute
The Heifetz Institute is dedicated to the artistic growth and career development of some of the most talented and promising young musicians in the world.

For six weeks each summer, the Heifetz International Music Institute brings together 75 advanced string players and a faculty of world-renowned artists for a summer of performance and study – right here in Staunton, Virginia!

Concerts are happening now through August 10, 2013 at Mary Baldwin College’s Francis Auditorium.

So, what’s all the buzz about?

The Heifetz International Music Institute is an intensive, six-week summer program for the world’s most brilliant young artists of violin, viola, and cello. Auditions are held each January at some of the nation’s top conservatories. Students come to study at the institute from all over the world.

Multiple concerts every week

  • The Celebrity Series, in which faculty and students come together to perform, takes place on Thursday and Friday evenings at 7:30. This year’s performances will include such artists as Elmar Oliveira, Amit Peled, Joan Kwuon, members of the Emerson String Quartet, and many more. Tickets for the Celebrity Series are available by calling the Institute office at 410-480-8007.
  • The Stars of Tomorrow Series, featuring the Institute’s brilliant young artists, takes place on Wednesday evenings at 7:30 PM and Saturday afternoons at 1:30 PM at Mary Baldwin College Francis Auditorium. The Stars of Tomorrow performances are free to the public.

Ready to see the stars in action?

Visit the Heifetz website for updated concert and performance details. Don’t delay – this is a limited season.  For visitors to the area, information about where to shop, dine, and stay is available at

 And, wait…there’s more!

Once the Heifetz program concludes, classical music fans can still look forward to more world-class talent in downtown Staunton!  The Staunton Music Festival, one of the most innovative chamber music festivals on the East Coast, runs for nine days in August. Staunton Music Festival offers performances from acclaimed European artists, many of them performing on a rare collection of early keyboard instruments. Tickets are on sale now by calling (800) 838-3006.