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10 Free Ways to Experience the Bowdoin International Music Festival

June 30, 2023

10 Free Ways to Experience the Bowdoin International Music Festival

BRUNSWICK, ME —Those familiar with the Bowdoin International Music Festival cite the ticketed concert series and education institute as staples of Midcoast cultural life. Included among these are dozens of free Festival events in Brunswick and beyond. Read on for ten ways to experience live, world-class music at no cost. For a full calendar of events, visit:

1. YOUNG ARTISTS SERIES: Eager to beat the summer heat while watching the next generation of top classical musicians? Head to air-conditioned Studzinski Recital Hall Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays at 7 PM throughout the summer. This year, the Festival received a record 1,300 applications, attracting the world’s most talented high school and college-aged musicians to Maine.

2. COMMUNITY CONCERTS: Catch the musicians on the road, support local businesses, and explore Maine. As part of the Festival’s community engagement program, classical musicians travel and perform in venues ranging from breweries to libraries. This year, find the Festival at: Flight Deck Brewery, Day’s Ferry Church, Curtis Library, Topsham Library, Mid Coast Hospital, People Plus, Portland Public Library, Children’s Museum and Theatre of Maine, Mayo Street Arts, and more.

3. MUSIC AT THE MUSEUM: On July 20 at 11 AM, in collaboration with the Bowdoin College Museum of Art, the Festival will present world-renowned musicians in the museum’s gallery spaces.

4. GUINEA PIGS IN BOW TIES: On July 1 at 9 PM (yes, that late!), a concert features works written within the past 48 hours. Two days before, student composers randomly draw performer names and instruments out of a hat. Using the resulting instrumentation, composers immediately write a new piece of music for “guinea pig” musicians.

5. GAMPER FESTIVAL OF CONTEMPORARY MUSIC: Interested in contemporary music by living composers? Are you a fan of the avant-garde? The Gamper Festival is a “Festival within a Festival”, exclusively presenting the music of our time. Visit one of Maine’s oldest celebrations of new music and living composers. July 6 and 8 at 7:30 PM.

6. MEET THE COMPOSER: Distinguished artists will discuss aspects of their music and inspiration and then accept questions from the audience. Featuring composers Tansy Davies, Jeffrey Mumford, Juri Seo, Sebastian Currier, Robert Honstein, Alex Temple, and Rozalie Hirs.

7. COMPOSERS AT THE MUSEUM: Student composers will select a work of art from the Bowdoin College Museum of Art and use it as an inspiration for a new composition. Spend an afternoon with amazing music paired with one of New England’s top art collections; join us on July 29 at 2 PM.

8. MASTERCLASSES: Masterclasses give audiences a first-hand look into the teaching and learning process that goes into creating music. Honing technical craft, understanding the nuances of musical language, and finding personal meaning in music are all part of a great masterclass. Classes will be led by the Imani Winds, Steven Doane, Aizuri Quartet, Becca Albers, JACK Quartet, Robin Scott, Kim Kashkashian, Calder Quartet, and Joyce Yang. 

9. FAMILY SERIES: Bring the kids on Saturday mornings in July to our new family series. Four concerts at Brunswick and Portland venues provide informal opportunities to introduce children of all ages to classical chamber music. These are open door events - families and children are free to come and go throughout.

10. LIVESTREAM: Throughout the pandemic, livestreaming provided a bridge between the music in Brunswick and audiences throughout the world. This summer the Festival continues to livestream performances and events in HD to anyone with an internet connection. If you can't make it to the concert hall, you can enjoy chamber music while making or eating dinner.


The mission of the Bowdoin International Music Festival, founded in 1964, is to prepare gifted young musicians from around the world for a life in music through study with world-class artists, and to present classical music in concerts performed to the highest artistic standards. Over its 59-year history, the Festival has established itself as a vital force throughout the music world. 

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