Staunton Music Festival has always had a mission to present a compelling mix of music from the past 600 years to show those works in new and interesting relations.  To further that goal, we developed "Perspectives", a series of short videos that will take you deeper inside the music we perform.  Videos will feature SMF performers, composers, and historians sharing their insights about the music, recollections about specific performances they have given at the festival, and broader historical context in which music is created.


Each "Perspective" video will include links to related content from our video archive, including full concert performances.  All videos are available for viewing at any time, so explore at your leisure!






Ritual and Meaning in Handel's Theodora

In 2019 Staunton Music Festival presented Handel's late masterpiece, the oratorio Theodora. In this Perspective, stage director Timothy Nelson reflects back on his conception for the production of Theodora as well as the magical combination of people and events that brought the performance to fruition. 



Understanding the Natural Horn, or Who Needs Valves Anyway? 

The valveless or natural horn developed over many centuries, and with each change came an evolution in musical style and expressive range.  Todd Williams takes you into the very heart of the instrument, showing its construction and differing ways to produce its distinctive sound in repertoire from Handel to Schubert and beyond.























Carsten Schmidt and Jason Stell introduce the new Perspectives Video Series, which seeks to provide audiences with a deeper appreciation of music and the people who perform each season with Staunton Music Festival.







Acclaimed performer and composer J. P. Jofre, who appeared at the 2019 Staunton Music Festival, talks about what makes the bandoneon so unique and rewarding.



Immanuel Davis talks about three Baroque and early Classical flutes that he uses in his Staunton performances, including instruments ideally suited to Bach, Haydn, Beethoven, and Schubert.



In this Perspective Keith Collins explains the origins and design of the bassoon and contrabassoon, and highlights a few works in which they play key roles.



Gwen Grastorf (actor) and Erik Higgins (contrabass) talk about their 2017 Blackfriars performance of The Last Contrabass in Las Vegas, an intriguing mix of theater and musical bravura. 



In this Perspective, Seattle-based baroque trumpeter Kris Kwapis talks about her instruments and the repertoire she loves to perform.



Composer Zachary Wadsworth has written over a dozen commissioned works for the festival and brings originality and true poetry to all that he creates.



In this Perspective Alek Fester, based in Basel, Switzerland, shows his collection of period oboes and discusses their expressive differences in performances from Bach to Schubert.



During the 2020 pandemic shutdown, four festival percussionists link up via video conference to discuss favorite moments and works, as well as the ways in which percussion music has become a vital factor at SMF.



What is a fugue? Staunton Music Festival artistic director Carsten Schmidt sits down at the harpsichord to explain and demonstrate the basic principles of what made the fugue so attractive to composers. 



From Josquin to Piazzolla and beyond, Carsten Schmidt exploresthe great richness of the fugue genre in works presented in August 2019.



Heather Miller Lardin takes a few minutes to show four violone (historical double basses) from her collection, including instruments suitable for Bach, Haydn, and Schubert.



In this Perspective, music historian Jon Gibson reveals connections between Bach's Trauerode and the aria "Komm, süsses Kreuz" from the St. Matthew Passion, both written in 1727.



Noted music historian Tim Carter (UNC-Chapel Hill) provides a broad perspective from which to consider Vivaldi's ever-popular Four Seasons concertos. He is joined by Finnish violinists Minna Pensola and Antti Tikkanen.


In this Perspective, choreographer (and Chaplin double) Mark Jaster of Happenstance Theater discusses his 2017 staged version of a classic from Chaplin's City Lights.



Acclaimed pianist Andrew Willis welcomes you to see and hear two of his own early keyboards: a Bösendorfer from 1841 and a Pleyel built in 1848.



Stefan Heucke, composer-in-residence during the 2018 Festival, and oboist Roger Roe talk about the structure and emotional meaning in Heucke's powerful Oboe Sonata.



Conductor James Wilson and piano soloist Lori Piitz reflect back on their collaborative performance of George Gershwin's "I Got Rhythm" Variations. 



From his home in New York City, clarinetist Ed Matthew talks about his collection of period clarinets, ranging from Baroque chalumeaux through the classical era to modern instruments. 







Like many arts organizations, Staunton Music Festival is facing severe reductions in revenue for the current season. Please consider making a tax-deductible donation today to support the Perspectives video series and the artists involved with SMF. Your support will make additional videos possible!








We are seeking sponsors for individual videos. If you are interested to learn more, contact us at 540-569-0267 or  Thanks!