HOT SPRINGS, AR - If you love listening to classical music, Hot Springs is where you'll want to be for the next two weeks.
The Hot Springs Music Festival kicks off this weekend and runs through June 15.
The Spa City's historic downtown district overflows with music during the event as over 200 international musicians create the festival's 22 concerts and 250 open rehearsals.
Innovative programming and a full-scholarship apprentice program attract some of the best young musicians from around the world to the festival, while great performances and a casual atmosphere make it a cultural tourist's paradise.
The Festival, now in its 18th season, pairs world-class mentor musicians from major orchestras, chamber ensembles and conservatory faculties with especially talented pre-professional apprentices-all of whom receive full scholarship plus housing.
The two groups play "side by side" in orchestral, chamber, solo recital, vocal, choral and chamber opera repertoire. For two weeks, these musicians form a unique community, presenting over 20 concerts and 250 open rehearsals for music lovers from around the globe.
Over 10,000 people attended Festival events last year, and an additional 6.4 million heard its concerts on nationwide radio broadcasts. As the second edition of The 100 Best Small Arts Towns in America noted, "the Hot Springs Music Festival has carved out a place on the nation's classical music map."
Situated in the magnificent Ouachita Mountains of Central Arkansas, Hot Springs National Park has been designated a "City of the Arts." In addition to the Hot Springs Music Festival, its beautifully restored Historic Downtown District is home to nearly 30 fine art galleries, a monthly gallery walk, a world-class documentary film festival and over 200 resident visual and performing artists.
In addition to its usual concert, open rehearsal and radio broadcast activities, the Hot Springs Music Festival appears on nine compact discs distributed worldwide on the Naxos/Marco Polo label. The Festival was also the focus of an hour long Public Broadcasting Service documentary, "The Sound of Dreams," which made its debut in February 2001, and continues to be broadcast nationwide.
Serious in focus but casual in atmosphere, the Festival events take place in a variety of non-traditional venues including historic buildings, art galleries, hotel ballrooms, churches and open-air spaces. Before and after concerts, audience members and musicians mingle in Hot Springs' eclectic restaurants and cafes, hike the National Park's trails, and relax in the hot mineral water baths that gave the city its name.
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