Chamber music, up close and personal

May 20, 2013 9:00 AM

New Wave staff

Musicians are in town for the second annual Birdfoot Festival, an international chamber music festival with a New Orleans flavor. Birdfoot 2013 will present eight events in venues across New Orleans, culminating in a Final Gala Concert at Dixon Hall on the Tulane University uptown campus on Sunday (May 26.)

Logo for Birdfoot Festival

In addition to several concerts around the city, a free event, “Birdfoot Backstage with WWNO 89.9 and Gwen Thompkins” will take place on Tuesday (May 21) at 7:30 p.m. at the Jewish Community Center, 5342 St. Charles Ave. Thompkins, an alumna of Tulane who graduated in 1987, is host of “Music Inside Out” on WWNO, the New Orleans public radio station.

A native New Orleanian, Thompkins has been a National Public Radio correspondent since 1996, and she has taught at Tulane. The conversation between Thompkins and Birdfoot Festival musicians is free and open to the public, but reservations are recommended. This program will be taped live for later broadcast on WWNO, 89.9 FM.

The Birdfoot Festival, which takes its name from the shape of the Mississippi River delta, has quickly established itself as a top-rate international festival grounded in local culture.

Sixteen dynamic performers, hailing from four continents, and including three local musicians, are spending 10 days in New Orleans rehearsing, teaching, performing and inspiring the next generation of musicians and music lovers. Since May 15, the Birdfoot musicians have gathered to rehearse and to coach nine local student ensembles.

This year, the festival more than doubles the number of concerts it will stage, says artistic director Jenna Sherry. Birdfoot 2013’s internationally acclaimed artists include British pianist Danny Driver, Borromeo String Quartet violinist Kristopher Tong (both returning for their second year with the Birdfoot Festival) and Israeli clarinetist Alexander Fiterstein.

Tulane University, New Orleans, LA 70118 504-865-5000 website@tulane.edu