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Virginia's World-Class Staunton Music Festival

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The waning days of the summer bring the final weeks of music and arts festivals, from the large and celebrated, the Salzburg Festival in Austria, Tanglewood in the Berkshires, to the less well-known.

One surprise and a secret to most, but not for long, is the Staunton Music Festival in Virginia.  Staunton has acquired a near mythic status in farm-to-fork food circles (see the “Up On The Ridge”by Matt Lee and Ted Lee in Travel + Leisure, July 2012) and for nine days in August, the Staunton Music Festival brings together some of the most talented musicians, established professionals and emerging young artists, from throughout the United States and Europe to this quiet spot in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

There are some 30 programs that range from Baroque chamber music to song recitals to 20th-century works, plus new music from no less than six composers.  Concerts take place in the historic town’s small-scaled churches and the Blackfriars Playhouse of the American Shakespeare Center, a replica of playwright’s indoor theater, ideal venues all for chamber music.  The surrounding area is beautiful, the festival programming is inventive and engaging, and there is no question you’ll eat well—nourishment for body and soul.

Mario Mercado is Travel + Leisure's Arts Editor

Photo by Tommy Thompson

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