It's not common to find a talented musician and a businessman wrapped up in one neat package, but when it does happen the results are impressive. When Miles Hoffman, violist for the National Symphony, decided Washington needed a good summer music festival, he "walked in off the street and made a proposal to Atlantic Richfield." Apparently the company liked Hoffman's style, because Arco soon became the "major outside supporter" of the Library of Congress Summer Chamber Music Festival. Says Hoffman, "At a time when it's very hard to find corporate money, we've been very fortunate.
"I hatched this idea of a chamber music festival . . . it fills a void in summer music," said Hoffman. The festival has grown to 11 concerts this year from last year's five. It is taking place this month and features "12 young artists who are far flung . . ." including Alexis Galperine, a violinist from France, and Pamina Blum, a flutist from Switzerland.
Hoffman says chamber music "has a sense of immediacy . . . it winds up being a symbiotic thing; the audience feels what we're feeling.
"Washington audiences are very familiar with some of these artists, who are not yet household names but may very well come to be."
The concerts' locations switch off between the Barns at Wolf Trap, the Library of Congress and the Candlelight Concert Society in Columbia, Md. Ed Mattos, executive director of Wolf Trap, who came up with the idea of "Dessert Concerts" for the festival, says Black Forest cake, fruit tarts, triple-high apple pie and more will be served at all the festival concerts at the Barns. "The concerts are so nourishing . . . if there's so much on your plate you've got to have dessert."