The origins of the E. Nakamichi Baroque Music Festival, taking place at UCLA this week, were practical in the extreme. Or so says Frederick Hammond, general director of the seven-day event, offering between Monday and next Sunday nights six major evening concerts, five noontime recitals and daily lectures, panel discussions, workshops, exhibitions and the presentation of scholarly papers.
"We discovered that the Nakamichi Foundation was interested in putting sizable money into a large UCLA music project," explains Hammond. So Hammond, with Thomas Harmon, chairman of the UCLA music department, "presented the foundation with several alternatives. As it turned out, the people from the foundation wanted more visibility than even a major symposium would have offered."
Subsequently, Hammond's idea of a weeklong baroque festival, modeled after the successful and prestigious Boston Early Music Festival, was accepted. The Nakamichi Foundation has funded the event with a grant of $400,000.
Hammond's basic plan, he says, was to build the festival around two major performance projects, one focusing on Italian music, the other on French. Thus, the two evening concerts at the beginning of the week, to be performed by the Accademia Veneziana and conducted by Christopher Hogwood, concentrate on instrumental concertos by Vivaldi and Marcello. And two festival-closing concerts, Saturday and next Sunday, present the first performances in modern times of Jean-Philippe Rameau's opera-ballet, "Les Fetes d'Hebe," as performed by Concert Royal (led by its director, James Richman) and the New York Baroque Dance Company.
Over the years, Hammond says, his only disappointment in the Boston Early Music Festival has been its lack of authentic baroque dance. In constructing this West Coast counterpart of the Boston model, he wanted to fill the gap.
In between the concerto programs and the Rameau opera-ballet, all to be presented in Royce Hall, concerts of smaller aspect will be held Thursday and Friday nights in Schoenberg Hall Auditorium. Thursday an ensemble consisting of singers Judith Nelson, Mary Rawcliffe and David Thomas, with lutanist Paul O'Dette, will offer 17th-Century Venetian music. Friday, violinists Stanley Ritchie and Daniel Stepner, with gambaist Laura Jeppesen and harpsichordist Elizabeth Wright, will perform a program titled "Les Gouts Reunis," which contrasts the French and Italian styles.
Next Sunday night at 7:30, Bernard Lagace will play a program of French organ music (by Couperin, Grigny and Clerambault) on the C.B. Fisk organ at Saint Matthew's Episcopal Church in Pacific Palisades.
Appearing on the daily noontime recitals will be the Hotteterre Ensemble of Tokyo, Ensemble Chanterelle, lutanist O'Dette, baroque dancers Sandra Hammond and Regine Astier and organist Hannes Meyer. Among the lecturers will be Albert Fuller, Howard Schott, Murray Bradshaw and Linda Burman-Hall.
BRIEFLY: Approximately 700 music teachers and 400 music students are involved in the annual convention of the Music Teachers Assn. of California, meeting through Tuesday at the Airport Marriott Hotel. Information: (213) 641-5700, Ext. 5317. . . . The Lewitzky Dance Company is on tour this summer, arriving at the Chateauvallon Summer Dance Festival on the French Riviera Wednesday and remaining there through July 14. The company goes next to Japan for a residency in Tokyo and Osaka July 17-31. The Lewitzky summer season ends in Idyllwild, Calif., Aug. 17-29. . . . Conductor Catherine Comet has been named music director of the Grand Rapids Symphony. The Michigan orchestra thus becomes the largest fully professional orchestra in the United States with a woman as its artistic director. . . . Robert Gladstein, former artistic coordinator and ballet master of San Francisco Ballet, has been appointed ballet master of Dallas Ballet, effective Aug. 1. . . . John Clifford, former artistic director of Los Angeles Ballet, is guest choreographer and teacher at the Ballet de Monte Carlo this month, staging three new works for the company. . . . A fourth annual symposium on "Medical Problems of Musicians and Dancers" will take place at the Aspen Music Festival in Colorado July 31-Aug. 3. It is co-sponsored by the Cleveland Clinic Foundation and the Aspen Festival. For information, write the foundation, 9500 Euclid Ave., Cleveland, Ohio 44106. . . . Sandor Timar, artistic director of the Hungarian State Folk Ensemble, will lead a four-day workshop July 3-6 at the Buckley School in Sherman Oaks. Information: (818) 995-7215.