Belmont's Music Festival a Meyer Production

First-ever Belmont Summer Music Festival takes place Aug. 14, 15 at Beech Street Center.

Nathanial Meyer loves making music.

"Music quickens time; it makes time more valuable," said Meyer at Belmont Center's Starbucks last week.

Yet the Yale sophomore-to-be said for most people, music and art are not always part of their day-to-day world.

"It's become an exception to our lives," he said.

But Meyer knows that the experience of hearing a work of art can be the foremost memory in a person's life, a milestone shared with no one else.

"That's why music is magical," he said.

"And I hope to bring a bit of that to Belmont," Meyer explained.

To that end, Meyer has taken it on his young shoulders to produce Belmont's first ever summer classical music festival.

Perform works by Beethoven and Mozart; Meyer will be conducting the orchestra of young musicians from Belmont, nearby towns and a few out-of-town college friends.

The concerts will be held Saturday, Aug. 14 and Sunday, Aug. 15 at 2 p.m. at the Beech Street Center, 266 Beech Street.

"It's so exciting that I'm doing all I can to bring an end to the doldrums to Belmont," said Meyer.

"I want to rekindle that spark of classical music when it's traditionally dark around these parts," he said.

But these "musical offerings" are also a springboard for Meyer to express his concept of art, not as a means to an end, but rather as a life-reaffirming act.

"It's about this gathering that will allow all of us, the musicians, the audience and me, to feel more emotionally connected and that is what it means to create music," he said.

For most of his musical education, Meyer saw himself as simply a trumpeter. His future, his identity, was encompassed in mastering a brass instrument.

That focus nearly destroyed his love of music as the self imposed need of perfection in rehearsal and performing caused a near catatonic reaction as Meyer was always striving to better his playing.

Rather than matriculate at a conservatory or a well-known school of music after graduating from Belmont High School in 2009, Meyer elected to attend Yale not just for a more-well rounded education but to allow his musical identity to mature.

And one summer day, as he was attending a concert at Tanglewood, he witnessed a conductor whose command and leadership of the 100 plus Boston Symphony Orchestra was a beacon to his musical ambition.

"That's what I wanted to do, to lead an orchestra," Meyer said.

But it also marked the end of a life he once only knew.

"I never thought I could become a leader until I couldn't be a trumpeter," he said.

As a freshman at Yale, he created his own group, the Amadeus Ensemble, which brought together liked-mind musicians seeking a more fulfilling musical experience rather than simply practicing towards a performance.

"It was about a spirit of cooperation and collaboration in which you need to be parts of a whole. We all wanted to have a meaningful musical experience whether it was in a concert or if we were rehearsing," he said.

And Meyer will be able to show Belmont and the world in less than two weeks his approach to music. And it won't be the easiest of tasks. Meyer will only have three rehearsals in addition to the management duties that must be completed before the baton falls.

Yet Meyer sees the challenge as another aspect of the artistic process.

"The responsibility to make art is an exciting thing," he noted.

Meyer admits he sees the inaugural musical festival with high expectations.

"I'm approaching this in very grandiose terms. I want the entire endeavor to be grand, or I'll be upset," he admits.

That need for grandness will help secure the festival's future. Meyer does not see the festival as a "one-and-done" event.

"The festival will only grow for at least the next three years," he said.

The Belmont Summer Music Festival, 2 p.m., Saturday, August 14; 2 p.m., Sunday, August 15. Free. The program includes Beethoven's "Coriolian Overture," Mozart's "Symphony No. 29," and Beethoven's "Symphony No. 7."


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