Door County’s Midsummer’s Music Festival to Celebrate 20 Years with “Best of the Best” – Concert Schedule Beginning June 11

Posted on 21. May, 2010 by Staff Reporter in Concerts

Classical Music Masters gather each summer to perform intimate chamber music in a variety of Door County venues full of history and charm.

Midsummer's Music Festival 2009 at The Clearing - photo by Stephen Kastner

Midsummer's Music Festival 2009 at The Clearing - photo by Stephen Kastner

Door County is fortunate to have become home to one of the most magnificent music festivals in the Midwest. Each summer a group of world-class musicians from organizations such as the Lyric Opera of Chicago, the Pro Arte Quartet, Aspen Music Festival and artist-faculty members from major universities, join together in this cozy community to form Wisconsin’s premiere chamber music ensemble known as the Midsummer’s Music Festival.

“There is no other place like it on Earth,” says Jim Berkenstock, co-founder of the festival..  “I have played classical music all over the world, and I find that the rich traditions, history, and lore and the welcoming embrace in this wonderful community make this a remarkable experience. It is definitely an escape from the ordinary.”

The festival offers a series of 25 exquisite classical music concerts in a host of unique venues ranging from a 120 year-old lakeside warehouse, to a quaint community church from the 1850’s, to a boathouse on a primitive island or the tastefully appointed home of an area resident. Each venue has great character and offers a distinct musical experience for the listener. This year’s festival begins June 11 and continues through July 11. There is also a special Labor Day Series September 1-6 which will culminate with a closing concert and big gala event. Most concerts are $25, several are $50, one includes a gourmet dinner at $85.

Midsummer Music Festival began 20 years ago as the brainchild of Jim and Jean Berkenstock.  The Berkenstocks are highly-respected principal musicians with the Lyric Opera of Chicago and the Chicago Philharmonic.  As summer residents of Door County, Wisconsin, they thought the scenic landscape of the area would provide the perfect locale for classical music concerts featuring top tier talent.  Over the last 20 years the festival has grown from five concerts to 25.

“As we got acquainted with our many favorite Door County spots, we thought, what if we could add breathtaking music?” says Jim. “For music lovers, used to larger concert halls, what if they could enjoy that intimate impact that comes from being within reach of the musicians and their rich sonorities?  And, if we could all linger to chat after the concert at an elegant but informal reception, wouldn’t that be an exceptional experience?”

“What I find to be really extraordinary about Midsummer’s Music Festival is the level of virtuosity of the performers and the enthusiastic energy they exude,” says Jean Berkenstock, co founder of the festival.  “The players are drawn from some of the finest orchestras in the country, and it is truly exciting to bring their talents together to perform in these intimate venues and also how readily the community has adopted them.”

Midsummer’s Music Festival presents a rare opportunity to enjoy a great series of works for smaller ensembles. From the great masters such as Mozart, Schubert, and Dvorak, to some lesser-known but very accomplished composers, each concert offers an unforgettable musical experience. Midsummer’s exceptional musicians deliver outstanding performances of some of the greatest chamber works ever written.

“We have performed well over 200 works in our first 19 years.  We have developed a reputation for discovering important works and even composers that no one knew,” says Jim Berkenstock.  “To celebrate our 20th anniversary this year we are performing the best of the best.  These are works that made a strong impression on our audiences and got enthusiastic responses.”

Most concerts are priced at $25, with home concerts priced at $50. The concert at T. Ashwell’s Restaurant is priced at $85 and includes a gourmet reception and dinner.  Prices for special events vary. All concerts include an inviting reception and a chance to meet the musicians. For more information, visit the website or call 920.854.7088.

Midsummer Music Festival’s 2010 Concert Schedule:


  • Mikhail Glinka, Trio Pathétique (1827), Clarinet, Bassoon, and Piano
  • Carl Maria von Weber, Trio in G Minor (1819), Flute, Cello, and Piano
  • Robert Schumann, Quartet in E-flat Major, Opus 47, Violin, Viola, Cello, and Piano

Friday, June 11, Birch Creek Music Performance Center, Egg Harbor, 7:30 pm, $25
Saturday, June 12, Ephraim Moravian Church, Ephraim, 7:30 pm, $25
Sunday, June 13, Assef Residence, Green Bay, 3:00 pm, $50
Tuesday, June 15, T. Ashwell’s Restaurant, Ellison Bay, 6:00 pm, $85 (includes dinner)
Wednesday, June 16, Bjorklunden, Baileys Harbor, 7:30 pm, $25


  • Charles Villiers Stanford, Horn and String Quartet
  • Benjamin Britton, Phantasy, Opus 2, Oboe and String Quartet
  • Joseph Rheinberger, Nonet in E-flat Major, Opus 139, Flute, Oboe, Clarinet, Bassoon, Horn, Violin, Viola, Cello, and Bass

Friday, June 18, The Francis Hardy Center for the Arts, Ephraim, 7:30 pm, $25
Saturday, June 19, The Peninsula School of Art, Fish Creek, 7:30 pm, $25
Sunday, June 20, Woodwalk Gallery, Egg Harbor, 7:00 pm, $25


  • Ludwig van Beethoven, Serenade in D Major, Opus 25, Flute, Violin, and Viola
  • Antonín Dvorák, Quintet in E-flat Major, Opus 97, Two Violins, Two Violas, and Cello

Tuesday, June 22, Witt Residence, Egg Harbor, 7:30, pm, $50
Wednesday, June 23, Schaulis Residence, Gills Rock, 7:30 pm, $50
Thursday, June 24, Stella Maris Catholic Parish, Sister Bay, 7:30 pm, $25


  • Franz Josef Haydn, Trio in G Major, H. XV:15, Flute, Cello, and Piano
  • Ludwig van Beethoven, Quintet in E-flat Major, Opus 16, Oboe, Clarinet, Bassoon, Horn, and Piano
  • Ernest Chausson, Concerto in D Major, Opus 21, Violin, Piano, and String Quartet

Friday, June 25, Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Door County, Ephraim, 7:30 pm, $25
Saturday, June 26, Ephraim Moravian Church, Ephraim, 7:30 pm, $25
Sunday, June 27, The Clearing, Ellison Bay, 2:00 pm, $25


  • Jean Sibelius, En Saga (1892), Flute, Clarinet, Horn, Two Violins, Viola, Cello, and Bass
  • Ferdinand Thieriot, Octet, Four Violins, Two Violas, and Two Cellos
  • Felix Mendelssohn, String Octet, Four Violins, Two Violas, and Two Cellos

Thursday, July 1, Rock Island Boat House, Rock Island, 4:00 pm, $85 (includes dinner and cruise)
Friday, July 2, Peninsula School of Art, 7:30 pm, $25
Thursday, July 8, Woodwalk Gallery, Egg Harbor, 7:30 pm, $25
Friday, July 9, The Frances Hardy Center for the Arts, Ephraim, 7:30 pm, $25


  • César Cui, Five Pieces, Opus 56, Flute, Violin, and Piano
  • Zdenik Fibich, Quintet in D Major, Clarinet, Horn, Violin, Cello, and Piano
  • César Franck, Quintet in F Minor, Piano and String Quartet

Wednesday, June 30, Hon Residence, Egg Harbor, 7:30 pm, $50
Wednesday, July 7, Shepherd of the Bay, Ellison Bay, 7:30 pm, $25
Saturday, July 10, Hellmich Residence, Carlsville, 7:30, $50
Sunday, July 11, The Clearing, Ellison Bay, 2:00 pm, $75 (joint benefit, includes brunch)

Labor Day

  • Allegro Piacevole Edward Collins String Quartet (1886 – 1951)
  • Symphony No. 97 in C Major Franz Joseph Haydn Salomen version for Flute and Strings (1732 – 1809)
  • String Quartet in G Minor, Opus 27 Edvard Grieg
    String Quartet (1843-1907)

Wednesday, September 1, Ephraim Moravian Church, Ephraim, 7:30 pm, $25
Thursday, September 2, Woodwalk Gallery, Egg Harbor 7:30 pm, $25
Saturday, September 4, Peninsula School of Art, Fish Creek, 7:30 pm, $25

Labor Day


  • Concerto, Opus 28 Lowell Liebermann (1961 -) Violin, Piano, and String Quartet
  • Café Music Paul Schoenfield (1947 -) Violin, cello, and piano
  • Quintet in E-flat, Opus 44 Robert Schumann (1810 – 1856) Piano and Strings

Friday, September 3, Shepherd of the Bay, Ellison Bay, 7:30 pm, $25
Sunday, September 5, Ephraim Moravian Church, Ephraim, 3:00 pm, $25Monday, September 6, Birch Creek Music Center, Egg Harbor3:00, pm $90 (includes dinner)

About the Venues:

Assef Residence – A private residence in Green Bay.

Birch Creek Music Performance Center – Birch Creek Music Performance Center is a summer music school (academy) in Door County, Wisconsin, for advanced young musicians. The largest venue in the series, the Birch Creek Music Performance Center provides an acoustically sound environment that is ideal for classical chamber concerts.  3821 County E, Egg Harbor, WI, 54209, 920.868.3763

Björklunden – Björklunden Vid Sjön, a 425-acre estate on Lake Michigan in Door County, Wisconsin, serves as Lawrence University’s northern campus.  The concerts take place in beautiful Vail Hall, opened in 2007. 7603 Chapel Lane, Baileys Harbor, WI, 54202, 920.839.2216

The Clearing – Located near the tip of Wisconsin’s Door Peninsula, The Clearing is situated on the Niagara Escarpment, a limestone cliff that rises out of Lake Michigan’s Green Bay and defines the western edge of Door County. The Clearing’s physical assets — beautiful views of the water and the setting sun, historic stone and log buildings and hiking trails that wind through the property’s 130 acres of forest and meadow – combine to create one of Door County’s great cultural and natural treasures.  12171 Garrett Bay Road, Ellison Bay, WI, 54210, 877.854.3225

Ephraim Moravian Church – The oldest church on the Door County peninsula, the building was completed in 1859 by a group of Norwegian settlers.  This historic structure provides an inspiring setting for a classical music concert.

9970 Moravia St, Ephraim, WI 54211, 920.854.2804,

Hon Residence – A private residence in Egg Harbor.

The Frances Hardy Center for the Arts – This venerable Ephraim landmark was built in the 1880s by Adolph Anderson during the era when ships from the Goodrich Line made this a port of call in the summertime. The Dock and Warehouse hold a lot of meaning for Ephraim residents and visitors alike, not to mention the decades of boaters who would paint their respective vessel’s name on the Warehouse’s clapboard siding. The gallery is home to some of the most creative and popular gallery exhibitions in Door County.  Anderson Dock, PO Box 394, Ephraim, WI, 54211, 920.854.2210,

Hellmich Residence – A private residence in Carlsville.

Peninsula School of Art – Founded in 1965 and located in the heart of Door County, Wisconsin, Peninsula School of Art is a center for education and exploration in the visual arts.  Situated on a 10 acre campus, the school which strives to foster an understanding of the visual arts through education, exhibitions and community outreach programs. Located at 3900 County F, Fish Creek, WI 54212, 920.868.3455

Rock Island Boat House – Take a ferry to this primitive island off the tip of the Door County peninsula in Lake Michigan. Stone buildings, built by a wealthy inventor who owned the island between 1910 and 1945, house exhibits. Cars and even bikes are not allowed on the 912-acre island, making for an experience unlike any other Wisconsin state park. Located at 1924 Indian Point Road, Washington Island, WI  54246, 920.847.2235

Schaulis Residence – A private residence in Gills Rock

Stella Maris Catholic Parish– In the early 17th century Jesuit missionary priests arrived in Northern Door County to minister to the Native Americans. In the early 1900’s Masses were said in local homes. The first Catholic church in Sister Bay was built at Bluff Road and Highway 42 served by the Mission Oblates of Mary Immaculate. In 1994 the latest church was erected with an addition to the social hall and kitchen in 1997. The Stella Maris Catholic Parish was formed on July 1, 2005, when all five churches of Northern Door County, St. Mary of the Lake, Baileys Harbor, St. John the Baptist, Egg Harbor, St. Michael the Archangel, Jacksonport, St. Paul the Apostle, Fish Creek, and St. Rosalia, Sister Bay, came together to become one Faith Community.

T. Ashwell’s Restaurant – The house on Mink River Road has a long history and residents of Northern Door know the structure well. In the beginning, it was a residence for good neighbors, then lodging for tourists and now a place for fine dining. Although certain renovations were made so the house could become a working restaurant, Chef Tom Ashwell Smith has kept the original architectural character like the field stone fire place, wrap-around porch, and gazebo. 11976 Mink River Road. Ellison Bay, WI 54210. 920.854.4306

Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Door County – The concerts take place in the former art gallery which is housed at the Fellowship, 10341 Hwy. 42, north Ephraim, located next to the Green Gables Shops. A regional artist is featured each month in the Gathering Room. Displays include all types of artwork.

Witt Residence – A private residence in Egg Harbor.

Woodwalk Gallery – Contemporary art in an historic barn setting featuring 47 regional artists and large-scale, ethereal landscapes by artist/owner Margaret Lockwood with studio on site. Featured artist events, theater happenings, receptions: Door County, Wisconsin at its best. The 1890s barn and straw-bale construction studio are worth the ¾ mile drive off the main peninsula Hwy 42 north of Sturgeon Bay.  6746 County Road F, Fish Creek, WI 54212, 920.868.2912

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