MISTRAL, about to begin its 19th season, was founded as “Andover Chamber Music” in 1997, by flutist Julie Scolnik and her husband, physicist Michael Brower. Since then, MISTRAL has presented approximately 10-12 concerts a year primarily in the New England area. They currently perform a regular series in both Andover and Brookline. They have been invited to perform by presenters across the country.
Scolnik was a busy free-lance flutist in Boston when she moved with her young family to Andover, soon to discover a community that was eager to embrace her dream of bringing high caliber and unstuffy chamber music to their doorsteps. Audiences responded enthusiastically to the virtuosic and communicative artists she invited and overnight a chamber series called Andover Chamber Music was born!
MISTRAL has long been the name of the series’ ensemble-in-residence, but in 2013, with regular concerts in the Boston area (Scolnik and Brower now live in Boston), the series has transitioned to MISTRAL as the name of the organization itself. The concerts have always had a dual mission: to offer chamber music of the highest artistic standards to the greater Boston area, and to provide accessible and affordable musical enrichment to children and their families, those of lower incomes, and the elderly and physically disabled, who may not otherwise have an opportunity to hear a live, world-class performance.
Each season, MISTRAL presents most of its regular five-concert series in two intimate church settings, both acoustically perfect: the historic West Parish Church in Andover, where curved pews enhance the intimacy and connection between players and audience, and St Paul’s Episcopal Church in Brookline. The annual holiday Baroque concert is performed at the festive pine-filled South Church of Andover as well as at Saint Paul’s Episcopal Church of Brookline. The tenth anniversary finale was performed in Jordan Hall, and their 15th anniversary Season Finale in 2012 was performed in the Phillips Academy Chapel to accommodate the scope of the concert and formidable size of the ensemble.
Artistic Director Julie Scolnik assembles internationally-renowned musicians from New York, California, Philadelphia, Chicago, and abroad and creates imaginative thematic programs that combine beloved masterpieces with newly-discovered gems. Audiences look forward to Scolnik’s welcoming remarks and to the introductions of the pieces by the artists before they perform.
MISTRAL believes strongly in making music accessible to all. The organization spearheaded the acclaimed “Music For All” instrumental instruction through the Lawrence Boys and Girls Club, and it continues to bring live classical interactive concerts into the elementary schools. Free tickets are routinely distributed to under-served families and the elderly.
In addition to its regular concert season, MISTRAL organizes and presents special benefit concerts for noble causes. In December of 2010, Scolnik organized an orchestral concert under the direction of world-renowned Sir Simon Rattle at Jordan Hall in Boston to benefit the Susan G. Komen Foundation. Rattle conducted an 80-member orchestra that featured principal players of the Boston Symphony, The Philadelphia Orchestra, A Far Cry, Orpheus Chamber Orchestra and other distinguished musicians, many of whom are regular performers on the Mistral stage. In May of 2014 Scolnik curated a concert in Paris for La Ligue contre le Cancer at the Hotel de Ville with a chamber orchestra comprised of musicians from across the continents.
Mistral is proud to be supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council (a state agency) with additional support from the Andover Cultural Council and the Brookline Commission for the Arts, local agencies which are supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council.