[email protected] opens tonight. It's the local equivalent of all these famous fancy summer festivals, Marlboro, or Tanglewood, without the hassle of leaving the bay. So tonight, you can listen to darn good chamber music, with a world class cast of musicians, or you can listen to Bug's Bunny's music. [email protected] was created in 2003 by a married couple, pianist Wu Han and cellist David Finckel. Finckel is the steadying hand in the Emerson String Quartet (interviewed by us here), maybe the most celebrated classical music chamber ensemble. He has studied with Rostropovich, has won all the acclaim any artist could hope for. Eight grammies!

He and Wu Han are also running their recording label ArtistLed, as well as the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, in NY, where they get to organize concerts and scout the artists, some of whom they invite to Menlo. This year, the theme of the festival is the ubiquitous Felix Mendelssohn, because we just. Must. Not. Forget. He was born 200 years ago. The concerts, 5 programs in all, each bring together a few handpicked outstanding musicians for duets, trios, etc, all music related in some sense to Mendelssohn's. We believe the largest group will top at eight, for the Mendelssohn Octet, one of Felix's (and chamber music's) unmitigated masterpieces. Intimate performances in the cute confines of Menlo School: we're so there. We were able to reach [email protected] co-creator David Finckel by email.