SISTER BAY – Virtuoso string instrumentalist Eric Lewis has played many concerts in Door County, but few like these.
The award-winning guitarist, banjo and mandolin wizard, who plays everything from old-school bluegrass and Americana to rock in his popular local concerts, is featured in “Eric Lewis Meets Will Healy,” a two-concert program July 13 and 14 and presented by Midsummer’s Music, the long-running Door County classical chamber music series.
For these concerts, Lewis teams with Healy, Midsummer’s composer-in-residence as well as the pianist for the performances, who works across genres including not just classical but also hip-hop and jazz. They will be joined by New York-based composer and violinist George Meyer and several of Midsummer’s professional string players in a program that include four world premiere compositions.
The program for both concerts opens with Healy and Meyer performing movements from J.S. Bach’s Sonata No. 6 in G Major for violin and piano.
Lewis then brings out his guitar to play Bourée from Bach’s Suite in E Minor, which though originally written for lute is now one of the most famous and popular classical guitar pieces around. He continues his set with at least three more works, including the world premiere of his “For Rose Mary.”
Healy and Meyer return before intermission with three original works, including “Let the Record Show,” the second world premiere piece of the concert.
Following intermission, Healy unveils the world premiere of his “Root Position” for piano, violin, viola and cello, a composition commissioned by Midsummer’s Music. Next, Meyer presents his Trio for Two Violins and Cello. The program concludes with a selection of pieces chosen by the ensemble, which will include Lewis, Healy and Meyer performing the unnamed-as-yet fourth world premiere of the program.
Lewis has won the Premier Player Award for Strings from the Memphis chapter of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, the organization that runs the Grammy Awards, and Door County Magazine readers named him Best Male Musician of 2008. Nationally, he’s opened for Travis Tritt and Chuck Berry and performed with Robin and Linda Williams of National Public Radio’s “Prairie Home Companion,” among others.
He has played frequently for more than 20 years with Door County’s Northern Sky Theater, both on stage and as an orchestra member, and appeared in concerts across the Peninsula over the years, notably in the Fishstock series in Fish Creek and at in the annual “Buckets of Rain” Bob Dylan tribute concerts. Among Lewis’ recordings is “Solid Ground,” a 2017 tribute album with local musicians Katie Dahl and Rich Higdon of songs written by Northern Sky co-founder Fred Alley.
These concerts aren’t Lewis’ first go-around with Midsummer’s Music. He was a featured musician in Midsummer’s 2020 fundraiser gala concert (held virtually because of the COVID-19 pandemic) and last year played several shows with the Griffon String Quartet, Midsummer’s resident string quartet.
“Eric Lewis Meets Will Healy” concerts are at 7 p.m. July 13 at the Kress Pavilion, 7845 Church St., Egg Harbor, and 7 p.m. July 14 at Shepherd of the Bay Lutheran Church, 11836 State 42, Ellison Bay. The July 13 concert is in memory of Tommy Burroughs, a seven-time NARAS Premier String Player winner and frequent collaborator with Lewis who died in May. Tickets are $38 for adults, $17 for ages 13 to 17, free for ages 12 and younger accompanied by an adult.
The Midsummer’s Music season offers a variety of chamber concert programs in intimate Door County locations through July 30 as well as three programs from Aug. 23 through Sept. 4. For tickets or more information on the concerts, call 920-854-7088 or visit midsummersmusic.com.