The 2019 Manchester Summer Chamber Music series kicks off this week with its popular House Concerts featuring pianist Ryo Yanagitani in what are expected to be two sold-out performances.

Founded in 2009 by Manchester native Sage Cole and Andover native Lorna Tsai, the chamber music series is dedicated to sharing classical music of the highest caliber with North Shore communities.

“Our goal is to combine the magic of warm summer nights with dynamic interpretations of chamber music gems as well as vibrant new music,” Cole said.

This year’s festival features 24 musicians from around the world in concerts from Cape Ann to the Crane Estate in Ipswich. 

The first two events are the annual House Concerts. Because the event routinely sells out, the festival this year is hosting two performances featuring Yanagitani at the Manchester home of Stephen and Isabella Bates. The concerts take place on back-to-back nights — Thursday, Aug. 8, and Friday, Aug. 9, both at 7 p.m. 

In “Thousandth Orange,” Yanagitani will explore piano quartets by composers from different eras, from Richard Strauss to Caroline Shaw, who share a common inspiration in the music of Johannes Brahms. A reception will follow each performance.

Then on Aug. 10, the first of three Saturday night concerts takes place in the Barn at Castle Hill on the Crane Estate, 290 Argilla Road, Ipswich. This weekend’s program is “The Unsung Hero” dedicated to the often-overlooked “middle child” of the string family: the viola. It spotlights violist Matthew Cohen, who will present works by Telemann, Mozart, Brahms and others.

The Saturday night concerts at the Barn at Castle Hill continue on Saturday, Aug. 17, with “Songs of the Night” featuring contralto Emily Marvosh performing the music of Handel and Mendelssohn as well as pieces by living composers Caroline Shaw and Howard Frazin. Works by Beethoven and Brahms will round out the program. The festival concludes on Aug. 24 with “The Four Seasons,” which will be paired with Astor Piazzolla’s homage, “Four Seasons in Buenos Aires.”

The Saturday night concerts all start at 7:30. Patrons are invited to arrive an hour early with a picnic and relax in the walled garden in front of the barn. Only alcohol supplied by the onsite vendor is permitted.

Tickets to all concerts are $25 in advance or $35 at the door. Children under 12 are admitted for free to the three Castle Hill performances. For tickets and information, visit manchestersummerchambermusic.org or call 978-704-1041.

Rockport Illuminations weekend

The main event of Rockport Illuminations weekend is the fireworks on Saturday, Aug. 10, at 9 p.m. But there are many events taking place all weekend long.

The Rotary Club serves up its 23rd annual Lobsterfest from 3 to 7 p.m. at the American Legion bandstand at Back Beach.

Earlier in the day, families can meet Jenny Amory, author of “Moon Walk,” from 11 a.m. to noon at Rockport Baptist Church, 4 High St., where she will read and sign books. Also, children can paint their own lantern from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at the church and there will be face painting. Stories about lobsters will be read at the church from noon to 2 p.m.

Also around town on Saturday is the Rockport Farmers Market from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. A walking tour of the cultural district starts at 10 a.m. from Dock Square. Music will fill Dock Square from 2 to 9 p.m., featuring Headlands from 2 to 4 p.m., Kiva Trumbour from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. and 4x4 Jazz Quartet from 7 to 9 p.m. There will be a chance to meet Rockport lobstermen and hear about lobstering from 2 to 5 p.m. at three locations — Pigeon Cove Harbor, Granite Pier and T-Wharf.

Organizers are also hoping to start a new tradition that celebrates the town’s rich artistic history with its first Cape Ann Plein Air Nocturnal Paint. Spaces are limited to 70 artists, who will paint Friday evening and again on Saturday. Awards for first, second and third place will be presented, as well as a people’s choice award. There will be a student category for under 18-year-olds, too. Register at form.jotform.com/91675424242154

The results of the Noctural Paint and Plein Air Show and Sale will cap off the weekend on Sunday, Aug. 11, from 2 to 5 p.m. at the Rockport Art Association, 12 Main St.

For more information or to donate, visit rockportilluminations.com.

‘Homer at the Beach’ at Cape Ann Museum

Cape Ann Museum, 26 Pleasant St., Gloucester, this week opens its special exhibition — “Homer at the Beach: A Marine Painter’s Journey, 1869-1880.”

The exhibition examines the formation of Winslow Homer as a marine painter. In 1869, Homer (1836–1910) exhibited his first painting of the sea. Over the next 11 years, his journey would take him to a variety of marine destinations, from New Jersey to Maine, but especially — and repeatedly — to Gloucester and other parts of Cape Ann, according to an exhibition statement.

The exhibit runs through Dec. 1. It will coincide with “Winslow Homer: Eyewitness,” which opens Aug. 31 at the Harvard Art Museums in Cambridge. For more information, visit capeannmuseum.org.

Turning the page on ‘Voices of Dogtown’ 

Poet James R. Scrimgeour celebrates the release of “Voices of Dogtown: Poems Arising Out of a Ghost Town Landscape” with several upcoming readings.

Recently published by Loom Press, the book is described as a collage of historical research and original poetry. It focuses on the voices of three colonial inhabitants of Dogtown: Tammy Younger, Abram Wharf and Capt. Jack Stanwood.

For more than 13 years, Scrimgeour has trekked the Dogtown landscape, inspired by the voices of the settlers from centuries ago as well as the voices of the countless others — historians, novelists, poets and artists — who have also been inspired by Dogtown.

Elyssa East, author of “Dogtown: Death and Enchantment in a New England Ghost Town,” noted that the book “is a deeply researched and thoroughly imagined collection celebrating Dogtown’s unique character and its unshakable effect upon those who venture to know this mysterious place.”

Scrimgeour will highlight the book on Thursday, Aug. 8, at 7:30 p.m. as the featured poet at the Cellar Reading Series at The Beverly Depot, 10 Park St. Other readings are planned for Rockport Public Library, 17 School St., on Wednesday, Aug. 14, at 7 p.m.; Salem Athenaeum, 337 Essex St., with author Carl Carlsen, on Friday, Aug. 16, from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.; and Cape Ann Museum, 26 Pleasant St., Gloucester, during the Dogtown Writers Festival on Sept. 28, first during a panel talk at 11 a.m. and later at a workshop with writers Mark Carlotto and Carlsen from 1:30 to 4 p.m.

Visit loompress.com/james-r-scrimgeour for more information.

Rockport keys up jazz and more

The Rockport Jazz Festival continues this week at Shalin Liu Performance Center, 37 Main St. Vocalist Kat Edmonson takes the stage on Thursday, Aug. 8, at 8 p.m. Pianist Aaron Diehl, acclaimed in both classical and jazz music, performs on Friday, Aug. 9, at 8 p.m., followed by the Hot Sardines on Saturday, Aug. 10, at 8 p.m. Two-time Grammy winning Ulysses Owens Jr. closes out the weekend on Sunday, Aug. 11, at 2 p.m.

Mipso, a group Rolling Stone magazine listed as among the “10 New Country Artists You Need to Know” in 2017, commands the spotlight on Wednesday, Aug. 14, at 8 p.m.

For details, visit rockportmusic.org.

Spiritual notes from Native American flautist 

Nationally acclaimed Native American flautist Jonah Littlesunday, from Gray Mountain, Arizona, is making the rounds North of Boston performing his “lyrical, healing music,”

Littlesunday, who has performed at diverse programs from the Crazy Horse Memorial in South Dakota to Sen. John McCain’s funeral, is scheduled to appear on Thursday, Aug. 15, from 6 to 7:30 p.m. and Saturday, Aug. 17, from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at Manchester Community Center, 40 Beach St., Manchester; Friday, Aug. 16, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at Rocky Neck Cultural Center, 6 Wonson St., Gloucester; and Sunday, Aug. 18, from 1 to 2:30 p.m. at Saltonstall Mansion, 187 Lake St., Peabody.  For tickets and information, search Jonah Littlesunday on eventbrite.com, call 978-283-4258 or email dreamtimewellness@gmail.com.

Around Cape Ann is a column devoted to events happening on Cape Ann and artists from Cape Ann performing elsewhere. If you would like to submit an item, contact reporter Gail McCarthy at 978-675-2706, or gmccarthy@gloucestertimes.com, at least two weeks in advance.