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Where else does Beethoven rub shoulders with bluegrass and Broadway, or Chick Corea with Orchestra of St. Luke’s? How often do beloved artists like Gil Shaham, Jeremy Denk, and Kelli O’Hara share the program with those still building their careers? From world premieres to classical masterworks, from Tahitian dance to Independence Day fireworks, from first-timers to festival favorites, and from today’s legends to tomorrow’s stars, Caramoor is a pastoral home for musical and artistic diversity. With eight weeks of orchestral, chamber, jazz, American roots, opera, multiethnic dance, and young artist showcases, the 71st summer season (June 18–Aug 7) presents an abundance of outstanding live music and more on the historic Caramoor estate: 90 acres of picturesque Italianate architecture and gardens in Katonah, Westchester, just one hour’s drive from Manhattan, offering day-trippers the perfect escape from the city. The New York Times recently described Caramoor’s summer season as taking place in “bucolic, picnic-friendly settings with a programming philosophy that balances hedonism and exploration.” Click here for a video introduction to Caramoor, created to celebrate last year’s 70th anniversary season, and here for a video highlighting Caramoor’s lasting appeal.
As it has been for over thirty-five years, Orchestra of St. Luke’s is in residence, led this summer by a quartet of outstanding conductors: Pablo Heras-Casado, Joshua Weilerstein, Will Crutchfield, and Rob Fisher. Besides collaborating with renowned American pianist and scholar Jonathan Biss, this season’s Artist-in-Residence, and soloists Gil Shaham and Kelli O’Hara, the orchestra also anchors Caramoor’s semi-staged productions of Beethoven’s Fidelio and Rossini’s long-lost opera, Aureliano in Palmira, which receives its American premiere under the baton of Director of Opera Will Crutchfield. The Aizuri Quartet serves as the 2015-16 Ernst Stiefel String Quartet-in-Residence, and both Biss and the Aizuris premiere new Caramoor commissions; indie folk band Hurray for the Riff Raff, singer-songwriter John Fullbright, and newgrass fiddler Sara Watkins head up the annual American Roots Festival; while the annual Caramoor Jazz Festival – now in the second year of its groundbreaking partnership with Jazz at Lincoln Center – concludes with a set from the CHICK COREA TRIO. Family-friendly Dancing at Dusk introduces the music and culture of the Pacific Rim, and participants and alumni from Caramoor’s numerous young artist programs perform in a variety of concerts. Thanks to a deep-seated commitment to musical diversity that permeates every aspect of its programming, Caramoor’s is truly a summer season like no other.
In residence: Orchestra of St. Luke’s and Jonathan Biss
It was at Caramoor that the resident Orchestra of St. Luke’s first formed 37 years ago; since then Caramoor has enjoyed an intimate and enduring partnership with the ensemble. Together with Tony Award-winning Broadway sensation Kelli O’Hara, most recently seen headlining Lincoln Center Theater’s The King and I, the orchestra launches the 2016 summer season with an evening of Broadway showstoppers and favorites from the Great American Songbook, under the leadership of Lucille Lortel Award-winner Rob Fisher. Their performance is the occasion for Caramoor’s annual Opening Night Gala, which includes a celebratory pre-concert cocktail reception and dinner, premium concert seating in the Venetian Theater, and an “After Dark” party for post-concert drinking, dancing, and desserts (June 18). As has become traditional, it is also the Orchestra of St. Luke’s that draws Caramoor’s summer to a close. Led by Principal Conductor Pablo Heras-Casado, Musical America’s 2014 Conductor of the Year, this year’s Season Finale pairs Brahms’s Second Symphony with his beloved and monumental Violin Concerto, with longtime Caramoor favorite Gil Shaham, widely recognized as “the outstanding American violinist of his generation” (Time), as soloist (Aug 7). Click here to see Shaham play the Brahms concerto.
These opening and closing events bookend the orchestra’s second appearance of the summer, a tour de force that showcases 2016 Artist-in-Residence Jonathan Biss, an alumnus of Caramoor’s Evnin Rising Stars program, playing two piano concertos. The program’s centerpiece is the New York premiere of Timo Andres’s Third Piano Concerto, The Blind Banister, which was co-commissioned for Biss by Caramoor as part of the pianist’s multi-season Beethoven/5 project. Andres’ concerto was inspired by Beethoven’s Second, with which it shares the first half of the program. The concert’s second half features Martinu’s La Jolla Sinfonietta, a neoclassical response to Haydn’s 98th Symphony, and concludes with the Haydn symphony itself. Joshua Weilerstein, Artistic Director of the Orchestre de Chambre de Lausanne (and brother of Caramoor’s 2014 Artist-in-Residence Alisa Weilerstein), takes the podium for his official Caramoor debut (July 10).
“An authority on Beethoven” (New York Times), Biss has not only made a nine-year commitment to recording all 32 of the master composer’s sonatas but has also devoted a groundbreaking Coursera course to their exploration, reaching more than 100,000 students to date. Following his first all-Beethoven solo recital at Caramoor in 2013, when he impressed the New York Times with his “ability to convey his deep understanding of these works and to give each a distinctive character,” the pianist returns for a second this season, now with a program featuring the “Appassionata” and “Tempest” Sonatas (Aug 5). As a dedicated chamber artist who represents the third generation in a family of professional musicians, Biss also joins his mother, violinist Miriam Fried, and others for chamber works by Brahms and Janáček (Aug 4). Click here to see Biss talk about practicing Beethoven.
Opera has long been key to Caramoor’s success, thanks in no small part to the dedicated scholarship and expertise of Director of Opera Will Crutchfield. This summer, the celebrated Bel Canto at Caramoor series presents the centuries-overdue American premiere of Rossini’s Aureliano in Palmira. This long-lost opera exemplifies the Italian composer’s finest mature writing, and restores to its original setting the overture so beloved from its repurposed use in The Barber of Seville. Depicting a love triangle against the backdrop of the war-torn land that is present-day Syria, Aureliano has especial resonance for today’s audiences. Yet the opera remained out of circulation until Crutchfield painstakingly undertook its reconstruction, with the aid of a Guggenheim Fellowship, and led its triumphant revival at Italy’s 2014 Rossini Opera Festival, scoring last year’s International Opera Award for Best Rediscovered Work. Starring Andrew Owens, Georgia Jarman, and Tamara Mumford under the Director of Opera’s “sensitive leadership” (Opera News), Caramoor’s semi-staged production – offering New World audiences their first opportunity to hear a missing masterpiece by one of opera’s greatest names – marks a major milestone in operatic history (July 16).
Caramoor also presents Beethoven’s sole opera, Fidelio, which premiered in its final form during the same season as Aureliano. The opera – which explores the characteristically Beethovenian themes of heroism, sacrifice, and delayed triumph – became an instant classic, and remains a cornerstone of the repertory to this day. Caramoor’s semi-staged presentation stars Elza van den Heever in the title role, opposite Paul Groves as Florestan, with Heras-Casado on the podium. The conductor’s operatic company debut also marks the first time an opera in Caramoor’s Bel Canto program will have been led by a conductor other than Crutchfield himself (July 31). Last summer, the Music Director helmed both Donizetti’s La Favorite and Poulenc’s Dialogues des Carmélites, in which the New York Times admired “the spacious, detailed performance he drew from an impressive cast and the Orchestra of St. Luke’s.”
Caramoor is justly celebrated for nurturing young talent and offering sterling follow-up support, through young artist programs that include the Ernst Stiefel String Quartet-in-Residence, Evnin Rising Stars, Schwab Vocal Rising Stars (of which the star of this season’s Aureliano, Andrew Owens, is an alumnus), and Bel Canto Young Artists. Each year, approximately twelve Bel Canto Young Artists receive training in vocal technique and interpretation, before showcasing their development in a pair of summer performances. This season’s offerings are The Intimate Rossini, a program of miniatures for soloists and ensemble (July 7), and Beethoven in Song (July 21), which explores the composer’s extensive lieder catalog. These young artists also take part in the season’s two opera productions; as NPR notes, “Opera mavens flock to Caramoor, as the festival often gives plum roles to important young singers.”
Chamber recitals: Aizuri Quartet, Jeremy Denk, Evnin Rising Stars, and more
This year’s Ernst Stiefel String Quartet-in-Residence is the Aizuri Quartet, two of whose members are alumnae of Caramoor’s Evnin Rising Stars program. A top prizewinner at the 2015 Wigmore Hall International String Quartet Competition, the Aizuri has proven itself to be “in full possession of that most elusive of string quartet qualities: the balance between charisma of the individual and cohesion of the collective” (Philadelphia Inquirer). For its contribution to Caramoor’s ongoing “String Quartet Library for the 21st Century” commissioning project, the quartet collaborated with emerging Brooklyn-based composer Paul Wiancko to develop a new multi-movement piece, titled LIFT. This will receive its world premiere performance during the Aizuri Quartet’s summer recital – the fourth of their yearlong residency – alongside Beethoven’s profound Op. 130 quartet and Grosse Fuge (July 8). Click here to see the Aizuri Quartet play Beethoven.
The residency highlights a chamber lineup boasting a who’s who of classical luminaries both young and seasoned. David Finckel and Wu Han, Co-Artistic Directors of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, join the Emerson String Quartet’s Philip Setzer for Beethoven piano trios including the incomparable “Archduke” (June 26). The Grammy Award-winning Pacifica Quartet – the 2001-02 Ernst Stiefel String Quartet-in-Residence – returns for Haydn, Bartók, and late Beethoven (July 17); the Danish String Quartet, styled “one of the best quartets before the public today” (Washington Post), couples Beethoven and Janáček with traditional Scandinavian folk music (July 29); and the Akropolis Reed Quintet pioneers innovative repertoire for saxophone, clarinet, oboe, bassoon, and bass clarinet (June 23). Violinist Pamela Frank takes part in a moving Father’s Day tribute to honor the life and legacy of her late father, pianist Claude Frank (June 19). MacArthur “genius grant” and Avery Fisher Prize-winner Jeremy Denk makes his Caramoor debut with a solo piano recital (July 24), and powerhouse guitarist Meng Su, who previously wowed audiences as half of the Beijing Guitar Duo, returns for a “Guitar in the Garden” solo recital in the magical outdoor setting of Caramoor’s Sunken Garden (July 28). Click here to see Meng Su’s gold medal-winning performance in the 2015 Parkening International Guitar Competition Final.
The Stamford Piano Trio celebrates Bastille Day with French fare from Fauré, Ravel, and Lili Boulanger (July 14), and Music from Copland House, ensemble-in-residence at the late composer’s Westchester home, returns with all-American selections drawing on influences from jazz and spirituals to country, folk, and rock (July 22). Edward Arron makes his annual summer appearance with a host of Caramoor regulars, all of whom, like the cellist himself, are Evnin Rising Stars alumni (June 24), and the Evnin Rising Stars Showcase presents violinist Paul Huang, violist Matthew Lipman, and pianist Kuok-Wai Lio, some of the intensive chamber mentorship program’s finest participants, in works by Mozart, Brahms, and Ravel (June 30).
Jazz Festival: Jazz at Lincoln Center, Chick Corea, and more
Now celebrating its 23rd season, Caramoor’s annual all-day Jazz Festival will, like last year’s, be curated in collaboration with the world-renowned Jazz at Lincoln Center. Crowned by an evening set from the CHICK COREA TRIO, the festival also features daytime performances from the Evan Sherman Big Band; Ladies Sing the Blues featuring Catherine Russell, Brianna Thomas, and Charenée Wade; Etienne Charles; Gotham Kings; Jazzmeia Horn; and Bria Skonberg (July 23). Additional jazz events take place on July 9 (TBA) and August 6, when Cécile McLorin Salvant, “a jazz songbird for the 21st century” (Downbeat) returns for her third consecutive summer. As the Huffington Post says of jazz at Caramoor, “One couldn’t ask for a more exciting and contemporary selection of musical performers to choose from.” Click here to see McLorin Salvant sing “I Didn’t Know What Time It Was.”
American Roots Music Festival: Hurray for the Riff Raff, John Fullbright, Sara Watkins, and more
Caramoor’s American Roots Music Festival returns with a full day of music spanning the spectrum from bluegrass to blues to creole, and taking place throughout the idyllic 90-acre Caramoor estate. Headlining this summer’s festival are New Orleans’s Hurray For the Riff Raff, returning fan favorite John Fullbright and American singer-songwriter and fiddler Sara Watkins, who is back after wowing last season’s audiences as a member of folk supergroup I’m With Her. Other festival performers include Man About A Horse, Dennis Stroughmatt et l’Esprit Creole, The Lowest Pair, Silver City Bound, Spuyten Duyvil, and others (June 25). Caramoor presents additional roots events on July 30 (TBA) and July 15, when Ben Folds and yMusic treat audiences to their unique brand of chamber rock, as heard on their recent hit album, So There. Click here to see Watkins sing “You and Me.”
Dancing at Dusk
A beloved and family-friendly summer tradition, Caramoor’s Dancing at Dusk takes place on the spacious lawn of Friends Field, where guests are treated to music forms from around the globe and invited to watch and learn the distinctive dance traditions that accompany them. This year’s series offers introductions to the music and culture of the Pacific Rim: from the colorful educators and entertainers of Lei Pasifika (June 29) with the music and dance of Tahiti and Hawaii; to more from the Pacific Rim (July 7, TBA); to the movement, song, and storytelling of Kinding Sindaw Melayu Heritage focusing on the Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, and South Thailand (July 13); to classical and modern dancer Ling Tang, who takes young listeners on a musical exploration of Ba Ban (“Eight Beats”), which forms the structural basis of traditional Chinese folk music (July 27). Click here to see Lei Pasifika at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Independence Day with Ryan Silverman
Continuing Caramoor’s tradition of celebrating Independence Day in style, audience favorites Curt Ebersole and his 60-piece Westchester Symphonic Winds return for a family-friendly event steeped in American heritage. Broadway star Ryan Silverman is also back by popular demand, with a centennial tribute to Frank Sinatra, as is euphonium soloist John Palatucci. The evening’s festivities conclude with fireworks to celebrate the holiday (July 2).
For high-resolution photos, click here.
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For more than 70 years, Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts has been a leading destination for music lovers. Comprising a Mediterranean revival villa on 90 acres of gardens and serene woodlands in Westchester County, NY, the estate is just 40 miles north of Manhattan. Summer concerts take place in two outdoor theaters – the 1,508-seat, acoustically superb Venetian Theater, and the more intimate, romantic 470-seat Spanish Courtyard – as well as in the picturesque gardens, which include a Sense Circle for the visually impaired, Sunken Garden, Butterfly Garden, Tapestry Hedge, and Iris and Peony Garden. Audiences are invited to come early to explore the grounds, tour the historic Rosen House, enjoy a relaxing Sunday afternoon tea, or unwind with a pre-concert picnic. Click here for a short video history of Caramoor and the Rosen House.
In addition to the summer season, Caramoor presents concerts all year round in the magnificent Rosen House Music Room. Through an impressive range of education programs, Caramoor serves more than 6,000 students in the New York metropolitan area, besides boasting an array of highly successful mentorship programs designed for young professionals who have completed their conservatory training. Over the past 20 years, alumni from these programs have become leaders of the next classical generation, whose accomplishments include winning a MacArthur Fellowship, becoming first violinist of the Juilliard String Quartet, and appointment as the Concertmaster of the New York Philharmonic.
Getting to Caramoor
Getting to Caramoor is simple by car, train, or public transportation. All parking is free and close to the performance areas. Handicapped parking is also free and readily available.
By car from New York City, take the Henry Hudson Parkway north to the Saw Mill River Parkway north to I-684 north to Exit 6. Go east on Route 35 to the traffic light (.3 mile). Turn right onto Route 22 south, and travel 1.9 miles to the junction of Girdle Ridge Road where there is a green Caramoor sign. At the junction, veer left and make a quick right onto Girdle Ridge Road. Continue on Girdle Ridge Road 0.5 miles to the Caramoor gates on the right. Approximate drive time is one hour.
By train from Grand Central Station, take the Harlem Division Line of the Metro North Railroad heading to Southeast, and exit at Katonah. Caramoor is a 3.5-mile drive from the Katonah station, where taxi service is always available and shuttle service is available for the American Roots Music and Jazz Fesivals. For current information, check the Metro North schedule.
For the opera performances, Caramoor offers ticketed, round-trip transportation from NYC on the Caramoor Coach, a luxury air-conditioned coach traveling from Grand Central/Lexington Ave to Caramoor’s front door and back. To learn more, contact the Box Office.
Caramoor: 71st summer music season
Symphonic: Opening Night (with pre-concert gala)
Broadway showstoppers; favorites from the Great American Songbook
(Orchestra of St. Luke’s / Rob Fisher; Kelli O’Hara, soprano)
Chamber: For My Father / Dedicated to Claude Frank
Schubert: Trio in B-flat major for violin, viola and cello, D. 471
Mozart: Piano Quartet in E-flat major, K. 493
Brahms: Piano Quartet No. 3 in C minor, Op. 60
(Pamela Frank, violin; Ayane Kozasa, viola; Peter Wiley, cello; Andrew Tyson, piano)
Chamber: Akropolis Reed Quintet
(Matt Landry, saxophone; Kari Dion, clarinet; Tim Gocklin, oboe; Ryan Reynolds, bassoon; Andrew Koeppe, bass clarinet)
Chamber: Edward Arron & Friends
Barrière: Sonata in G Major for Two Cellos
Korngold: String Sextet in D Major, Op. 10
Mozart: Grande Sestetto Concertante (arrangement of Sinfonia Concertante, K. 364)
(Tessa Lark, violin; Jesse Mills, violin; Mark Holloway, viola; Max Mandel, viola; Alice Yoo, cello; Edward Arron, cello)
Multiple Locations / Venetian Theater
American Roots: American Roots Music Festival
Artists include: Hurray For the Riff Raff, John Fullbright, Sara Watkins, Man About A Horse, Dennis Stroughmatt et l’Esprit Creole, The Lowest Pair, Silver City Bound, Spuyten Duyvil, and more
Chamber: Wu Han, piano; Philip Setzer, violin; David Finckel, cello
Beethoven: Trio in G Major, Op. 1, No. 2
Beethoven: Trio in E-flat Major, Op. 70, No. 2
Beethoven: Trio in B-flat Major, Op. 97 (“Archduke”)
Dancing at Dusk I: Tahiti & Hawaii, with Lei Pasifika
Chamber: Evnin Rising Stars Showcase
Ravel: Violin Sonata in A minor
Brahms: Sonata, Op. 120, No. 1
Mozart: Kegelstatt Trio, K. 498 (arr. for violin, viola and piano)
(Paul Huang, violin; Matthew Lipman, viola; Kuok-Wai Lio, piano)
Pops, Patriots, Fireworks
An Independence Day Celebration
(Westchester Symphonic Winds / Curt Ebersole; Robert Sherman, host; Ryan Silverman, vocalist; John Palatucci, euphonium)
Dancing at Dusk II: Music from the Pacific Rim; Artists to be announced soon
Opera: The Intimate Rossini: Ensembles & Choruses
Bel Canto Young Artists
Chamber: Aizuri Quartet (2015-16 Ernst Stiefel String Quartet-in-Residence)
Paul Wiancko: LIFT for String Quartet (world premiere)
Beethoven: String Quartet Op. 130 & Grosse Fuge
Jazz: Artists to be announced soon
Presented in Collaboration with Jazz at Lincoln Center
Symphonic: Artist-in-Residence Jonathan Biss, piano, with Orchestra of St Luke’s / Joshua Weilerstein
Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 2
Timo Andres: The Blind Banister, Concerto No. 3 (New York premiere of Caramoor co-commission)
Martinu: La Jolla Sinfonietta for Piano and Chamber Orchestra
Haydn: Symphony No. 98
Dancing at Dusk III: Filipino Music & Dance, with Kinding Sindaw Melayu Heritage
Chamber: Stamford Piano Trio
Celebrating Bastille Day
Lili Boulanger: “D’un matin de printemps”
Fauré: Piano Trio in D minor, Op. 120
Ravel: Piano Trio in A minor (1914)
(Erica Kiesewetter, violin; Caroline Stinson, cello; Molly Morkoski, piano)
American Roots: Ben Folds & yMusic
Opera: Rossini: Aureliano in Palmira
Bel Canto at Caramoor
Orchestra of St. Luke’s / Will Crutchfield
Aureliano: Andrew Owens, tenor
Zenobia: Georgia Jarman, soprano
Arsace: Tamara Mumford, mezzo-soprano
Chamber: Pacifica Quartet
Haydn: Quartet in G major, Op. 76, No. 1
Bartók: Quartet No. 2
Beethoven: Quartet in C-sharp minor, Op. 131
Opera: Beethoven in Song
Bel Canto Young Artists
Chamber: Songs America Loves to Sing
Music from Copland House
Multiple locations; Venetian Theater
Jazz Festival, presented in Collaboration with Jazz at Lincoln Center
Friends Field Daytime Artists: Gotham Kings: Riley Mulherkar and Alphonso Horne; Etienne Charles & Creole Soul; The Artistry of Jazzmeia Horn; Bria Skonberg, and more
Venetian Theater Daytime Artists: Ladies Sing the Blues featuring Catherine Russell, Brianna Thomas, and Charenée Wade; Evan Sherman Big Band
Venetian Theater Evening Artist: CHICK COREA TRIO (Chick Corea, Christian McBride, Brian Blade)
Chamber: Jeremy Denk, piano
Dancing at Dusk IV: An Evening of Chinese Dance & Music with Ling Tang & Ba Ban
Chamber: Guitar in the Garden: Meng Su, guitar
Bach: Lute Suite No. 4 in E major, BWV1006a
Castelnuovo-Tedesco: Sonata “Omaggio a Boccherini,” Op. 77
John Williams: Rounds
Sergio Assad: Aquarelle
Chamber: Danish String Quartet
Janácek: String Quartet No. 2, “Intimate letters”
Folk music from the Nordic countries
Beethoven: String Quartet No. 12, Op. 127
American Roots: Artist announcement pending/coming soon
Opera: Beethoven: Fidelio
Bel Canto Young Artists
Orchestra of St. Luke’s / Pablo Heras-Casado
Leonore: Elza van den Heever, soprano
Florestan: Paul Groves, tenor
Marzelline: Georgia Jarman, soprano
Rocco: Kristinn Sigmundsson, bass
Jaquino: Andrew Owens, tenor
Don Pizarro: Alfred Walker, bass-baritone
Chamber: Artist-in-Residence Jonathan Biss, piano, with Miriam Fried, violin;Hsin-Yun Huang, viola; Marcy Rosen, cello
Janácek: Sonata for violin and piano
Brahms: Piano Quartet in A major, Op. 26
Solo recital: Artist-in-Residence Jonathan Biss, piano
Beethoven: Sonata in E-flat major, Op. 7
Beethoven: Sonata in D minor, Op. 31, No. 2 (“Tempest”)
Beethoven: Sonata in G major, Op. 79
Beethoven: Sonata in F minor, Op. 57 (“Appassionata”)
Jazz: Cécile McLorin Salvant Quartet
Presented in Collaboration with Jazz at Lincoln Center
Symphonic: Summer Season Finale
Brahms: Violin Concerto in D major, Op. 77
Brahms: Symphony No. 2 in D major, Op. 73
(Orchestra of St. Luke’s / Pablo Heras-Casado; Gil Shaham, violin)
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All concerts made possible, in part, by ArtsWestchester with funds from the Westchester County Government.
All concerts made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature
© 21C Media Group, January 2016