The third day is the sweet spot. The pressure of the performance isn’t really upon us yet, the group numbers are on their feet (or, in one case, on its butt, since the cast is seated for it), the guest teacher hasn’t arrived, and it’s just the family, workin’ away on songs. Salient features of the day:
(1) We had a morning visit from about twenty students from a nearby high school, all of them members of their school chorus. They were amazingly attentive, asked a lot of good questions, and gently kicked all of us into performance mode. Sure, they were watching us rehearse, and we let them see us change keys, talk about vibrato, place vowels, fix problems. But inevitably you don’t rehearse the same way when you have an audience—you have to deliver Read more
The first day is always the honeymoon; and on the second day I can see what the week’s work is going to be about. These singers all have such fertile imaginations that they are sometimes bombarded with thoughts, ideas, images, impulses. They’re gifted and young, and they are still building the wiring to handle their own artistic electricity. Their capabilities are enormous. Some singers would be daunted by the eight languages in “Ports of Call”; others would need to be shown the subtleties of melody and style. At Caramoor, though, everyone has a tremendous instinct for music, and no one has raised Read more
Pictured above, Steve Blier and Olivia Betzen.
By Steven Blier, Artistic Director, mentor and pianist
Today was the first day of the 2014 Vocal Rising Stars program at Caramoor—the sixth season NYFOS and Caramoor have collaborated on this project. Every year has its own distinctive atmosphere, like the unique timbre of an instrument or the tantalizing aroma of something in the oven. Our cast is a bit younger than usual—just a few years, really, but for people in their twenties the age difference is significant. One of our singers, Annie Rosen, has sung in opera houses overseas, but the other three—soprano Olivia Betzen, tenor Miles Mykkanen, and baritone Theo Hoffman—are just entering the professional world. Theo is still an undergraduate (he’s the youngest we’ve ever had in the program), and Olivia is fresh off the boat—she moved to New York about six weeks ago Read more
Each year more than 5,000 students from area schools participate in various Arts-in-Education programs at Caramoor. Jessica Meyer is a violist and composer who recently led a workshop with a class of 5th graders from Yonkers, and wanted to share her experience:
I am really excited to be part of Caramoor’s two-day educational residencies called What’s in a House, a series of workshops where students visit with both an architect and a horticulturalist, then compose music with me based on rooms of the famous Rosen House.
When I first saw the house, I was shocked by how unique and captivating it is. I have traveled the world as a classical violist, but I have never seen a house like this! What makes it really special is that there is an entire room devoted Read more
Sometimes called a Chinese fiddle, the erhu can bark like a dog, chirp like a bird, and laugh like a human. Its name might not be the easiest to remember, but this ancient two-stringed instrument produces exquisite melancholy tones suitable for sophisticated classical music. Both aspects of the erhu – its playful, amusing side, as well as its serious, melodic side – are highlighted during a special arts-in-education program designed to introduce school children to Chinese arts and culture.
Students listen to the erhu and other indigenous Chinese instruments and then enjoy a traditional tea Read more
Emmylou Harris & Rodney Crowell
American Roots music – bluegrass, country, folk, blues, and gospel (among others) is the lifeblood of America’s cultural heritage. These are the sounds of the American melting pot in full boil, and this summer we will present some of the iconic masters of these forms as well as promising and talented rising stars, among them: the Del McCoury Band, John McCutcheon, Heritage Blues Quartet, Spuyten Duyvil, David Wax Museum, the Stray Birds, Doug & Telisha, and Walkabout Clearwater Chorus. Tim O’Brien, the Amy Helm Band and Suzanne Vega will appear on the Caramoor stage as well.
To further celebrate this truly American musical tradition, we are thrilled to welcome two longtime friends celebrating some forty years on the road, neo-traditionalists singing in the church of the high and lonesome: Emmy Lou Harris and Rodney Crowell! The two met and began performing together in the 1970’s and have recently Read more
Arnaud Sussmann is a multi-faceted and compelling artist who has performed as soloist throughout the United States, Central America, Europe, and Asia, and at venues such as Carnegie Hall, Avery Fisher Hall, Alice Tully Hall, the Smithsonian Museum and the Louvre Museum. Sussman studied with Boris Garlitsky and Itzhak Perlman – Perlman chose him to be a Starling Fellow and honored him as a teaching assistant for two years! It seems as though Sussman has done it all, and his international experiences have certainly influenced the style of his performances. Arnaud participated in Caramoor’s Evnin Rising Stars program in 2008-09, and last appeared at Caramoor during the 2011 Summer Music Festival. We are honored to welcome him back to Caramoor as a member of the Caramoor Virtuosi program June 28.
Our Artistic Director and Cellist Edward Arron has performed at Caramoor flawlessly, rain or shine over 50 times (in fact 2012 was the first time in many years in which it did not rain throughout the performance!) No matter the weather, it never stops Mr. Arron from entertaining a crowd of chamber music lovers. His astounding knowledge and love for music is evident every time he appears on stage. Arron has been studying music since the young age of 7 and has taken his talents through a whirlwind of performances. The New Yorker states that, “Edward Arron is not only one of New York’s most exciting young cellists but also an inventive impresario.”
When not at Caramoor, Eddie (as we call him here at Caramoor) is also the artistic director of the critically acclaimed Metropolitan Museum Artists in Concert, a chamber music series created in 2003 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Museum’s concerts and lectures series. He has filled some of the most prestigious venues in Manhattan with his elegant music, including Carnegie’s Weill and Zankel Halls, Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully and Avery Fisher Halls, New York’s Town Hall and the 92nd Street Y. He also frequently performs at Bargemusic, a floating concert hall at the foot of the Brooklyn Bridge. Arron is recognized worldwide, appearing in recital, as a soloist with orchestra, and as a chamber musician throughout the US, Europe and Asia, including numerous summer festival appearances. This summer we are looking forward to Mr. Arron’s performances on June 27and 28.
Two-time Grammy nominated violinist Jesse Mills has been part of the Caramoor family since 2000, beginning as a Rising Star, and now as a member of the Caramoor Virtuosi. Not only is Jesse Mills a multifaceted performer, but he is also a composer and an improviser. With a passion for performing all genres of music, varying from classical to contemporary, it is easy to say that Jesse Mills is an artist. He has been playing violin since the age of three, and continued to pursue his talent through his studies at The Julliard School. In addition to playing as a soloist in the Julliard Chamber Orchestra, the New Jersey Symphony, and the Denver Philharmonic, Jesse is involved in international music festivals spanning from Argentina to Aspen. With so much experience, it is no surprise that Jesse Mills is also the co-founder of Horszwoski Trio and Duo Prism with Reiko Aizawa. This violin-piano duo won the 1st place prize at the Zinetti International Competition in Italy, and later became co-directors of the Alpenglow Chamber Music Festival. Jesse Mills is so musically talented that he is successful in composing, directing and performing. The only thing we can really wonder is what can’t this two-time Grammy nominated musician do?
Violinist Jennifer Frautschi is rapidly gaining attention as an adventurous chamber and solo performer. How can we be surprised with her outstanding educational background – Colburn School for the Performing Arts in Los Angeles, Harvard, the New England Conservatory of Music and The Julliard School. Frautschi is familiar with classic repertoire as well as twentieth and twenty-first century works, making her technique known for its purity, focus and solidarity despite the style of music she is performing. She is the inspiration for James Stephenson’s Violin Concerto, a piece explicitly written for her, which she performed with the Minnesota Orchestra and Osmo Vänskä. We are honored to have Frautschi perform annually at Caramoor since the age of 18, after an initial invite from Andre Previn. This summer, we will be lucky enough to watch her perform again on June 28 and 30!