March 14, 2020
This has been a lovely experience, a week of warm feelings, good discussions, support, kindness, and fine music-making. But I’ve been waiting in vain for the Big Breakthrough, the dramatic moment where you know an artist has loosened his or her shackles and is now able to fly higher than they ever did before. I wasn’t sure we were going to get one.
I think we did today.
March 13, 2020
In 2014 Caramoor asked me to include a fifth apprentice artist in the Vocal Rising Stars mix: a pianist. Initially I balked at the suggestion—it meant another mouth to feed, a possible impediment to the intimacy of working with the singers. After the first year (with piano genius Leann Osterkamp) I changed my mind. Each of the pianists has contributed so much to the process, often rehearsing with the singers in the evening hours when I am at home wrestling with this blog.
March 12, 2020
Bénédicte Jourdois joined us today. She is one of the premier French coaches in America, a superb pianist, a peerless musician, an assistant conductor at the Met, a colleague of mine at Juilliard.
They don’t call her Bénédicte for nothing — she is a blessing.
March 10, 2020
In a week-long residency Tuesday’s rehearsal has a very particular vibe. The Monday honeymoon, the thrill of meeting for the first time, is over. Our first guest teacher, Albert Carbonell, lit up the room yesterday, but today we were left on our own to pull this show together. We don’t yet feel the pressure of a performance nipping at our heels, so no one is freaking out about memorization. In short, a low-key day, time for Michael and me to watch and listen—and figure out what everyone most needs from us.
March 9th, 2020
I was already looking forward to my annual residency at Caramoor, the twelfth season of the Vocal Rising Stars Program. But as the world started to come apart at the seams, my trip to Katonah became more alluring than ever. This year’s program is called “The Art of Pleasure,” a concert I devised originally for Wolf Trap a few years ago. It was meant to remind an increasingly anxious audience about the things that make life worth living, ranging from the usual suspects (love, dreams, the seaside in summer) to less conventional ones (sexual congress on the down-low and a variety of wild self-indulgences). The message is even more timely now than it had been in 2018. The corona virus has everybody freaked out. Just this evening I read that Juilliard, where I teach, is suspending classes until the end of the month.
It was inevitable that winter weather was going to catch up with our construction calendar, and, almost like clockwork, on December 1st we had the first appreciable snowfall of the fall/winter season. While the blanket of white makes for some beautiful seasonal shots for our various marketing efforts, the snow and freezing conditions meant that the ongoing campus construction work had an added layer of difficulty. Thanks to the perseverance of our construction partners, a number of projects moved forward throughout December 2019 and January 2020.
I’m Erin Harding, and I’ve just celebrated working one year at Caramoor. I currently work in the Development Department as the Special Events Assistant, helping to plan our benefits and tea programs for the year, and this past fall I deepened my appreciation of Caramoor while interning with Roanne Wilcox, Rosen House Director.
The month of November was a race against the calendar and the farmer’s almanac, the 10-day weather forecasts, and the outdoor thermometers—not to mention Thanksgiving! The goal was to stay on schedule and to do all the major digging and concrete pouring before the ground froze and/or the snows fell. (We just barely made it. Thanks, Mother Nature! The first appreciable snowfall was December 1-2!)
Delve into the genre at the heart of December’s benefit.
On December 7th, 2019, Caramoor’s annual Music Room benefit concert features American Roots artist, John Hiatt. This event raises funds to support all of Caramoor’s musical performances and tickets are selling fast, so come join us for an evening full of great music!