At Caramoor, Takács Quartet, TENET, and Richard Thompson Highlight Fall Offerings in Historic Music Room
Caramoor’s fall season offers a wealth of the diverse and imaginative programming with which the Westchester estate – 90 acres of picturesque Italianate architecture and gardens, just one hour’s drive from Manhattan – has long been synonymous. Spanning the musical spectrum from classical chamber recitals to roots, and from early vocal music to jazz, upcoming presentations feature both established stars, such as Richard Thompson and the Takács Quartet, and those of a younger generation, like Noam Pikelny and Bria Skonberg. Caramoor is also an incubator for exceptional emerging talent, and the fall lineup showcases young artists from the Evnin Rising Stars chamber mentoring program and the Verona Quartet, incoming Ernst Stiefel String Quartet-in-Residence. Marking the launch of programming conceived and led by Kathy Schuman, Caramoor’s new Vice President of Artistic Programming & Executive Producer, all fall concerts are held indoors in the historic Rosen House Music Room, the intimate and uniquely appealing performance space that the New York Times calls the “grandly appointed music room of the treasure-filled home.”
Chamber music: Takács Quartet, Verona Quartet, and Evnin Rising Stars
To launch the fall-spring season, the celebrated Takács Quartet makes its Caramoor debut with a program of Haydn, Shostakovich, and Brahms (Oct 15). “Arguably the world’s most versatile string quartet” (Sunday Times, UK), the Takács is the first string quartet to win the prestigious Wigmore Hall Medal and the only one inducted into Gramophone’s first Hall of Fame. The group’s discography has been recognized with a Grammy, three Gramophone Awards, three Japanese Record Academy Awards, “Disc of the Year” at the inaugural BBC Music Magazine Awards, and “Ensemble Album of the Year” at the Classical Brits.
The 2017-18 Ernst Stiefel String Quartet-in-Residence is the Verona Quartet. Hailed by the New York Times as an “outstanding ensemble of young musicians,” in the three years since its founding, the group has already taken a top prize at the 2015 Concert Artists Guild Competition and appeared at venues including Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center. For their Caramoor debut, the Veronas give a fall concert juxtaposing Beethoven and Ravel with Etude 2: Interactions and Lullaby 1: Pulsing, works written for them by Grawemeyer Award-winning composer Sebastian Currier (Nov 5). They recently premiered Currier’s quartets at New York’s Chelsea Music Festival, where their performance was selected as one of the week’s “eight best classical music moments” (New York Times). The Verona Quartet returns to the Music Room next spring, highlighting a yearlong residency that, in addition to multiple performances, sees them provide classroom-based instruction and clinics in Caramoor’s outstanding educational outreach program.
To round out the fall’s chamber offerings, Caramoor showcases young artists from its chamber mentoring program, Evnin Rising Stars. The program’s Artistic Director, Avery Fisher Prize-winning violinist Pamela Frank, joins fellow distinguished artists, violist Atar Arad and cellist Gary Hoffman, along with young artists Benjamin Baker, Eunice Kim, and In Mo Yang on violin; Sung Jin Lee and Zhanbo Zheng on viola; and Alexander Hersh and Coleman Itzkoff on cello for two chamber concerts on October 28 and 29. The first pairs classics by Haydn and Mozart with modern masterpieces by Prokofiev and Schoenberg (8pm) and the second comprises favorites by Haydn, Mendelssohn, and Brahms (3pm).
Holiday music: TENET and Holiday Tea Musicales
Caramoor relaunches its holiday concert tradition when TENET – the “adventurous and excellent early music vocal ensemble” (New York Times) – makes its Caramoor debut with a program of traditional European Christmas carols under the leadership of Artistic Director Jolle Greenleaf. Self-guided tours of the Rosen House will be available before the concert, along with seasonal treats (Dec 16). This performance crowns a full holiday season in the Music Room. A series of afternoon Holiday Tea Musicales combines vocal recitals with tours of the Rosen House – all decked out for the season – and teas, complete with holiday treats (Dec 6–14). And Santa Visits the Rosen House for a special family-friendly event comprising a hiding Santa game for little ones and a short concert of holiday songs, followed by milk and cookies – Santa’s favorite snack – in the cloisters (Dec 17).
Jazz: Bria Skonberg
Now entering the fourth season of their partnership, Caramoor and the world-renowned Jazz at Lincoln Center present Canadian singer, trumpeter, and songwriter Bria Skonberg, who previously graced Caramoor’s all-day 2016 summer Jazz Festival. Skonberg recently made her album debut with BRIA, winning JUNO’s 2017 “Vocal Jazz Album of the Year.” As the New York Times notes, she “has become the shining hope of hot jazz, on the strength of a clarion trumpet style indebted to Louis Armstrong, a smooth purr of a singing voice inspired by Anita O’Day and the wholesome glow of youth” (Nov 4).
Roots: Noam Pikelny, Ladybird, and Richard Thompson
The first of two fall roots events at Caramoor brings the return of banjoist Noam Pikelny (Oct 21), last seen at Caramoor in company with Chris Thile and the other Punch Brothers, the celebrated bluegrass outfit of which Pikelny is a founding member. In this concert, Pikelny plays solo banjo and guitar, and will perform in many styles and musical genres. A three-time Grammy nominee and winner of the first annual Steve Martin Prize for Excellence in Banjo and Bluegrass, even “in a genre filled with top-notch pickers, Pikelny is a truly stunning instrumentalist, mixing the three-fingered attack of Earl Scruggs with the rule-breaking, all-genres-welcome attitude of Bela Fleck” (Rolling Stone magazine). He will be joined by Ladybird, the all-female bluegrass/Americana band whose debut EP, Hey There, Ladybird!, was named one of the “Top Ten of 2016” by WPKN Radio Connecticut.
Folk legend Richard Thompson returns to Caramoor for a special American Roots Music Benefit this fall (Dec 2). Named one of the top 20 guitarists of all time by Rolling Stone, and the recipient of Lifetime Achievement Awards for Songwriting on both sides of the Atlantic, Thompson is one of the world’s most acclaimed and prolific songwriters. An early pioneer of British folk-rock, his prodigious body of work includes more than 40 albums, myriad Grammy nominations, and an impressive touring history that features collaborations with Emmylou Harris and Bob Dylan. The Los Angeles Times calls him “the finest rock songwriter after Dylan and the best electric guitarist since Hendrix,” while WFUV explains:
“As an artist, Richard Thompson is a triple threat: an accomplished lyricist, composer, and guitarist. Add his singularly distinctive singing voice and it’s clear that over a 48-year career, Thompson has created a totally unique sound that sets him apart from his peers.”
Mounted to raise funds for Caramoor’s American Roots Music programming throughout the year, the benefit concludes with a dessert reception in company with Thompson himself.
Caramoor is a performing arts center located on a unique 90-acre setting of Italianate architecture and gardens in Westchester County, NY. It enriches the lives of its audiences through innovative and diverse musical performances of the highest quality. Its mission also includes mentoring young professional musicians and providing educational programs for young children centered around music. In the fall and winter, concerts are presented in the magnificent Music Room in the Rosen House, an intimate setting with a maximum capacity of 160. Tours of the Rosen House are available by appointment Monday to Friday. In summer, concerts take place in two outdoor theaters: the acoustically superb Venetian Theater, which seats approximately 1,500, and the romantic Spanish Courtyard, which seats around 470. Caramoor’s gardens, also used for concerts and sound art exhibitions, are well worth the visit and include nine unique perennial gardens. Among them are a Sense Circle for the visually impaired, the Sunken Garden, a Butterfly Garden, the Tapestry Hedge, and the Iris and Peony Garden.
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 (0.3 miles). 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. For current information, check the Metro-North schedule.
Caramoor: fall season in the Rosen House Music Room
Music Room, 3pm
HAYDN: String Quartet Op. 76, No. 5
SHOSTAKOVICH: String Quartet No. 11 in F minor, Op. 122
BRAHMS: String Quartet in B-flat, Op. 67
Roots Music in the Music Room, 8pm
Oct 28 & 29
Evnin Rising Stars
Distinguished Artists: Pamela Frank, violin; Atar Arad, viola; Gary Hoffman, cello
Evnin Rising Stars: Benjamin Baker, Eunice Kim, and In Mo Yang, violins; Sung Jin Lee and Zhanbo Zheng, violas; Alexander Hersh and Coleman Itzkoff, cellos
Chamber recital (Music Room, 8pm):
HAYDN: String Quartet in F, Op. 50, No. 5, Hob. III:48
MOZART: String Quartet No. 20 in D, K. 499
PROKOFIEV: Toccata (arrangement by Atar Arad)
SCHOENBERG: Verklärte Nacht (Transfigured Night), Op. 4
Chamber recital (Music Room, 3pm):
HAYDN: String Quartet in C, Op. 50, No. 2, Hob. III:45
MENDELSSOHN: String Quartet in E minor, Op. 44, No. 2
BRAHMS: String Quintet in F, Op. 88
With Master Storyteller, Jonathan Kruk
Music Room, 3:30pm
Music Room, 8pm
Presented in collaboration with Jazz at Lincoln Center
Music Room, 3pm
RAVEL: String Quartet in F
SEBASTIAN CURRIER: Etude 2: Interactions and Lullaby 1: Pulsing (2017)
BEETHOVEN: String Quartet in E Minor, Op. 59, No. 2, “Razumovsky”
Music Room, 8pm
American Roots Music Benefit Concert
Dec 6-10, 13, 14
Holiday Tea Musicales
Music Room, Rosen House, 1pm
Jolle Greenleaf, Artistic Director
Music Room, 5pm
TRADITIONAL ENGLISH: Angelus ad Virginem
PARRY: Welcome Yule
SWEELINCK: Hodie Christus natus est
TRADITIONAL BASQUE (Arr. WILLCOCKS): The Infant King
ANONYMOUS: A Toye
TRADITIONAL IRISH: Irish Carol
ANONYMOUS: There is no rose
ANONYMOUS: Veni mater gracie
GOSS: See amid the winter’s snow
TRADITIONAL ENGLISH: Sussex Carol
LAURENCINI OF ROME: A fantasy
TRADITIONAL ITALIAN: Tu scendi dalle stele
TRADITIONAL IRISH: Wexford Carol: Good people all
HASSLER: Cantate Domino
VAUGHAN WILLIAMS: Wither’s Rocking Hymn
CORNELIUS: Three Kings from Persian Lands Afar
PHILIP LAWSON: Lullay my liking
DELLO JOIO: Lullaby for the Christ Child
TRADITIONAL FRENCH: Un flambeau, Jeannette, Isabelle
PRAETORIUS: Es ist ein Ros
BACH: O Jesulein süss
TRADITIONAL (Arr. STAINER): What child is this
TRADITIONAL ENGLISH: The old year now has fled away
Santa Visits the Rosen House
Music Room, 2pm
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.