It is with profound gratitude that Caramoor celebrates the legacy of Paul Rosenblum, who announced his plans to retire in late 2017. Appointed as Managing Director in 2001, Rosenblum is now nearing the end of his 25th year of service as General Manager of the Westchester arts center. Over the course of this long tenure, he has made it his mission to enhance Caramoor’s unique status, making it as attractive and accessible to the public as possible through the modernization and upgrading of the facility, artistic administration, staff and marketing. Moved by a special affinity for Caramoor’s timeless beauty, he harnessed his experience in music performance, advertising, and management to help Caramoor bloom, winning recognition as the home of one of America’s top summer music festivals. To fill part of the gap left by Rosenblum’s retirement, Caramoor is now hiring for the position of Vice President, Programming and Executive Producer, with the search led by Rebecca Smith of HC Smith Ltd.
Rosenblum instigated many key innovations at Caramoor. In 1994, he created the annual Caramoor Jazz Festival, now held in partnership with Jazz at Lincoln Center. Six years later, he founded “A String Quartet Library for the Twenty-First Century,” the annual project by which Caramoor commissions a contemporary composer to write a new work for each season’s resident string quartet; this year’s incumbent, the Aizuri Quartet, looks forward to premiering Paul Wiancko’s LIFT on July 8. It was he who created Caramoor’s Independence Day “Pops, Patriots and Fireworks” concert, now a beloved annual tradition in collaboration with the Westchester Symphonic Winds, and he oversaw such grand-scale festival presentations as Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, Eric Idle’s Not the Messiah, and Broadway’s She Loves Me. It was also thanks to him that for the past two seasons Caramoor presented In the Garden of Sonic Delights, a groundbreaking exhibition of 15 newly commissioned, site-specific sound-art installations.
It was under Rosenblum’s auspices that Caramoor created the Diane Moss Education Center and carried out essential renovations to the Venetian Theater, the picturesque outdoor venue that is home to so many festival performances. He has moreover been invaluable for his stewardship of Caramoor’s celebrated young instrumentalist mentorship programs, Evnin Rising Stars and the Ernst Stiefel String Quartet-in-Residence, as well as its peerless operatic series, Bel Canto at Caramoor. This year’s Artist-in-Residence, pianist Jonathan Biss, is an Evnin Rising Stars alum, as are two members of the resident Aizuri Quartet, while this summer’s bel canto offerings comprise semi-staged productions of Beethoven’s Fidelio and Rossini’s long-lost opera, Aureliano in Palmira, which receives its American premiere on July 16.
Looking back on his long tenure at Caramoor, Rosenblum reflects:
“It’s been my privilege to work at Caramoor for 25 years – to be its promoter, preserver and musical producer. There’s no better place to spend a lovely summer day, listening to inspired performances by great musicians, enraptured by nature’s beauty. Caramoor’s timeless and magical serenity, beauty, intimacy and elegance opens our ears and our hearts.
“In the words of Caramoor’s founder, Lucie Rosen, ‘We built a home, my husband and I, not to be old or new, just to be beautiful. And we built it for music.’ This statement contains the guiding spirit of Caramoor and clearly explains why we always return to the Music Room as the spiritual heart of Caramoor and the root of all shared experiences here.
“The Rosens, Walter and Lucie, shared a profound passion for the value of beauty and music as part of the human experience, and clearly intended to extend and perpetuate the availability of that experience when they opened their home to the public in 1946 for concerts in the Music Room. The opportunity to listen and be moved by music, arguably the most profoundly affecting of the performing arts, is enhanced and magnified at Caramoor by the setting in which it is presented. This magnifying effect, resulting from the distancing from daily surroundings and experiences, the proximity of slightly ordered nature and simple but distinctive architecture, is shared by artists and audiences alike. Here the artists are inspired by the unexpected intimacy and elegance, the decades-long tradition of great performances by legendary artists and, in the many instances of returning artists, the significant memories of important youthful musical experiences at Caramoor. The audiences, in turn, are inspired in their listening by the same factors, as well as by the passionate communication from the artists.
“The result is a powerful experience, deeply felt, joyful, engaging, uplifting and inspiring, that brings people together as a community, aware of a shared humanity, overcoming any sense of separation by age, gender, interests or life experience. I believe this was the intent of the Rosens and it continues to give purpose to our mission here, now and in the future. We can and must encourage artists, audience and patrons to support this goal.”
Jeffrey Haydon, Chief Executive Officer of Caramoor, adds:
“Paul’s dedication to Caramoor is an inspiration to us all. His fingerprints can be found throughout the building of Caramoor’s rich legacy and on the transformative projects he has led over the past 25 years. We are grateful for his wisdom, friendship, and unswerving championing of Caramoor.”
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. 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.
# # #
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.
The 2016 Bel Canto Young Artists program is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.
© 21C Media Group, May 2016