Chamber Talk with Max Mandel

It's All Chamber Music: The Soloist's Life in the Early 21st Century

Fri, April 25, 2014, 11:00am


Gone are the days when Jascha Heifitz would refuse to play second fiddle to anyone. These days, soloists such as Caramoor’s own Festival Artist-in-Residence, Alisa Weilerstein, blur the lines between chamber musician and soloist. With a special video message from Alisa, this talk will focus on her Residency at Caramoor and her collaboration with former Ernst Stiefel String Quartet-in-Residence, the Ariel Quartet. Also, we’ll discuss the “desert island” chamber piece, Schubert’s glorious Quintet with two cellos, which they will perform together during the Summer Music Festival.

Chamber Talk is a new three-part series hosted by Evnin Rising Star alum and viola player, Max Mandel. The goal of this program is to give audiences a deeper understanding of, and connection to, Caramoor’s Music Room events and its artists. Each talk will follow a similar pattern of lecture, concert, and conversation. This salon-style performance format allows audiences an opportunity to go in-depth and get up-close to the most personal aspects of music—the way it’s meant to be enjoyed.

Max Mandel is a Canadian violist and one of the most acclaimed active chamber musicians of his generation. He is currently affiliated with many chamber groups, including The Silk Road Ensemble, The Knights and the Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra. Mandel is a familiar face at Carmaoor; he has appeared here over 30 times.

Alisa Weilerstein has been playing the cello since the age of four and made her professional debut at the age of 13 with the Cleveland Orchestra. She has appeared with all of the major orchestras throughout the United States and Europe and has worked with countless world-renowned conductors, including Sir Andrew Davis, Gustavo Dudamel, Christoph Eschenbach, Zubin Mehta and David Zinman. Alisa plays in the Weilerstein Trio alongside her parents, violinist Donald Weilerstein and pianist Vivian Hornik Weilerstein. They are currently the Trio-in-Residence at the New England Conservatory in Boston. She was the recipient of an Avery Fisher Career Grant in 2000-01 and a MacArthur Foundation “genius grant” in 2011, among many other awards and achievements.

A letter from Max…

Dear Music Lovers,

I am thrilled to invite you on a fun new adventure I’m trying at Caramoor this spring. As a viola player, I am naturally predisposed towards the chamber music repertoire. Maybe it’s the intimacy; maybe it’s the incredible parts that the greatest composers saved for us in their quartets or quintets; maybe it’s the fact that you can actually hear me when I’m playing with just a few other people! Whatever it is, Caramoor is a place that has let me cultivate my particular obsession over the years, and because of this relationship we are embarking on a new program that allows me to share with you my crazy love for this genre and for the field of classical music. This new series called Chamber Talk,  is a three-part series inspired by a Music Room concert or an event taking place during the Caramoor Music Festival.

Playing in a string quartet as a teenager taught me more than I was ready to learn about sacrifice, dedication and empathy. How are these musicians managing? How are they getting to know each other under the pressure of an increasingly busy career? We’ll have videos, audio excerpts, reading lists, a live performance. I promise to ask the most candid questions. My goal is for you to walk away with a deeper understanding and connection to the artists.

There is always more to learn about classical music. I feel that knowledge about a work of art heightens one’s appreciation for it. Each talk will follow a similar pattern of a combination lecture/concert/chat/explosive action sequence with everyone getting married at the end (just kidding). I’m hoping Chamber Talk will be a salon for us to go in-depth and get up-close to the most personal aspects of music – the way it’s meant to be enjoyed.

So, thanks for indulging my obsession! I hope to see you at Chamber Talks.