Three World Premieres, Three Debuts, Pianist Daniil Trifonov, a Chamber Feast, and Indie-Classical Ensemble yMusic Highlight Caramoor’s Summer Chamber Lineup (June 18–July 27)
Three world premieres, three festival debuts, and a who’s who of classical luminaries highlight Caramoor’s extensive chamber lineup this summer. Russian piano phenomenon Daniil Trifonov makes his first Caramoor appearance with a solo recital. The virtuosos of the St. Luke’s Chamber Ensemble join with the New Yorker’s Adam Gopnik to debut an innovative new interdisciplinary program, and pianist Roman Rabinovich and musical polymath Gabriel Kahane both premiere their own recent compositions. Kahane’s boundary-defying collaboration with indie-classical ensemble yMusic, like the festival debut of eclectic brass quartet The Westerlies, epitomizes the breadth of Caramoor’s range of programming. As the 2016-17 Ernst Stiefel String Quartet-in-Residence, the Argus Quartet premieres a new Caramoor commission, while genre-straddling guitarist Jason Vieaux, one of two 2017 Artists-in-Residence, joins forces with the formerly resident Escher String Quartet before giving a solo “Guitar in the Garden” recital. Illustrating the success of Evnin Rising Stars, another of the intensive mentorship programs through which Caramoor serves as an incubator for exceptional young talent, cellist Sarah Rommel appears in a special showcase, and returning alumni reunite with Program Alumni Artistic Director Edward Arron, besides taking part in a special musical tribute to Caramoor’s beloved Managing Director, Paul Rosenblum, now retiring after 25 years. All eleven chamber events take place during the 72nd summer season (June 17–July 30) on Caramoor’s historic Westchester estate, which offers 90 acres of picturesque Italianate architecture and gardens just one hour’s drive from Manhattan.
The 2017 Ernst Stiefel String Quartet-in-Residence and a prizewinner at the 2016 Banff International String Quartet Competition, the Argus Quartet honors the storied chamber music traditions of the past while forging a new path forward. Their first two concerts in residence at Caramoor contained music that was all recently composed. As the Kronos Quartet’s David Harrington put it, the quartet’s members are “at the forefront of the new generation of string quartet groups, and they are finding fresh, thrillingly expressive possibilities and adding bold new colors to a canvas that has their clear signature on it.” Equally committed to the creation of new work, in 2000 Caramoor inaugurated “String Quartet Library for the 21st Century,” an initiative for which it has commissioned 17 new compositions to date. For this year’s contribution, which marks the 18th, the Argus Quartet chose composer Donald Crockett, whose honors include a Guggenheim Fellowship and an award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. About his new work, String Quartet No. 4, “Traveling Symphony,” Crockett comments:
“This new string quartet, my fourth, is written especially for the young and highly talented Argus Quartet, and with their style, sound and sense of drama very much in mind. It is a narrative piece, essentially a compact opera (mostly) without words, set in a post-civilization era and based loosely on recent end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it works of literary fiction. And Shakespeare. At times somber and agitated in tone, this ‘opera’ for string quartet is nonetheless ultimately optimistic, a collection of impressions and recollections about finding a way forward in a darkening landscape.”
Bookended by quartets by Haydn and Beethoven, two prolific proponents of the genre, Crockett’s new Caramoor commission will receive its world premiere during the Argus Quartet’s summer performance (July 14). This caps a yearlong residency that sees quartet members serve as musical mentors, lending their time and talents to Caramoor’s Student Strings program in secondary schools with a classroom-based program of concerts, conversations, and performance clinics, in addition to giving recitals at Caramoor throughout the year.
As one of the high points of the summer, Caramoor will present Daniil Trifonov, the peerless 26-year-old Russian pianist whose “playing has it all…[and] leaves you struggling for superlatives” (The Guardian). Since winning both the Tchaikovsky and Rubinstein competitions at just 20 years old, Trifonov–Gramophone’s 2016 Artist of the Year–has made a spectacular ascent to classical stardom. “He has everything and more…tenderness and also the demonic element. I never heard anything like that,” marveled piano legend Martha Argerich, while the Financial Times observes, “What makes him such a phenomenon is the ecstatic quality he brings to his performances.…Small wonder every western capital is in thrall to him.” For his hotly anticipated Caramoor debut (July 9), the young pianist combines Schumann’s Kinderszenen and Kreisleriana, five Shostakovich preludes and fugues, and Stravinsky’s “Three Movements from Pétrouchka”: the same formidably challenging solo recital program with which he recently scored rave reviews in both his recital debut at London’s Barbican and his fourth consecutive sold-out main-stage solo appearance at New York’s Carnegie Hall.
Bridging the gap between the worlds of classical and pop, two Caramoor favorites return for an eclectic collaboration that marks their only upcoming performance together. This sees Gabriel Kahane–the composer, singer-songwriter, pianist and theater artist whose recent recording was pronounced “one of the year’s very best albums” (Rolling Stone)–reunite with yMusic, an adventurous all-star sextet (string trio with flute, clarinet, and trumpet) “that has really helped to shape the future of classical music” (NPR’s Fred Child). All friends and neighbors in Brooklyn, the seven artists come together at Caramoor for a program pairing Kahane’s favorite examples of yMusic’s work with the ensemble’s own best-loved Kahane selections. Highlighting the thought-provoking lineup will be the world premiere of a new composition by Kahane for yMusic, co-commissioned by Caramoor for the occasion (July 7).
“A Chamber Feast in Three Courses” pays tribute to Paul Rosenblum, now retiring after a full quarter-century as Caramoor’s Managing Director, in a program featuring Edward Arron, Evnin Rising Stars Artistic Director Pamela Frank, horn virtuoso Stewart Rose, and a host of Evnin Rising Stars alumni in works chosen by and of special personal significance to Rosenblum. Presented in three parts, these comprise such jewels of the chamber repertoire as trios by Beethoven, Schubert, and Dvořák, Wolf’s Italian Serenade, Mendelssohn’s beloved Octet, and–recalling Rosenblum’s own horn-playing days–Mozart’s Quintet for Horn and Strings (June 25). Jeffrey Haydon, CEO of Caramoor, says:
“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.”
Jason Vieaux – 2017 Artist-in-Residence
Caramoor is thrilled to present 2017 Artist-in-Residence Jason Vieaux, “perhaps the most precise and soulful classical guitarist of his generation” (NPR). The winner of the 2015 Grammy Award for Best Classical Instrumental Solo, Vieaux is an omnivorous musician whose wide-ranging tastes are as inclusive as Caramoor’s own. In the popular Guitar in the Garden series, he takes listeners on a journey from early 19th-century Italy’s Mauro Giuliani to the present day, by way of Mexico’s Ponce, Martin’s modernist Quatre pièces brèves, the Brazilian bossa nova of Morel and Jobim, and his own arrangement of Duke Ellington’s In a Sentimental Mood, all in the magical outdoor setting of Caramoor’s Sunken Garden (July 27).
This season, Jason Vieaux also reunites with the Escher String Quartet, with whom he has shown “an unusual affinity for fitting together, picture perfect” (Connecticut Post). Alongside Vieaux’s account of Ginastera’s sole composition for guitar and the Escher’s performances of quartets by Haydn and Shostakovich, they join forces for a reprise of Boccherini’s “Fandango” Quintet, which they recorded together for the Music@Menlo: Bridging the Ages album series (June 30). One of the few chamber ensembles to have been awarded an Avery Fisher Career Grant, the Escher String Quartet–“clearly one of the finest quartets of their generation” (The Guardian)–is an alumnus of Caramoor’s Ernst Stiefel String Quartet-in-Residence program.
Eight virtuoso artists drawn from the resident Orchestra of St. Luke’s take part in an innovative interdisciplinary program (June 18), when the St. Luke’s Chamber Ensemble joins one of New York’s most distinguished literary voices: Adam Gopnik, the three-time National Magazine Award-winner best known for his weekly contributions to the New Yorker. Between movements of Schubert’s charming Octet in F, the famed author and essayist will read an original and very personal narrative about the intersection of music and life.
In Edward Arron & Friends, Evnin Rising Stars Alumni Artistic Director Edward Arron–“one of New York’s most exciting young cellists” (New Yorker)–makes his annual summer appearance with a sextet of Caramoor regulars, four of whom, like the cellist himself, are alumni of the program. Joining him for a summer evening of quintets and sextets by Purcell, Mendelssohn, and Vaughan Williams are violinist Jesse Mills, a two-time Grammy nominee; violinist and violist Arnaud Sussmann, winner of an Avery Fisher Career Grant; violist Max Mandel, of the FLUX Quartet, The Knights, and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment; double bassist Shawn Conley, a first prize-winner at the International Society of Bassists Jazz Competition; and pianists Andrew Armstrong, recital partner of James Ehnes and a member of the Jupiter Symphony Chamber Players, and Jeewon Park, Arron’s wife and recital partner (June 23). The cellist explains, “My goal as a programmer is…to provide an experience that is completely unique to the time and space that our live performance inhabits.”
Boasting a boundary-defying approach that exemplifies Caramoor’s own inclusive programming ethos, The Westerlies is a brass quartet of “skilled interpreters who are also adept improvisers” (NPR). Equally at home in concert halls and living rooms, the four childhood friends–two trumpeters and two trombonists–“occup[y] a lively territory between jazz, Stephen Foster-styled folk and chamber music with bracing melodies and, crucially, an undeniable sense of fun” (Los Angeles Times). For its Caramoor debut (July 6), the quartet performs a heterogeneous mix of classical, pop, jazz, roots, and new music drawn from its self-titled 2016 sophomore album, before returning for a set at Caramoor’s 2017 Jazz Festival (July 15).
Also making his Caramoor debut this summer is Rubinstein Competition-winner Roman Rabinovich, a young Israeli pianist of “uncommon sensitivity and feeling” (New York Times), whose recent performances have taken him from Lincoln Center to the Leipzig Gewandhaus and London’s Wigmore Hall. For his first festival appearance (June 22), Rabinovich–“a true polymath, in the Renaissance sense of the word” (Seen & Heard International)–gives the world premiere of his own new composition Memory Box alongside all four of Chopin’s ballades and two of Haydn’s 60-plus piano sonatas, of which he is undertaking complete cycles this season. Praised for the “rich, full-blooded sound, singing lines and witty dexterity” (New York Times) of his Haydn interpretations, Rabinovich finds that the Viennese master’s “wit, emotional depth and musical invention have been a source of inspiration.”
This year’s Evnin Rising Stars Showcase presents recent alumna Sarah Rommel, a top prizewinner in the Enescu International Cello Competition, who collaborates with pianist Xiaohui Yang on a recital of German and Czech works: Janáček’s Pohádka, Strauss’s Cello Sonata, Martinů’s brooding Slovak Variations, and Beethoven’s variations on Papageno’s aria from The Magic Flute (July 20). The Evnin Rising Stars program is one of Caramoor’s four celebrated mentorship programs for emerging professionals. In addition to the numerous artists featured in this year’s chamber programs, its many distinguished alumni include such classical luminaries as violinist Frank Huang, concertmaster of the New York Philharmonic; cellist Alisa Weilerstein, winner of a MacArthur fellowship and Caramoor’s inaugural Artist-in-Residence; and pianist and leading Beethoven authority Jonathan Biss, last season’s incumbent, whose online course Exploring Beethoven’s Piano Sonatas has reached more than 150,000 people to date. Watch a video about Caramoor’s young artist mentorship programs.
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. Audiences are invited to come early to explore the beautiful grounds, tour the historic Rosen House, and on special Sundays enjoy a delicious Afternoon Tea or unwind with a pre-concert picnic, and discover beautiful music in the relaxed settings of the Venetian Theater, Spanish Courtyard, and the magnificent gardens. Summer concerts take place in two outdoor theaters: the acoustically superb Venetian Theater, which seats approximately 1,500, and the more intimate, romantic Spanish Courtyard, which seats around 470. In the fall and winter, concerts are presented in the magnificent Music Room in the Rosen House. Caramoor’s gardens, also used for concerts and the sound exhibition Sonic Innovations, 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 and free shuttle service is available for select performances. For current information, check the Metro-North schedule.
For the performances of Il pirata and Petite messe solennelle, Caramoor offers ticketed, round-trip transportation from NYC on the Caramoor Coach, a luxury air-conditioned coach traveling from Grand Central/Lexington Ave to Caramoor’s front door and back. To learn more, contact the Box Office.
Chamber music in Caramoor’s 2017 summer season
Schubert and Gopnik: A Musical Dialogue
St. Luke’s Chamber Ensemble; Adam Gopnik, writer and speaker
Schubert: Octet in F
Inter-concert talk; post-concert discussion
Roman Rabinovich, piano (Caramoor debut)
Chopin: Ballade No. 1 in G minor, Op. 23
Haydn: Sonata No. 20 in B-flat, Hob. XVI, No. 18
Chopin: Ballade No. 2 in F, Op. 38
Roman Rabinovich: Memory Box (world premiere)
Chopin: Ballade No. 3 in A-flat, Op. 47
Haydn: Sonata No. 61 in D, Hob. XVI, No. 51
Chopin: Ballade No. 4 in F minor, Op. 52
Edward Arron & Friends
Andrew Armstrong and Jeewon Park, piano; Jesse Mills, violin; Arnaud Sussmann, violin and viola; Max Mandel, viola; Edward Arron, cello; Shawn Conley, double bass
Mendelssohn: The Hebrides Overture, Op. 26 (arr. for piano four hands, violin, and cello)
Vaughan Williams: Piano Quintet in C minor (1903)
Purcell: Selected Fantasias for strings
Mendelssohn: Sextet in D for piano and strings, Op. 110
A Chamber Feast in Three Courses
Honoring Caramoor’s longtime Managing Director Paul Rosenblum
Stewart Rose, horn; Andrew Armstrong and Jeewon Park, piano; Pamela Frank, Jennifer Frautschi, Laura Frautschi, Alexi Kenney, Jesse Mills, and Arnaud Sussmann, violin; Ayane Kozasa and Max Mandel, viola; Edward Arron, Alexis Pia Gerlach, and Karen Ouzounian, cello
Wolf: Italian Serenade
Schubert: Piano Trio in E-flat, D.897 “Notturno”
Mozart: Quintet for horn, violin, two violas and cello in E-flat, K. 407
Dvořák: Miniatures (Trio for two violins and viola, Op. 75a)
Beethoven: Piano Trio, Op. 70, No. 1, “Ghost”
Mendelssohn: Octet in E-flat, Op. 20
Jason Vieaux with Escher String Quartet
Haydn: Quartet Op. 76, No. 6
Shostakovich: Quartet No. 9
Ginastera: Sonata, Op. 47 (guitar solo)
Boccherini: Quintet G. 448, “Fandango”
The Westerlies (debut)
Gabriel Kahane & yMusic
Gabriel Kahane, vocalist, piano, and guitar; yMusic (Rob Moose, violin; Nadia Sirota, viola; Gabriel Cabezas, cello; Hideaki Aomori, clarinets; Alex Sopp, flutes; CJ Camerieri, trumpet)
Gabriel Kahane: new work TBA (world premiere of Caramoor co-commission)
Gabriel Kahane: other works TBA
yMusic: other works TBA
Daniil Trifonov, piano (Caramoor debut)
Schumann: Toccata, Op. 7
Shostakovich: Prelude and Fugue in E minor, Op. 87, No. 4
Shostakovich: Prelude and Fugue in A, Op. 87, No. 7
Shostakovich: Prelude and Fugue in A minor, Op. 87, No. 2
Shostakovich: Prelude and Fugue in D, Op. 87, No. 5
Shostakovich: Prelude and Fugue in D minor, Op. 87, No. 24
Stravinsky: Three Movements from Pétrouchka
2016-17 Ernst Stiefel String Quartet-in-Residence
Haydn: String Quartet in D, Op. 76, No. 5
Donald Crockett: String Quartet No. 4, “Traveling Symphony” (world premiere of new Caramoor commission)
Beethoven: String Quartet No. 15 in A minor, Op. 132
Evnin Rising Stars Showcase
Sarah Rommel, cello
Xiaohui Yang, piano
Beethoven: Twelve Variations on “Ein Mädchen oder Weibchen,” Op. 66
Strauss: Cello Sonata, Op. 6
Martinů: Slovak Variations, H. 378
Jason Vieaux, Artist –in-Residence
Guitar in the Garden
Giuliani: Variations on a Theme by Handel
Ponce: Sonatina meridional
Morel: Choro; Danza in E minor; Danza Brasilera
Martin: Quatre pièces brèves
Ellington (arr. Jason Vieaux): In a Sentimental Mood
Jobim (arr. Roland Dyens): A Felicidade
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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 2017 Summer Music Festival is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.
© 21C Media Group, April 2017