April 30, 2019

Caramoor’s 90-acre estate in Katonah, Westchester, filled with lush gardens and picturesque Italianate architecture and only an hour’s drive from Manhattan, stands among the country’s premier destinations for summer classical music fare. The coming season provides opportunities to hear new music, starry soloists, Baroque and modern orchestras, a host of string quartets, and world and New York premieres. A special two-day event celebrating birdsong in music features incomparable French pianist Pierre-Laurent Aimard in the music of Messiaen. Russian pianist Daniil Trifonov makes his much-anticipated second appearance at Caramoor for a solo recital. The resident Orchestra of St. Luke’s (OSL) is joined for concerto performances by cellist Alisa Weilerstein, violinist Christian Tetzlaff, and pianist Jonathan Biss. Superlative mandolinist Avi Avital performs with the Venice Baroque Orchestra, and more Baroque music comes from early music specialists New York Baroque Incorporated, performing with American mezzo-soprano Vivica Genaux. Chamber orchestra A Far Cry plays a program ranging from the Baroque to the 21st century; and the Takács, Dover, Aizuri and Omer Quartets will all be on hand for concerts, with the Omer playing a Caramoor-commissioned world premiere. Grammy-winning vocal ensemble Roomful of Teeth makes its Caramoor debut; pianist Timo Andres presents a thoughtfully curated recital of music from the 20th and 21st centuries; and Montenegrin guitarist MILOŠ will be this season’s guest for the popular and atmospheric “Guitar in the Garden” series.

New music and Caramoor Takes Wing! featuring Pierre-Laurent Aimard

A wealth of new music can be heard this summer at Caramoor, with two world premieres, one New York premiere, and works by fifteen living composers, including a season-long spotlight on the works of Pulitzer Prize-winner Caroline Shaw. Her Partita for 8 Voices will be performed by Grammy-winning vocal ensemble Roomful of Teeth, of which she is a member, along with music by William Brittelle, Merrill Garbus (of Tune-Yards fame), Missy Mazzoli, and Ted Hearne (June 28). Pianist Timo Andres plays a solo recital that intersperses selections from Janáček’s cycle of miniatures On an Overgrown Path with three more recent pieces: Eric Shanfield’s Utopia Parkway and Christopher Cerrone’s The Arching Path, and Shaw’s Gustave Le Gray for solo piano (June 20).

A highlight of the summer is sure to be the rare opportunity to hear celebrated French pianist Pierre-Laurent Aimard perform Olivier Messiaen’s complete Catalogue d’oiseaux, marking the first time he will perform the piece in its entirety in the U.S. Aimard, whose Pentatone recording of the work was released to great acclaim last year, studied with Messiaen and his wife, Yvonne Loriod (for whom the cycle was composed), and is one of the most passionate interpreters of the French composer’s work.

Aimard’s performance of the Catalogue in three parts begins on the evening of July 13 and will be preceded by a unique outdoor performance by clarinetist David Rothenberg, who regularly explores the relationship between humanity and nature through writing and music, and is the author of Why Birds Sing. The second part of the Catalogue will be performed early the following morning, July 14, with bird walks before and after provided by Bedford Audubon Society (free with reservation). Later that afternoon, Aimard, Rothenberg, and ornithologist J. Alan Clark will take part in a panel discussion on the topic of birdsong in music, followed by a free outdoor performance of John Luther Adams’s songbirdsongs with Sandbox Percussion and piccolo players Emi Ferguson and Catherine Gregory. Interactive children’s activities in the afternoon will be provided by the Stamford Museum and Nature Center. Caramoor Takes Wing! concludes with the third part of Aimard’s performance in the late afternoon. All of the artists involved are making their Caramoor debuts.

Orchestral music

One of Caramoor’s many sources of pride is the growing roster of outstanding artists who have participated in its renowned mentoring programs and have returned over the years as their careers have soared. Cellist Alisa Weilerstein first arrived at Caramoor as an Evnin Rising Star in 1999, and served as Caramoor’s inaugural Artist-in-Residence in 2014. The cellist returns this season on opening night to join conductor Peter Oundjian (who was Caramoor’s Artistic Director from 1997-2003) and the resident OSL – “one of the most versatile and galvanic ensembles in the U.S.” (WQXR) – for Dvořák’s magnificent Cello Concerto (June 15). Weilerstein’s recording of the piece with the late Jirí Belohlávek and the Czech Philharmonic, released on Decca in 2014, was lauded for a “take-no-prisoners emotional investment that is evident in every bar” (New York Times). Also on the opening night program are Gary Kulesha’s Torque, a piece commissioned ten years ago by Oundjian when he was Music Director of the Toronto Symphony, and which, remarkably, has received a performance in every subsequent season, and the 1919 version of Stravinsky’s Firebird Suite. The ballet version of The Firebird marked Stravinsky’s first collaboration with Sergei Diaghilev and the Ballets Russes, and was first performed to instant and ecstatic acclaim in 1910. The 1919 orchestral suite is the second of three shorter arrangements of music from the ballet made by the composer for concert performance.

The season’s second OSL concert features another alumnus, Grammy-winning pianist Jonathan Biss, who participated in the Evnin Rising Stars program the year before Weilerstein. He too has returned many times, and was Caramoor’s 2016 Artist-in-Residence. In 2015 Biss launched Beethoven/5, a commissioning project in which he chose five composers to write a piano concerto in response to one of Beethoven’s, with which it would then be performed. Thus his 2016 Caramoor residency paired Beethoven’s Second Piano Concerto and Timo Andres’s The Blind Banister, inspired by Beethoven’s cadenza to that work. This season, he joins the OSL under the baton of Grant Llewellyn for Beethoven’s Third Piano Concerto, alongside the New York premiere of Caroline Shaw’s Watermark. Both the Shaw and Andres concerti were co-commissioned by Caramoor. The OSL completes the program with Mozart’s beloved “Prague” Symphony, a work in which the extensive use of wind instruments not only marked a turning point in Mozart’s own orchestral style but also strongly influenced later symphonies by Haydn, Beethoven, and Schubert (July 7).

Closing out Caramoor’s summer season is a third OSL program led by Bernard Labadie, the orchestra’s Principal Conductor, that features violinist Christian Tetzlaff – an “exceptional soloist … with soaring tone making every note sound with absolute clarity” (Boston Classical Review). He plays Mendelssohn’s innovative Violin Concerto in E minor, one of the most popular and frequently performed violin concertos in history and Mendelssohn’s last large orchestra work. The program is completed by the same composer’s The Hebrides and Beethoven’s First Symphony (July 28).

Nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Chamber Music/Small Ensemble Performance in both 2015 and 2018, the innovative and self-conducted chamber orchestra A Far Cry has earned “a reputation for top-drawer playing [and] engrossing programming” (Boston Musical Intelligencer). The group’s wide-ranging debut program at Caramoor begins with a concerto grosso by French Baroque composer Georg Muffat, and ends with Tchaikovsky’s perennially popular Serenade. In between these bookends the orchestra demonstrates its range with two works from the 21st century: the string orchestra version of Caroline Shaw’s 2011 string quartet Entr’acte and Gabriela Lena Frank’s Leyendas: An Andean Walkabout, which mixes elements from the Western classical and Andean folk music traditions (July 19).

The Venice Baroque Orchestra also makes its Caramoor debut this summer with the stunning Israeli mandolin virtuoso Avi Avital, performing works by Vivaldi, Geminiani, Albinoni and Paisiello (July 13). When the same forces appeared at Carnegie’s Zankel Hall in support of their 2015 Deutsche Grammophon album, Vivaldi, the New York Times raved about Avital’s “deep musicality” and “eye-watering virtuosity,” declaring the entire performance “nothing short of electric.” Another debut is from period instrument ensemble New York Baroque Incorporated, with a program of Baroque arias sung by American mezzo-soprano Vivica Genaux, who was first introduced to New York audiences at Caramoor in 1996 in Rossini’s La Cenerentola and returned many times over the next decade. Interspersed among the arias, the orchestra also plays a Corelli concerto grosso and Vivaldi’s “L’inverno” from The Four Seasons (June 30).

Chamber Music

Russian piano phenomenon Daniil Trifonov – “without question the most astounding pianist of our age” (The Times of London) and winner of Gramophone’s 2016 Artist of the Year award – returns to Caramoor to play a solo recital, following up on his rapturously received Caramoor performance of two seasons ago. Since that time, besides receiving raves from every corner of the globe, he has added two albums to his discography: Transcendental, a double album of Liszt’s works that won the Grammy Award for Best Instrumental Solo Album in 2018, and this season’s Destination Rachmaninov: Departure, on which he performs the Russian composer’s Second and Fourth Concertos with the Philadelphia Orchestra and Yannick Nézet-Séguin. At Caramoor, he plays works by Beethoven, Schumann and Prokofiev (July 26). 

“Arguably the world’s most versatile string quartet” (Sunday Times, UK), the Takács Quartet was 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 quartet’s Caramoor program comprises three giants of the string quartet literature: Haydn, Bartók, and Beethoven (July 5).

Caramoor’s justly celebrated young artist programs include not only Evnin Rising Stars, which has helped nurture the likes of Alisa Weilerstein and Jonathan Biss, but also Schwab Vocal Rising Stars and the Ernst Stiefel String Quartet-in-Residence. The 2018-19 incumbent in the latter program is the Omer Quartet, which originally formed at the Cleveland Institute of Music before pursuing graduate residencies at the New England Conservatory and the University of Maryland (where they currently reside). The group rose to prominence in 2013 with a Grand Prize and Gold Medal win at the Fischoff International Competition, and took First Prize in the 2017 Young Concert Artists International Auditions. Praised by the New York Times as “poised, mature, and ebullient,” the quartet gives a concert on June 27 that opens with  Osvaldo Golijov’s Yiddishbbuk, “a Kafka-inspired piece of almost Webern-like compression” (Time Out New York), followed by the world premiere of a Caramoor-commissioned new work by San Francisco native Gabriella Smith, whose music was described by the Philadelphia Inquirer as “high-voltage and wildly imaginative.” This marks the 20th commissioned composition in Caramoor’s “String Quartet Library for the 21st Century” initiative. The concert concludes with Brahms’s lighthearted Third String Quartet. This performance caps a yearlong residency that also sees the Omer give classroom-based instruction and performance clinics in Caramoor’s educational outreach program, as well as concerts in Caramoor’s fall and spring seasons.

The Dover Quartet returns to Caramoor this summer after serving as the Ernst Stiefel Quartet-in-Residence in 2013-14. Lauded as “string quartet nirvana” in the Santa Fe New Mexican, and for its “masterly nuanced … gutsy and earth sound” by the Wall Street Journal, the quartet now has two albums to its credit and can boast both a Cleveland Quartet Award and an Avery Fisher Career Grant. For this summer’s program they play three of the four pieces for string quartet, published together as Op. 81, that Mendelssohn wrote in the last few years of his life, as well as a late work by Dvořák: his String Quartet in A-flat, which marked his last contribution to the genre. Bass-baritone Davóne Tines joins them for the rest of the program, comprising Caroline Shaw’s By and By and Samuel Barber’s Dover Beach, from which the quartet takes its name (July 12).

Caramoor’s 3rd Annual Chamber Feast (July 21) features yet another former Ernst Stiefel String Quartet-in-Residence, two of whose members (violist Ayane Kozasa and cellist Karen Ouzounian) are also alumnae of the Evnin Rising Stars program: the Aizuri Quartet, along with pianist Andrew Tyson and violist Dimitri Murrath. Praised by the Washington Post for “captivating” performances that draw from its notable “meld of intellect, technique and emotions,” the Aizuri Quartet received the Grand Prize and the CAG Management Prize at the 2018 M-Prize Chamber Arts Competition, along with top prizes at the 2017 Osaka International Chamber Music Competition and the 2015 Wigmore Hall International String Quartet Competition. Its debut album, Blueprinting, was released by New Amsterdam Records and nominated for a 2019 Grammy Award. The Chamber Feast performance includes Caroline Shaw’s Blueprint, written for the quartet, as well as Mozart’s E-flat major String Quintet and Brahms’s Piano Quintet in F minor.

Montenegrin guitarist Miloš Karadaglić, known by his mononym, MILOŠ, and styled “classical music’s guitar hero” by BBC Music Magazine after a trio of chart-topping albums, makes his Caramoor debut with a solo recital of music from Bach and Villa-Lobos to Carlo Domeniconi, performed in the Sunken Garden. The first classical guitarist to ever play a solo recital in London’s Royal Albert Hall, he left The Guardian marveling at “the way a single guitarist … could shrink the Hall’s cavernous space into something so close” (July 18).

Pre-Concert Conversations

Pre-concert conversations will precede Roomful of Teeth (June 28), two of the OSL concerts (July 7 & 28), the Dover Quartet (July 12), and A Far Cry (July 19). These informal talks with the artists take place on stage one hour before the performance.

For high-resolution photos, click here.

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About Caramoor

Caramoor is a performing arts center located on a unique 90-acre estate with 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, a stunning mansion listed on the National Register of Historic Places; unwind with a pre-concert picnic or concessions with beer and wine; enjoy a delicious Afternoon Tea on Wednesdays and Sundays; and discover beautiful music in the relaxed settings of the Venetian Theater, Spanish Courtyard, Music Room of the Rosen House, and 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 spring, concerts are presented in the splendid Music Room in the Rosen House. Caramoor’s gardens, also used for concerts and the sound art 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 most performances. For current information, check the Metro-North schedule.

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Caramoor: classical programming 2019

June 15
Opening Night Concert: Orchestra of St. Luke’s
8:30pm
Venetian Theater
Alisa Weilerstein, cellist (ERS alum)
Orchestra of St. Luke’s/ Peter Oundjian
Gary Kulesha: Torque
Dvořák: Cello Concerto in B minor, Op. 104
Stravinsky: Suite from The Firebird (1919 Version) 

June 20
Timo Andres, Piano
7pm
Spanish Courtyard
Janáček: Selections from On the Overgrown Path
Caroline Shaw: Gustave Le Gray
Eric Shanfield: Utopia Parkway
Christopher Cerrone: The Arching Path 

June 27
Omer Quartet
7pm
Venetian Theater
Osvaldo Golijov: Yiddishbbuk
Gabriella Smith: New Work (world premiere, commissioned by Caramoor)
Brahms: String Quartet No. 3 in B-flat, Op. 67

June 28
Roomful of Teeth*
8pm
Spanish Courtyard
Caroline Shaw: Partita for 8 Voices
Missy Mazzoli: Vesper Sparrow
Merrill Garbus: Ansa Ya
William Brittelle: High Done No Why To
Ted Hearne: Letter to my Father (from Coloring Book)
Merrill Garbus: There Will Be

June 30
New York Baroque Incorporated with Vivica Genaux
4pm
Venetian Theater
New York Baroque Incorporated*
Vivica Genaux, mezzo-soprano
Corelli: Concerto Grosso in D, Op. 6, No. 4: Adagio-Allegro (i)
Handel: “Brilla nell’alma un non inteso ancor” from Alessandro
Handel: “Lascia la spina” from Il trionfo del Tempo e del Disinganno
Vivaldi: Violin Concerto in F minor, RV 297, “L’inverno” from The Four Seasons
Vivaldi: “Gelido in ogni vena” from Farnace, RV 711
Hasse: “Come nave in mezzo all’onde” from Viriate
Geminiani: Concerto Grosso in E, No. 11, H 142 (After Corelli’s Violin Sonata)
Handel: Armida abbandonata, HWV 105

July 5
Takács Quartet
8pm
Spanish Courtyard
Haydn: String Quartet in C, H.III:39 (“The Bird”)
Bartók: String Quartet No. 3, BB 93
Beethoven: String Quartet No. 9 in C, Op. 59, No. 3 (“Razumovsky”)

July 7
Orchestra of St. Luke’s
4pm
Venetian Theater
Orchestra of St. Luke’s/Grant Llewellyn
Jonathan Biss, piano (ERS alumnus)
Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 3 in C minor, Op. 37
Caroline Shaw: Watermark (NY Premiere, co-commissioned by Caramoor)
Mozart: Symphony No. 38 in D, K. 504 (“Prague”)

July 12
Dover Quartet with Davóne Tines
8pm
Spanish Courtyard
Dover Quartet
Davóne Tines, bass-baritone
Mendelssohn: Andante sostenuto and Variations in E, Op. 81, No. 1
Mendelssohn: Scherzo in A minor, Op. 81, No. 2
Mendelssohn: Fugue in E-flat, Op. 81, No. 4
Barber: Dover Beach, Op. 3
Caroline Shaw: By and By
Dvořák: String Quartet No. 14 in A-flat, Op. 105

July 13
Venice Baroque Orchestra with Avi Avital
4pm
Venetian Theater
Venice Baroque Orchestra*
Avi Avital, mandolin*
Anna Fusek, recorder
Geminiani: Concerto grosso in D minor, “La Follia” (after A. Corelli Op. 5 No. 12)
Vivaldi: Concerto in D for Lute, Two Violins, and Continuo, RV 93
Albinoni: Concerto in G for Strings and Basso Continuo, Op. 7, No. 4
Vivaldi: Concerto in G for Mandolin and Recorder, RV 532
Vivaldi: Concerto in D minor for Strings and Basso Continuo, RV 127
Vivaldi: Concerto in C for Mandolin, Strings, and Basso Continuo, RV 425
Paisiello: Concerto in E-flat for Mandolin
Vivaldi: Concerto in G minor for Mandolin, Strings, and Basso Continuo, RV 315, “Summer”

David Rothenberg, clarinet*
7:30pm
Sunken Garden

Pierre-Laurent Aimard, piano*
8:30pm
Spanish Courtyard
Messiaen: Catalogue d’oiseaux: Part I

July 14
Pierre-Laurent Aimard, piano
7:30am
Spanish Courtyard
Messiaen: Catalogue d’oiseaux: Part II

2pm- 4pm
Family Activities
provided by
Stamford Museum & Nature Center

2pm
Panel Discussion: Messiaen / Bird Song
Pierre-Laurent Aimard, David Rothenberg, J. Alan Clark

3pm
Sandbox Percussion*
Emi Ferguson, piccolo*
Catherine Gregory, piccolo*
John Luther Adams: songbirdsongs

4:30pm
Venetian Theater
Pierre-Laurent Aimard, piano
Messiaen: Catalogue d’oiseaux: Part III

6:00am and 8:30am Bird Walks provided by
Bedford Audubon Society

July 18
MILOŠ*
7pm
Sunken Garden
Miloš Karadaglić, guitar
Works by J.S. Bach, Villa-Lobos, Granados, De Falla and Carlo Domeniconi

July 19
A Far Cry*
8pm
Venetian Theater
Muffat: Concerto Grosso No. 12 in G, “Propitia Sydera”
Caroline Shaw: Entr’acte
Gabriela Lena Frank: Excerpts from Leyendas: an Andean Walkabout
Tchaikovsky: Serenade in C, Op. 48

July 21
Caramoor’s 3rd Annual Chamber Feast
4pm
Venetian Theater
Aizuri Quartet
Andrew Tyson, piano
Dimitri Murrath, viola
Caroline Shaw: Blueprint
Mozart: String Quintet in E-flat, K. 614
Brahms: Piano Quintet in F minor, Op. 34

July 26
Daniil Trifonov, Piano
8pm
Venetian Theater
Beethoven: Andante in F, WoO 57 (“Andante favori”)
Beethoven: Piano Sonata No. 18 in E-flat, Op. 31, No. 3
Schumann: Bunte Blätter, Op. 99
Schumann: Presto passionato, WoO 5
Prokofiev: Piano Sonata No. 8 in B-flat, Op. 84

July 28
Orchestra of St. Luke’s
4pm
Venetian Theater
Orchestra of St. Luke’s/Bernard Labadie
Christian Tetzlaff, violin
Mendelssohn: The Hebrides, Op. 26 (“Fingals Cave”)
Mendelssohn: Violin Concerto in E minor, Op. 64
Beethoven: Symphony No. 1 in C, Op. 21

* Caramoor debut

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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 2019 Summer Music Festival is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.

© 21C Media Group, April 2019