June 5, 2019

Of special note amidst the stunning variety of world-class music this season at Caramoor is a wide swath of contemporary and adventurous programming. Praised for “a programming philosophy that balances hedonism and exploration” by the New York Times, Caramoor’s “exploration” is in full swing with two world premieres, one New York premiere, and works by fifteen living composers performed by an outstanding range of artists (June 15–July 28). Highlights of the summer include a rare opportunity to hear peerless French pianist Pierre-Laurent Aimard perform Messiaen’s complete Catalogue d’oiseaux; and a spotlight on the music of Pulitzer Prize-winner Caroline Shaw. Among the performers of Shaw’s pieces are Grammy-winning vocal group Roomful of Teeth, chamber orchestra A Far Cry, bass-baritone Davóne Tines, and pianist Jonathan Biss, who plays the New York premiere of Shaw’s new piano concerto, Watermark. Other new music is performed by Anthony Roth Costanzo and Paul Appleby, along with composer/pianist Matthew Aucoin, and pianist Timo Andres plays a thoughtfully curated musical conversation between the current century and the last. These events and more are complemented by an ongoing rotating exhibition of sound artwork dispersed throughout Caramoor’s 90 acres of glorious grounds and picturesque Italianate architecture.

Caramoor Takes Wing! Celebrating birdsong in music

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 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. Due to its radical naturalism, the Catalogue d’oiseaux is exceptional within the repertoire for solo piano. It is the grand hymn to nature from a man who never ceased to marvel at the magic of birdsong. In the composer’s own words, the work tries “to render exactly the typical birdsong of a region, surrounded by its neighbors from the same habitat, as well as the form of song at different hours of the day and night.”

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.

Spotlight on Caroline Shaw plus a profusion of new music

The music of vocalist, violinist, composer and producer Caroline Shaw is heard on six separate programs this summer. Shaw became the youngest-ever recipient of the Pulitzer Prize for music when she was just 30, and her recent commissions include new works for Renée Fleming, Dawn Upshaw with Sō Percussion, the Dover and Calidore Quartets, Orchestra of St. Luke’s, and Baltimore Symphony.

The spotlight on Shaw’s music centers on the New York premiere of her piano concerto Watermark, co-commissioned by Caramoor and performed by pianist Jonathan Biss, who participated in the Evnin Rising Stars program in 1998 and has returned many times, including as Caramoor’s 2016 Artist-in-Residence. In 2015 he launched Beethoven/5, a commissioning project in which he chose five composers to write a piano concerto in response to one of Beethoven’s. During his 2016 residency, he performed Beethoven’s Second Piano Concerto and Timo Andres’s The Blind Banister, which was inspired by Beethoven’s cadenza to that work. This season, he pairs Watermark, which he premiered in January in Seattle, with Beethoven’s Third Piano Concerto. Caramoor’s Orchestra-in-Residence and “one of the most versatile and galvanic ensembles in the U.S.” (WQXR), the Orchestra of St. Luke’s (OSL), is led by Grant Llewellyn, making his Caramoor debut (July 7). Kathy Schuman, now in her second season as Vice President of Artistic Programming at Caramoor, explains:

“I’ve long been a fan of Caroline’s music and jumped at the chance to co-commission her new concerto. I felt she would be an ideal composer to ‘spotlight’ this season and easily found several artists delighted to include her work on their programs.”

Grammy-winning vocal ensemble Roomful of Teeth, of which Shaw is also a member, makes its Caramoor debut with a program that includes her Pulitzer Prize-winning Partita for 8 Voices (June 28). “Gleefully dismantling the traditional definition of ensemble singing right before our ears” (NPR), the celebrated group also performs music by William Brittelle, Merrill Garbus (of Tune-Yards fame), Missy Mazzoli, and Ted Hearne. One more of Shaw’s vocal works can be heard when bass-baritone Davóne Tines, called a “singer of immense power and fervor” by the LA Times, joins the Dover Quartet for a performance of By and By, as well as Samuel Barber’s Dover Beach, from which the quartet takes its name (July 12). The only person other than herself whom Shaw allows to perform By and By, Tines is increasingly in demand as a singer and creative force around the world. He has starred in recent operas by Kaija Saariaho, John Adams, and Matthew Aucoin, as well as Hans Werner Henze’s El Cimarrón, and co-created and starred in The Black Clown at American Repertory Theater last September. Last year at Caramoor he performed with Philharmonia Baroque in Atalanta.

Composer/pianist Timo Andres, a Pulitzer Prize finalist for his concerto The Blind Banister, premiered by Jonathan Biss, plays a solo recital this summer in which selections from Janáček’s cycle of miniatures On an Overgrown Path are interspersed with Shaw’s Gustave Le Gray, Eric Shanfield’s Utopia Parkway and Christopher Cerrone’s The Arching Path (June 20). Andres also composed the bells heard before performances at Caramoor, so each new audience has the opportunity to hear a small sample of his work.

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 chamber orchestra makes its Caramoor debut this summer with a program that juxtaposes the string orchestra version of Shaw’s 2011 string quartet Entr’acte and excerpts from Gabriela Lena Frank’s Leyendas: An Andean Walkabout, which mixes elements from the Western classical and Andean folk music traditions, along with works by Muffat and Tchaikovsky (July 19).

Caramoor’s 3rd Annual Chamber Feast features the Aizuri Quartet, former incumbent of Caramoor’s Ernst Stiefel String Quartet-in-Residence program. Two of its members (violist Ayane Kozasa and cellist Karen Ouzounian) are also alumnae of the Evnin Rising Stars program. The Chamber Feast program features Shaw’s Blueprint, written for the quartet in 2016 and recorded on their Grammy-nominated 2018 album, Blueprinting (July 21). 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.

This season’s Ernst Stiefel String Quartet-in-Residence, the Omer Quartet, performs the world premiere of a Caramoor-commissioned new work, Porcupine Wash, 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. On the same program is Osvaldo Golijov’s Yiddishbbuk, “a Kafka-inspired piece of almost Webern-like compression” (Time Out New York) and Brahms’s String Quartet No. 3 (June 27). The quartet 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). They rose to prominence in 2013 with a Grand Prize and Gold Medal win at the Fischoff International Competition, and among numerous other prizes since then, took First Prize in the 2017 Young Concert Artists International Auditions. Praised by the New York Times as “poised, mature, and ebullient,” their performance caps a yearlong residency that also sees them 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 American Modern Opera Company (AMOC) is a recently-formed collective of some of the most exciting artists of the rising generation. Composer and 2018 MacArthur Fellow Matthew Aucoin, one of the company’s two artistic directors, will collaborate as pianist at Caramoor this summer with two other members, countertenor Anthony Roth Costanzo and tenor Paul Appleby, an alumnus of Caramoor’s Schwab Vocal Rising Stars program, for a program titled “Veils for Desire” (July 25). Two of Aucoin’s compositions are on the program: This Earth, composed for Costanzo on a passage from Dante’s Purgatorio that Aucoin translated himself; and Merrill Songs (selections), composed for Appleby. The three also perform Benjamin Britten’s dramatic canticle Abraham and Isaac, and the world premiere of Harold Meltzer’s The Heaven of Animals.

Finally, on its opening-night program under the baton of Peter Oundjian (who was Caramoor’s Artistic Director from 1997-2003), the OSL performs 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 (June 15).

Pre-Concert Conversations

Pre-concert conversations with the artists will take place in conjunction with several performances. The informal talks take place on stage one hour before Roomful of Teeth (June 28), Orchestra of St Luke’s (July 7), Dover Quartet (July 12), and A Far Cry (July 19).

Sonic Innovations

An important component of Caramoor’s adventurous programming is its commitment to sound art. Collectively titled Sonic Innovations, the rotating annual exhibition is curated by Chicago-based sound artist and former Merce Cunningham sound engineer Stephan Moore. Two new works join the exhibition this season. First, in Miya Masaoka’s Listen Ahead, a traffic sign anticipates a space for aural attention, leading toward an elegant listening hut hidden on the Caramoor grounds. The second new piece, Tonally Inclined, is a collaboration between sound artist Gayle Young and sculptor REITZENSTEIN. The piece will feature a system of resonant tubes, activated by the voices of the artists, and of visitors. Three familiar pieces will also return this summer. Annea Lockwood and Bob Bielecki’s Wild Energy, a fantastical tour through sounds occurring outside the human range of hearing which premiered in Caramoor’s Cedar Walk for the 2014 exhibit In the Garden of Sonic Delights, begins with solar oscillations recorded by the SOHO spacecraft, sped up 42,000 times, and ends with ultrasound recorded from the interior of a Scots pine tree, slowed down 10 times. In 2019, the piece will be freshly installed in a new location. Taylor Deupree’s t(ch)ime is a site-specific sound installation that turns a quiet, wooded passage into a shimmering sonic environment that is both familiar and otherworldly. Its sounds are derived from a collection of bell chimes that have been manipulated through increasing layers of digital processing. Stone Song by Ranjit Bhatnagar is a dry stone structure reminiscent of a freestanding stone wall. Pressure sensors and strain gauges laced into the sculpture, as well as sensors for humidity, temperature, and barometric pressure, are fed into a drone synthesizer, whose fundamental tones emanate from the stones, shifting slowly over the months as the stones settle and the weather changes.

Family-friendly sound art tours will be available on select days. Visit caramoor.org or call 914.232.1252 for details.

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.



Caramoor: Adventurous programming and new music (2019)

June 15
Opening Night Concert: Orchestra of St. Luke’s
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
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 (ESSQIR)
Venetian Theater
Osvaldo Golijov: Yiddishbbuk
Gabriella Smith: Porcupine Wash (world premiere, commissioned by Caramoor)
Brahms: String Quartet No. 3 in B-flat, Op. 67

June 28
Roomful of Teeth*
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

July 7
Orchestra of St. Luke’s
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
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
David Rothenberg, clarinet*
Sunken Garden

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

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

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

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

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

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 19
A Far Cry*
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
Venetian Theater
Aizuri Quartet (ESSQIR alumni)
Andrew Tyson, piano (ERS alumnus)
Dimitri Murrath, viola (ERS alumnus)
Caroline Shaw: Blueprint
Mozart: String Quintet in E-flat, K. 614
Brahms: Piano Quintet in F minor, Op. 34

July 25
American Modern Opera Company*:
Anthony Roth Costanzo, countertenor
Paul Appleby, tenor (SVRS alumnus)
Matthew Aucoin, piano
Spanish Courtyard
Britten: Abraham and Isaac
Matthew Aucoin: This Earth
Monteverdi: “Possente spirto”
Matthew Aucoin: Selections from Merrill Songs
Harold Meltzer: The Heaven of Animals (world premiere)

* 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, June 2019