Press Room

21C Media Group’s 2018 Summer Highlights Preview


June 16-July 29
Katonah, NY 

Caramoor’s 73rd summer season presents seven weeks of summer programming for all ages, with a special emphasis this summer on exceptional women, both composers and performers. Highlights include superstar vocalists Audra McDonald and Susan Graham opening and closing the summer with the resident Orchestra of St. Luke’s, day-long Jazz and American Roots festivals headlined by Dianne Reeves and Aimee Mann, new music from 22 living composers including two world premieres, increased family programming, and an ongoing commitment to sound artwork dispersed throughout Caramoor’s 90-acre estate. Chamber music highlights include mezzo-soprano Isabel Leonard with guitarist Sharon Isbin; the Verona Quartet, the 2017–18 Ernst Stiefel String Quartet-in-Residence, as well as the Jasper, Brentano, and Kronos Quartets; and a solo piano recital by Marc-André Hamelin. Early music includes Cleveland Baroque orchestra Apollo’s Fire and a production of Handel’s Atalanta featuring San Francisco’s Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra. John Luther Adams’s monumental out-of-doors percussion piece Inuksuit, performed by 60+ musicians, will be the highlight of a free day of events taking place throughout the grounds. The summer lineup also features San Francisco’s Chanticleer; iconic new-music ensemble Sō Percussion; Brooklyn orchestral collective The Knights; jazz from the Joey Alexander Trio; Americana supergroup I’m With Her; and Broadway music director Ted Sperling leading an all-star all-Bernstein program called “Bernstein’s Broadway” to celebrate the composer’s centennial. As the New York Times points out, Caramoor’s innovative fare provides “bucolic, picnic-friendly settings with a programming philosophy that balances hedonism and exploration.

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Music Academy of the West
June 18–Aug 11
Santa Barbara, CA  

The Music Academy of the West’s 71st annual Summer School and Festival presents 139 talented fellows and more than 70 outstanding faculty members in 200 concerts, recitals, and masterclasses on its picturesque Miraflores campus and throughout scenic Santa Barbara, California. Highlights include the launch of a major new four-year partnership with the London Symphony Orchestra that sees key LSO conductors and principals in residence this summer; the Academy Festival Orchestra and the Los Angeles Master Chorale in a special Community Concert of Mahler’s “Resurrection” Symphony led by Gustavo Dudamel; an expanded Composer-in-Residence program featuring five premieres and six composers, including Pulitzer Prize-winner Caroline Shaw; four Academy Festival Orchestra concerts with Larry Rachleff, Stéphane Denève, and the LSO’s Elim Chan; a new production of Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro by James Darrah that marks the festival debut of James Conlon; the chance to hear Jeremy Denk, David Fray, Simon Keenlyside, Deborah Voigt, and the Takács Quartet in recital; and the return of the Academy’s Classical Evolution/Revolution Conference, introduced last season to address some of the concerns most pressing for 21st musicians and their audience.

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June 23–Aug 6
Interlochen, MI

Over six weeks of intensive programming at its scenic campus in northwest Lower Michigan, the Interlochen Center for the Arts presents “Interlochen Contemporary” this summer.  An exploration of influential art and artists of the past 70 years, this will feature performances by the Brentano String Quartet, winner of the Naumburg Chamber Music Award; Philadelphia’s world-renowned Koresh Dance Company; and pianist Sarah Cahill, “an intrepid illuminator of the classical avant-garde” (New York Times). In the annual “Interlochen Presents” series, the worlds of jazz and popular music will be represented by such iconic figures as Chick Corea, Reba McEntire, Blondie, George Clinton, and Earth, Wind & Fire. Festival highlights also include the annual Collage Concert, showcasing the best of students’ artistry across multiple disciplines, and special programming for Interlochen’s premier ensemble, the World Youth Symphony Orchestra, which includes concerto collaborations with two superlative violinist soloists: Sarah Chang, under the baton of JoAnn Falletta, and Jeff Thayer, with Brett Mitchell on the podium. Through music, dance, film, literature, and the visual arts, Interlochen Contemporary investigates the ways artists’ unique and wide-ranging perspectives help shape the future of art.

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Bard SummerScape
June 28–Aug 19
Annandale-on-Hudson, NY

This summer’s 15th annual Bard SummerScape festival not only celebrates one of Russian Romanticism’s most seminal composers, but also two milestone anniversaries, with more than seven weeks of music, opera, theater, dance, film, and cabaret. The 29th Bard Music Festival, “Rimsky-Korsakov and His World,” offers an intensive examination of the life and times of Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov (see further details below); the fully staged opera is by his compatriot and contemporary Anton Rubinstein, whose grand opera The Demon receives a rare new American production from European Opera Prize-winner Thaddeus Strassberger; and the annual film series explores “Rimsky-Korsakov and the Poetry of Cinema.” Bard also pays tribute to two titans of 20th-century culture. The world premiere of an interdisciplinary new dance commission from choreographer Pam Tanowitz, composer Kaija Saariaho, and visual artist Brice Marden, marks the 75th anniversary of the publication of T.S. Eliot’s iconic poem cycle Four Quartets. Similarly, a dark new take on Leonard Bernstein’s rarely performed gem Peter Pan was commissioned from Olivier Award-winning director Christopher Alden to honor the composer’s centennial. The lineup is completed by the return of Bard’s beloved Belgian Spiegeltent, where festival favorite Mx. Justin Vivian Bond hosts cabaret, jazz and more. Hailed as “seven weeks of cultural delight” (International Herald Tribune), Bard SummerScape takes place at Bard College in New York’s bucolic Hudson Valley, with many performances in the Frank Gehry-designed Fisher Center, “a spectacular venue for innovative fare” (Travel and Leisure).

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Incontri in Terra di Siena
July 28–Aug 4
Tuscany, Italy

Italian pianist Alessio Bax announces the lineup for his second summer as Artistic Director of Italy’s Incontri in Terra di Siena festival. “One of the most enjoyable musical enterprises of the Tuscan summer” (Financial Times, UK), the Incontri celebrates its 30th anniversary this season, with a roster comprising the Camerata Strumentale Città di Prato led by Jonathan Webb; superlative lieder interpreter Ian Bostridge; and 15 of today’s foremost chamber musicians, drawn from around the world: flutist Emmanuel Pahud; violinists Maja Avramovic, Nicolas Dautricourt, Esther Hoppe, Daishin Kashimoto, and Annabelle Meare; violists Lise Berthaud and Lawrence Power; cellists Antonio Lysy and Christian Poltéra; double bassist Knut­Erik Sundquist; vibraphonist Pascal Schumacher; pianists Leif Ove Andsnes and Lucille Chung; and Bax himself. Founded by Italian-born cellist and UCLA professor Antonio Lysy at his family’s picturesque Tuscany estate, the Incontri takes place both indoors and out at the spectacular Villa La Foce in the Tuscan hills, as well as at venues throughout the Val d’Orcia region, a UNESCO Heritage site. Though only a two-hour drive from the Rome airport, the idyllic setting feels a world apart. As Classical Music magazine put it: “One of the best kept early 20th-century gardens in Italy is the fragrant setting for a festival … celebrating music, visual arts, history, literature – and of course, being Italian, food and wine. It’s magic.”

To download high-res photos, click here.

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Rosendal Festival
Aug 9–12
Bergen, Norway

This summer, the focus of Norway’s third annual Rosendal Chamber Music Festival is music in the shadow of the First World War. Founding director Leif Ove Andsnes, explains: “The early 20th century was one of the most extraordinary periods in music, with an enormous variety of new musical styles bursting onto the scene. Over four days the Rosendal Chamber Music Festival will focus on the years 1914–18, exploring a poignant and diverse legacy of music which was written by composers in reaction to – or in spite of – the war that raged around them.” The celebrated Norwegian pianist will be joined on stage by guest artists including baritone Matthias Goerne; soprano Anna Prohaska; pianists Kirill Gerstein, Bertrand Chamayou, Eric Schneider, and Ingrid Andsnes; violinists Henning Kraggerud, Akiko Suwanai, and Johan Dalene; violist Lars Anders Tomter; cellist Edgar Moreau; double bassist Tim Gibbs; clarinetist Andreas Ottensammer; flutist Guy Eshed; harpist Sivan Magen; and the Dover String Quartet. Highlights include a program dedicated to Debussy, Stravinsky’s Soldier’s Tale Suite, Ravel’s La valse and Le tombeau de Couperin, Janáček’s Violin Sonata, Vaughan Williams’s Lark Ascending, and folk-song settings by Armenia’s Komitas. Prohaska will sing war-time poetry settings by composers including Eisler, Quilter, Weill and Ives, and Goerne will join Andsnes for Schubert’s Winterreise, in a return to the composer who was the focus of the festival’s inaugural season. A two-part art exhibition curated by Baroniet Rosendal’s Professor Emeritus Gunnar Danbolt will accompany the 2018 festival. As The Arts Desk, UK, put it: “This is a Utopian place for Utopian musicians.”

To download high-res photos, click here.

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Bard Music Festival
Rimsky-Korsakov and His World
Aug 10–12: Weekend One; Aug 17–19: Weekend Two
Annandale-on-Hudson, NY

This summer, the 29th annual Bard Music Festival (see details of the Bard SummerScape festival above) trains its focus on one of Russian Romanticism’s most seminal composers, with a two-week, in-depth exploration of “Rimsky-Korsakov and His World.” In twelve themed concert programs, complemented by pre-concert lectures, panel discussions, and expert commentary, Bard sets out to solve the Rimsky-Korsakov riddle: Why does the composer remain so woefully underappreciated outside his homeland, despite the paramount role he played in defining the style we now recognize as Russian? Offering an immersion in the great musical flourishing of Tsarist Russia’s final decades, Weekend One considers the matter of Inventing Russian Music: The Mighty Five, while Weekend Two investigates Rimsky-Korsakov and His Followers. The festival features a broad sampling of Rimsky-Korsakov’s own music, including rare vocal and chamber works; his one-act opera Mozart and Salieri; and his seldom-seen opera The Tsar’s Bride, in a semi-staged production by Giants Are Small co-founder Doug Fitch. Music by many of Rimsky-Korsakov’s countrymen will also be heard, including his immediate predecessors Glinka and Dargomyzhsky; his fellow members of the Mighty Five, Balakirev, Borodin, Cui, and Mussorgsky; other contemporaries, like Rubinstein, Taneyev, and Tchaikovsky; his illustrious students Glazunov, Lyadov, Prokofiev, and Stravinsky; and other members of the next generation, like Scriabin and Rachmaninoff. Two thought-provoking panel discussions will be supplemented by pre-concert talks and commentaries, illuminating each concert’s themes; these are free to ticket holders. As the Los Angeles Times notes, Bard offers “the summer’s most stimulating music festival.”

To download high-res photos, click here.

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Notable summer performances:

Inon Barnatan

Aug 9-12: After making his debut two seasons ago at Lincoln Center’s Mostly Mozart festival, which included a solo recital and an appearance with Garrick Ohlsson playing a two-piano Mozart sonata for the Mark Morris Dance Group, pianist Inon Barnatan – “a true poet of the keyboard, refined, searching [and] unfailingly communicative” (Evening Standard) – returns this summer. Joining the Mark Morris Dance Group once again, he performs Schubert’s immortal “Trout” Quintet along with the Ariel Quartet, in the world premiere production of Morris’s The Trout.

Brooklyn Rider

June 23, July 20, 21, 30: Brooklyn Rider, the game-changing string quartet hailed as “the future of chamber music” (Strings), reunites with peerless banjoist and 16-time Grammy winner Béla Fleck after a tour of the central U.S. earlier in the season, for a return performance at Colorado’s storied Telluride Bluegrass Festival (June 23). Their memorable first joint appearance at the festival was in 2014, but the group’s collaboration with Fleck dates back to his 2013 album, The Impostor, which features the quartet on his composition Night Flight Over Water. They also appear on the banjoist’s 2017 album, Juno Concerto, performing his Griff (G riff) and a movement from Quintet for Banjo and Strings, which he wrote in 1984 with bassist Edgar Meyer. Following the Telluride show, the intrepid quartet crosses the pond for three performances at Switzerland’s Verbier Festival (July 20, 21, 30). The first is with mezzo-soprano Anne Sofie von Otter and eclectic pop icon Rufus Wainwright, the second with von Otter alone. Brooklyn Rider’s Naïve Classique album with the mezzo, So Many Things, was released in September 2016, and the final track on the album is Wainwright’s song “Les feux d’artifice t’appellent.” Their collaboration with von Otter has continued on tour since that release, including concerts in Sweden and Germany this past winter. The third Verbier performance is a program comprising Mozart, Ravel, quartet violinist Colin Jacobsen’s BTT, and Philip Glass’s String Quartet No. 7, a recording of which Brooklyn Rider released on the Orange Mountain Music label last December.

Stephen Costello 

July 10–24: Tucker Award-winner Stephen Costello – “the all-American tenor … at the top of his game” (Opera News) – returns to Spain this summer to make his house and role debuts as Fernand in Donizetti’s La favorite at Barcelona’s Gran Teatre del Liceu, in a new production by the great Argentinean-born actor-director Ariel García Valdés. Although new to La favorite, the tenor is no stranger to Donizetti. It was after seeing him in L’elisir d’amore at Glyndebourne that The Times of London was moved to marvel: “The best voice on stage belongs to Stephen Costello.”

Dover Quartet

The Dover Quartet – winner of the 2016-18 Cleveland Quartet Award – keeps up a frenetic pace of performances this summer at festivals including Oregon’s Chamber Music Northwest, Massachusetts’s Rockport Chamber Music Festival, the Edinburgh International Festival, Norway’s Rosendal Chamber Music Festival, Wyoming’s Grand Teton Music Festival, and the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, plus individual concerts in Woodstock, New York and at the Tippet Rise Arts Center in Fishtail, Montana. Repertoire highlights include the premiere of Nokuthula Ngwenyama’s Primal Message for Viola Quintet, with the composer on viola; Andy Akiho’s LIgNEouS Suite for Marimba and String Quartet, joined by the composer on marimba; quartets by Viktor Ullmann and Szymon Laks, as recorded on the Dovers’ recent Cedille album Voices of Defiance 1943 1944 1945; Gabriel Kahane’s Four songs from Ambassador Hotel for piano, electric guitar, voice and string quartet, joined by the composer; and Dohnanyi’s Piano Quintet in E-flat minor at the Rosendal Festival opening concert, joined by Festival founding director Leif Ove Andsnes. In addition, over the course of the summer they range through an astonishing array of quartet literature from Haydn and Mozart to Bartók and Borodin. Bringing rare musicianship and an infectious joy in music-making to the entire catalogue, the Dover Quartet is, as the Washington Post observes, “the very model of a modern young classical ensemble.”

Susan Graham

July 29: Caramoor; Aug 24 & 25: Tanglewood: This summer, Grammy Award-winning mezzo Susan Graham – “an artist to treasure” (New York Times) – headlines Caramoor’s season-closing concert in selections from some of her most celebrated Handel and Mozart roles, with the support of the Orchestra of St. Luke’s and principal conductor Bernard Labadie. She then heads to Tanglewood and reunites with the Boston Symphony and music director Andris Nelsons to reprise their interpretation of Mahler’s monumental Third Symphony, which was pronounced “unsurpassed in BSO annals” (Boston Classical Music Scene) this past January. The following day, she rejoins the orchestra to grace a star-studded “Bernstein Centennial Celebration at Tanglewood,” hosted by Audra McDonald.

Michael Hersch

June 8: Ojai, CA; June 15: Berkeley, CA; June 21: Aldeburgh, UK: Summer brings the world and European premieres of I Hope We Get A Chance To Visit Soon, a dramatic cantata for two sopranos and nine instrumentalists by Michael Hersch, “a natural musical genius who continues to surpass himself” (Washington Post). Co-commissioned by the Ojai Music Festival, Cal Performances Berkeley, England’s Aldeburgh Festival, and British poetry magazine PN Review, the new cantata has a dark but very personal story behind it. In it, Hersch revisits a close friend’s death from cancer through their letters to one another, written while he was battling the disease himself. His wife has now also been diagnosed with cancer and is undergoing treatment, in a cruel twist that has informed and shaped the new work. As the New York Times observes, “Mr. Hersch’s music, for all its dark and fragile beauty, offers neither comfort nor catharsis. … [He] has given himself the space to burrow past anger and incomprehension in search of an art fired by empathy and compassion.” Starring sopranos Kiera Duffy and Ah Young Hong, the cantata will receive its world premiere at the Ojai Festival, before traveling to Cal Performances’ “Ojai at Berkeley” and making its European premiere at the Aldeburgh Festival.

The Knights

June 17, July 17, Aug 22 & 23: Groundbreaking Brooklyn-based orchestral collective The Knights plays Caramoor this summer (June 17), with a program including Judd Greenstein’s Flute Concerto, written for Knights flutist Alex Sopp, as well as music by Ravel, Fauré, percussionist Andy Akiho, and Leonard Bernstein, in celebration of his centennial this year. A month later the orchestra makes its yearly pilgrimage to Central Park’s Naumburg Orchestral Concerts (July 17), where the Greenstein concerto was premiered last summer, performing music by Janáček, Brahms, 2016 Hindemith Prize-winner Anna Clyne, and arrangements of Armenian folk songs by Komitas, a priest/composer who was also a pioneer in ethnomusicology. More Bernstein is on tap at Tanglewood (Aug 22 & 23), as the orchestra, with its phenomenal versatility, anchors fully-staged versions of the Massachusetts-born icon’s beloved operetta Candide.

Audra McDonald

June 16: Caramoor; June 19: Kennedy Center; June 24: Tanglewood (Boston Pops); July 15: Ravinia Festival; Aug 25: Tanglewood (Bernstein): The winner of a record-breaking six Tony Awards, two Grammys, and an Emmy, Audra McDonald opens the Caramoor summer season with an eclectic mix of standards and contemporary songs, for which she will be joined by the Orchestra of St. Luke’s. The Broadway star sings a similar program with the Boston Pops at Tanglewood, performs favorite selections with the National Symphony Orchestra at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, and headlines a gala evening with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra at the Ravinia Festival. In late summer she returns to Tanglewood to host and take part in a special Bernstein Centennial Celebration, in company with such fellow luminaries as Susan Graham, Michael Tilson Thomas, and Yo-Yo Ma.

Anna Netrebko

June 17–July 2: Berlin; July 31– Aug 15: South American tour; Aug 29: Salzburg Festival: This summer, reigning prima donna Anna Netrebko reprises her electrifying portrayal of Lady Macbeth in an already sold-out run of Verdi’s Macbeth with Plácido Domingo and Daniel Barenboim at the Berlin State Opera. She then embarks on an international concert tour with Azerbaijani tenor Yusif Eyvazov, her husband and frequent co-star, under the baton of Jader Bignamini. After gracing a string of high-profile South American venues, from Santiago’s Movistar Arena to Sala São Paulo, Lima’s Gran Teatro Nacional, and Buenos Aires’s Teatro Colon, the three reunite for a sold-out program of Verdi and Giordano at the Salzburg Festival. As the New York Times observes, Netrebko is “a soprano with star power in the best sense, a charismatic expressivity that pervades every element of her performance.”

Daniil Trifonov

Daniil Trifonov – “without question the most astounding young pianist of our age” (The Times of London) – fresh from his first Grammy Award for Transcendental, keeps up a non-stop schedule of festival performances this summer. Solo and orchestral performances at the Aspen Music Festival and Bravo! Vail are followed by two concerts with the Mariinsky Orchestra and Valery Gergiev at Germany’s Festspielhaus Baden-Baden; three performance at Switzerland’s Verbier Festival in solo, chamber and orchestral configurations; recitals at the Menuhin Festival Gstaad and Dubrovnik Festival; solo and chamber performances at the Salzburg Festival; recitals in Denmark’s Tivoli SommerKlassik and Germany’s Schleswig-Holstein Festival; and an orchestral performance at the Lucerne Festival. For the solo recitals, Trifonov reprises his Chopin-themed solo program that has now been heard around the world, based on his latest Deutsche Grammophon CD Chopin: Evocations, which juxtaposes the Polish master’s compositions with works by 20th-century composers who were influenced by him. Chamber repertoire by Robert and Clara Schumann, Debussy, Franck, and Tchaikovsky, as well as Trifonov’s own Piano Quintet at the Verbier Festival, is performed with collaborators including violinists Lisa Batiashvili and Renaud Capuçon, and cellist Clemens Hagen. Trifonov’s orchestral performances this summer include three different Rachmaninov concertos: the First with the Philadelphia Orchestra in Vail, the First and Second with the Mariinsky Orchestra in Baden-Baden, and the Fourth in Lucerne with the Lucerne Symphony Orchestra and James Gaffigan. The pianist/composer also performs Scriabin’s Concerto in F-sharp minor with the Mariinsky, and another of his own pieces, his Piano Concerto in E-flat minor, at the Aspen Music Festival.


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© 21C Media Group, April 2018

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