Press Room

Caramoor 75th Summer Season Includes Harlem Renaissance Centenary; Site-Specific Programming; World Premieres by Michael Gordon, Christopher Cerrone and Paola Prestini; New Roots Collaboration with City Winery; and Much More (June 20-Aug 2)

Caramoor celebrates its 75th anniversary this summer in peak form, unveiling a legion of campus improvements resulting from the Inspire capital campaign, from a new entrance to the Venetian Theater to a new box office to new landscaping, all with the audience experience in mind and in perfect tune with the outstanding variety of exceptional music from artists originating around the country and around the world (June 20–Aug 2). Multiple events throughout Caramoor’s seven weeks of programming recognize the centenary of the Harlem Renaissance, including a collaborative retelling of Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream by the Classical Theatre of Harlem and Orpheus Chamber Orchestra. Site-specific programming includes the newly commissioned sound sculpture in“C by iconic sound artist Trimpin; On Site Opera’s rendition of Paisiello’s The Barber of Seville, using the Rosen House as a set; and the world premiere of Field of Vision by Michael Gordon, composed specifically for performance on the Caramoor grounds. In another first, Nico Muhly’s new violin concerto, Shrink, will be given its New York premiere by Finnish violinist Pekka Kuusisto and The Knights. Caramoor continues its dedication to raising the profiles of female composers and performers, with the world premiere of a string quartet by Paola Prestini and a chamber orchestra work by Anna Clyne; a recent orchestral work by Missy Mazzoli conducted by Karina Canellakis, winner of the 2016 Georg Solti Conducting Award and the newly appointed Chief Conductor of the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra; and more. Now in the sixth year of its collaboration with Jazz at Lincoln Center, Caramoor’s jazz offerings include an opening night performance by Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, followed later in the summer by the all-day Jazz Festival, headlined by the multi-Grammy-winning Brazilian pianist, singer, and composer Eliane Elias. The American Roots Music Festival begins a new programming partnership this season with City Winery, with headliner Taj Mahal and special guest Deva Mahal. Caramoor continues to be one of the Northeast’s finest presenters of orchestral and chamber music, welcoming a stellar roster of performers including Orchestra of St. Luke’s, Trinity Baroque Orchestra, Apollo’s Fire, the Danish String Quartet, pianists Inon Barnatan and Benjamin Grosvenor, violinist Leonidas Kavakos, conductor Ludovic Morlot, and many more. Finally, Caramoor’s continued dedication to the support of up-and-coming musicians provides opportunities to alumni from its Evnin Rising Stars mentoring program and this year’s Ernst Stiefel String Quartet-in-Residence, the Thalea String Quartet.

The season marks the third year of programs developed by Kathy Schuman, who joined Caramoor as Vice President of Artistic Programming in 2016. As she comments about her third season:

“I continue to be inspired by the unique surroundings at Caramoor and the site-specific performance opportunities throughout the grounds. This summer I’m especially excited about our thread on the Harlem Renaissance, and to continue to bring many artists to Caramoor for the first time.  I feel strongly about welcoming new voices into the Caramoor family.”

Harlem Renaissance Centenary

Coinciding with the “Great Migration” of African Americans out of the rural south and into the cities of the northeast and midwest beginning about 1916, an extraordinary intellectual, social, and artistic flowering of African-American culture took place throughout the 1920s, a period now known as the “Harlem Renaissance.” Caramoor honors the centenary of this cultural explosion throughout the summer in multiple programs. The Thalea String Quartet program on July 2 includes the first movement, “The Sentimental One,” from the Lyric String Quartette by William Grant Still—known as “the Dean” of African-American composers—who was closely associated with prominent Harlem Renaissance literary and cultural figures such as Alain Locke and Langston Hughes. Honoring Duke Ellington, one of the leading musical lights of the Harlem Renaissance, the “Pops, Patriots, and Fireworks” concert on July 4 includes An Ellington Portrait. The annual Jazz Festival on July 18, produced in collaboration with Jazz at Lincoln Center, features two daytime sets on the same theme: the Jon Thomas Quintet along with Karlea Lynné in a set titled “Langston Hughes and the Harlem Renaissance,” and tenor saxophonist Ruben Fox presenting “Ellingtonia: Duke Sings.” The Harlem Renaissance will also be the subject of a Jazz Chat as part of the festival. A program on July 25 called “Listening to Tom-Tom” centers on the 1932 opera by Shirley Graham Du Bois, a noted playwright and activist for African-American and women’s rights causes as well as a composer, who in later life married the iconic sociologist and writer W.E.B. Du Bois. Soprano Candice Hoyes, baritone Markel Reed, and pianist Kyle Walker perform excerpts from the opera, while a panel discussion considering its complex representations of race, gender, and history features Juilliard Professor of Ethnomusicology Fredara Hadley and Professor of Theater and Africana Studies Caroline Jackson Smith from Oberlin College. That same night the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra and Classical Theatre of Harlem offer an innovative musical and theatrical interpretation of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream called A Harlem Dream, which retells the classic story with vivid allusions to New York City and the Harlem Renaissance. The score includes Mendelssohn’s beloved incidental music, arranged for chamber orchestra, along with works by Duke Ellington woven into the tale, and the 22 musicians and eight actors play varied and imaginative roles throughout the performance. Finally, Charles Turner & Uptown Swing, a five-piece band led by charismatic vocalist Charles Turner III that appears regularly in Jazz at Lincoln Center’s late-night dance sessions, adds its own singular sound to the musical legacy of the Harlem Renaissance, with both a late-afternoon family set and an evening performance (July 29).

Site-Specific Programming

The many new campus renovations gracing Caramoor’s 90-acre estate in Katonah, Westchester this summer will perfectly complement the picturesque Italianate architecture and gardens the New York Times dubs “bucolic, picnic-friendly settings with a programming philosophy that balances hedonism and exploration.” Several site-specific offerings will showcase these extraordinary surroundings, both old and new. As the centerpiece of a special free day of events, suitable for all ages, composer Michael Gordon comes to Caramoor with the Bang on a Can Percussion Ensemble for the world premiere of his new outdoor experiential work, Field of Vision, composed specifically for performance in the Sunken Garden and the surrounding field (July 26). The New Yorker characterizes Gordon’s music as having “the fury of punk rock, the nervous brilliance of free jazz and the intransigence of classical modernism”; Field of Vision features 48 percussionists, led by Doug Perkins,  performing on newly created instruments made from recycled metals and wood, with 24 in a spatial chain of moving sound in dialogue with 24 more who come in and out of view. Preceding the performance, a Sound Artist Gathering at 2pm will explore Trimpin’s new sculpture in“C” and this year’s Sonic Innovations exhibition, alongside curator Stephan Moore and artists including Trimpin, Taylor Deupree, Miya Masaoka, and others TBA. At 3pm Gordon will host a pre-performance conversation in the Venetian Theater, and the Field of Vision performance will be at 4pm.

Standing as the centerpiece of the new entrance plaza will be in“C”, a newly-commissioned kinetic, interactive sound-sculpture installation by MacArthur “Genius” Award-winning sound artist Trimpin, whose sculpture The Pianohouse was a popular favorite in 2014’s “Garden of Sonic Delights” exhibition. Consisting of a 16-foot-high double Cshaped frame supporting two octaves of chimes, in“C” is made to be operated in various modes, so that it can, for example, respond to motion, or play pre-programmed works. Composers Christopher Cerrone, Anna Clyne, Missy Mazzoli, and Nico Muhly have already been commissioned to write short 1-2 minute pieces to be included as part of the in“C” library this summer.

On Site Opera—known for presenting site-specific, immersive opera in some of the most exciting and unusual spaces in NYC and beyond—returns to Caramoor this summer, after presenting its production of Mozart’s The Secret Gardener in the Sunken Garden in 2018. Using both the Spanish Courtyard and the Music Room of the Rosen House for a set, the company remounts its 2015 production of Paisiello’s Barber of Seville, directed by General and Artistic Director Eric Einhorn and conducted by Music Director Geoffrey McDonald. The cast includes the Count Almaviva of tenor David Blalock, who in the earlier production “handled the score’s most florid part with commanding charisma” (Parterre Box), and the “focused, expressive soprano” (Opera News) of Jeni Houser as Rosina, with Andrew Wilkowske lending his “vibrant baritone” (Cincinnati Business Courier) to the title character (July 9-11). After its premiere in 1782, Paisiello’s rendition of this story quickly became a staple of the repertoire and inspired a young Rossini to write his own version.

Creating a New Canon for a New Time

As exemplified by Gordon’s Field of Vision, Caramoor has long been committed to commissioning and premiering new works and supporting the creation of new art. Part of that evolving commitment is a dedication to proactively commissioning and presenting works by female composers. This season’s Ernst Stiefel String Quartet-in-Residence, the Thalea String Quartet, performs the world premiere of a Caramoor-commissioned new work by National Sawdust co-founder and Artistic Director Paola Prestini, marking the 21st commissioned composition in Caramoor’s “String Quartet Library for the 21st Century” initiative (July 2). Led by conductor Eric Jacobsen, The Knights perform the world premiere of a new chamber orchestra work by “dazzlingly inventive” (Time Out New York) English composer Anna Clyne (July 19), whose string quartet Breathing Statues will also be performed this summer by the Calidore Quartet (June 26). Other works by celebrated female composers include Juri Seo’s VV on a program with Amy Beth Kirsten’s May The Devil Take Me, performed by Sandbox Percussion, which commissioned Kirsten’s work last year (June 25); Shulamit Ran’s Lyre of Orpheus, which will be performed on the program of Caramoor’s 4th Annual Chamber Feast (June 21); Belinda Reynolds’s Stories performed by guitarist JIJI (July 9); and Missy Mazzoli’s Sinfonia (For Orbiting Spheres), which will be heard on the season finale concert with Orchestra of St. Luke’s, led by rising star conductor Karina Canellakis (Aug 2). More woman-centered programming this summer comes courtesy of the all-women mariachi group Flor De Toloache (see Family Programming; July 1) and the Eastern European women’s vocal tradition of Kitka (see American Roots/World Music; July 30).

The Knights’ program this summer also includes a New York premiere: Nico Muhly’s new violin concerto, Shrink, performed by iconoclastic Finnish violinist Pekka Kuusisto, in a rare New York-area performance (July 19). Reviewing the world premiere performance of Shrink in Australia, Limelight magazine declared: “Muhly has an ardent musical advocate in Kuusisto, who delivered the often demanding solo writing with huge commitment and flair. Muhly reveals a masterly organization of his other musical resources: harmonies intrigue and changes of register and texture provide dramatic narrative … There’s every chance that Shrink will become a 21st-century classic.” Muhly and Kuusisto will also give an intimate duo performance a few days earlier in the Spanish Courtyard (July 16). Rounding out The Knights’ program is an arrangement for chamber orchestra by Knights solo French hornist Michael Atkinson and conductor Eric Jacobsen of Janáček’s Kreutzer Sonata, and arrangements of folk songs and dances drawn from field recordings made by the same composer, who was also a pioneer in folkloric research.

A final world premiere by Christopher Cerrone will be featured when pianist Conor Hanick—whose “technical refinement, color, crispness and wondrous variety of articulation … would benefit works by any master” (New York Times)—gives a performance with Sandbox Percussion, an ensemble that returns to Caramoor after its performance of John Luther Adams’s songbirdsongs in the Sunken Garden last summer. Cerrone’s new concerto for solo prepared piano and percussion quartet will be heard alongside music by composer and steel pan specialist Andy Akiho, Juri Seo, David Crowell, and Amy Beth Kirsten (June 25).

Opera from Trinity Church Wall Street

The Trinity Baroque Orchestra and The Choir of Trinity Wall Street, long celebrated for annual Messiah performances that the New York Times calls quite simply “the best ‘Messiah’ in New York,” are joined by a cast of international soloists for a performance of Jean-Philippe Rameau’s opera Dardanus. The cast is led by “vocally nimble” tenor Zachary Wilder (Boston Globe) in the title role and “rich-toned alto” Melissa Attebury (New York Times) as his love Iphise, with musical direction by baroque specialist Avi Stein. The production is directed by theater and film director John La Bouchardière, whose recent mounting of Lera Auerbach’s The Blind for the Lincoln Center Festival was praised by the New York Times as “adventurous, eerie, and thoroughly engaging” (June 28).

Orchestral: Apollo’s Fire, Orchestra of St. Luke’s

Cleveland Baroque orchestra Apollo’s Fire returns to Caramoor, having debuted two seasons ago, to perform the complete Brandenburg Concertos by J.S. Bach. Founded and led by harpsichordist and Cleveland Arts Prize-winner Jeannette Sorrell, the group’s enduringly appealing sound was described by the Boston Globe as “early-music straight-tone point-polished to a ravishing, satiny gloss” (July 5).

The resident Orchestra of St. Luke’s—“one of the most versatile and galvanic ensembles in the U.S.” (WQXR)—gives two concerts this summer. The first, on July 12, is led by French conductor Ludovic Morlot, a conductor emeritus of the Seattle Symphony who made his Caramoor and Orchestra of St. Luke’s debuts two seasons ago. Featured on the program is British pianist Benjamin Grosvenor, described by The Independent as “one in a million … several million,” and lauded by Süddeutsche Zeitung for his “astounding technical gifts, the freshness of his imagination, his intense concentration, the absence of any kind of show, and the unmistakable sense of poetic immersion directed solely at the realization of music.” Grosvenor performs Mozart’s Concerto No. 21, on a program with Beethoven’s Eighth Symphony and two latter-day tributes to the French Baroque composer Couperin: Ravel’s Le Tombeau de Couperin, and Thomas Adès’s Three Studies from Couperin. Pre-concert chamber music will be performed by the National Youth Orchestra of the USA and NYO2.

The second Orchestra of St. Luke’s performance this summer closes the season, with special guest Greek violinist Leonidas Kavakos—“a rock star, passionate but also unpretentious” (Bachtrack)—performing Beethoven’s D-major Violin Concerto (Aug 2). Also on the program are Mozart’s “Jupiter” Symphony and Missy Mazzoli’s Sinfonia (for Orbiting Spheres). On the podium for this final performance is Karina Canellakis, the newly appointed conductor of the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic, who, since winning the Sir Georg Solti Conducting Award in 2016, has guest-conducted many of the world’s premier orchestras. In the 2019-20 season alone she debuted with the Philadelphia Orchestra, the San Francisco, Atlanta, Minnesota, and London Symphonies, the Munich Philharmonic, and Hamburg’s NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchestra.

Chamber: Inon Barnatan; Thalea, Calidore and Danish Quartets; more

Pianist Inon Barnatan, honored as one of WQXR’s “19 for 19” influential musicians to watch last year, has been noted as “one of the most admired pianists of his generation” by the New York Times. Often singled out as a particularly thoughtful and inventive recital programmer, Barnatan explores the theme of “Songs Without Words” in this performance, combining works by Mendelssohn and Thomas Adès with Schubert and Gershwin (July 3). As the Philadelphia Inquirer raves, the pianist has “a breathtaking charisma that comes from gorgeously turned out technique, a masterly sense of color, and an expressiveness that can question, weep, or shout joy from the rooftops.”

Versatile Finnish violinist Pekka Kuusisto, who was described recently in The Guardian as “the kind of musician who can change the way you think about what you are hearing,” performs a special duo concert with Nico Muhly in the Spanish Courtyard a few days before premiering Muhly’s new violin concerto. The program ranges from traditional Finnish music to works by Muhly, Glass, and Pärt (July 16).

Korean guitarist JIJI, proficient on both acoustic and electric guitar and the first-prize winner at the 2016 Concert Artists Guild International Competition, is the latest stellar performer featured in Caramoor’s Guitar in the Garden series (July 9). The Calgary Herald raved about a recent performance, finding the guitarist “talented, sensitive … brilliant.” The program ranges from medieval music by the remarkable Benedictine nun Hildegard von Bingen to Steve Reich, with the eclectic roster of composers also including Renaissance nun Claudia Sessa; French Baroque bass viol virtuoso Marin Marais; JIJI’s duo partner, Icelandic guitarist Gulli Bjornsson; San Francisco-based composer and educator Belinda Reynolds; and New York-based Latvian composer Krists Auznieks.

Caramoor’s mentoring programs, which include the Ernst Stiefel String Quartet-in-Residence, the Evnin Rising Stars and the Schwab Vocal Rising Stars, provide emerging artists with a safe space to explore their craft. Alumni from these young artist programs perform in various concerts throughout the season. This season’s Ernst Stiefel String Quartet-in-Residence is the Thalea String Quartet, formed in 2014 at the Zephyr International Chamber Music Festival in Courmayeur, Italy. Praised for their “vibrant performance” and “sincere expressivity” (San Francisco Classical Voice), they served as the first quartet-in-residence at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music from 2015-17, and were recently named the Young Professional String Quartet at the Butler School of Music, where they are mentored by the highly acclaimed Miró Quartet (themselves alumni of this program). Their performance this summer, in addition to a world premiere by Paola Prestini and an excerpt from William Grant Still’s Lyric String Quartette, includes Schubert’s timeless “Death and the Maiden” quartet (July 2). The concert caps a yearlong residency that also sees the quartet give classroom-based instruction and performance clinics in Caramoor’s educational outreach program, as well as concerts in Caramoor’s fall and spring seasons.

A sextet composed entirely of Evnin Rising Stars alums plays Caramoor’s 4th Annual Chamber Feast. Violinists Tessa Lark and Paul Huang, violists Nicholas Cords and Zoë Martin-Doike, and cellists Edward Arron and Alexander Hersh perform Mozart’s K. 406 String Quartet in C minor, Shulamit Ran’s Lyre of Orpheus and Tchaikovsky’s Souvenir de Florence (June 21).

Three other very different but equally celebrated string quartets also perform at Caramoor this summer. The Calidore String Quartet, a former Ernst Stiefel String Quartet-in-Residence praised by the New York Times for its “deep reserves of virtuosity and irrepressible dramatic instinct,” performs Anna Clyne’s Breathing Statues on a program with selections from J.S. Bach’s Art of the Fugue and two related late quartets by Beethoven: No. 13 and the Grosse Fuge, which was originally composed to be its final movement (June 26). The PUBLIQuartet, called by the Washington Post “a perfect encapsulation of today’s trends in chamber music,” plays a program of Vijay Iyer, the late George Walker, who was the first African American to win the Pulitzer Prize, and John Corigliano, along with the quartet’s “MTG” (Mind | The | Gap) project, a group improvisation based on Dvořák’s “American” Quartet (July 22). Finally, the eclectic Danish String Quartet plays a wide-ranging concert of Bach, Mozart, Webern, and Nielsen (July 31). Reviewing their performance in Seattle last year, Strings magazine declared: “It defies belief that these four musicians are only in their 30s—not merely because of the individual and ensemble confidence of their impeccable technique and intonation, but even more in view of the interpretive depth they sustain and convey so persuasively.”

Jazz and Broadway

Pianist/singer/composer Eliane Elias headlines the annual Caramoor Jazz Festival, presented for the sixth year in collaboration with Jazz at Lincoln Center (July 18). Since landing a spot in the legendary jazz fusion band Steps Ahead in 1982, the São Paulo-born musician has had a distinguished career spanning nearly 30 albums, including two that were solely dedicated to the music of her compatriot Antônio Carlos Jobim, of whose work she is considered one of the great interpreters. Her recent releases Made in Brazil (2015), Dance of Time (2017) and Man of La Mancha (2018) have earned her multiple Grammy Award wins and No. 1 Billboard chart debuts, as well as No. 1 positions on the iTunes, jazz radio, and Amazon best seller charts. Her 2019 album Love Stories, on the Concord Jazz label, is an orchestral, all-English exploration of love in its many guises, from romantic and dreamy to profound and abiding.

Daytime artists announced so far for the all-day Jazz Festival include trumpeter Sean Jones with his “innovative, Afro–futuristic fusion of jazz, tap, and bebop” Dizzy Spellz project; saxophonist and Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra member Sherman Irby and his all-star quintet, Momentum, honoring the Charlie Parker centenary; vocalist/flutist Jeremy Bosch with a tribute to salsa pioneer Cheo Feliciano; Lincoln Center Emerging Artist Award winner and bassist for the Late Show with Stephen Colbert Endea Owens and her band The Cookout; the Jon Thomas Quintet featuring vocalist Karlea Lynné with a set celebrating Langston Hughes and the Harlem Renaissance; saxophonist Ruben Fox with a tribute to Duke Ellington; saxophonist Alexa Tarantino and her Quartet; guitarist Pasquale Grasso; pianist and APA Competition finalist Kenny Banks, Jr. with his Trio; the 30s-style swing and gypsy jazz of the Tatiana Eva-Marie Duo; bassist Felix Moseholm and his Quartet; trumpeter Summer Camargo with her Trio; and Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Summer Jazz Academy Big Bands with special guests Ingrid Jensen, Sean Jones and Sherman Irby. This full day of programming includes expanded food options, child-friendly activities, and complimentary tours of the Rosen House.

This season’s opening night concert is also devoted to jazz, with a return performance by Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, the 2015 Jazz Festival headliners (June 20). A nine-time Grammy Award winner, Marsalis is an internationally acclaimed musician, composer and bandleader, an educator and a leading advocate of American culture. He has created and performed an expansive range of music from quartets to big bands, chamber music ensembles to symphony orchestras and tap dance to ballet, expanding the vocabulary for jazz and classical music with a vital body of work that places him among the world’s finest musicians and composers.

An additional performance by Rachael & Vilray—the duo composed of Lake Street Dive singer-songwriter Rachael Price and composer, singer, and guitarist Vilray—is presented in collaboration with Jazz at Lincoln Center on July 24. With a shared love for the jazz music of the 1930s and 40s, the two artists met at the New England Conservatory of Music in 2003, later reuniting as a performing duo and recently releasing their debut, self-titled album, which the New York Times praises for music “as cozy as it is sophisticated.”

Returning to Caramoor after leading an all-Bernstein performance in 2018, Tony Award-winning Broadway music director Ted Sperling hosts an all-Sondheim performance to celebrate the composer’s 90th birthday (July 11). Featured vocalists Betsy Wolfe (Waitress, Falsettos), Bryce Pinkham (A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder), Scarlett Strallen (Mary Poppins), and Ben Davis (Violet) will perform songs from Company, Follies, Sweeney Todd, Merrily We Roll Along, Anyone Can Whistle, and more. A complimentary “Pride and Prosecco” reception in celebration of LGBTQ Pride season precedes this performance at 6pm.

American Roots/World Music

This summer’s American Roots Music Festival marks the beginning of a new programming collaboration with City Winery, a premier music venue and world-class winery with multiple locations nationwide (June 27). Headlining the festival is Taj Mahal with his daughter, Deva Mahal, as a special guest. A three-time Grammy Award winner for Best Contemporary Blues Album, multi-instrumentalist Mahal’s career has lasted six decades and counting, and his exploration of the sounds of the Caribbean, Africa, the South Pacific and more has kept him continually evolving while never losing sight of his grounding in the tradition he loves. Explaining his passion for live performance, Mahal says: “Like ancient culture, the people are as much a part of the performance as the music. Live communication through music, oh yeah, it’s right up there with oxygen!”

Daytime artists in the American Roots Music Festival announced thus far include South Louisiana’s Nathan & The Zydeco Cha Chas, multi-award-winning banjoist Cynthia Sayer, Porch Stomp Revue, and Toronto’s Choir!Choir!Choir! leading a full-audience singalong, with many more to be announced soon.

In an additional Roots performance on July 17, Caramoor welcomes the Watkins Family Hour with Sara and Sean Watkins. Both got their start as children in the band Nickel Creek, along with mandolin superstar Chris Thile; Sean was twelve years old at the time and Sara and Chris were eight. Sean and Sara have been hosting the Watkins Family Hour with a rotating cast of guests for over a decade at L.A.’s eclectic club Largo whenever they both happen to be in town at the same time.

On August 1, Caramoor welcomes songwriter and guitarist Josh Ritter. Hailed as one of the “100 Greatest Living Songwriters” in 2006 by Paste magazine, Ritter debuts at Caramoor as part of his “A Book of Gold Thrown Open” tour, which emphasizes performances in unusual spaces that he finds “bring a special kind of glow” of their own not found in larger-scale venues. The intimate solo show will focus on new material, as well as some of his quieter, more narrative songs. As the New York Times describes Ritter’s style: “Harking back to Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen and maybe a little Mark Knopfler, Mr. Ritter has always been a slinger of serious ideas and high-flown imagery.”

Guitarist Sharon Isbin, “the Monet of the classical guitar” (Atlanta Journal), last seen at Caramoor in 2018 in a duo performance with mezzo-soprano Isabel Leonard, brings a world music flavor to this summer’s festival along with Indian classical sarod virtuoso Amjad Ali Khan, in a program titled “Strings for Peace” (July 23). The program includes solo guitar works as well as traditional ragas and music composed by Khan, for which the two are joined by Khan’s sons Amaan Ali Bangash and Ayaan Ali Bangash.

Oakland, California-based all-female vocal ensemble Kitka has, over the more than four decades of its existence, developed a vast repertoire of traditional songs from Balkan, Caucasus, and Slavic lands, as well as new material composed for the group drawing on those ancient vocal practices. As the San Francisco Chronicle puts it: “The rich sound these women produce resonates as if energized by the universe itself” (July 30).

Family programming

Classical musician’s collective Decoda made its Caramoor debut last season with a circus-themed interactive family performance called “TRAPEZE!” They return this summer with another family set that takes the audience inside the mind of the composer, called “The Composer’s Toolbox.” Music by Nielsen, Schulhoff, and Brad Balliett will provide the material for the exploration. This event is recommended for children ages five and up (June 28).

On four Wednesdays in July, Friends Field is home to a new casual listening experience for everyone to enjoy: Concerts on the Lawn. With plenty of room to run, dance, or set up a picnic, this series offers two concert experiences: an early set designed for families followed by a full set beginning at 7pm. The high-energy, boundary-pushing performers include the all-female mariachi group Flor De Toloache, who fuse together influences from across genres and cultures to produce a unique and powerful take on traditional mariachi music. NPR raves: “They don’t just sing; they could blast through mountains with their wails and gritos (shouts), and melt glaciers with the warmth of their gorgeous harmonies.” The other three Wednesdays feature, in order, the classical/klezmer/tango/gypsy/jazz outfit Ljova and the Kontraband, PUBLIQuartet, and Charles Turner & Uptown Swing.

A perennial summer favorite is Caramoor’s Independence Day celebration, when Curt Ebersole and his 60-piece Westchester Symphonic Winds perform their annual “Pops, Patriots, and Fireworks” concert. Performing a medley of Gershwin tunes, the guest vocalists, both alumni of the Bel Canto Young Artist program, are soprano Candice Hoyes and baritone Jorell Williams, who returns to Caramoor after appearing in On Site Opera’s The Secret Gardener in 2018. The program also includes patriotic tunes, Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture, a special tribute to towering Harlem Renaissance pianist and composer Duke Ellington called An Ellington Portrait, and much more. The evening’s festivities conclude with fireworks to celebrate the July 4th holiday.

Pre-Concert Conversations

Pre-concert conversations take place in conjunction with a wide variety of performances. The informal talks take place on stage one hour before the performances of the Calidore String Quartet (June 26), Rameau’s Dardanus (June 28), Orchestra of St Luke’s (July 12 & Aug 2), The Knights (July 19), A Harlem Dream (July 25), and Michael Gordon’s Field of Vision (July 26).

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. In addition to Trimpin’s new installation in“C”, this season sees the debut of an as-yet-untitled work by sound sculptor Spencer Topel and architect Hana Kassem. Returning to the exhibition is Miya Masaoka’s Listen Ahead, in which a traffic sign anticipates a space for aural attention, leading toward an elegant listening hut hidden on the Caramoor grounds, and Nafasi Yako ni ya Kijani (Your Place is Green) by 2008 MacArthur Fellow, instrument builder and graphic artist Walter Kitundu. Three other familiar pieces, now permanently part of Caramoor’s collection, 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. 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 to create a sense of time slowing down as one approaches the middle of the path. 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.

Additionally this season, on July 26 there will be a Sound Art Gathering that includes curator Stephan Moore and the artists Trimpin, Taylor Deupree, Miya Masaoka, and others TBA, as part of the free day of events culminating in the world premiere performance of Michael Gordon’s Field of Vision in the Sunken Garden and surrounding areas.

Rosen House Tours & Afternoon Teas

The historic Rosen House, an enchanting Mediterranean villa built by Walter and Lucie Rosen in the 1930s, has recently completed a 5-year revitalization project. Tours of the Rosen House are available throughout the season and are included with the purchase of Afternoon Tea. Limited tours are available during the American Roots and Jazz Festivals and on the Field of Vision day of free events, and an I SPY tour for families with children seven years old and under will be offered after the “Composer’s Toolbox” family concert on June 28. This season, the magnificent Music Room will be open for viewing prior to concerts in the Venetian Theater; audiences are encouraged to arrive early and explore.

Food + Drink Offerings

For maximum convenience and to avoid the lines, Great Performances also offers pre-ordered picnic boxes in a variety of menus. Each picnic includes an entrée, sides, and dessert. Upgrade to Picnic Plus to get a reserved seat at a set table under the Pavilion Tent and unlimited soft beverages. Additionally, on August 2 a relaxed Summer Finale Dinner under the Pavilion Tent is offered and includes unlimited wine, beer, and soda. Menus for the picnics and Summer Finale Dinner are available online, and you can either order online or call the Box Office at 914.232.1252. Order by Tuesday at 4:00pm for the upcoming week’s performance.

For high-resolution photos, click here.

*          *          *          *          *

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 390, as well as in the splendid air-conditioned Music Room in the Rosen House, with a capacity of almost 200. 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. A Metro-North Getaway package is available for the American Roots and Jazz Festival days, as well as the four family-friendly Wednesdays in July.


Caramoor: 75th summer music season (2020)

Week 1

June 20
Opening Night Concert: Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis
Venetian Theater
Wynton Marsalis, trumpet
Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra

June 21
Chamber Feast
Rosen House – Music Room
Paul Huang, violin (ERS alumnus)
Tessa Lark, violin (ERS alumna)
Nicholas Cords, viola (ERS alumnus)
Zoë Martin-Doike, viola (ERS alumna)
Edward Arron, cello (ERS alumnus)
Alexander Hersh, cello (ERS alumnus)
MOZART: String Quintet in C minor, K. 406
SHULAMIT RAN: Lyre of Orpheus
TCHAIKOVSKY: Souvenir de Florence, Op. 70

Week 2

June 25
Sandbox Percussion with Conor Hanick, piano
Venetian Theater
Conor Hanick, piano*
Sandbox Percussion
AMY BETH KIRSTEN: May The Devil Take Me
DAVID CROWELL: Music for Percussion Quartet
CHRIS CERRONE: New Prepared Piano Concerto for solo piano and percussion quartet (world premiere)

June 26
Calidore String Quartet
Spanish Courtyard
Calidore String Quartet (ESSQIR alumni)
BACH: Selections from The Art of the Fugue, BWV 1080
ANNA CLYNE: Breathing Statues
BEETHOVEN: String Quartet No. 13 in B-flat, Op. 130
BEETHOVEN: Grosse Fuge in B-flat, Op. 133

June 27
American Roots Music Festival
Various Venues
Daytime artists:
Nathan & The Zydeco Cha Chas*
Cynthia Sayer*
Porch Stomp Revue

Venetian Theater
Headline Artist:
Taj Mahal* with special guest Deva Mahal

June 28
Family Concert: Decoda
Rosen House – Music Room
“The Composer’s Toolbox”

June 28
Rameau’s Dardanus
Venetian Theater
Trinity Baroque Orchestra*
The Choir of Trinity Wall Street*
Avi Stein, music director
John La Bouchardière, director

Dardanus: Zachary Wilder, tenor
Venus: Mireille Asselin, soprano*
Isménor: John Taylor Ward, baritone
Teucer: Matt Boehler, bass
Anténor: Tyler Duncan, baritone*
Iphise: Melissa Attebury, mezzo-soprano* (BCYA alumna) 

Week 3

July 1
Flor De Toloache*
Friends Field
Family Set

Friends Field
Evening Concert

July 2
Thalea String Quartet
Spanish Courtyard
Thalea String Quartet (ESSQIR)
WILLIAM GRANT STILL: Lyric String Quartette: i. The Sentimental One
PAOLA PRESTINI: New Work (world premiere, commissioned by Caramoor)
SCHUBERT: String Quartet in D minor, D. 810, “Death and the Maiden”

July 3
Inon Barnatan, piano*
Spanish Courtyard
Inon Barnatan, piano
MENDELSSOHN: Selections from Lieder ohne Worte
THOMAS ADÈS: Concert Paraphrase on Powder Her Face, Op. 14
GERSHWIN: Prelude No. 2 in C-sharp minor
GERSHWIN: I Got Rhythm (Arr. Earl Wild)
SCHUBERT: Piano Sonata in B-flat, D. 960

July 4
Pops, Patriots and Fireworks
Venetian Theater
Westchester Symphonic Winds/Curt Ebersole
Candice Hoyes, vocalist (BCYA alumna)
Jorell Williams, vocalist (BCYA alumnus)
SMITH: The Star Spangled Banner (Arr. Walter Damrosch/ John Philip Sousa)
HERMAN: Overture to Mame (Arr. Barton Green)
SPARKE: Jubilee Overture
SVANOE: Steampunk Suite: Barnum and Tesla’s Tandem Bicycle
KING: Barnum and Bailey’s Favorite
ELLINGTON: An Ellington Portrait (Arr. Floyd Werle)
MEACHAM: American Patrol
GERSHWIN: Gershwin Medley (Arr. Matt Podd)
TCHAIKOVSKY: 1812 Overture, Op. 49 (Mayhew L. Lake)
SOUSA: Stars and Stripes Forever (Keith Brion / Loras Schissel)

July 5
Apollo’s Fire
Venetian Theater
Apollo’s Fire
Jeannette Sorrell, conductor and harpsichord
BACH: Brandenburg Concerto No. 1 in F, BWV 1046
BACH: Brandenburg Concerto No. 6 in B-flat, BWV 1051
BACH: Brandenburg Concerto No. 2 in F, BWV 1047
BACH: Brandenburg Concerto No. 5 in D, BWV 1050
BACH: Brandenburg Concerto No. 3 in G, BWV 1048
BACH: Brandenburg Concerto No. 4 in G, BWV 1049

Week 4

July 8
Ljova and the Kontraband*
Friends Field
Family Set

Friends Field
Evening Concert

July 9
Sunken Garden
JIJI, guitar
SESSA: Occhi io vissi di voi
M. MARAIS: Les Voix humaines
BINGEN: Doom (Arr. JIJI)
STEVE REICH: Selections from Electric Counterpoint

July 9 & 10 (7:30pm) and July 11 (3pm)
Paisello’s Barber of Seville
Rosen House
On Site Opera
PAISELLO: Il barbiere di Siviglia
Eric Einhorn, director
Geoffrey McDonald, conductor
Members of the American Modern Ensemble
Rosina: Jeni Houser*
Count Almaviva: David Blalock*
Figaro: Andrew Wilkowske*
Don Bartolo: Adelmo Guidarelli*
Don Basilio: Vartan Gabrielian*
Giovinetta: Cristina María Castro*
Svegliato: Jay Chacon*

July 11
Celebrating Stephen Sondheim’s 90th Birthday
Venetian Theater
Ted Sperling, piano and host
Scarlett Strallen, vocalist*
Betsy Wolfe, vocalist*
Ben Davis, vocalist
Bryce Pinkham, vocalist
“Pride and Prosecco” reception in celebration of LGBTQ Pride season precedes this performance at 6pm.

July 12
NYO-USA and NYO2 Pre-concert chamber music
Caramoor Grounds
Members of NYO-USA and NYO-2

July 12
Orchestra of St. Luke’s
Venetian Theater
Orchestra of St. Luke’s
Ludovic Morlot, conductor
Benjamin Grosvenor, piano*
RAVEL: Le Tombeau de Couperin
MOZART: Piano Concerto No. 21 in C, K. 467
THOMAS ADÈS: Three Studies from Couperin
BEETHOVEN: Symphony No. 8 in F, Op. 93

Week 5

July 16
Pekka Kuusisto, violin*
Nico Muhly, piano*
Spanish Courtyard

July 17
Watkins Family Hour
Spanish Courtyard

July 18
Jazz Festival Day
Various Venues
Daytime performances:
Sean Jones & Dizzy Spellz
Sherman Irby and Momentum: Bird at 100
Jeremy Bosch Plays the Music of Cheo Feliciano
Endea Owens & The Cookout
Jon Thomas Quintet ft. Karlea Lynné: Langston Hughes and the Harlem Renaissance
Ruben Fox presents Ellingtonia: Duke Sings
Jazz Chat on the Harlem Renaissance with Greg Thomas
Alexa Tarantino Quartet
Pasquale Grasso, guitar
Kenny Banks, Jr. Trio
Tatiana Eva-Marie Duo
Felix Moseholm Quartet
Summer Camargo Trio
Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Summer Jazz Academy Big Bands with special guests Ingrid Jensen, Sean Jones, and Sherman Irby

Evening Headliner:
Eliane Elias*
Venetian Theater

July 19
The Knights
Venetian Theater
The Knights
Eric Jacobsen, conductor
Pekka Kuusisto, violin*
ANNA CLYNE: New Work for chamber orchestra (world premiere)
NICO MUHLY: Violin Concerto, Shrink (NY Premiere)
JANÁČEK: “The Kreutzer Sonata” (Arr. Michael Atkinson / Eric Jacobsen)
FOLK SONGS: Arrangements of Folk Songs drawn from archival field recordings made by Janáček

Week 6

July 22
5:30 pm
Friends Field
Family Set
VILLA-LOBOS: Bachianas brasileiras No. 5
PIAZZOLLA: Libertango (arr. by Curtis Stewart)
PUBLIQUARTET: Mind | The | Gap Project: “Nina!”
PUBLIQUARTET: Mind | The | Gap Project: “A Tiskit A Tasket”

Friends Field
Evening Concert
VIJAY IYER: Dig The Say – for James Brown 1933-2012
WALKER: String Quartet No. 1 (In Memory of My Grandmother M.K.)
JOHN CORIGLIANO: Snapshot: Circa 1909
PUBLIQUARTET: Mind | The | Gap Project: “Antonin Dvořák: ‘What is American’”

July 23
Amjad Ali Khan & Sharon Isbin
Spanish Courtyard
Amjad Ali Khan, sarod*
Amaan Ali Bangash, sarod
Ayaan Ali Bangash, sarod
Sharon Isbin, guitar
SHARON ISBIN: Spanish Work for Solo Guitar
AMJAD ALI KHAN: Sacred Evening
ANONYMOUS: Raga and Folk Music
AMJAD ALI KHAN: Romancing Earth 

July 24
Rachael & Vilray*
Spanish Courtyard

July 25
Lecture/Concert: Listening to Tom-Tom
Music Room
Candice Hoyes, vocalist
Markel Reed, baritone*
Kyle Walker, piano*
Fredara Hadley, panelist*
Caroline Jackson Smith, panelist*
DU BOIS: Excerpts from Tom-Tom  

July 25
A Harlem Dream
Venetian Theater
Orpheus Chamber Orchestra
The Classical Theatre of Harlem*
Peter Francis James, director*
MENDELSSOHN: Incidental music from A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Op. 21 and Op. 61 (Tarkmann)

July 26
Sound Art Gathering
Caramoor Grounds
Artists: Stephan Moore, Trimpin, Taylor Deupree, Miya Masaoka 

July 26
Field of Vision
Sunken Garden
Bang on a Can Percussion Ensemble
Doug Perkins, Music Director
MICHAEL GORDON: Field of Vision (world premiere)

Week 7

July 29
Charles Turner & Uptown Swing*
Friends Field
Family Set

Friends Field
Evening Concert

July 30
Spanish Courtyard

July 31
Danish String Quartet
Danish String Quartet
BACH: The Art of the Fugue, BWV 1080: Contrapunctus XIX: Fuga a 3 soggetti (for string quartet)
WEBERN: String Quartet, Op. 28
BACH: Vor deinen Thron tret ich hiermit, BWV 668 (for string quartet)
MOZART: String Quartet in E-flat, K. 428
NIELSEN: Quartet for Strings in E-flat, Op. 14

Aug 1
Josh Ritter*
Presented in collaboration with City Winery
Spanish Courtyard

Aug 2
Orchestra of St. Luke’s
Orchestra of St. Luke’s
Karina Canellakis, conductor*
Leonidas Kavakos, violin
MISSY MAZZOLI: Sinfonia (for Orbiting Spheres)
BEETHOVEN: Violin Concerto in D, Op. 61
MOZART: Symphony No. 41 in C, K. 551, “Jupiter”

* Caramoor debut

#          #          #

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 M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

The 2020 Summer Music Festival is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.

© 21C Media Group,
February 2020

Return to Press Room