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Caramoor Announces Flexible Programming for Summer 20/2.0, with New, On-Site, Livestreamed Performances Featuring Two World Premieres; Multi-Genre, Live Open-Air Concerts; and Public Access to Gardens, Woodlands and Sound Art

Caramoor (photo: Gabe Palacio)

Caramoor has long been a place of inspiration. With more than 80 acres of woodlands, gardens, sound art and outdoor performance space, the Westchester cultural arts destination is in a unique position to pivot from its traditional summer season and find new ways of inspiring audiences safely, just when they need it most. While unable to present the full summer season as planned, Caramoor is pleased to announce Summer 20/2.0, positioning itself to participate responsibly in New York’s re-opening process. A new, three-part plan with the flexibility to accommodate a wide range of potential circumstances, Summer 20/2.0 comprises livestreamed on-site performances, live performances for low-density audiences on Friends Field, and opening up the gardens and sound art for limited tours. Each part can be implemented independently and phased with different options depending on the circumstances at the time. All activities will be subject to current government health and safety guidelines, as well as re-confirmation in the days before.

Caramoor CEO Jeff Haydon explains:

“Caramoor’s purpose is to inspire a lifelong love of music in our beautiful setting. Rather than cancel our summer season entirely, Caramoor’s Summer 20/2.0 provides ways we might still be able to offer opportunities to bring much-needed inspiration to our community.”

Over the course of Summer 20/2.0, Caramoor aims to stream seven new performances from the Music Room of the Rosen House, known for its historic furnishings and intimate acoustics. Professionally produced for the occasion, these new video streams will feature such world-class artists as Inon Barnatan, Conor Hanick, Sandbox Percussion, the Calidore String Quartet and Musicians from The Knights, and repertoire ranging from Mozart and Tchaikovsky to excerpts from Shirley Graham Du Bois’s opera Tom-Tom, a children’s program, and the world premieres of new works by Christopher Cerrone and Anna Clyne. Each streamed performance will be accompanied by additional content including talks with the artists and closer looks at the Westchester house and grounds (July 2–Aug 6).

Later in the summer, Caramoor plans to host four live, public, open-air concerts on Friends Field. Suitable for small, well-spaced audiences, these will feature multiple genres: American Roots, mariachi, jazz and swing (Saturdays, July 18–Aug 8, with rain dates on the following Sundays).

In addition, Caramoor hopes to open its outdoor spaces to the public, beginning in mid-July. Visitors will be able to enjoy its landscaped Italianate and woodland gardens, interacting with nature, architecture and history on socially distant picnics and walks, as well as exploring the superlative site-specific sound art installations of Sonic Innovations (Thurs through Sun, from July 16).

Finally, a variety of outdoor pop-up events may also be added to the lineup, with appearances around the grounds by artists including a brass ensemble from Orchestra of St. Luke’s, Caramoor’s orchestra-in-residence for the past 41 years.

When it comes to public safety, Caramoor is serious about taking precautions. The 20/2.0 plan incorporates the recommended health and safety guidelines. The upcoming broadcasts are designed with home audiences in mind, and the spacious Music Room provides a safe recording environment for soloists and small groups. Many health officials consider outdoor spaces low-risk for virus transmission in summer, so, by increasing public access, Caramoor hopes to be of valuable service to the local community. For Friends Field events, capacity would be strictly limited and performances amplified for guests to enjoy from a safe distance, sitting on their own chairs or blankets while social-distancing from each other. More details will follow in early July.

These adaptable plans are in keeping with Caramoor’s nimble response to the pandemic. Since closing its doors to staff and public on March 13, the organization has deftly negotiated the transition to working from home, successfully producing three internet-streamed performances this spring, providing online music education for local music students, scheduling makeup dates for the majority of live events, and setting up the Caramoor Artist Fund to compensate artists whose Caramoor performances were cancelled and could not be rescheduled.

Most of the artists currently scheduled to perform during this new 20/2.0 program were also part of the original 2020 lineup. Full details of 20/2.0’s planned programming are provided below.

Livestreams and broadcasts from the Music Room (July 2–Aug 6)

July 2: Inon Barnatan, chosen as one of WQXR’s “19 for 19” influential musicians to watch last year, is “one of the most admired pianists of his generation” (New York Times). Known for his thoughtful and inventive programming, as well as “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” (Philadelphia Inquirer), the Israeli pianist launches Caramoor’s 20/2.0 season with a recital in the Music Room.

July 9: “Listening to Tom-Tom” explores the 1932 opera by Shirley Graham Du Bois, the composer, playwright and activist who in later life married W.E.B. Du Bois. Soprano Candice Hoyes, baritone Markel Reed and pianist Kyle Walker perform excerpts from the opera, while Harvard lecturer Lucy Caplan and Caroline Jackson Smith, Professor of Theater and Africana Studies at Oberlin College, consider its complex representations of race, gender and history in a supplementary panel discussion.

July 12; matinee: Classical collective Decoda returns to Caramoor with “The Composer’s Toolbox.” An exclusive recorded broadcast for children aged five and above, this offers its young audience insights into the composer’s mind through selections by Nielsen, Schulhoff and Brad Balliett.

July 16: The Ernst Stiefel String Quartet-in-Residence is one of the mentoring programs through which Caramoor supports emerging young artists. The Calidore String Quartet, a program alum known for its “deep reserves of virtuosity and irrepressible dramatic instinct” (New York Times), gives the New York premiere of Breathing Statues by Grammy-nominated English composer Anna Clyne, alongside selections from Bach’s Art of the Fugue and two related late quartets by Beethoven: the Grosse Fuge and the work for which it was originally written, No. 13 in B-flat.

July 23: Hailed as “dazzlingly inventive” by Time Out New York, Anna Clyne’s music is also featured in the next livestream, when Musicians from The Knights, “an adventurous young orchestra that has established a strong reputation for polished performances and imaginative programming” (New York Times), pair the world premiere performance of her new work, Shorthand, with Brahms’s Second String Sextet.

July 30: Another of Caramoor’s young-artist mentoring programs is Evnin Rising Stars. A sextet comprised entirely of program alums – violinists Tessa Lark and Paul Huang, violists Nicholas Cords and Zoë Martin-Doike, and cellists Edward Arron and Alexander Hersh – performs Mozart’s K. 406 String Quintet in C minor, Tchaikovsky’s Souvenir de Florence and Shulamit Ran’s Lyre of Orpheus in Caramoor’s Fourth Annual Chamber Feast.

Aug 6: Sandbox Percussion is “revitalizing the world of contemporary music” (Washington Post). In the final broadcast from the Music Room, the virtuosic percussion quartet joins forces with pianist Conor Hanick, whose “technical refinement, color, crispness and wondrous variety of articulation … would benefit works by any master” (New York Times), for the world premiere of a new concerto by Pulitzer Prize finalist Christopher Cerrone. Scored for solo prepared piano and percussion quartet, this crowns an all-contemporary program of music by steel pan specialist Andy Akiho, Guggenheim fellow Juri Seo, longtime Sandbox collaborator David Crowell, and Amy Beth Kirsten, whom BBC Music considers “one of America’s most innovative and visionary composers.”

Live public concerts on the Friends Field (planned for July 18–Aug 8)

July 18: Caramoor launches its late-summer series of live, public, open-air concerts with Chris Thile, presented in collaboration with City Winery. The recipient of four Grammys and a MacArthur “genius grant,” Thile is a virtuoso mandolinist, singer-songwriter and member of the American roots groups Nickel Creek and Punch Brothers. He hosts the popular radio variety show Live from Here.

Juy 25: Continuing its sixth year of collaboration with Jazz at Lincoln Center, Caramoor presents Rachael & Vilray, a duo pairing Lake Street Dive singer-songwriter Rachael Price with composer, singer and guitarist Vilray. Drawing on their shared love of 1930s and 40s jazz, the two recently released their debut, self-titled album, which the New York Times finds “as cozy as it is sophisticated.”

Aug 1: As seen at Jazz at Lincoln Center’s late-night dance sessions, Charles Turner & Uptown Swing specializes in swing, bebop and blues. Led by charismatic vocalist Charles Turner III, the five-piece band puts a contemporary spin on the Harlem sound.

Aug 8: All-female group Flor de Toloache fuses influences from a range of genres and cultures, offering a unique and powerful take on traditional mariachi music. As NPR puts it: “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.”

Sound Art on display (tentatively scheduled to begin on July 16)

A high point of visits to Caramoor is the chance to discover the unique collection of sound art nestled in the idyllic grounds. Collectively titled Sonic Innovations, this rotating annual exhibition is curated by Chicago-based sound artist and former Merce Cunningham sound engineer Stephan Moore. Five works, all representing artists working beyond the realm of concert music, will be on display this summer.

The centerpiece of this year’s exhibit is in“C”, a newly commissioned site-specific sound-sculpture from MacArthur Fellow Trimpin. Comprising a 16-foot-high, double Cshaped frame supporting two octaves of chimes, this interactive installation will play works especially composed for the range and acoustics of the chimes. Composers Christopher Cerrone, Anna Clyne, Missy Mazzoli and Nico Muhly have all contributed new miniatures to this summer’s in“C” library.

Also making its debut in 20/2.0 is Undercurrent, a collaboration between sound sculptor Spencer Topel and Hana Kassem, one of just two architects appointed to Mayor de Blasio’s Advisory Council on reopening New York City after the lockdown.

Annea Lockwood and Bob Bielecki’s Wild Energy takes visitors on a fantastical tour of sounds occurring outside the range of human hearing, from sped-up solar oscillations to slowed-down ultrasound from within a Scots pine tree.

In the drystone structure of Ranjit Bhatnagar’s Stone Song, strain gauges and sensors for humidity, temperature and barometric pressure are fed into a drone synthesizer whose fundamental tones shift slowly over the months, as the weather changes and the stones settle.

Finally, Taylor Deupree’s t(ch)ime turns a quiet, wooded passage into a shimmering sonic environment; familiar yet otherworldly, its sounds derive from a collection of bell chimes, manipulated to create a sense of time’s slowing down as visitors approach the middle of the path.

About Caramoor

Caramoor is a cultural arts destination located on a unique 80-plus-acre estate with Italianate architecture and gardens in Northern Westchester County, NY. Its beautiful grounds include the historic Rosen House, a stunning mansion listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Besides enriching the lives of its audiences through innovative and diverse musical performances of the highest quality, Caramoor mentors young professional musicians and provides music-centered educational programs for young children. Getting to Caramoor is simple by car 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 available.

For high-resolution photos, click here.

Caramoor: Summer 20/2.0

Except where noted, performances begin at 7pm.

Friends Field performances have a rain date the following day.

The grounds and gardens are scheduled to open to the public from noon to 8pm, Thursdays through Sundays, from July 16.

All artists and dates are subject to change.

Thurs, July 2

Livestream from the Music Room

Inon Barnatan, piano

Program TBD

Thurs, July 9

Livestream from the Music Room

Lecture/Concert: Listening to Tom-Tom

Candice Hoyes, vocalist

Markel Reed, baritone

Kyle Walker, piano

Lucy Caplan, panelist

Caroline Jackson Smith, panelist

DU BOIS: Excerpts from Tom-Tom

Sun, July 12 at 3pm

Broadcast from the Music Room

Decoda Family concert

“The Composer’s Toolbox”

Thurs, July 16

Livestream from the Music Room

Calidore String Quartet

BACH: Selections from The Art of the Fugue, BWV 1080

ANNA CLYNE: Breathing Statues (Caramoor commission)

BEETHOVEN: String Quartet No. 13 in B-flat, Op. 130

BEETHOVEN: Grosse Fuge in B-flat, Op. 133

Sat, July 18 (rain date: Sun, July 19)

Public concert on Friends Field

Chris Thile

Presented in Collaboration with City Winery

Thurs, July 23

Livestream from the Music Room

Musicians from The Knights

ANNA CLYNE: Shorthand (world premiere)

BRAHMS: String Sextet No. 2 in G, Op. 36

Sat, July 25 (rain date: Sun, July 26)

Public concert on Friends Field

Rachael & Vilray

Presented in Collaboration with Jazz at Lincoln Center

Thurs, July 30

Livestream from the Music Room

Fourth Annual Chamber Feast

Paul Huang, violin

Tessa Lark, violin

Nicholas Cords, viola

Zoë Martin-Doike, viola

Edward Arron, cello

Alexander Hersh, cello

MOZART: String Quintet in C minor, K. 406

SHULAMIT RAN: Lyre of Orpheus

TCHAIKOVSKY: Souvenir de Florence, Op. 70

Sat, Aug 1 (rain date: Sun, Aug 2)

Public concert on Friends Field

Charles Turner & Uptown Swing

Thurs, Aug 6

Broadcast from the Music Room

Sandbox Percussion, with Conor Hanick, piano



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)

Sat, Aug 8 (rain date: Sun, Aug 9)

Public concert on Friends Field

Flor de Toloache

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All concerts made possible, in part, by ArtsWestchester with funds from the Westchester County Government.

NYSCA Logo - Green

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, May 2020


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