The Litchfield County Times: Seldom Played Works, Celebrated Composers at Music Mountain in Falls Village

June 3, 2013

Matt Haimovitz

The theme this year at the acclaimed summer chamber music venue, Music Mountain in Falls Village, is “Seldom Played Works by Celebrated Composers,” and while that will mean plenty of Beethoven, Mozart, Medelssohn, Schubert, Shostakovich and more, an alternate theme might be stars and serendipity.

The serendipity part of the favorable judgment stems from very different types of concerts that arrive at the beginning and near the end of a season that is packed with terrific musicians and programming.

At a historic venue where a side serving of jazz has long been a component, this Aug. 24 will see the arrival of the First Annual Music Mountain Folk Music Jamboree, stretching from noon to 9 p.m. with music outdoors through the afternoon and then a concert in Gordon Hall at 6:30 p.m.

Right off the top—actually it’s technically before the season starts June 16—the new Music Mountain Institute will present a special concert with world renowned cellist Matt Haimovitz “and a select group of talented young string players 18 to 30) who have traveled from all corners of the globe to participate in this unique music forum,” according to a release. The Music Mountain Institute, the release explained, is a week-long immersion experience that combines intense musical study and performance at the highest level.

In an e-mail, the new institute’s artistic director, composer and educator Peter Askim, wrote, “The mission of the festival is to create an affordable, world class educational and performance experience for the artists of tomorrow in a beautiful, nurturing environment. We strive to involve the community and provide excellent musical performances, free of charge, to area residents.”

In the free concert at 5 p.m. June 15, Mr. Haimovitz will perform the Boccherini Cello Concerto in C and “Max’s Moon,” a work for cello and orchestra written by his wife, Luna Pearl Wolff, and based on the Maurice Sendak children’s book “Where the Wild Things Are.” The students’ talents will be showcased in the performance that will include works by Golijov, Takemitsu and Mr. Askim.

The next day, the season officially launches with the opening benefit and reception, beginning at 3 p.m. It also features Mr. Haimowitz and the acclaimed pianist Geoffrey Burleson performing Music Mountain premieres that include Bach’s Suite No. 3 in C Major for Unaccompanied Cello, BWV 1009; Schubert’s Sonata in A Minor for Arpeggione & Piano, D 821; Carter’s Figment I and Figment II for Unaccompanied Cello (Remembering Mr. Ives); and Prokofieff’s Sonata for Cello & Piano in C Major, Opus 119.

When it comes to stars, Mr. Haimowitz and Mr. Burleson are joined by a long list of luminaries as the season rolls on through July, August and into early September. They include Van Cliburn Gold Medalist Haochen Zhang and Naumburg Award winner Soyeon Kate Lee, along with the Shanghai String Quartet, St. Petersburg String Quartet and other chamber music powerhouses.

There are 17 chamber music concerts in all in this 84th anniversary season that stretches over 12 weeks and also features a twilight series of jazz, big band and country music concerts, along with a unique evening devoted to Gilbert & Sullivan.

“2013 is going to be another great year,” Music Mountain’s board president Nicholas Gordon said in a release. “ … Our theme this year is ‘Seldom Played Works by Celebrated Composers’; an example of this is the Bartok Piano Quintet (July 14), which has never been performed before at Music Mountain and the Dohnanyi Piano Quintet # 2 in E Flat Major (Aug. 10), last played here in 1941.”

According to the release, quartets and assisting artists to appear this coming summer also, include the Hausmann String Quartet (June 23 with Jonathan Yates, piano, followed by a special violin and piano recital at 5:30 with violinist Tobias Steymans and pianist Victoria Schwartzman); St. Petersburg String Quartet (June 30 with Victoria Schwartzman, piano and Peter Askim, bass; July 7 with Ilya Yakushev, piano); Penderecki String Quartet (July 14 with Pamela Mia Paul, piano); Arianna String Quartet (July 21 with pianist Tanya Bannister); Dover String Quartet (July 28 with Alexander Fiterstein, clarinet; Aug. 18 with violist Roberto Diaz, president of The Curtis Institute); Amernet String Quartet (Aug. 3 with Alexander Platt, narrator performing “Peter and the Wolf” transcribed for String Quartet, and again on Aug. 4 with Ronald Leonard, cello); 2011 Concert Artist Guild-winner Amphion String Quartet (Music Mountain debut Aug. 10 with Naumburg Award-winner, Soyeon Kate Lee, Piano); Miro String Quartet (Aug. 11 with Melvin Chen, piano); Cassatt String Quartet (Aug. 25 with Ursula Oppens, piano); Shanghai String Quartet (Aug. 31; Sept. 1 with Van Cliburn Gold Medalist Haochen Zhang, piano); Bard Festival String Quartet (Sept. 8 with Xak Bjerken, piano).

After a two-year absence, Jive by Five, the local group whose members include pianist Scott Heth, head of the Sharon Audubon, and artist and drummer Robert Andrew Parker, comes back to Falls Village June 29.

The Saturday series, meanwhile, opens with the New York Gilbert & Sullivan Players performing “Pirates in One Act” on Saturday, June 22. The program notes explain that The Wand’ring Minstrels, the quintet of principal soloists, play multiple roles in telling the entire story, including the famous musical numbers from “Pirates of Penzance.” After an intermission, the Minstrels, in black tie, present a repertory concert of Gilbert & Sullivan, including their signature feat, which is fulfilling impromptu audience requests.

Once again, Music Mountain is hosting a special pre-concert 1880’s British dinner at the Falls Village Inn on Sunday, June 22. The intimate, themed dinner is limited to 70 people and will take place before the Gilbert & Sullivan concert.

Ticket prices for the chamber music concerts are $35 at the door, $30 in advance. The season opening concert and reception June 16 is $75 and includes a voucher for one regularly priced concert. Ticket prices for the Saturday Twilight Series are $30 in advance, $27 at the door.

The 1880s British pre-concert dinner on Saturday, June 22, is $60. Price includes dinner and concert. Children ages 5-18 are admitted free for all concerts when accompanied by a ticket-holder.

by: Douglas P. Clement

Read at: County Times

Concert times are 6:30pm on Saturdays and 3 p.m. on Sundays. For a complete summer schedule, special ticket prices and to download a ticket order form visit www.musicmountain.org or call 860-824-7126.

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