Region Hosting Variety of Classical Musical Offerings
It's here: the summer concert season is upon us. With programs across the region, concertgoers will have a wide range of classical music to enjoy in venues large and small: from solo piano and orchestral to opera and musical theater in concert; from chamber music to a thrilling Bach Brandenburg Concerto.
This week I'll showcase three presenters that offer the best in chamber music, symphonic music, opera and musical theater.
I recently had the opportunity to speak with Ariel Rudiakov and Joana Genova-Rudiakov, co-founders and co-artistic directors of Taconic Music, the stimulating and innovative Manchester, Vt.-based music presenter, about their new concert series, which, with their next three events, will conclude their first season. I was interested, as I think you will be, to learn about their musical mission and objectives. As outstanding instrumentalists and teachers in our region and beyond, I wanted to learn of their goals for presenting concerts, and also mentoring young performers. I think you'll be inspired and intrigued by their response to my questions:
Classical Beat: How is Taconic Music different from other summer chamber music festivals?
Taconic Music: Taconic Music has a summer component, which resembles other fine series and chamber music programs, but was not conceived solely for this purpose. TM's reason for being is to provide year-round programming with equal emphasis on performing and education, and to make it all widely accessible. This is why we did not put the word "Festival" in our name. We produce concerts, school residencies, and programs for children, teach private lessons, and present ensembles from other organizations, such as Kinhaven Music School.
On its own terms, however, we can say that our four-week long summer festival and attendant Chamber Music Intensive has an intimate feel, with only nine college-age students participating and four to five faculty members present each week. In addition to an intense coaching and rehearsal schedule, students, faculty and guest musicians also spend time together over meals, hikes, a fire pit and other social settings. Besides their own concerts, the students have other professional opportunities, performing at libraries, assisted living homes, churches, synagogues and even weddings, because in the end they will be trying to make a living at this and we want to help. We don't know how this differs from other organizations or if it necessarily does, but it works extremely well for us. One might say that TM is more of a way of doing things, rather than putting full emphasis solely on performance in a short period of time.
CB: You perform a broad range of music in many styles - classical, some popular, some jazz. How did you come to decide to do that?
TM: We said in a short preamble in our first program booklet: "We have a mountain (Mount Equinox) virtually in our backyard with many trails, which we see as varied points of access in music and life." Joana and I have long felt that the musical world should be as open to as many people as possible. We are, for lack of a better term, classically trained musicians and our heart remains in that oeuvre, but we established at the outset that other styles of music are welcome and will be part of Taconic Music's offerings. Besides, we love rock, jazz and other music rooted in folk styles because we grew up with it. Duke Ellington had it right: "If it sounds good, it is good."
CB: Looking forward to future performances and to next year's musical events, what would you like audiences to know to get involved, and to attend your concerts and other programs (master classes, et al)?
TM: As we come to the end of our first summer season, we would specifically like for people to know that we have a major benefit concert coming up on Sept. 2 devoted to the music of Petula Clark. In general terms, we have next summer's dates set and hope people will also access our work throughout the fall and winter months. Our website allows for people to be added to our email list, and we send out regular bulletins on our activities. Donors and volunteers are always welcome! Taconic Music offers a wide musical embrace, and we are deeply grateful to have come so far so fast.
Taconic's Upcoming Programs
Taconic Music concerts concludes this week with two events, but with a third special offering on the horizon:
• Saturday, July 15, 4 p.m., NextGen concert: Chamber Music Intensive. Sibelius: String Quartet in D minor, Op. 56;Shostakovich: String Quartet No. 10 in A flat major, Op.118: Mozart: String Quartet No. 21 in D major, K. 575; Brahms: Piano Quintet in F minor, Op. 34. Performers include violinists Joohyun Lee, Jingting Liu, Heather Munch and Cami Sylvia, Zoe Loversky and Gavon Peck: violist Yeil Park; cellist Mark Serkin and pianist Dan Sato.
• Sunday, July 16, 4 p.m. NextGen Masterclass: Concert IV: Bach: Brandenburg Concerto No. 3 in G Major, BWV 1048; Dvořák: String Quintet No. 3 in E-flat Major, Op. 97; Mendelssohn: Piano Sextet in D Major, Op. 110. Performers include: Heather Braun-Bakken and Joana Genova, violins; Amadi Azikiwe & Ariel Rudiakov, violas; Sophie Shao, cello. SPECIAL GUESTS: Steven Moran, double bass and Keiko Sekino, piano. This concert will feature outstanding student musicians from Taconic Music's "Chamber Music Intensive" program.
Both performances will be at the Riley Center for the Arts at Burr and Burton Academy, 57 Seminary Ave., Manchester Vt. Adults are $25 and students and children are $10.
• Saturday, Sept. 2, 7:30 p.m., Special Benefit Concert, "What Would Petula Do?": Taconic Music hosts a special benefit concert featuring international concert and recording artist Maxine Linehan, reprising her critically acclaimed tribute to Petula Clark, with conductor Ryan Shirar directing a 12-piece orchestra. Linehan made her Paris debut at Théâtre du Châtelet with this program. As a concert performer, she has enraptured crowds in venues large and small, from New York's Lincoln Center and The Town Hall, to Feinstein's/54 Below and Birdland, in cities across America. Her ability to emotionally engage throughout a stunning vocal performance is unparalleled. Tickets are $40, with limited VIP tickets $100.
This special concert will be presented the stunning Arkell Pavilion, located on the campus of the Southern Vermont Arts Center, 930 SVAC Drive, West Road, Manchester, Vt. For complete information and programming, visit Taconic Music's website or call 802-362-7162.
• Thursday, July 13, 8 p.m. in Ozawa Hall: Violinist Jennifer Koh, Musical America's 2016 Artist of the Year, joins the phenomenal Brooklyn-based chamber orchestra The Knights, led by conductor Eric Jacobsen. The ensemble performs Purcell's "Fantasia upon One Note"; John Adams' "Common Tones in Simple Time"; "Trouble," a new work for violin and chamber orchestra by Grammy-nominated multi-genre composer-pianist Vijay Iyer (co-commissioned by the BSO) and Mozart's Symphony No. 40, his penultimate work in the genre and one of his many towering masterpieces.
• Friday, July 14, 8 p.m. in the Shed: Maestro Nelsons leads the BSO in performances of two works written as an homage to the French Baroque composer François Couperin, composed nearly 90 years apart: Ravel's "Le Tombeau de Couperin," and BSO Artist-Partner Thomas Adès's "Three Studies from Couperin." Also on the program are Haydn's Symphony No. 83, La Poule ("The Hen") and Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 21 in C, K. 467, featuring the fabulous Russian pianist Daniil Trifonov.
• Saturday, July 15, 8 p.m. in the Shed: BSO Music Director Andris Nelsons directs the BSO and guest vocal soloists in one of the great highlights of the 2017 Tanglewood season: the festival's first-ever complete concert performance of Richard Wagner's "Das Rheingold," the first of his four epic/heroic "Der Ring des Nibelungen" music dramas. The performance features a cast of all-star opera singers, including bass-baritone Thomas J. Mayer as Wotan (in his BSO and Tanglewood debuts); mezzo-soprano Sarah Connolly as Fricka; tenor Kim Begley as Loge (BSO and Tanglewood debuts); and baritone Jochen Schmeckenbecher (BSO and Tanglewood debuts) as Alberich, along with other celebrated singers known for their mastery performing Wagner's music. The performance of "Das Rheingold" — sung in German with English subtitles — will be performed without an intermission.
• Sunday, July 16, 2:30 p.m. in the Shed: Maestro Andris Nelsons and the BSO are joined by the outstanding German violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter for the world premiere of Boston Pops Conductor Laureate John Williams' "Markings," for solo violin, strings, and harp. Ms. Mutter also joins the orchestra for Tchaikovsky's melodious and dynamic Violin Concerto. Completing the program is Berlioz's dazzling "Symphonie fantastique," a five-part autobiographical program symphony depicting the protagonist/composer's hopeless pursuit of a woman, his opium-induced nightmare about the murder of his beloved and his own execution, and his posthumous presence at a sorcerer's witches' Sabbath.
• Monday, July 17, 8 p.m. in Ozawa Hall: The Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra (TMCO), led by maestro Stefan Asbury and TMC Conducting Fellows presents a program of Brahms (Tragic Overture), Berg (Seven Early Songs) and Elgar (Symphony No. 1).
For tickets, call 888 266-1200, or go to the website. Music lovers can follow Tanglewood via its new social media accounts on Facebook, on Twitter @TanglewoodMA, and on Instagram @TanglewoodMusicFestival. The Boston Symphony is on Facebook, on Twitter @bostonsymphony, and on Instagram @bostonsymphony. The Boston Pops is on Facebook, on Twitter@thebostonpops, and on Instagram @thebostonpops.
The Glimmerglass Festival
Located in historic Cooperstown, N.Y. - about two hours from the Berkshires - the Glimmerglass Festival of opera and musical theater celebrates its 42nd anniversary of innovative productions this season, which runs July 7-Aug. 22. The excursion to Cooperstown, perhaps combined with a visit to the Baseball Hall of Fame and a stroll in the ancient country church graveyard to contemplate the resting place of James Fenimore Cooper, along with Glimmerglass, makes for a perfect day's outing.
Additionally, Glimmerglass' beautiful scenic lakeside grounds beckon you to stroll, picnic and relax in an environment that's dedicated to music and the arts. The unspoiled beauty of Central New York's rural landscape provides what The Sunday Times of London has called "the most magical of settings."
This summer on the Mainstage, the Glimmerglass Festival will present four new fully staged productions: three operas and one work of American musical theater – all are performed with orchestra, large cast and un-amplified sound. These are supplemented by special performances, concerts, lectures and symposiums throughout the season.
The productions include: the Gershwins'/Heyward "Porgy and Bess," Rodgers and Hammerstein's "Oklahoma," G.F. Handel's "Xerxes," and Gaetano Donizetti's "The Siege of Calais."
The productions are staged in the magnificent Alice Busch Opera Theater. The theater's casual elegance, beautiful surroundings and excellent acoustics provide an intimate, one-of-a-kind operatic encounter. All of the theater's 914 seats are less than 70 feet from the stage, and every production utilizes supertitles in English projected above the stage, which is a welcome aid to the audience in understanding the sung text.
Glimmerglass tickets for single or group performances or by subscription can be purchased at the box office at the Theatre or at 18 Chestnut Street in center Cooperstown. For telephone orders, call the box office at 607-547-2255. For more information, visit the website.
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