New York, NY: January 30, 2023 — The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center (CMS) announces its 2023-24 season, which celebrates the passing of the artistic torch and the theme of Legacy, with the final farewell concerts of two esteemed American string quartets, both with long histories at CMS. In October, the Emerson Quartet makes a final farewell appearance to mark the end of its illustrious run, and in April, longtime artists at CMS, the Orion Quartet, bring their partnership to an end on the CMS stage. The departure of these two major ensembles is counterbalanced by CMS’s Winter Festival, Quartet Panorama, in February and March, featuring four of today’s leading quartets who will carry the string quartet repertoire forward: the Calidore, Schumann, Cremona and Escher Quartets.
The 2023-24 season offers 51 concerts of chamber music composed by 89 composers across 350 years, from the 17th to the 21st centuries, performed by its international, intergenerational roster of world-renowned artists. Following four Summer Evenings concerts in July, the main 2023-24 season in New York begins on October 17, 2023 and runs through May 19, 2024, with performances in Alice Tully Hall and the Rose Studio at CMS. CMS continues to bring its artists to cities around the country and around the world, with more than 70 events on tour and as part of annual residencies. Among the New York City season’s other offerings are a variety of lectures, concerts for young listeners, and master classes. CMS also offers its Alice Tully Hall concerts for purchase on-demand (and free to ticket buyers) through its “digital encores” program and provides free, live-streamed concerts from the Rose Studio.
Speaking about this year’s theme, Legacy, CMS Artistic Director David Finckel said, “Musicians’ careers are finite, yet their work lives on well beyond their performances and recordings. They inspire and mentor artists still in their formative years, imparting a rich tradition while encouraging the development of individual artistry. This season, CMS celebrates the passing of the artistic torch not once, but twice, as two venerable string quartets – the Emerson and Orion – cede the world’s stages to the next generation. CMS could not be more honored to present this pair of historic performances, and to present in the same season four quartets enjoying the peak of their youthful powers, who embody the exciting future of quartet playing.”
This season, CMS continues to delve into the repertoire to present chamber music works from across the centuries that are completely new to CMS, as well as world premieres and music by living composers.
2023-24 SEASON HIGHLIGHTS
A SEASON OF QUARTETS
Emerson and Orion Quartets’ Farewell Performances
As one of the largest and most influential chamber music presenters in the world, CMS has always supported the core ensemble of the repertoire: the String Quartet, and this season, it serves as the final stop for two great American quartets. After 44 seasons, the incomparable Emerson Quartet says goodbye to its listeners from the CMS stage in October with two quartets by Beethoven; they are joined by the Emersons’ longtime cellist David Finckel for Schubert’s Quintet in C Major. “It is indeed an honor to participate in ‛my’ quartet’s final concert,” said Finckel. “I’m so happy I was invited! It will be quite a night.” The Orion Quartet, founded in 1987, and CMS artists since 1994 (having offered 95 performances over the years), has left an indelible mark on the organization and in the quartet world. They bid their final farewell from the CMS stage in April with some of the great quartets of Beethoven and Schubert.
Winter Festival: Quartet Panorama
The Winter Festival presents four spectacular ensembles whose artistry is lighting the way for the next generation of string quartets, three of which (Calidore, Schumann and Escher) are alumni of CMS’s Bowers Program, dedicated to developing the chamber music leaders of the future.
- Calidore String Quartet, Feb 27 — The Calidore String Quartet, founded in 2010 at the Colburn School in Los Angeles, has garnered recognition as one of the world’s foremost interpreters of the repertoire, winners of a 2018 Avery Fisher Career Grant, and the only American ensemble to win the prestigious Borletti-Buitoni Trust Fellowship. The Calidore offers a program stretching from Vienna to London, concluding with Britten’s powerful Second Quartet, composed as a commemoration of the death of Purcell.
- Schumann Quartett, Mar 3 — The internationally esteemed Schumann Quartet, three brothers who have been playing together since childhood, along with violist Veit Hertenstein, presents a highly charged program of emotional extremes—from Beethoven’s shortest, most frenetic quartet to Berg’s riveting precursor to his “Lyric Suite” and Smetana’s openly autobiographical “From My Life.”
- Quartetto di Cremona, Mar 8 — Winner of the 2019 Franco Buitoni Award, Quartetto di Cremona, established in 2000 at the Accademia Walter Stauffer in Cremona, Italy, is a preeminent quartet of its generation. Following a memorable CMS debut in the 2021–22 season, the quartet returns, offering a program of impressive breadth and depth, with a quartet by Golijov and two landmark works by Shostakovich and Schubert.
- Escher String Quartet, Mar 10 – Founded in 2005, the Escher Quartet, a former BBC New Generation Artist and recipient of the Avery Fisher Career Grant performs Bartók’s six quartets, heard in chronological order. Like the Beethoven cycle, these works constitute a journey through the composer’s creative and personal life, even more evident when heard in a single evening.
OPENING NIGHT: CELEBRATING STRINGS
In the tradition of the great conductorless chamber ensembles, CMS’s incomparable virtuosi come together for an evening of lush and bracing works for large ensembles by Elgar, Bartók, Grieg and Walker, concluding with Britten’s inimitable Simple Symphony.
PREMIERES & CMS COMMISSIONS
CMS is proud to present new commissions and premieres by contemporary composers throughout the season.
- Todd Cochran Soulbird for Clarinet, Cello, and Piano (2021) (World Premiere) Jake Heggie New Work for String Quartet (New York Premiere)
- Libby Larsen Trio Noir for Clarinet, Cello, and Piano (2022) (World Premiere)
- David Serkin Ludwig, winner of CMS’s 2020 Elise L. Stoeger Prize, New Work for Piano, Violin, and Cello (2024) (CMS Co-Commission, New York Premiere)
- Jessie Montgomery New Work for Violin and Piano (2024) (CMS Commission, World Premiere)
- Wang Jie New Work for Voice, Flute, Violin, Clarinet, Cello, and Piano (2023) (CMS CoCommission, New York Premiere)
SONIC SPECTRUM (PREVIOUSLY NEW MILESTONES)
CMS’s series devoted to the work of living composers presents four concerts featuring work by 18 composers from diverse backgrounds and cultures on Thursday evenings November 9, January 18, March 28 and May 2.
Composers featured in this season’s Sonic Spectrum include Eleanor Alberga, Lera Auerbach, Todd Cochran, Reena Esmail, Dai Fujikura, Saad Haddad, Jake Heggie, Felipe Lara, Libby Larsen, David Serkin Ludwig, Jessie Montgomery, Chris Rogerson, Kaija Saariaho, Kurt Schwertsik, Johannes Maria Staud, Viet Cuong, Wang Jie and Jörg Widmann.
BAROQUE FESTIVAL AT CMS IN DECEMBER
On December 1 and 3, veteran harpsichordist and CMS Artist Kenneth Weiss offers a curated collection of baroque chamber works, all discoveries from the eternal wellspring of Baroque repertoire, most of which are being performed at CMS for the first time. Seven leading composers of the era—Telemann, C.P.E. Bach, Buxtehude, Couperin, Rameau and the rarely heard Rebel— display the invention and virtuosity characteristic of the Baroque era.
On December 10, CMS’s annual Bach program offers audiences a special opportunity to hear the composer’s crowning work, The Art of the Fugue, for string quartet and wind quintet, arranged by American flutist, conductor and pedagogue Samuel Baron (1925-1997), who is renowned for his transcriptions of Bach’s music.
And on December 15, 17, and 19, CMS welcomes the holiday season with the 30th annual presentation of Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos, this year performed in numerical order (for the first time at CMS since 2005).
A SOLDIER’S TALE – An Evening of Stories and Tales
This is a program of chamber music that tells stories, anchored by Stravinsky’s “L’Histoire du Soldat” (the Soldier’s Tale), a full-blown musical play in which a violin-playing soldier sells his soul to the Devil. Also on the program are Telemann’s 1729 “Gulliver’s Travel Suite” for two violins, which depict the fantastical characters of Swift’s story (often employing eccentric time signatures to unusual effect); Ravel’s “Chansons madecasses” (Madagascar Songs), a setting of three poems by the 18th-century French poet Évariste de Parny; and Respighi’s “Il Tramonto” (the Sunset).
An Evening with David Finckel and Wu Han (Jan 28)
CMS’s Artistic Directors David Finckel and Wu Han perform a program full of high contrasts, from classics of the cello literature to Bruce Adolphe’s Couple, a work composed for them, and music by Debussy and Shostakovich. Violinist Richard Lin and violist Timothy Ridout, current members of the Bowers Program, join them for the finale, Dvořák’s Quartet for Piano, Violin, Viola and Cello.
An Evening with PianistComposer Michael Stephen Brown (Mar 19)
In his first solo recital at Lincoln Center, the pianist and composer Michael Stephen Brown, an alumnus of the Bowers Program, delves into the piano repertoire, all new to the CMS stage. He begins with Haydn and several musical tributes to the great composer by Debussy, Ravel and Brown’s own Etude-Fantasy on the name of Haydn. The program includes Brown’s Breakup Etude for Right Hand Alone and Scriabin’s Nocturne for Piano Left Hand, as well as music by Delphine von Schauroth, Mendelssohn and Adolf Schulz-Evier’s Arabesques on Johann Strauss’s “On the Beautiful Blue Danube.”
George Crumb & Tan Dun (May 7)
CMS presents an all-star line-up for an evening of music from two towering figures of innovation and experimentation in contemporary composition, with works that contain sound worlds that redefine the parameters of chamber music with shocking intensity. The first half of the concert is devoted to selections from George Crumb’s haunting The Winds of Destiny: American Songbook IV for Singer, Percussion Quartet and Amplified Piano, which is subtitled "Songs of Strife, Love, Mystery, and Exultation: a Cycle of American Civil War Songs, Folk Songs and Spirituals." Crumb’s song cycle features longtime Crumb colleague Gilbert Kalish on piano, the incomparable soprano Dawn Upshaw, and Sandbox Percussion. This work is paired with Tan Dun’s visceral remembrance of the Tiananmen Square conflict, Elegy: Snow in June for cello and percussion quartet. The voice of the cello, performed by one of today’s most sought-after cellists, Alisa Weilerstein, opposes and joins the percussionists, who create sounds including the sound of tearing paper and the roughness of stones and cans.
Rachmaninov: The Composer and Pianist (Oct 29 and Nov 4)
A supreme virtuoso pianist and composer, Sergei Rachmaninov had his first success at age 19. Writing beautiful melodies, he emerged as one of the last great Romantic composers; he was also widely considered one of the finest pianists of his day. In the first of two concerts, CMS pairs Rachmaninov’s singular voice as a composer with compositions by his contemporaries. The second program focuses on groundbreaking piano works by Mozart and Tchaikovsky and music by Debussy and Bolcom that were influenced by Rachmaninov.
Saint-Saëns and Fauré (Feb 25)
Friends and colleagues across generations, the pair of composers on this program advanced the cause and rich aesthetic of French music, laying the groundwork for the age of Impressionism with irresistible, colorful soundscapes. Boasting the expert skills of French-trained composers of their era, Fauré and Saint-Saëns excelled in every genre they touched, as illustrated by this program’s variety of vocal and instrumental timbres.
Schumann Fantasies (Apr 12)
Robert Schumann’s works were composed for a wide variety of instruments and ensembles. The first half of the program explores some of Schumann’s more fanciful works for strings, horn, and clarinet; the second half is devoted to one of the composer’s classic piano trios. The ensemble includes David Shifrin on clarinet and the CMS debut of Nathan Silberschlag, principal horn of The Cleveland Orchestra.
Season Finale: Totally Mozart (May 18-19)
In its season finale, CMS offers an immersion in the timeless genius of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. The program includes well-loved masterpieces as well as works not often performed, like the Quartet in F major for oboe, violin, viola and cello; one of his earliest Church Sonatas for two violins, portative organ, and cello; and Grand Sestetto Concertante for String Sextet.
ART OF THE RECITAL (ROSE STUDIO AT CMS)
CMS’s intimate concerts of music crafted by the artists. Violinist Chad Hoopes and pianist AnneMarie McDermott perform sonatas for Viola and Piano by Mozart, Fauré, and Beethoven (Oct 19). Violist Timothy Ridout, a current member of CMS’s Bowers Program, is joined by jazz and classical pianist Frank Dupree, making his CMS debut, for an evening of music by Forsyth, Fauré, Clarke, Kreisler, Bowen, and Coates (Feb 1). Violinist Pamela Frank is joined by pianist Stephen Prutsman for a concert of Bach’s six Sonatas for violin and piano (Apr 25).
ROSE STUDIO SERIES (6:30 and 9 pm)
Intimate concerts in the Rose Studio at CMS explore both classics of the chamber music repertoire as well as worthy discoveries not often heard on the stage. The 6:30 PM performance offers traditional seating, and the 9:00 PM performance offers cabaret-style seating with a complimentary glass of wine and snacks and is hosted by one of the artists performing that evening.
- ● Oct 26: Music by Mozart, Britten, Ibert and Jolivet, with Stella Chen, violin; Matthew Lipman, viola, Nicholas Canellakis, cello, Ransom Wilson, flute, and Bridget Kibbey, harp
- Nov 16: Mozart’s Trio in G major for Piano, Violin and Cello, K. 564 and Elgar’s Quintet in A minor for Piano, Two Violins, Viola, and Cello, Op. 84, with Gilbert Kalish, piano; Ani Kavafian and Kristin Lee, violin; Paul Neubauer, viola; and Timothy Eddy, cello.
- Jan 25: Elgar’s Sonata in E minor for Violin and Piano, and Vaughan Williams’ Quintet in C minor for Piano, with Shai Wosner, piano; Arnaud Sussmann, violin; Paul Neubauer, viola; Nicholas Canellakis, cello; and Blake Hinson, double bass.
- Feb 29: Music by Françaix, Bonis, Poulenc, and Spohr with Gilles Vonsattel, piano; Tara Helen O’Connor, flute; David Shifrin, clarinet; Marc Goldberg, bassoon; and Radovan Vlatković, horn.
- Apr 18: Music by Glière, Poulenc and Chaminade with Anne-Marie McDermott, piano; Paul Huang, violin; and Brook Speltz, cello.
UNUSUAL COMBINATIONS, THEMATIC CONCERTS, AND RARELY-HEARD REPERTOIRE
- Landmark Trios (Nov 14) The majestic B-major trio of Brahms, created in his youth, is a milestone of the genre and revered by performers and listeners alike. Fanny Mendelssohn’s piano trio, completed shortly before her death, builds up through stormy waves to a marvelous finale. These two works are bridged by Clara Schumann’s sole piano trio.
- Quintet Odyssey (Nov 19): An evening of quintets that reveals the potential of five players, with music by Dvořák, Farrenc, Corigliano, and Beethoven. The ensemble includes Gilles Vonsattel, piano, and David Shifrin, clarinet.
- Sacred and Profane (Feb 10): Works by trailblazers Debussy and Ravel follow an elegant duo by the founder of the Baroque French violin school, Jean-Marie Leclair, and Olivier Messiaen’s The Blackbird, an extravagant example of the composer’s fascination with bird calls. Also on the program is a 1928 Suite by Marcel Tournier, the harpist and composer’s only chamber music work for harp.
- Extraordinary Imaginations (Feb 24) Over time, composers emerge whose music begins to resonate more widely, eventually entering the standard repertoire and changing the profile of chamber music. In the works of Samuel Coleridge-Taylor and Reynaldo Hahn, we hear genius at work; Eugène Ysaÿe, who initially gained fame as a virtuoso violinist, is now regarded as a pioneering composer; and the Swiss-American Ernest Bloch’s Quintet is a chamber music masterpiece, rapidly gaining recognition.
- Instrumental Array (Mar 12): CMS mines the chamber music repertoire for an evening of unusual instrument combinations unlikely to be seen elsewhere, with music by Beethoven (horn and piano), Rossini (cello and bass), Britten (oboe and piano), Duruflé (flute, viola, and piano), and Hummel (flute, oboe, horn, viola, cello, bass, and piano).
- String Resonance (Apr 21): The deeply human voices of violins, violas, and cellos have inspired much of the greatest music ever composed. Spanning the 18th to 20th centuries, this program begins with Beethoven’s earliest all-string work, Françaix’s effervescent trio, Bridge’s Lament for two violas and concludes with Mendelssohn’s Quintet No. 2.
SUMMER EVENINGS, July 2023
Before the fall season begins, CMS returns to Alice Tully Hall this July to present its eighth season of Summer Evenings on July 9, 11, 16 and 18, with all tickets just $20. In response to sold-out concerts last summer, the series expands to four concerts this season, featuring artists from the acclaimed CMS roster in programs of chamber music masterworks. CMS is once again offering 100 free tickets per performance to the public via lottery; the remaining tickets are just $20. Details of the lottery will be available later this spring. Following each performance, the entire audience is invited to a free wine reception with the artists in the lobby.
INSIDE CHAMBER MUSIC
Distinguished composer and radio personality Bruce Adolphe provides insights into masterworks performed during the season. Each lecture includes live performance excerpts from the featured work and a full performance of one movement at the end. The 2023-24 season includes profound late works of Beethoven, Schubert, and Smetana; two homages — Rachmaninov’s to Tchaikovsky and Britten’s to Purcell; and two pieces that require virtuosic soloists— Mozart’s quartet for oboe and strings and Louise Farrenc’s Piano Quintet in A Minor, for which the composer was the soloist.
CHILDREN’S AND FAMILY CONCERT SERIES
The world’s greatest and only private ear, the wacky Inspector Pulse (aka composer and radio personality Bruce Adolphe) is back on the job, investigating musical mysteries in Meet the Music! Using only a nine-foot-long grand piano and a 5-inch cell phone, the Inspector helps musicians solve problems they never knew they had! He can crack any case, even one of those really hard cello cases! Children can visit the instrument “petting zoo” before each concert to see and touch the instruments up-close. Sundays, November 12, January 21, and April 14 at 2:00 pm in Alice Tully Hall, for ages 6 & up.
CMS Kids offers relaxed performances in the Rose Studio at CMS, curated for ages 3-6. Featuring host Rami Vamos and CMS Artists, each CMS Kids program is an inclusive concert experience adapted for neurodiverse audiences, including children with autism or other special needs. These performances are presented in a judgment-free environment, and are less formal and more supportive of sensory, communication, movement, and learning needs. This season, we explore the theme of overcoming obstacles through the music of Niccolò Paganini. Sundays, October 15, March 24, and April 28 at 11:00 am, 1:00 pm and 3:00 pm.
All programs and artists are subject to change.
All concerts presented by CMS will adhere to strict safety guidelines that are informed by NY State, CDC, and other public health recommendations applicable at the time of the concerts.