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CMS returns to SPAC this Summer

February 25, 2022

Saratoga Performing Arts Center and CMS are thrilled to continue their annual partnership this summer with a return to Pitney Meadows Community Farm, kicking off on Sunday, June 12 for a series of 6 programs and 12 concerts. This summer's lineup features a diverse collection of artists and performances spanning the repertoire and expanding our enjoyment of music meant for community and connection. The performances will be held in Pitney Meadows Community Farm's beautiful open-air High Tunnel greenhouse. Here is a look at what is to come this summer:

Quintessential Quintets

Sunday, June 12, 3:00 and 7:00 PM

Ani Kavafian, Violin; Ida Kavafian, Violin; Paul Neubauer, Viola; Steven Tenenbom, Viola; David Finckel, Cello

This year's SPAC programming opens with two works essential to the chamber music repertoire: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's Quintet in G minor for Two Violins, Two Violas, and Cello, K. 516 (1787) and Antonin Dvořák's "American" Quintet in E-flat major for Two Violins, Two Violas, and Cello, Op. 97 (1893). The viola quintet (a string quartet with an added viola) was virtually invented by Mozart, who composed six of them, and this program opens with one of his greatest, the dark-hued K. 516.

Picking up on Mozart’s ingenious model were composers from Mendelssohn to Brahms and Dvořák, and the concert closes with Dvořák’s radiant “American” quintet, composed in the sunny fields of Iowa. There, the composer vacationed not only among his Czech compatriots in the village of Spillville but also absorbed the music of traveling Native American performers, incorporating elements of their music into his own works.

From the Harlem Renaissance to Today

Sunday, June 19, 3:00 and 7:00PM

Msimelelo Mbali, Bass–Baritone; Alexander Soloway, Piano; Wu Qian, Piano; Stella Chen, Violin; Guillermo Figueroa, Violin; Arnaud Sussmann, Viola; Nicholas Canellakis, Cello

Celebrating music that is distinctly American and uniquely adept at expressing its relevance today, this concert will feature William Grant Still's Suite for Violin and Piano (1943), Jessie Montgomery's Duo for Violin and Cello (2015), Florence Price's Quintet in A minor for Piano, Two Violins, Viola, and Cello, as well as additional vocal works to be announced showcasing the virtuosity of this afternoon's exceptional bass-baritone, Msimelelo Mbali.

William Grant Still’s suite is a reflection on three Harlem Renaissance sculptures that together give a nuanced view of African American life in the 1930s. Montgomery’s duo, meanwhile, is a modern-day depiction of the unbreakable bonds of friendship. To finish the program, Price takes a long view of history, with a classical exploration of traditional music drawing on hymns, spirituals, and dances. A nod to the African American vocal tradition completes this program of Black music past and present.

The Magic of Mixed Ensembles

Sunday, July 10, 3:00 and 7:00 PM

Michael Stephen Brown, Piano; Chad Hoopes, Violin; Tien-Hsin Cindy Wu, Viola; Keith Robinson, Cello; Tommaso Lonquich, Clarinet; Kevin Rivard, Horn

Chamber music comes in many forms, shapes and sizes, an aspect of the art form that draws listeners and sustains their passion over lifetimes. This evening's music showcases this adaptability with Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's Quartet in G minor for Piano, Violin, Viola, and Cello, K. 478 (1785) Paul Schoenfield's Trio for Clarinet, Violin, and Piano (1986), and Ernö Dohnányi's Sextet in C major for Clarinet, Horn, Violin, Viola, Cello, and Piano, Op. 37 (1935).

This unique concert offers a rich slice of those possibilities, where one can hear everything from the classic combination of strings and piano to violin and clarinet in Klezmer-style dialogue. For further variety, the French horn injects the timbre of the brass family, completing a sonic landscape of vivid textures and joyful surprises.

Astounding Winds

Sunday, July 17, 3:00 and 7:00 PM

Juho Pohjonen, Piano; Tara Helen O’Connor, Flute; Hugo Souza, Oboe; Sebastian Manz, Clarinet; Marc Goldberg, Bassoon; David Byrd-Marrow, Horn

A tour-de-force program for five wind players plus pianist reveals the seldom-heard depth of the wind chamber music repertoire featuring Anton Reicha's Quintet in E minor for Flute, Oboe, Clarinet, Bassoon, and Horn, Op. 88, No. 1 (1811-17), Ludwig van Beethoven's Quintet in E-flat major for Oboe, Clarinet, Bassoon, Horn, and Piano, Op. 16 (1796), Jean Françaix's L’heure du berger for Flute, Oboe, Clarinet, Bassoon, Horn, and Piano (1947), and Francis Poulenc's Sextet for Flute, Oboe, Clarinet, Bassoon, Horn, and Piano (1932-39).

Performing with the ensemble accuracy of a polished string quartet, these wind players display astounding chamber music skills, not the least of which is the coordinated breathing that combines delightfully disparate colors with razor-sharp precision. The wide selection of composers and styles further enhances this concert’s already unique appeal.

The Escher Quartet

Sunday, August 14, 3:00 and 7:00PM

Escher String Quartet (Adam Barnett-Hart, Violin; Brendan Speltz, Violin; Pierre Lapointe, Viola; Brook Speltz, Cello))

In a much-anticipated return to SPAC, the Escher presents a varied program of string quartets spanning three centuries including Franz Joseph Haydn's Quartet in B-flat major for Strings, Hob. III:78, Op. 76, No. 4, “Sunrise” (1797), George Walker's Quartet No. 1 for Strings, “Lyric” (1946), Anton Webern's Langsamer Satz for String Quartet (1905), Antonin Dvořák's Quartet in E-flat major for Strings, Op. 51 (1878-79).

Beginning with the famous “Sunrise” quartet by the “father of the string quartet,” Joseph Haydn, the group explores the dynamic and expressive range of this distinguished art form with a powerful 20th century work, George Walker’s first string quartet, the emotionally charged Langsamer Satz by Anton Webern, and the Bohemian folk spirit of Dvořák’s Op. 51 quartet.

Beethoven’s Archduke

Sunday, August 21, 3:00 and 7:00 PM

Wu Han, Piano; Arnaud Sussmann, Violin; David Finckel, Cello

Beethoven’s final piano trio, the “Archduke,” is one of his most masterful creations; an exploration of textures, moods, and inventions that leaves a listener in awe of the genius of its creator. Starting with his deeply felt piano trio in C minor, this program aims to end the summer on an intense yet immensely exciting note. This final evening of music will feature Ludwig van Beethoven's Trio in C minor for Piano, Violin, and Cello, Op. 1, No. 3 (1794-95) as well as his Trio in B-flat major for Piano, Violin, and Cello, Op. 97, “Archduke” (1810-11).

David Finckel, Benjamin Beilman, and Wu Han take a bow after a performance at the Pitney Meadows Community Farm in 2021.