March 18, 2019
Music Mountain Celebrates 90 Years

The venerable, Connecticut-based Music Mountain concert series has announced its full 2019 summer season comprising two distinct series.  Marking 90 continuous years of presenting outstanding artists and beloved repertoire to East Coast concertgoers, Music Mountain is now the oldest running chamber music series in the nation, which now features the Chamber Music Concerts series and Twilight Series.  

Founded by Jacques Gordon in 1930 and directed by his son, Nicholas, for 45 years until his passing in 2017, Music Mountain is housed in the idyllic Falls Village community in Northern Connecticut, where the 355-seat Gordon Hall remains at the heart of the campus.  Called “an acoustical marvel” by Nick Gordon, Gordon Hall’s unique construction, made to mimic the curvature of the belly of a violin, has long been the pinnacle of Music Mountain’s stunning natural aesthetic.  “It’s an extraordinary place to hear a concert. It is both spiritual and beautiful,” said Mr. Gordon Jr.

 
“Music Mountain is thrilled to welcome our constantly growing and diversifying audience to the scenic backdrop of this truly beloved series,” says Oskar Espina-Ruiz, Music Mountain’s Artistic Director.  “This year, with our 90th Anniversary celebrations and the spectacular caliber of artists we are presenting, I am confident that we will continue to see this cultural institution, now very much a national treasure, blossom to new heights.”

Opening on June 9 with a special benefit concert and reception to celebrate this milestone year, globally-renowned pianist Peter Serkin joins violinist Alexi Kenney, cellist Fred Sherry, and clarinetist Kristyna Petišková in the Music Mountain debut of Schönberg’s Verklärte Nacht (Transfigured Night), arranged by Eduard Steuermann, as well as Brahms’s A Minor Clarinet Trio and Beethoven’s “Ghost” piano trio. Additional season highlights include performances from the EscherArielHarlemEmersonSt. PetersburgDaedalusDover, and Juilliard String Quartets, as well as the 30th anniversary return of the Shanghai Quartet.  Acclaimed soloists include clarinetist Oskar Espina-Ruiz, pianists Victoria SchwartzmanStewart Goodyear and Tanya Bannister, cellist Paul Katz, and many of the finest chamber musicians of our day.

On June 15, the Twilight Series, which reflects the diversity and versatility of artistic programming at Music Mountain, opens with a vibrant performance of the Gabriel Alegria Afro-Peruvian Sextet, with additional highlights including the New York Gilbert & Sullivan Players, the New Black EagleWolverine, and Galvanized Jazz Bands, cabaret masters Barbara Fasano and Eric Comstock, and many others.

Click for video of the Shanghai Quartet performing Zhou Long’s Song of Ch’in at Music Mountain in 2016:

SUNDAY, JUNE 9, 3 PM
90TH SEASON OPENING BENEFIT CONCERT & RECEPTION

Peter Serkin, Piano
Alexi Kenney, Violin
Fred Sherry, Cello
Kristyna Petišková, Clarinet
Schönberg: Transfigured Night Op. 4 (arr. Steuermann)*
Brahms: Clarinet Trio in A Minor, Op. 114
Beethoven: Piano Trio in D Major, Op. 70 #1 “Ghost”

SATURDAY, JUNE 15, 5 PM
Gabriel Alegria Afro-Peruvian Sextet
This “dynamic ensemble explores the affinities between modern jazz and the
Afro-Latin continuum in Perú” -The New York Times

SUNDAY, JUNE 16, 3 PM
Escher Quartet
Soyeon Kate Lee, Piano
Schubert: Quartettsatz in C Minor, D. 703
Beethoven: String Quartet in F Major, Op. 135
Dvořák: Piano Quintet in A Major, Op. 81

SATURDAY, JUNE 22, 5 PM
New York Gilbert & Sullivan Players
“Well paced and extremely entertaining” -Talk Entertainment
Underwritten by an Anonymous Donor

SUNDAY, JUNE 23, 3 PM
Cuarteto Latinoamericano
Sally Pinkas, Piano
Villa-Lobos: String Quartet #5*
Philip Glass: String Quartet #5*
Amir Bitran: Piano Quintet “Kol Haneshama (Psalm 150)”*
Schumann: Piano Quintet in E Flat Major, Op. 44

SATURDAY, JUNE 29, 5 PM
Steve Ross: The Songs of Stephen Sondheim, Cole Porter, Fred Astaire and
Irving Berlin

“Astaire style with wry aside striking comic” -The New York Times

SUNDAY, JUNE 30, 3 PM
Arianna Quartet
Richard Young, Viola
Wolf: Italian Serenade
Schubert: String Quartet in D Minor, D. 810 “Death and the Maiden”
Mendelssohn: Viola Quintet in B Flat Major, Op. 87

SATURDAY, JULY 6, 5PM
Jive by Five
The sizzling dance music of the jazz age: from the Charleston to the Two-Step and the Fox Trot.

SUNDAY, JULY 7, 3 PM
American String Quartet
Oskar Espina-Ruiz, Clarinet
Shostakovich: String Quartet #7 in F Sharp Minor, Op. 108
Brahms: Clarinet Quintet in B Minor, Op. 115
Beethoven: String Quartet in C Major, Op. 59 #3

SATURDAY, JULY 13, 5 PM
Peter & Will Anderson Quartet:
The Magic of Benny Goodman

“These guys flood the room with joy” -Seattle Times

SUNDAY, JULY 14, 3 PM
Penderecki String Quartet
Stewart Goodyear, Piano
Haydn: String Quartet in D Major, Op. 76 #5
Mendelssohn: String Quartet in E Flat Major, Op. 12
Brahms: Piano Quintet in F Minor, Op. 34

SATURDAY, JULY 20, 5 PM
New Black Eagle Jazz Band
The very best in New Orleans Jazz, Gospel and Blues.

SUNDAY, JULY 21, 3 PM*
Ariel Quartet
Victoria Schwartzman, Piano
Haydn: String Quartet in D Major, Op. 71 #2*
Shostakovich: String Quartet #4 in D Major, Op. 83
Brahms: Piano Quartet in G Minor, Opus 25
*Including a Silent Auction, beginning at 2 PM

SATURDAY, JULY 27, 5 PM
Swingtime Big Band
Big Band classics from the Great American Songbook
“Musicians who make the sounds of the pre-rock era rock” -The New York Times

SUNDAY, JULY 28, 3 PM
Harlem String Quartet
Francine Kay, Piano
Debussy: String Quartet in G Minor, Op. 10
Gabriela Lena Frank: Milagros (Miracles) for string quartet*
William Bolcom: Three Rags for String Quartet
Franck: Piano Quintet in F Minor

SATURDAY, AUG. 3, 5PM
Michael Berkeley & No Tune Like a Show TuneThe Envelope, Please
A celebration of award-winning songs from the Tonys, Oscars, Emmys, Grammys, and
Country Music Awards
Underwritten by an Anonymous Donor

SUNDAY, AUGUST 4, 3 PM
Emerson String Quartet
Mozart: String Quartet in D Major, K. 575 “Prussian”
Dvořák: String Quartet in E Flat Major, Op. 51
Shostakovich: String Quartet #5 in B Flat Major, Op. 92
Underwritten by Harold and Deko Klebanoff

 SATURDAY, AUG. 10, 5 PM
Wolverine Jazz Band
Kings of Swing, Ragtime and Hot Dance

SUNDAY, AUGUST 11, 3 PM
St. Petersburg String Quartet
Tao Lin, Piano
Turina: La oración del torero (The bullfighter’s prayer), Op. 34
Ravel: String Quartet in F Major
Sofia Gubaidulina: Piano Quintet*

SATURDAY, AUG. 17, 5 PM
Barbara Fasano & Eric ComstockBusy Being Free
“Meet the new fun couple on the cabaret block. Mr. Comstock and Ms. Fasano are turning the neighborhood into a hotbed of pleasure.” -The New York Times

SUNDAY, AUGUST 18, 3 PM
St. Petersburg String Quartet & Piano Quartet
Glazunov: String Quartet #1 in D Major, Op. 1*
Beethoven: Grosse Fuge, Op. 133
Schumann: Piano Quartet in E Flat Major, Op. 47

SATURDAY, AUG. 24, 5 PM
Galvanized Jazz Band
The “best Jazz Band in the State” (Connecticut Magazine) “gets your blood running” (Jazzbeat) with hot Dixieland, New Orleans Jazz, and more

SUNDAY, AUGUST 25, 3 PM
Cassatt String Quartet
Paul Katz, Cello
Pei Shan, Piano
Mozart: Piano Quartet in E Flat Major, K. 493
Beethoven: String Quartet in B Flat Major, Op. 18 #6
Brahms: Cello Quintet in F Minor (precursor of Piano Quintet in F Minor, Op. 34, arr. Anssi Karttunen)*

SATURDAY, AUGUST 31, 5 PM
Shanghai Quartet
Haydn: String Quartet in G Major, Op. 77 #1
Penderecki: String Quartet #3 “Leaves of an unwritten diary
Beethoven: String Quartet in A Minor, Op. 132

SUNDAY, SEPT 1, 3 PM
LABOR DAY BENEFIT CONCERT & RECEPTION

Shanghai Quartet
Todd Crow, Piano
Beethoven: String Quartet in G Major, Op. 18 #2
Frank Bridge: Novelletten*
Brahms: Piano Quartet in A Major, Op. 26

SUNDAY, SEPT 8, 3 PM
Daedalus Quartet
Tanya Bannister, Piano
Bach: Selections from ‘Art of the Fugue’ BWV 1080
Beethoven: String Quartet in E Flat Major, Op. 74 “Harp”
Elgar: Piano Quintet in A Minor, Op. 84

SUNDAY, SEPT 15, 3 PM
Dover Quartet
“Bound by Brahms”
Mozart: Adagio and Fugue in C Minor, K. 546
Hindemith: Quartet No. 3
Brahms: Quartet No. 3 in B-flat Major, Op. 67
Underwritten by Joyce Schwartz

SUNDAY, SEPT 22, 3 PM
Juilliard Quartet
Mozart: String Quartet in B Flat Major, K. 458 “The Hunt”  
Britten: String Quartet No. 3 in G Major, Op. 94
Brahms: String Quartet in A minor, Op. 51 No. 2

*Denotes Series Premiere

ABOUT MUSIC MOUNTAIN
Music Mountain’s primary mission is the performance and teaching of the string quartet. Founded in 1930, Music Mountain is the oldest continuous summer music festival in the United States. It all began as the unique vision of Jacques Gordon, the Chicago Symphony concertmaster from 1921-1930 and the founding first violinist of the Gordon String Quartet, one of the leading quartets of its time.

Nicholas Gordon, son of Jacques Gordon, led Music Mountain from 1974 until his death in 2017. Oskar Espina-Ruiz was appointed artistic director in 2016 and worked with Mr. Gordon for a year. Today, Mr. Espina-Ruiz and Music Mountain’s dedicated board of directors steer this national treasure. Our vision for the future is focused on the commitment to chamber music and the string quartet while expanding our educational, residency and concert programs providing a range of musical experiences to the community.

The buildings at Music Mountain form a well-designed community in the Colonial Revival style. They were built by Sears, Roebuck & Company’s pre-fabricated housing division and are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The centerpiece of the Music Mountain campus is air-conditioned Gordon Hall, one of the great, intimate concert halls of this country. Designed to be the analogue of the violin with features mimicking the violin’s form and inner structure, the sound is robust, full bodied and resonant.

ABOUT OSKAR ESPINA-RUIZ, ARTISTIC DIRECTOR
Oskar Espina-Ruiz has performed at major concert halls and festivals to high critical acclaim, including concerto performances at the Philharmonic Hall in St. Petersburg, Russia, and recitals in New York City, Washington DC, Moscow, Madrid, Tokyo, Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong.

Oskar Espina-Ruiz has appeared in concert with the American, Shanghai, Cassatt, Escher and Daedalus string quartets, the Quintet of the Americas, pianists Victoria Schwartzman, Benjamin Hochman, Ursula Oppens and Anthony Newman, cellist David Geber (founder, American String Quartet) and Metropolitan Opera Orchestra artists. His concerto appearances include the St. Petersburg State Academic Symphony (Russia), St. Petersburg Chamber Philharmonic (Russia), Orquesta Sinfónica de la Ciudad de Asunción (Paraguay) and Bilbao Symphony (Spain).

During the 2018-2019 season Oskar Espina-Ruiz is releasing a new album for clarinet and piano with pianist Victoria Schwartzman, featuring works by Spanish-Basque composers Arriaga, Isasi and Donostia. Other highlights of the season include premiering chamber music works by David Ludwig and Carolina Heredia, and working on a new clarinet concerto dedicated to him by composer Alfonso Fuentes, partially previewed at the Music Mountain Academy in 2018.

He has recorded for the Bridge, Kobaltone and Prion labels, receiving high critical acclaim by fellow clarinetists Richard Stoltzman and Charles Neidich for his solo recording “Julián Menéndez Rediscovered.” He has been described by the press as a “masterful soloist” and a “highly expressive” clarinetist. He holds a DMA from Stony Brook University, where his major teachers were Charles Neidich and Ayako Oshima.

Oskar Espina-Ruiz is artistic director of the Music Mountain Festival since 2016, and the Treetops Chamber Music Society since 2006, both in Connecticut. Since 2011, he is also clarinet artist faculty at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, while keeping a busy concert schedule.

See Related:
Back to List
Back to Top
E-NEWS SIGNUP