America’s longest running summer chamber music festival, Music Mountain, continues its 90th season with the Ariel Quartet presenting a program of works by Beethoven and Brahms on Sunday, July 21 (3pm). There will also be a silent auction that afternoon offering the chance to bid on exciting items to help support the venerable music series. The weekend kicks off on Saturday, July 20 (5pm) with the New Black Eagle Jazz Band serving up a full platter of New Orleans jazz, gospel and blues, with clarinetist extraordinaire Billy Novick leading the band.
The virtuosic and impassioned Ariel Quartet takes the stage on Sunday with Beethoven's glorious String Trio in C Minor, Op. 9 #3 and, with Russian-born pianist Victoria Schwartzman, Beethoven's Cello Sonata #3 in A Major, Op. 69 and Brahms' Piano Quartet in G Minor, Op. 25. This program has been changed since it was first announced; Alexandra Kazovsky will not be appearing at the concert due to the birth of her first child.
The Ariel Quartet, formed in Israel nearly twenty years ago when its members were middle-school students, has earned its glowing international reputation with passionate performances around the world. The Quartet delivers "a blazing, larger-than-life performance," (The Washington Post) and is “a consummate ensemble gifted with utter musicality and remarkable interpretive power." (American Record Guide) The Quartet has toured all over the U.S., including appearances at venerable venues like Carnegie Hall in New York and the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC. They have also toured extensively in Europe and Israel. The Ariel Quartet was recently awarded the prestigious Cleveland Quartet Award, and the ensemble serves as the Faculty Quartet-in-Residence at the University of Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory of Music, where they direct the rigorous chamber music program and perform their own annual series of concerts in addition to their busy touring schedule.
The Quartet is joined by pianist Victoria Schwartzman (formerly Mazin), who performs regularly as a soloist and chamber musician. Ms. Schwartzman appeared previously at Music Mountain with the St. Petersburg String Quartet, and has also performed in the New York Philharmonic Ensembles series at Merkin Hall, at Summit Music Festival with Dmitri Berlinsky, at Bargemusic, in the Gessner- Schocken concert series in Cambridge, WMP Concert Hall, and the Nicolas Roerich Museum concert series in New York City. As a member of the Yanvar Trio, she was a prizewinner in the Val-Tidone Chamber Music Competition and a finalist in the Zinotti International Chamber Music competition, both in Italy.
Visitors can also stop by the Music Mountain Silent Auction on Sunday, July 21 to bid on items including four prime seats to “Hamilton,” a framed print by artist Eric Forstmann, a three-day stay in a Napa Valley condo, and a Spanish dinner for six prepared and hosted by Music Mountain’s Artistic Director, Oskar Espina-Ruiz. The auction items will be on display in a tent on Gordon Hall’s Great Lawn, beginning at 2 pm and continuing until after the concert, with bidding ending at 5:50 pm, and winners announced at 6 pm.
On Saturday, Music Mountain brings a little old-time New Orleans to northwest CT with the New Black Eagle Jazz Band. The New Black Eagles, as they are known to fans, are sure to delight audiences -- as they have done all over the world -- with an eclectic repertoire of jazz, blues, rags and popular songs from the 1920's and 30's. The band plays everything from Louis Armstrong and Jelly Roll Morton to early Duke Ellington to Cole Porter.
The band has been a fixture on the international jazz scene since 1971, bringing the sounds of traditional New Orleans Jazz to audiences all over the world for more than 40 years. Many observers regard them as THE premier band playing in the traditional jazz style. They regard themselves as the "Keepers of the Flame.” The band has performed extensively all across North America, toured throughout Europe countless times, and in 2011, opened the Newport Jazz Festival to a packed house. They have released over 40 recordings (including the Grammy-nominated "On the River") and videos, and their music has been featured in Ken Burns' documentaries and on Garrison Keillor’s Prairie Home Companion radio show (with a live performance).
The band is Billy Novick, leader, alto sax, clarinet, vocals; Stan Vincent, trombone; Jeff Hughes, cornet; Herb Gardner, piano; Bill Reynolds, drums; and Jesse Williams, bass.
Music Mountain is located in Falls Village, Connecticut on Music Mountain Road, where a short scenic drive will bring you to Gordon Hall atop Music Mountain. Free parking and picnic facilities are available.
Music Mountain is supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts, Connecticut State Department of Economic and Community Development Office of the Arts, the Peter N. Krysa Designated Fund of Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation, and two funds of the Northwest Connecticut Community Foundation, Inc.: the Khurshed Bhumgara Fund, and the Lucia Tuttle Fritz Fund.
Chamber music concerts continue with Harlem String Quartet with Francine Kay, piano (July 28); Emerson String Quartet (August 4); St. Petersburg String Quartet (August 11); and St. Petersburg String Quartet and Piano Quartet (August 18).
The Saturday Evening Twilight Series continues with Swingtime Big Band (July 27); Michael Berkeley & No Tune Like a Show Tune (August 3); Wolverine Jazz Band (August 10); and the Barbara Fasano Trio Featuring Eric Comstock (August 17).
Specially Priced Concerts include: Labor Day Benefit Concert & Reception on Sunday, September 1. All tickets $75. Special Concert to Celebrate the Completion of the 90th Anniversary Season on Sunday, September 22. All tickets: $60.
Regularly scheduled Chamber Music Concerts are $39. Twilight Series Concerts are $34. Children ages 5-18 are admitted FREE to ALL CONCERTS when accompanied by a ticket holder.
Saturday evening Twilight Concerts are at 5 pm. Sunday afternoon Chamber Music concerts are at 3 pm. Discounts apply through participating organizations. For a complete summer schedule, special ticket prices and promotions, visit musicmountain.org or call (860) 824-7126.