America’s longest running summer chamber music festival, Music Mountain, continues its 90th season with a special weekend on Sunday, August 24-25, including two concerts and a free family event. On Sunday, August 25 (3pm) the Cassatt String Quartet performs music by Mozart, Beethoven and Brahms. On Saturday, August 24 (5pm) the Galvanized Jazz Band lifts your spirits with hot Dixieland, New Orleans Jazz and more.
To kick off the weekend, on Saturday, from 11:30 am to 1:00 pm, Music Mountain welcomes the community to its campus for the second annual Painting Music, a free art and music event for all ages.
SUNDAY at 3 pm: CHAMBER MUSIC
The Manhattan-based Cassatt String Quartet performs Beethoven's String Quartet in B Flat Major, Op. 18 #6 (1800); Mozart's Piano Quartet in E Flat Major, K. 493 (1786) with pianist Pei Shan Lee; and Brahms' Cello Quintet in F Minor (1862) with Cleveland String Quartet cellist Paul Katz.
The Cassatt String Quartet, named for the celebrated American impressionist painter Mary Cassatt, has been called “one of the great ensembles of our age” (Concerto Net). The Quartet's performances have been described as “undulant, lyrical and insightful (The New York Times) and having a “beautifully integrated sound...” (Jeffrey James for SoundWordSight).
Formed in 1985 with the encouragement of the Juilliard Quartet, the Cassatt String Quartet was the inaugural participant in Juilliard’s Young Artists Quartet Program. The Quartet has since performed throughout North America, Europe, and the Far East, with appearances in London for the Sapphire Jubilee Celebration of Queen Elizabeth II, the Beijing Modern Music Festival, New York’s Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, and the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, among many others.
Equally adept at classical masterpieces and contemporary music, the Cassatt won two CMA/ASCAP Awards for Adventurous Programming, and has collaborated with a remarkable array of artists/composers including pianist Marc-Andre Hamelin, soprano Susan Narucki, flutist Ransom Wilson, jazz pianist Fred Hersch, didgeriedoo player Simon 7, the Trisha Brown Dance Company, distinguished members of the Cleveland and Vermeer Quartets, and composers Louis Andriessen and John Harbison.
Cellist Paul Katz is known to concertgoers the world over as cellist of the Cleveland Quartet, which, during an international career of 26 years made more than 2500 appearances on four continents, in all of the music capitals, great concert halls and music festivals of the world. The Quartet also earned 11 Grammy nominations and two Grammy Awards (in 1996), including Best Chamber Music Recording. Mr. Katz has also performed extensively as a soloist and chamber musician with other ensembles on the world’s great stages. Since 2001, he has been with New England Conservatory, and is one of America’s most sought-after cello teachers.
Pianist Pei-Shan Lee’s active concert career has taken her to The Kennedy Center, Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher and Alice Tully Hall, Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall, and on tour throughout Europe. A member of the faculty at New England Conservatory, Ms. Lee recently created a new MM (Master of Music) degree in Collaborative Piano at the California State University Northridge. Ms. Lee’s artistry and comprehensive knowledge of the chamber music and collaborative literature have made her a highly sought-after partner for many up-and-coming young artists, especially string and woodwind players.
SATURDAY at 11:30 am: PAINTING MUSIC
After the tremendous success of Painting Music in 2018, this festive community event on the Music Mountain lawn is back this summer on Saturday, August 24 from 11:30 am to 1:00 pm. Children and adults are invited to listen to music performed live by the Cassatt String Quartet and Music Mountain artistic director Oskar Espina Ruiz, clarinet. Participants can translate what they hear in that music into a personal work of art that they can take home. Canvas, paints and brushes are provided free of charge. Local and New York City-based artist Vincent Inconiglios leads this outdoor activity again this year to get everyone's creativity flowing.
The program includes Gerald Cohen’s Clarinet Quintet “Voyagers” (2018); Samantha Pollack’s String Quartet “Myco-Communication” (2019); and Daniel Armetta’s String Quartet “Rough Edges” (2019). Composers Pollack and Armetta will be present at the event to introduce their work prior to the performance.
Cohen’s “Voyagers” has a special connection to Music Mountain. It was performed at Painting Music in 2018 to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the launch of the Voyager into space, and it inspired the artwork currently on the stage of Music Mountain’s Gordon Hall: a 24-foot-wide acrylic, oil and charcoal on canvas by Vincent Inconiglios. The artwork draws on the image of the Golden Disk (with sounds and images representing life on Earth) that the Voyager carried into space and depicts what the disk might represent for humankind.
This year there will be two additional Painting Music events leading up to the big event at Music Mountain: on Tuesday, August 20, from 10:30 am to 12:30 pm at KidsPlay Children’s Museum, 61 Main St, Torrington, CT; and on Thursday, August 22, from 10:30 am to 12 noon at the Kathy Wismar Studio, 8 Landmark Lane, Kent, CT. These collaborative and multigenerational Painting Music events will be led by Vincent Inconiglios (on Tuesday) and Kathy Wismar (on Thursday) and feature live performances by Music Mountain Academy young artists.
Painting Music 2019 is made possible in part through a generous grant from the Lucia Tuttle Fritz Fund, a fund of the Northwest Connecticut Community Foundation, Inc.
Space and supplies are limited for all hands-on sessions.
Participants are asked to register by August 20 to reserve a spot.
Register here: at www.musicmountain.org/painting-music
SATURDAY at 5 pm: TWILIGHT SERIES
The 2019 Twilight Series at Music Mountain goes out in a blaze of jazz glory this season with the Galvanized Jazz Band, recognized by Connecticut Magazine as "Best Jazz Band in the State." The band has performed at Jazz Festivals from Maine to New Orleans and throughout Europe, delighting audiences of all ages.
For the last of this summer's Twilight Series concerts, this dynamic group of Connecticut musicians pulls out all the stops for a rollicking night of Dixieland, New Orleans jazz, blues, rags, stomps, struts, spirituals, swing, and classic popular songs from the past century.
Fred Vigorito, who plays cornet, has led the band since the beginning (1971). He has been playing New Orleans Jazz since 1963 when he joined Big Bill Bissonnette's Easy Rider Jazz Band, and he's featured on more than 35 recordings. Russ Whitman, on clarinet and saxophone is one of the most sought-after reed players in the business, despite his degree from Harvard and his day jobs in physics and computer programming. His 1982 Atlantic recording with Sippie Wallace was nominated for a Grammy. Arthur Hovey, on tuba and string bass, is another one of the band's original members. He was principal tubist with the New Haven Symphony for ten years, and currently performs with the CT Symphonic Winds and the Civic Orchestra of New Haven (when he's not teaching physics or jazz to high-school students). Drummer Bob Bequillard is a true Dixieland veteran, having played for over 40 years with some of the best in the business. Fellow musicians appreciate his ability to hold that steady, solid beat as well as his masterful solos, which are exciting yet tasteful. He works as an accountant in his spare time.
Be there at Music Mountain as they give the 2019 Twilight Series a foot-stomping send-off!