More than just a Weekend of Chamber Music
19 Aug 2015
Living Music
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More than a weekend, this festival that Andy and I took over 3 years ago stretches over three weekends and has several week-day events - but what could be better than for a festival to outgrow a name! It is a joyous time in our lives every summer now, and the grand fulfillment of an entire year’s work and planning.

Our guest composer this summer was John Corigliano, and we performed his monumental String Quartet (Harumi Rhodes, Anna Lim, Tawnya Popoff and myself), Voyage for flute and string quintet (add Judith Pearce and Andrew Trombley), Snapshot for quartet (Nurit Pacht, Andrew Waggoner, Lois Martin, myself), Fancy on a Bach Air for solo cello and his exquisite song cycle Mr. Tambourine Man (Lindsay Kesselman and Tannis Gibson). All these, in between Fauré, Beethoven, Honegger, Bach, Harbison and Mozart (with Molly Morkoski), Kreisler, Debussy and Schubert (including songs and salon works, add also Christopher James Lees). It was an extraordinary journey through not just wonderful repertoire, but revealing contexts and relationships, for some, the woodwind quintet’s versions of Bob Dylan songs arranged by Andy were a highlight! (Judith Pearce, flute, Pascal Archer, clarinet, Matt Sullivan, oboe, Adam Schommer, horn, Gina Cuffar, bassoon).

There were many firsts for us this year, and continuations of things that Andy and I began in the last two to three years. We had three Fellows (Matteo Longhi, violin, Lydia Parkington, cello, and Jack Gulielmetti, composer) who created a truly great piece together, written by Jack, for violin, cello and guitar. They worked with almost every artist present in either lessons or coaching, and were a wonderful creative and enthusiastic presence to have with us the whole time. Our open rehearsal morphed this year into a workshop for the Fellows to present their work, and for the composer to workshop and speak about a piece on the program that week. This year we had about 40 people at that event and the audience enthusiastically engaged the students and John Corigliano in questions about their work, the process, and the music. It was wonderful to see and hear from the outside!

We had our third event at the Catskill Distilling Company in Bethel, a moderated talk with our composer in residence, and have doubled our audience to standing room only, since 2013 as the event gains momentum. We re-appeared at The North Branch Inn, thanks to the swift moving of the new owners, the Fosters, who treated us with fabulous munchies and wine to follow our improvising with film, and we tempted an audience out to SUNY Sullivan on a Sunday afternoon, where everyone was treated to music served with Air Conditioning. Also this year we extended a collaboration with The Cooperage Project in Honesdale, where we presented two programs in their gorgeous rustic yet full-equipped space right on Main Street in this bustling town across the PA border. There, we were received by full houses, which echoed our “home” events at the Eddie Adams Barn in Jeffersonville, NY, still our most popular, and growing venue. There, we had a new fan installed which cooled us all down wonderfully, and the gala concert was an extraordinary celebration of music and culinary delight hosted by our outstanding board.

For me, musically, it was a huge 2+ weeks - I performed a showpiece (Read the Catskill Chronicle Review) that I had only taught before, learned a few new masterpieces, added to my new solo cello literature, improvised and dove 100% into cello and music. That, combined with relaxing evenings often with all of our colleagues, Henry’s stories from his first rural Day-Camp experience where he got to swim every day, and Audrey almost learning to crawl (we are as far as up on the knees now and scootching) made it extraordinary!

Last but not least, though not a WCM first, certainly a first since Andy and I became directors, we had our very first listing in the New Yorker, nestled between the summer “biggies”… - and Heidi Rogers (from the former Frank Music Company) came because she saw it and saw our names! In this field, the joy of the doing and creating is everything, but to have the support of a dedicated local audience, plus a renowned publication’s listing - and then have someone drive over an hour because they saw it - well - that’s just the cat’s meow.

Hope to see some of you join us next year! (Set aside the dates: July 16-31, 2016)

Caroline Stinson - Cellist

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Bloch: Suite for Cello solo no 3
Sessions: Pieces (6) for Cello solo
Harbison: Suite for Solo Cello
Lutoslawski: Grave
Stucky: Dialoghi
Waggoner: Le Nom (Upperline)
Weesner: Possible Stories
Boulanger: Pieces (3) for Cello and Piano
Carter: Figment

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