May 16, 2014
07:56 AMArts & Entertainment
Music Mountain Celebrates 85 Years of Chamber Classics in Connecticut
Pianist and Naumburg Competition Winner Soyeon Kate Lee is playing with the Enso String Quartet June 15 at Music Mountain.
Tradition dictates that every summer some of the world’s finest chamber music will emanate from the mountaintop—literally—in Falls Village, the pretty rural town in the Northwest Corner of Litchfield County.
Music Mountain’s Summer Chamber Music Festival is the oldest in the country, and this year it is celebrating its 85th Anniversary Season. It all starts with the season opener on June 7 featuring the Emerson String Quartet, which has never before graced the legendary stage.
Governor Dannel P. Malloy and his wife will serve as honorary chairs at the opening Gala & Concert Performance.
“We are thrilled that the Governor and Mrs. Malloy has signed on as Honorary Chairs for the gala" said Music Mountain President Nicholas Gordon. "Eighty-five years is a milestone landmark in the life of a musical institution and there are no better Ambassadors to the Arts than the Malloys!"
The Emerson String Quartet has more than 30 recordings, nine Grammys, three Gramophone Awards, the Avery Fisher Prize and was named Musical America’s “Ensemble of the Year.” (Above, the Emerson quartet in a photo by Lisa Mazzucco.)
The prestigious history of this one string quartet speaks to the caliber of musicianship welcomed at Music Mountain.
“When you come to a concert, you’re going to hear quality playing at the absolute top of the league. There’s no one better. That’s a deliberate policy on my part,” says Gordon. “Nobody plays on our stage that I haven’t heard, and that’s been true for 40 years.”
The 85th season, comprised of 16 quartets and 13 popular music concerts (the most ever included in one season), will be no exception. Renowned chamber musicians will include the Julliard String Quartet, St. Petersburg String Quartet, Shanghai String Quartet and Cassatt String Quartet.
Music Mountain’s popular Saturday Evening Twilight Series will begin on June 14 with The West Point Alumni Glee Club, comprised of retired veterans, captains and generals who served active duty. The series will broaden its musical scope by including folk music, opera and Broadway acts. Highlights include Jive By Five, Vince Giordano and the Nighthawks, Baroque Italian Opera Aria and Duets and Michael Berkeley.
Music Mountain is the perfect venue to host such a wide variety of musical talent because of its superior acoustics. Built in 1930 by Gordon’s father, the concert hall is designed to be the analogue of a violin. The wooden pine interior has no insulation; instead it’s completely surrounded by air.
“I’ve been to concerts in many places in this country and abroad, and I have yet to find a hall that compares,” Gordon says of the sound quality. “It’s truly a heavenly place.”