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Music Mountain

The Connecticut-based concert series
celebrates ninety continuous years


The venerable, Connecticut-based Music Mountain concert series has announced its full 2019 summer season comprising two distinct series. Marking ninety 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 USA, and now features the Chamber Music Concerts series and Twilight Series.

Founded by Jacques Gordon in 1930 and directed by his son, Nicholas, for forty-five 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. Nick Gordon says: 'It's an extraordinary place to hear a concert. It is both spiritual and beautiful.'

Music Mountain
Music Mountain

'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 Ninetieth 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 9 June 2019 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 Schoenberg's Verklärte Nacht (Transfigured Night), arranged by Eduard Steuermann, as well as Brahms' A Minor Clarinet Trio and Beethoven's Ghost piano trio.

Additional season highlights include performances from the Escher, Ariel, Harlem, Emerson, St Petersburg, Daedalus, Dover and Juilliard String Quartets, as well as the thirtieth anniversary return of the Shanghai Quartet. Acclaimed soloists include clarinetist Oskar Espina-Ruiz, pianists Victoria Schwartzman, Stewart Goodyear and Tanya Bannister, cellist Paul Katz and many of the finest chamber musicians of our day.

'Painting Music', a free family event at Music Mountain on Saturday 24 August 2019. Materials are provided, and a string quartet plays live contemporary music while participants translate what they hear into personal works of art.
Painting Music, a free family event at Music Mountain on Saturday 24 August 2019. Materials are provided, and a string quartet plays live contemporary music while participants translate what they hear into personal works of art.

On 15 June 2019, 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 Eagle, Wolverine, and Galvanized Jazz Bands, cabaret masters Barbara Fasano and Eric Comstock, and many others.

Music Mountain's primary mission is the performance and teaching of the string quartet. Founded in 1930, it 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 Nicholas Gordon for a year. Today, Espina-Ruiz and Music Mountain's dedicated board of directors steer this national treasure. The festival's vision for the future is focused on the commitment to chamber music and the string quartet while expanding its 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 US 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.

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Posted 3 April 2019 by Keith Bramich


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