by Cathy P. Ross
Jul 9, 2013
02:13 PMCulture Cat
Sounds of Summer
Chamber music has long been a summer staple in Northwestern Connecticut, one that draws thousands from across the country each season. Music Mountain in Falls Village and Yale School of Music’s Norfolk Chamber Music Festival have been thrilling fans for nearly a century. But credit for this musical bounty must go to the visionaries who first fostered musical education in the region.
Jacques Gordon established Music Mountain in 1930 as a home for his own Gordon String Quartet with a mission to provide teaching programs for other string musicians. The festival’s been going strong ever since, attracting acclaimed groups and soloists for its 16-concert Sunday afternoon chamber music series, Saturday evening jazz concerts and Friday evenings of Baroque music. This season, concerts run each weekend through Sept. 8. Concerts are also streamed online. (860/824-7126, musicmountain.org)
The Norfolk Chamber Music Festival began in 1899, when founders Ellen Battell Stoeckel and her husband Carl Stoeckel began hosting concerts in their Norfolk home. Seven years later, the couple hired local architect E.K. Rossiter to build the Music Shed. Battell Stoeckel willed the property to Yale, and in 1941 the Yale School of Music made it its summer home. At the heart of this festival is its six-week chamber music session for emerging professional instrumentalists. Concerts are presented Friday and Saturday nights July 5 through Aug. 17. The Emerson, Jasper and Artis quartets are featured players this season. (860/542-3000, music.yale.edu/norfolk)
Taking a cue from these venerable institutions, the Hotchkiss School in Lakeville has given new meaning to the term “summer school.” This elite boarding school isn’t concerned with remedial classes—students come to attend the Summer Portals Chamber Music Program under the direction of Marvin Chen. The brightest young talents in violin, viola and cello (ages 12 to 15) are mentored by visiting quartets in a residency that culminates in a series of weekend performances open to the public.
Hotchiss is in the midst of celebrating the 10th anniversary of its “Concerts with a View” series. The Brentano Quartet (appeared in the film The Late Quartet) performs July 12 & 13. Admission is free. (860/435-3775, hotchkissportals.org).