Caramoor’s year-round schedule of events continues this March with a wealth of the diverse and imaginative programming for which the Westchester estate – 90 acres of picturesque Italianate architecture and gardens, just one hour’s drive from Manhattan – has long been known. Representing a microcosm of the myriad offerings that will be on display in Caramoor’s upcoming summer season, the concerts span the musical spectrum from classical chamber recitals and vocal music to jazz and cabaret. The stellar array of artists includes pianist Richard Goode; Brooklyn Rider members Colin Jacobsen and Nicholas Cords in a trio with Caramoor favorite Edward Arron; countertenor Anthony Roth Costanzo with the newly-formed Baroque ensemble Ruckus; the Verona Quartet, this season’s Ernst Stiefel String Quartet-in-Residence; a performance by this year’s Schwab Vocal Rising Stars, one of Caramoor’s outstanding mentorship programs; American roots music with mandolin player Sierra Hull; cabaret with Broadway star Mandy Gonzalez; and jazz with legendary trombonist and bandleader Wycliffe Gordon. A special lecture and concert by Dr. Richard Kogan on “The Mind and Music of Leonard Bernstein”; Wednesday Morning Concerts with pianist Andrew Armstrong, the Argus Quartet, violinist Tessa Lark, and Flamenco in the Courtyard; and weekly afternoon teas with tours of the Rosen House starting May 10 round out the spring season.
Though best known and loved as a summer destination, Caramoor also remains a hub for musical and artistic exploration all year round. From October to May, concerts are held indoors in the Rosen House Music Room, amidst its authentic Renaissance furniture, paintings dating from the 16th century (including Sibylla by Lucas Cranach), and tin-enameled terra cotta reliefs from the workshop of Andrea della Robbia. Originally designed and built to host private chamber evenings for the Rosen family and guests, this “grandly appointed music room of the treasure-filled home” (New York Times) makes for an intimate and uniquely appealing performance space.
Chamber music: Richard Goode, Colin Jacobsen and Nicholas Cords
Richard Goode, former co-Artistic Director of the Marlboro Music School and Festival, is widely recognized as “one of the finest pianists in the world” (Washington Post); he returns to Caramoor this spring for an intimate solo recital of Byrd, Bach, Beethoven, and Debussy (April 15). The New York Times observes, “It is virtually impossible to walk away from one of Mr. Goode’s recitals without the sense of having gained some new insight, subtle or otherwise, into the works he played or about pianism itself.”
Violinist Colin Jacobsen and violist Nicholas Cords, two of the founding members of Brooklyn Rider, join cellist Edward Arron for an all-Baroque program (March 29). Jacobsen – “one of the most interesting figures on the classical music scene” (Washington Post) – plays Biber’s Passacaglia for solo violin, before joining Cords and Arron for Bach’s Goldberg Variations, as transcribed for string trio by violinist Dmitry Sitkovetsky. Arron and Cords are both alumni of Caramoor’s chamber mentorship program, Evnin Rising Stars.
Another of the mentorship programs through which Caramoor serves as an incubator for exceptional young talent is the Ernst Stiefel String Quartet-in-Residence, a yearlong residency that showcases a selected young quartet in multiple performances and sees them provide classroom-based instruction and clinics in Caramoor’s educational outreach program. This season’s incumbent is the Verona Quartet, hailed by the New York Times as an “outstanding ensemble of young musicians.” Since winning a top prize at the 2015 Concert Artists Guild Competition, they have appeared at venues including Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center. Last fall, the Veronas’ Caramoor debut juxtaposed Beethoven and Ravel with Etude 2: Interactions and Lullaby 1: Pulsing, works written for them by Grawemeyer Award-winning composer Sebastian Currier. When they premiered Currier’s quartets at New York’s Chelsea Music Festival, their performance was selected as one of the week’s “eight best classical music moments” (New York Times). This spring, the Verona Quartet returns to the Music Room for a program of Beethoven, Brahms, and Shostakovich (April 29).
Vocal music: Anthony Roth Costanzo and the Schwab Vocal Rising Stars
Countertenor Anthony Roth Costanzo, already a “bona-fide star” (New Yorker) at leading opera houses on both sides of the Atlantic, joins newly-minted period ensemble Ruckus for Baroque cantatas by Scarlatti, Handel and Vivaldi. Composed of Baroque specialists, the ensemble completes the program with instrumental works by Couperin, St. Colombe, and Marais (April 22).
A showcase for the emerging young singers of Caramoor’s Schwab Vocal Rising Stars young artist program, led by Artistic Director Steven Blier, kicks off the spring season on March 11. “From Lute Songs to the Beatles: Songs of the British Isles” will take the audience on a time-traveling tour of British song.
Jazz: Wycliffe Gordon
Now entering the fourth season of their partnership, Caramoor and the world-renowned Jazz at Lincoln Center present the return of the legendary Wycliffe Gordon and His International All-Stars (April 14). Not only “one of music’s great trombonists” (New York Times), but a highly respected composer, conductor, arranger, and educator as well, Gordon is a four-time DownBeat Critics’ Poll “Best Trombone” winner, nine-time Jazz Journalists Association “Trombonist of the Year,” and a former veteran member of the Wynton Marsalis Septet and Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra. Indeed, as Marsalis says, “Just his presence is a creative experience.” Roots: Sierra Hull and Friends
The first American roots event at Caramoor in 2018 showcases Sierra Hull (April 7), the acclaimed mandolin player and singer-songwriter who won the Mandolin Player of the Year award at the International Bluegrass Music Association Awards in both 2016 and 2017. Her Grammy-nominated 2016 release, Weighted Mind, produced by banjo legend Béla Fleck, drew widespread critical praise. NPR said of the album: “Hull's arrangements and playing feel nimble and capricious, animating her introspection with fine-grained melodic details and pinprick exactness, and she makes the most of her airy voice with clean, emotionally present phrasing.” Fleck adds: “She plays the mandolin with a degree of refined elegance and freedom that few have achieved.” Hull will be joined by several guest artists for her Music Room performance.
Cabaret: Mandy Gonzalez
In cabaret, Caramoor presents Obie Award-winner Mandy Gonzalez (May 5), best known for her starring roles in two Tony Award-winning hit Broadway shows by Lin-Manuel Miranda: In the Heights and, most recently, Hamilton. Besides additional Broadway roles in Wicked, Aida, and Lennon, Gonzalez is also familiar from TV’s Quantico (ABC) and Madam Secretary (CBS), and her feature film appearances in After, Man on a Ledge, and Julie Taymor’s Across the Universe. A skilled interpreter of both classic and contemporary songs, Gonzalez brings a wide repertory to her concert appearance. The evening will also be a benefit concert to support the preservation of classic American songs through live performances; a champagne and dessert reception with Gonzalez follows the performance.
Kogan on Bernstein and Wednesday Morning Concerts
Caramoor favorite Richard Kogan, MD, a Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Weill Cornell and concert pianist, continues his series of lecture-concerts on May 3 with “The Mind and Music of Leonard Bernstein,” celebrating the composer’s centennial this year. And the Wednesday Morning Concert series, performing every Wednesday in May, features a stellar lineup: pianist Andrew Armstrong, the Argus Quartet, violinist Tessa Lark, and Flamenco in the Courtyard.
Caramoor is a performing arts center located on a unique 90-acre setting of Italianate architecture and gardens in Westchester County, NY. It enriches the lives of its audiences through innovative and diverse musical performances of the highest quality. Its mission also includes mentoring young professional musicians and providing educational programs for young children centered around music. In the fall and winter, concerts are presented in the magnificent Music Room in the Rosen House, an intimate setting with a maximum capacity of 160. Tours of the stunning Rosen House are available by appointment Monday to Friday. In summer, concerts take place in two outdoor theaters: the acoustically superb Venetian Theater, which seats approximately 1,500, and the romantic Spanish Courtyard, which seats around 470. Caramoor’s gardens, also used for concerts and sound art exhibitions, are well worth the visit and include nine unique perennial gardens. Among them are a Sense Circle for the visually impaired, the Sunken Garden, a Butterfly Garden, the Tapestry Hedge, and the Iris and Peony Garden.
Getting to Caramoor
Getting to Caramoor is simple by car, train or public transportation. All parking is free and close to the performance areas. Handicapped parking is also free and readily available.
By car from New York City, take the Henry Hudson Parkway north to the Saw Mill River Parkway north to I-684 north to Exit 6. Go east on Route 35 to the traffic light (0.3 miles). Turn right onto Route 22 south, and travel 1.9 miles to the junction of Girdle Ridge Road where there is a green Caramoor sign. At the junction, veer left and make a quick right onto Girdle Ridge Road. Continue on Girdle Ridge Road 0.5 miles to the Caramoor gates on the right. Approximate drive time is one hour.
By train from Grand Central Station, take the Harlem Division Line of the Metro-North Railroad heading to Southeast, and exit at Katonah. Caramoor is a 3.5-mile drive from the Katonah station, where taxi service is always available.