During the course of a year, lovers of assorted musical genres don’t have to travel outside of Westchester to hear some of the most accomplished musicians in a field.
The same holds true for audiences who enjoy Baroque period music from the 17th and 18th centuries. Since Mark Kramer founded Ars Antiqua, a period instrument ensemble comprised of some of the finest baroque music specialists close to 20 years ago, he has been organizing three concerts a year at the Church of St. Mary the Virgin in Chappaqua.
Kramer, 58, who studied the cello since childhood and earned a Masters of Music from Northwestern University, has been able to attract the talent through his connections that he has cultivated over the years in the music world.
He’s done it again for the next concert, scheduled for this Saturday at the church at 8 p.m.in a program called “Flights of Fancy and the Soaring of Baroque Imagination.” The program features harpsichordist Michael Sponseller and violinists Krista Feeney and Rachel Evans.
“People are seeing and hearing world class musicians presented in a delightful setting and it’s right here in Chappaqua, without having to go to the city,” Kramer said.
The selections for each concert aren’t chosen randomly; every program represents a different theme. Since the Baroque period, generally thought of as spanning 1685 to 1750, is so varied, Kramer said he is never at a loss to come up with a fresh approach for the concerts.
“I have more ideas for concerts than I have years remaining,” said Kramer, who grew up in Rye and currently lives in Patterson, Putnam County.
Part of the mission is to present each program’s music within the context of Baroque art and the social history of the time, Kramer said. Saturday night’s concert reflects the flamboyance of Baroque period art, which went hand in hand with some of the music of the era. Selections performed include Jean-Philippe Rameau’s “Premiere Piéce de Clavecin en Concert,” Royer’s, “Vertigo,” Veracini’s “Sonata accademiche in D Minor,” Telemann’s “Gulliver Suite” and Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach’s “Sanguineus and Melancholicus.”
The setting for the concerts at the Church of St. Mary the Virgin, with its own impressive architecture, adds to the atmosphere, Kramer said.
Following the concert, there will be a buffet of pastries and coffee, which often has its own connection to the theme of the concert, said Kramer, who when he is not playing music and organizing the Ars Antiqua concert is the owner and executive chef of Susan Lawrence in Chappaqua.
For Kramer, an accomplished violincellist who has performed as a soloist and in ensembles, the concerts provide him the opportunity to participate in most of his concerts, a treat for some. He also enjoys seeing the crowd of regulars who attend the Ars Antiqua series, mainly local chamber music lovers who seek out the concerts and have become familiar with each other.
The Church of St. Mary the Virgin is located at 191 S. Greeley Ave. Tickets are $30 and can be purchased at the door starting at 7:30 p.m. or by contacting Ars Antiqua at 914-238-8015 or by visiting www.ars-antiqua.org.