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Caramoor: Performing in the Key of Musical Diversity

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The grounds at Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts. The summer season starts June 18 and runs through Aug. 7, featuring a wide variety of new and traditional music. Gabe Palacio photo

The 2022 summer season at the Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts will excite those seeking a wide range of musical styles, performed on a variety of stages in and around the center’s verdant setting.

The season runs from June 18 to August 7 and, as always, has something for everyone. This year includes a new layer of contemporary, groundbreaking music along with the traditional musical fare of chamber, symphonic, operatic, jazz and Americana.

The overarching theme, according to Edward J. Lewis III, Caramoor’s president and CEO, is how music and the arts transform lives and can bring people together.  “This summer is one of the most dynamic in our history,” Lewis said. “Our incredible lineup of artists and repertoire includes voices from an array of backgrounds, eras and lived experiences. The programs reflect a broad diversity of audiences from our stages.”

To that end, many works that will be heard are by rarely-known composers. On July 10, excerpts of the concert theater work “The Chevalier,” about Joseph Bologne, a general of 18th century Europe’s first Black regiment, will be performed by award-winning violinist Brendon Elliott and the Harlem Chamber Players.

Bologne, who supposedly chummed with Mozart and Marie Antoinette, staunchly supported slavery’s abolishment. There will be a pre-concert talk with writer and director Bill Barclay.

Women composers have largely been ignored over the centuries even as they have become a strong and visible force. On July 14, music by three contemporary women composers will be performed by the Grammy-nominated ensemble Imani Winds playing original works by Valerie Coleman, Nathalie Joachim and Reena Esmail in a program entitled “A Woman’s Perspective.” There will be a post-concert discussion with vocalist, performance artist, writer and composer Helga Davis, host of “Helga: The Armory Conversations” on WNYC. Davis will host multiple post-concert talks throughout the season.

Popular headliners include the incomparable cellist Yo-Yo Ma and his collaborators The Knights on June 18 for Opening Night, pianist Inon Barnatan on June 26 and Grammy Award-winning musician Rhiannon Giddens’ The Silkroad Ensemble performing four new commissions on July 16. Other celebrated performers scheduled to appear are the Kronos Quartet on July 8, soprano Dawn Upshaw and the Brentano String Quartet on July 15 and pianist Marc-Andre Hamelin and the Orchestra of St. Luke’s on Aug. 7.

Caramoor’s Sound Art Exhibition includes “Sonic Innovations,” heard throughout the grounds featuring six works. Two pieces are “Timbre” and “Frequency,” created by Mendi and Keith Obadike and inspired by African-American writers Toni Morrison and Ralph Ellison. Artists will be on hand for the free guided tours of the Sonic Innovations.

Free events include a pre-season Soundscapes on June 5 with percussive dancing duo Caleb Teicher and Nic Gareiss; beatboxer, vocal percussionist and breath artist Dominic “Shodekeh” Talifero and Dorit Chrysler playing the theremin, a favored instrument of Lucie Rosen who, with her husband Walter, built their house and grounds in 1928, which today is Caramoor.

Also free is Juneteenth on June 19 celebrating African American freedom. Presented in collaboration with the Town of Bedford, the performance will feature internationally recognized recording artist, vocal coach and songwriter Jeremiah Abiah. Family activities are scheduled to commemorate the emancipation to honor families and their heritage and resilience.  

Another free event is the world premiere of Michael Gordon’s new large-scale, site-specific work, “Field of Vision” on July 24 in the Sunken Garden and surrounding field.

The Music & Meditation in the Garden on three Saturday mornings (July 9, 16 and Aug. 6) in the Sunken Garden is a guided meditation and performance with a cellist, flutist and guitar-cello duo. It is free for children.

Caramoor’s annual Jazz Festival returns on July 30 featuring composer, multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Camille Thurman with the Darrell Green Quartet.

The all-day American Roots Music Festival on June 25 highlights Americana, blues, folk and bluegrass with headliner singer-songwriter Molly Tuttle with her band Golden Highway.

The grounds are open for picnicking, walking and enjoying sound art two hours before concerts Wednesdays through Sundays from June 5 to Aug. 20. For children 18 and under, most Caramoor concert tickets are half price and some of the string quartet performances and concerts on the lawn are free for children. Tickets for Garden Listening are $20, but are free for members and children under 18 years old.

Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts is located at 149 Girdle Ridge Rd. in Katonah. For more information, including a full schedule of performers and tickets, visit www.caramoor.org or e-mail boxoffice@caramoor.org.

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