The oldest running chamber music series in the nation is Connecticut-based Music Mountain, which has just announced its full 2019 summer season. Celebrate 90 continuous years of Music Mountain in the idyllic Falls Village community in Northern Connecticut on June 9.
The season begins with a special benefit concert and reception, featuring the Music Mountain debut of Schönberg’s Verklärte Nacht (Transfigured Night), arranged by Eduard Steuermann, alongside Brahms’s A Minor Clarinet Trio and Beethoven’s “Ghost” piano trio, performed by pianist Peter Serkin, violinist Alexi Kenney, cellist Fred Sherry, and clarinetist Kristyna Petišková.
Additional season highlights include performances from the Escher, Ariel, Harlem, Emerson, St. Petersburg, Daedalus, Dover, and Juilliard String Quartets, as well as the 30th anniversary return of the Shanghai Quartet.
Artistic Director and clarinetist Oskar Espina-Ruiz will join other acclaimed soloists including pianists Victoria Schwartzman, Stewart Goodyear and Tanya Bannister, cellist Paul Katz, and many more talented chamber musicians for this year’s exciting season.
The Twilight Series opens on June 15. This series reflects the diversity wide range of artistic programming at Music Mountain. The series opens with performance of the Gabriel Alegria Afro-Peruvian Sextet, a “dynamic ensemble [that] explores the affinities between modern jazz and the Afro-Latin continuum in Peru” (The New York Times). Additional highlights from the season include New York Gilbert & Sullivan Players, the New Black Eagle, Wolverine, and Galvanized Jazz Bands, cabaret masters Barbara Fasano and Eric Comstock, and many others.
Early Bird ticket packages allow patrons to save 20-30% on tickets to this exciting season. Early Bird packages must be ordered by June 8 (Chamber series) or June 14 (Twilight series) and are not available for Benefit and Special Concerts on June 9, August 4, and September 1 and 22.
Full season information can be found at Music Mountain’s website.
Music Mountain’s primary mission is the performance and teaching of the string quartet. It was founded by Chicago Symphony concertmaster Jacques Gordon in 1930 and directed by his son, Nicholas, until his passing in 2017. Current music director Oskar Espina-Ruiz was appointed in 2016 and worked with Mr. Gordon for a year. Mr. Espina-Ruiz and Music Mountain’s dedicated board of managers now run the historic series, which is housed in the Falls Village community in Northern Connecticut and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Gordon Hall remains at the heart of the campus; made to mimic the curvature of the belly of a violin, it was called “an acoustical marvel” by Nick Gordon. The hall’s unique construction has been a great accompanist to Music Mountain’s stunning aesthetic. “It’s an extraordinary place to hear a concert. It is both spiritual and beautiful,” said Mr. Gordon Jr.
About the Artistic Director
Oskar Espina-Ruiz will not only perform on this season’s roster, he is also the artistic director of Music Mountain. He has performed at major concert halls and festivals, including concerto performances at the Philharmonic Hall in St. Petersburg, Russia, and recitals in New York City, Washington DC, Moscow, Madrid, Tokyo, Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong and has appeared with a wide variety of string quarters, including the American, Shanghai, Cassatt, Escher and Daedalus string quartets. He has also performed with the Quintet of the Americas, pianists Victoria Schwartzman, Benjamin Hochman, Ursula Oppens and Anthony Newman, cellist David Geber (founder, American String Quartet) and Metropolitan Opera Orchestra artists. His concerto appearances include the St. Petersburg State Academic Symphony (Russia), St. Petersburg Chamber Philharmonic (Russia), Orquesta Sinfónica de la Ciudad de Asunción (Paraguay) and Bilbao Symphony (Spain).
Mr. Espina-Ruiz will be releasing a new album for clarinet and piano this 2018-2019 season with pianist Victoria Schwartzman, featuring works by Spanish-Basque composers Arriaga, Isasi and Donostia. He is also premiering chamber music works by David Ludwig and Carolina Heredia, and working on a new clarinet concerto dedicated to him by composer Alfonso Fuentes, which was partially previewed at the Music Mountain Academy in 2018.
Oskar Espina-Ruiz has been artistic director of the Music Mountain Festival since 2016, and the Treetops Chamber Music Society since 2006. Since 2011, he is also clarinet artist faculty at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts while keeping a robust concert schedule.
— Darby Swab