Filling the days with music

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Boscobel will host its first chamber festival

After the departure this year of the Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival, which had been a summer tenant at Boscobel for more than 30 years, the historic site in Garrison had 150 days to fill.

“It was important for us as an organization to think about what the unique experiences of Boscobel could be, so that visitors could appreciate us not just as a stage, but as a major player,” says Jennifer Carlquist, its director and executive curator. .

One of those experiences will be the first Boscobel Chamber Music Festival, with a performance by the Emerson String Quartet on Saturday (September 3) and three more concerts through September 11.

“We felt we needed to present programs that matched the high quality set for us by the incomparably beautiful landscape,” she says. “We looked to our core values ​​to guide us in a process of developing what we want to do.”

Those values, she says, include the natural history, Boscobel’s location in the Hudson River Valley and its 18th-century neoclassical mansion.

A music festival felt like the right fit, she says. There have been field concerts for a while, but nothing connected them.

As the pandemic wore off, many arts organizations contacted Boscobel looking for venues, Carlquist says. At the same time, Arnaud Sussmann, a New York City resident who is artistic director of the Palm Beach Chamber Music Association, asked if Boscobel would be interested in joining forces. Both organizations were interested in expanding their reach, particularly by attracting high-caliber musicians, Carlquist explains, and Boscobel didn’t want to be “just the setting for a festival, but rather a part of it.”

With Sussmann’s help and after much planning, the Chamber Music Festival emerged. It will open with the Emerson String Quartet, as the first stop on a year-long farewell tour. Will perform Ravel’s String Quartet in F Major and Beethoven’s String quartet no. 8 in E minor, Op. 59 no. 2.

Festival artists include violinists Jennifer Frautschi and Stella Chen; violist Milena Pajaro-van de Stadt; cellists David Requiro and Nicholas Canellakis; double bassist Blake Hinson; pianist Gloria Chien; and clarinetist Alexander Fiterstein.

Pajaro-van de Stadt, Chien, Sussmann, Frautschi, and Chen (Photos provided)

The festival wanted to give visiting musicians a more complete experience than the standard arrive, rehearse, perform, leave model. So Boscobel arranged for them to stay with local hosts, attend a free concert on Thursday (Sept. 1) and visit local attractions like the Storm King Art Center and the Cold Spring Farmers Market, as well as do some hiking. .

“Musicians are responding extremely positively to the whole program,” says Carlquist. “They name it as one of the reasons they said yes” to the invitation to perform.

Musicians will also interact with students, from kindergarten to college, with Q&As and classes. A family concert is planned for September 11th and the musicians will have open rehearsals for children on September 1st and 8th. Reservations are required through the schools or by calling Boscobel.

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September 3
Emerson String Quartet
Ravel: String Quartet in F Major
Beethoven: String quartet no. 8

in Minor, Op. 59 no. 2

September 5
Chamber music on the lawn
Brahms: Clarinet Quintet in B minor, Op. 115
Mozart: Clarinet Quintet, K. 581

September 10
Schubert’s Trout Quintet
Schubert: Piano Quintet in A major, D. 667 “Trout”
Vaughan-Williams: Piano Quintet in C minor

September 11
Family Concert

“It’s such a critical time to rekindle interest in music because so many kids put down their instruments during the pandemic and never picked them up,” Carlquist says. “All the cancellations of school trips ruined many children’s chances of hearing live music, some for what would have been the first time.”

Some shows will take place on the Great Lawn, but most will take place in the West Meadow in a new 5,000-square-foot space with air conditioning and Wi-Fi.

“We needed a space like this to launch this festival,” says Carlquist. “There is no such thing as a rain date; instruments must be protected. The beauty of this design is that it was carefully worked with sound engineers so that our neighbors would not be disturbed. When you are in that pavilion, you feel like you are in a garden.

“This is our debut season,” says Carlquist, “and we hope it continues and grows.”

Boscobel is located at 1601 Route 9D in Garrison. For program details, see Festival tickets range from $25 to $85, with a 20 percent discount for Boscobel members. There will be a free shuttle every 20 minutes from the Cold Spring train station starting two hours before each concert and for one hour after. Face masks and proof of vaccination or a recent negative test (72 hours) are required for indoor performances.

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