Saratoga Chamber Music Festival

Saratoga Performing Arts Center (SPAC) August 4 to 20

By: - Feb 11, 2013


The Escher String Quartet – hailed by the Washington Post “as one of the top young quartets” in the world today will open the 2013 Season of the Saratoga Chamber Music Festival on Sunday, August 4 in the Spa Little Theatre. The brilliant young Quartet, which has won the admiration of classical luminaries such as Pinchas Zukerman and Itzhak Perlman, is among the highlights of a stellar chamber music season that encompasses six distinct programs, August 4 – 20. The series is led by Artistic Director and world-renowned pianist André-Michel Schub.

“The Saratoga Chamber Music Festival is an engaging, exceptional series that has earned a well-deserved reputation for world-class music making,” said Marcia J. White, SPAC’s President & Executive Director. “This year’s festival builds on that outstanding tradition with a program that showcases several of classical music’s finest artists performing a remarkable range of chamber repertoire from the rare, to the innovative, to the beloved.” 

Considered one of the leading chamber ensembles of its generation, THE ESCHER QUARTET has already performed at the most prestigious venues and festivals around the world including Alice Tully Hall, the Kennedy Center, the Louvre, Ravinia, Wigmore Hall and BBC Proms. The group also completed a three-year residency as artists of The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center’s “CMS Two” program. In tribute to the centenary of the birth of composer Benjamin Britten (1913 – 1976), the Quartet’s 2013 schedule is highlighted by a series of concerts showcasing Britten’s three numbered quartets. One of those works – Britten’s rarely performed, but masterful String Quartet No. 3 – will highlight the Escher Quartet’s Saratoga program.

Returning to the Chamber Music Festival for the first time since 2005 is virtuoso GIL SHAHAM, an artist whose flawless technique and expressive interpretations have established him as one of the foremost violinists of our time.  The Grammy-winning artist headlines an August 6 program that also features his renowned wife, celebrated violinist ADELE ANTHONY and world-renowned clarinetist RICARDO MORALES. Anthony, whose career was launched after winning Denmark’s 1996 Carl Nielsen International Violin Competition, performs internationally as a soloist with orchestra, in recital and chamber music. Morales, principal clarinetist for The Philadelphia Orchestra, is sought after by the world’s leading orchestras and concert venues as a soloist and chamber musician. The three artists lead a program that will feature the autumnal and nostalgic Brahms Clarinet Quintet in B minor Op. 115, considered by many to be the composer’s finest chamber work.

Making a festival encore in 2013 is world-renowned violinist DAVID KIM, Concertmaster of The Philadelphia Orchestra. The violinist’s 2012 chamber music program was a favorite with audiences. Besides serving as the renowned orchestra’s concertmaster, Kim performs each season as a soloist with numerous orchestras around the world. In one review, the New York Times said, “the concertmaster’s superb, delicate solos were gold on gold.” The violinist leads an August 11 program that features favorite works from masters from three different eras: Stravinsky, Mozart and Brahms. The evening begins with Stravinsky’s charming Suite italienne, an arrangement of several movements from his Pulcinella ballet and ends with Brahms’ lyrical Piano Trio in B Major Op. 8.  The works bookend Mozart’s most famous work, the ebullient serenade Eine kleine Nachtmusik, better known as A Little Night Music. 

DAVID BOOTH, a member of The Philadelphia Orchestra since 1973, is a musician of exceptional versatility and acclaim. A member of the Orchestra’s second violin section, Mr. Booth often doubles on keyboard instruments. He was named harpsichordist in 1999 and also has been featured on piano, celesta, harmonium, organ, synthesizer, and accordion. That versatility will be on display in a unique August 13 program that will showcase his mastery of both the violin and piano. Booth will be performing on the violin with THE WISTER QUARTET, a celebrated chamber ensemble which he has been part of for over two decades, and on the piano with renowned pianist and Chamber Music Director André-Michel Schub for a rare performance of Schubert’s Fantasia in F minor for piano four-hands, the composer’s last and greatest contribution to the four-hand repertory.

Mr. Booth and his fellow musicians of The Wister Quartet will be performing Dmitri Shostakovich’s Piano Quintet in G minor, the composer’s most frequently performed chamber work and considered one of his best, and Alexander Borodin’s lighthearted, four-movement String Quartet No. 2 in D Major which contains the beautiful “Notturno,” one of the most famous movements Borodin ever wrote.

A featured work on the August 18 program will be composer Richard Danielpour’s A CHILD’S RELIQUARY, a beautiful, moving work written by Danielpour in the wake of the tragic death of a close friend’s young son. The three movement work for piano, cello and violin features a joyful, active middle movement surrounded by two contrasting elegies.

ANDRÉ-MICHEL SCHUB, the Artistic Director of the Chamber Music Festival, is a highly acclaimed pianist who performs on many of the series’ programs. The winner of the prestigious Van Cliburn International Piano Competition gold medal in 1981, Schub  has appeared with the Boston, Chicago and Detroit symphonies, the Cleveland and Philadelphia orchestras, the New York and Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Royal Concertgebouw, and the Bournemouth Symphony. Among his many awards are the 1974 Naumburg International Piano Competition and an Avery Fisher Recital Award in 1977. Schub, an artist member of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, has been described by the New York Times as "pianistically flawless... a formidable pianist with a fierce integrity."

Returning this season is EARLY ON TUESDAYS, a weekly conversation sponsored by Heinrich Medicus and hosted by André-Michel Schub at 7 p.m. before each Tuesday chamber music performance about the evening’s repertoire, the artists and classical music. Guests are encouraged to participate in the discussions with the goal of creating a fuller, richer arts experience. The program is part of an expanding repertoire of artist-initiated pre-talks that have become an important component of SPAC’s classical season.