The Saratoga Chamber Music Festival, August 2-17,

Final Season for Music Director Chantal Juillet

By: - Apr 01, 2010

The Saratoga Chamber Music Festival, August 2-17, will be a Farewell Celebration Season for Music Director Chantal Juillet who founded the program in 1991 and who will mark her final season in that role in 2010. Over the past two decades, the renowned violinist has built the program into a highly acclaimed, innovative showcase for chamber music repertoire performed by renowned and emerging classical artists.  
“One of the brightest jewels in SPAC's classical season is the Saratoga Chamber Music Program. With extraordinary vision and a true passion for chamber music repertoire, Chantal Juillet founded this series in 1991, quickly establishing it as one of the most brilliant, dynamic and inventive chamber music programs anywhere,” said Marcia J. White, SPAC's President & Executive Director.

“Artists and audiences alike have become fans of ChantalÂ’s approach, which is to create innovative ensembles of Philadelphia Orchestra musicians and visiting guest soloists. The improvisational nature of the program creates an engaging, fresh experience,” said White. "Our 2010 season will be a celebration of ChantalÂ’s rich legacy and 20 years of brilliant, beautiful music." 

Former child prodigy and Avery Fisher Prize-winning violinist SARAH CHANG performs with ANDREW VON OEYEN, 1999 Gilmore Award Winner and internationally acclaimed pianist (Aug. 3). The pair, who recently performed together in a 30-city tour of Europe, the U.S. and Asia, filled concert halls and generated glowing reviews from critics, including La Scena Musicale's, L.H. Tiffany Hsieh who praised the "instrumental duoÂ’s evident chemistryÂ…" and noted that "Chang delivered her signature big, luscious sound," which was "matched perfectly by Von OeyenÂ’s deep and full-range tone on the piano." Chang, who regularly performs with the world's major orchestras and esteemed conductors, has most recently recorded the violin concertos of Brahms and Bruch.  
Described in a New York Times headline as “A String Quartet That Can Easily Morph into a Jazz Band,” the Paris-based EBÈNE QUARTET makes its SPAC debut during the 2010 season (Aug. 17). The 2009 winner of GramophoneÂ’s coveted “Recording of the Year” award for its album of quartets by Debussy, Ravel and Faure, the group has rapidly become known as one of the finest quartets of its generation.  The Quartet (Pierre Colombet and Gabriel Le Magadure on violins, Mathieu Herzog on viola, and Raphaël Merlin on cello), formed in 1999 is regularly praised for its mastery, elegance, density and versatility. Although its focus is classical repertoire, the Quartet moves with ease between different musical styles. In his March 09 review, NYT classical music critic Allan Kozinn, describes how the four musicians first performed Haydn and Debussy before performing their own arrangement from the movie “Pulp Fiction”, improvising to Chick CoreaÂ’s “ Spain ”, and finally closing with an encore in which the quartet unveils the vocal talents of an excellent a capella quartet. Kozinn observes, "it would be hard to say which version of the Ebène quartet is more pleasing; but then, you donÂ’t have to."
The famed KALICHSTEIN-LAREDO-ROBINSON TRIO makes their first appearance at SPAC (Aug. 2). Since their debut at the White House for President CarterÂ’s Inauguration in January 1977, pianist Joseph Kalichstein, violinist Jaime Laredo and cellist Sharon Robinson have established the ensemble as one of the eminent trio ensembles in the world.  The group, each highly acclaimed soloists in their own right, is one of the only chamber ensembles with all its original members. The Trio performs regularly at Carnegie Hall, the 92nd Street Y in New York , and the Kennedy Center . The New York Times described the Trio as "one of the best-blended, most sensitive, and intelligent piano trios in the world today."
The 200th Anniversary of the birth of brilliant composer Robert Schumann will be recognized in a special August  9 program. Schumann, one of the greatest composers of Romantic music, was also the first Romantic composer to pair the piano with the string quartet in Quintet for Piano and Strings in E-flat Major Op. 44, his most successful chamber work. This important Schumann composition is the final piece on the evening's program. Piano virtuosos, JEAN-YVES THIBAUDET and KIRILL GERSTEIN headline the concert which also features works by Dohnanyi and Faure. Thibaudet, hailed by the press as "one of the best pianists in the world," is a versatile musician known for his mastery of color, nuance and rhythmic intricacies. The Russian-born Gerstein, one of the most extraordinary classical artists of his generation, was recently awarded the prestigious Gilmore Artist Award. 
THE WISTER QUARTET, one of Philadelphia 's foremost chamber music ensembles, presents an August 10 program.  The Grammy-nominated quartet has earned high praise from critics and audiences alike for its stellar musicianship and performances, including those with guest artists such as Yo-Yo Ma, Emanuel Ax and Wolfgang Sawallisch. Named to honor Frances Anne Wister, the founder of The Philadelphia OrchestraÂ’s Volunteer Committees, the members of the Wister Quartet have all had a long association with the Orchestra.  
The legendary intensity and virtuosity of pianist ANDRÉ WATTS will be on display in a program of piano works by Chopin, Schubert and Liszt (Aug. 15). For the famous Brahms Trio for clarinet, cello and piano in A Minor , Op. 11.   Watts will be  joined by cellist SOPHIE SHAO and Philadelphia Orchestra principal clarinetist RICARDO MORALES. Shao, one of the leading cellists of her generation, is a winner of the Avery Fisher Career Grant as well as the 2001 Rostropovich and 2002 Tchaikovsky competitions. Lauded by the New York Times for her "eloquent, powerful” interpretations, Shao is a highly sought-after chamber musician.
"Chantal leaves behind a series that has become more engaging, more vibrant with each passing year. That strong, incredible legacy is a wonderful gift to SPAC and one that we will build on, going forward. I invite everyone to join us at the Little Theatre this summer to say 'thank you' to Chantal and to celebrate twenty magnificent, meaningful years," White concluded.