J. Adams, selections from John’s Book of Alleged Dances; Flying Lotus, Clock Catcher; Remind U; Pilgrim Side Eye; Müller, Drifting Circles; Cole, Real Life; Glass, String Quartet No. 3, “Mishima”; Shaw, The Evergreen; Smith, Carrot Revolution
Our 2024 Season dates will be announced soon.
The legendary John Adams, 2022 composer-in-residence and co-curator of this week’s programs, shares the podium with Music Director Peter Oundjian in this can’t-miss concert, beginning with a commissioned work by Timo Andres, an exceptional composer personally selected by Adams. Adams’ own orchestral masterpiece City Noir brims with cinematic lyricism and yearning melodies. “The music should have the slightly disorienting effect of a very crowded boulevard peopled with strange characters,” says Adams, “...the kind who only come out very late on a very hot night.” John Adams’ son Samuel is a formidable composer in his own right, and a 2019 Guggenheim Fellow; his lyrical and haunting Chamber Concerto gives violinist Tessa Lark an opportunity to shine.
Now in its second year, Kaleidoscope brings back and builds upon the theatrical elements that audiences loved: lighting, cinematography, a hint of stage magic, and an atmosphere like no other concert. Kaleidoscope is infused with bold musical color and moments of surprise, pairing energetic (and accessible) contemporary music with mesmerizing soloists. This captivating performance centers around composer-in-residence and co-curator John Adams’ own Road Movies, which shifts through empty desert landscapes and “not unfamiliar roads.” Come experience something unique.
The Festival’s focus on today’s music continues as world-renowned conductor and Festival composer-in-residence/co-curator John Adams takes the podium to lead his off-beat and grooving Must the Devil Have All the Good Tunes? with the extraordinary Jeremy Denk at the piano — listen for a second “detuned honky-tonk piano” to add its voice. Music Director Peter Oundjian conducts the final symphony by Christopher Rouse, which The New York Times called Rouse’s Sixth “a haunting and profound farewell” true to the composer’s character: “all of Mr. Rouse — contemplative elegy, rowdy playfulness, eclectic homage — is in this score.” In her Tumblebird Contrails, composer Gabriella Smith calls to mind the Pacific Ocean and “keening gulls, pounding surf, rush of approaching waves, sizzle of sand, and sea foam in receding tide.”
The 2023 Robert Mann Chamber Series opens with the esteemed JACK Quartet. Hailed by The New York Times as “our leading new-music foursome,” the JACK Quartet maintains an unwavering commitment to giving voice to underheard composers. In the quartet’s New York Stories program, “Two masters of New York's downtown heyday, Philip Glass and John Zorn, bring stylistically divergent visions: a rollicking, romantic ride through a maze of patterns in Glass' epic String Quartet No. 5, and a peek into the catacombs in Manhattan's Upper West Side from John Zorn who brings medieval mystery to contemporary America. Caleb Burhans leads the listener in a healing ritual of absolution in Contritus, while Caroline Shaw pays homage to the father of the string quartet, Josef Haydn, in her Entr'acte. Morton Feldman finally reminds us of the pattern and structure all around us. New York: a city of Byzantine systems and countless ideas that defies tidy summary, but always fascinates and excites continued exploration.”
The Festival is honored to welcome none other than Pulitzer Prize-winning John Corigliano as 2023 composer-in-residence. Conducted by Music Director Peter Oundjian, this retrospective program examines three stages of Corigliano’s vast career, beginning with his pastoral Gazebo Dances. Corigliano penned the song cycle One Sweet Morning in commemoration of the 10th anniversary of the events of 9/11, borrowing text from four poems of varying intensity and ultimately ending with, as he explains, “the dream of a world without war – an impossible dream, perhaps, but certainly one worth dreaming.” The tender words of these poems are performed here by the highly sought-after mezzo-soprano Sasha Cooke. Corigliano’s most recent work is Triathlon, written for guest saxophonist Timothy McAllister, who returns to the Chautauqua stage after dazzling Festival audiences in 2022. Triathlon demonstrates McAllister’s musical athleticism in three dynamic movements which feature in turn soprano, alto, and baritone saxophone.
“Our national strength matters,” said President John F. Kennedy, “but the spirit which informs and controls our strength matters just as much.” This line and others appear in the libretto of the world premiere symphony JFK: The Last Speech, inspired by the celebration of poet Robert Frost which would become President Kennedy’s final speech. Composer Adolphus Hailstork says of JFK: The Last Speech, “My writing will reflect the autumn season, the solemnity of the moment, and the unique oratorical gifts of Kennedy the president, and the profound literary gifts of Frost the poet.” This landmark program begins with two additional world premiere performances; be the first to experience new music by rising star Jordan Holloway and Pulitzer Prize-nominated CU Boulder Professor of Composition Carter Pann, each commissioned by the Festival.
JFK: The Last Speech is a project of members of the Amherst Class of 1964 through their non-profit Reunion ’64, Inc. They had the privilege of witnessing President Kennedy deliver his last major speech, October 26, 1963. The symphony joins two earlier projects, a book, and documentary of the same title.
Music Director Peter Oundjian and the Festival are pulling out all the stops for an unforgettable season finale. In the second evening of a two-part preview performance, 2023 Artist-in-Residence Joshua Bell performs selections from Elements, an unparalleled work for violin and orchestra in five movements, each written by a different acclaimed composer. In this concert, Bell performs “Air” (composed by Jennifer Higdon) and “Earth” (Kevin Puts). Oundjian continues his tradition of ending the Festival with a grand work by Mahler; in his First Symphony Mahler celebrates the pure taste of victory after a struggle, guiding listeners through daydreams and darkness before rewarding them with a heroic ending and as much blinding joy as the horns can muster.
(A co-commissioned project with five major orchestras, Elements will receive formal premieres around the world beginning in September 2023. Hear it at the Festival first!)
Meet the Festival Fellows: eight aspiring professional musicians who receive coaching and performance opportunities through the Festival and its guest artists.
This excellent community music school is also the educational arm of our organization.