The opening of Maverick Concerts’ 99th summer season this Saturday is an accomplishment – and true point of celebration – that reaches out to an international stage and audience. The place is magically situated in a unique concert hall in the deep woods that seems all windows at first glance. There’s a section of free bench seating for fans without the means to spend what it takes to sit inside the acoustically significant hall that has seen historic concerts throughout its years as the nation’s oldest continuous summer chamber music festival, which its devotees have long likened to a chapel.
Programmatically, the festival mixes world-renowned ensembles playing 19th-century classics to evenings featuring local jazz and pop players, afternoons for young people and regular gigs beyond description, but always reminiscentof the older Woodstock ethos to which even the 1969 festival owes allegiance.
Things kick off this Saturday, June 21 at 7 p.m. with a performance by the locally based Ars Choralis doing “Catskill Echoes: A Musical Legacy,” a program of Native American music, folksongs and music of and by Catskill Mountains musicians. The program, like many over the summer, repeats on Sunday, June 22 at 1 p.m. Visit https://arschoralis.org or call (845) 679-8587 for tickets to this one.
On Saturday, June 28 at 11 a.m., Erica Pickhardt and friends will lead a Young People’s Concert – the first of three over the summer. It is free for all under age 16 (and only $5 for those over). That evening, the fabulous and long-running Actors & Writers will present “A Beastly Evening” starting at 6:30 p.m. featuring short plays, poems, monologues and songs on the theme of beasts domesticated and feral, as well as the venue’s own special history. Admission is by donation at the door.
The next afternoon, Sunday, June 29 at 4 p.m., the renowned Shanghai Quartet with Benjamin Hochman on piano will make their Maverick debut doing a program of Haydn, Bright Sheng, Janáçek and Dvorák.
Things heat up in July with a Saturday, July 5, 6:30 p.m. concert of American classics from guitarist Benjamin Verdery, guitar; a Sunday, July 6, 4 p.m. offering of Thomas Ades, Janáçek and Beethoven by the Calder Quartet; a Saturday, July 12 morning Young People’s Concert with Kim and Reggie Harris; a 6:30 p.m. concert that same evening by solo jazz pianist Lara Downes, doing piano interpretations of Billie Holiday gems along with Impressionist pieces by Debussy, Prokofiev and Fauré; and then a Sunday, July 13 afternoon concert of Richard Strauss and Mozart from the EnsoString Quartet, with Frederic Chiu on piano.
Things start at 11 a.m. on Saturday, July 19 with another Young People’s Concert with the great Elizabeth Mitchell & Family; followed by a special Jazz at the Maverick concert that evening at 6:30 p.m. featuring the Harlem String Quartet doing a program with works by Chick Corea, Wynton Marsalis, Piston and Borodin. On the afternoon of Sunday, July 20, the Duo Parnas, two sisters, make their Maverick debut with Tim Kantor on viola playing Beethoven, Dohnányi and Andrew Norman. On Saturday, July 26, cellist Zuill Bailey and pianist Natasha Paremski will play works by Stravinsky, Rachmaninoff and Strauss at 6:30 p.m.; and at 4 p.m. on Sunday, July 27, the quartet Latitude 41 will play works by Dvorák, Russell Platt and Schubert.
In August, things kick off with an 11 a.m. Young People’s Concert with Marc Black, a true Woodstock entertainer for all ages; then an 8 p.m. Jazz at the Maverick concert with pianist Fred Hersch and Julian Lage on guitar; followed by a Sunday, August 3 afternoon concert with the Modigliani Quartet of Paris playing Saint-Saëns, Schumann and Ravel. On Friday night, August 8, Steve Gorn and Friends present a twilight selection of Indian ragas; while on Saturday morning, August 9 at 11 a.m., there will be a Young People’s Concert with the Amernet String Quartet & Friends doing Peter and the Wolf; a jazz concert with guitarist Perry Beekman that night at 8 p.m.; and a Sunday, August 10 afternoon program of Mahler, Dvorák, Schoenberg and Korngold with the Amernet String Quartet and pianist Jon Klibonoff.
On the evening of Saturday, August 16, Actors & Writers do a second summer program of memoirs. On Sunday afternoon, August 17, Trio Solisti performs piano-trio hits by Beethoven and Brahms; while on Saturday, August 23 the Chamber Orchestra Concert with mezzo-sopranos Lucy Shaufer and Maria Todaro presents “In the House of Don Manuel: An Extravaganza Celebrating the Friendship of Manuel de Falla and Federico García Lorca” starting at 6:30 p.m. On Sunday afternoon, August 24 the famed Jupiter String Quartet, with Ilya Yakushev on piano, presents “The World of Richard Strauss: Interpreting Tradition.” The next weekend, the Anthony Wilson Guitar Quartet plays Saturday night, August 30 at 8 p.m.; while the Pacifica Quartet plays a program focused on Elliot Carter on Sunday afternoon, August 31.
The season closes out with a homeyness in early September as Happy Traum and friends come out Saturday evening, September 6 to bid farewell to Pete Seeger; followed by a Concert for the Friends of Maverick on Sunday afternoon, September 7 with the American String Quartet.
If you’ve never been to the Maverick, you can’t miss it; what a treasure. If you have been there, go again: It keeps getting better while staying eternal.
Maverick Concerts’ 99th season, June 21-September 7, Maverick Concert Hall, off Maverick Road in West Hurley (near Woodstock); (845) 679-8217, www.maverickconcerts.org.