Optimism rules at Ars Choralis. The chorus’s program last week, which I heard at Overlook Methodist Church on March 30, was entitled “The Poets Speak: Mending a Broken World.” The musical selections were interspersed with inspirational poetry, well read by Gilles Malkine, and included numerous brief works with positive themes.
Previous winners of this award include Aaron Copland, Yo-Yo Ma, Leonard Bernstein, Beverly Sills and John Williams.
The postponed Woodstock Symphony Orchestra concert, scheduled for January 19, still drew a sizeable audience to the Woodstock Playhouse on January 26. I continue to be favorably impressed by the work music director Jonathan Handman and his enlarged ensemble are doing together.
Saturday, Nov. 10: The chamber orchestra could play Mozart and Haydn, and maybe Beethoven, but certainly not Schumann, Brahms and Dvorák. It needed to expand.
The classical music event of the season is certainly the premiere performance of the newly reconstituted Woodstock Symphony Orchestra, a change of name which acknowledges the expansion of the Woodstock Chamber Orchestra into a larger ensemble which can perform works from the symphonic repertoire.
Sunday, October 14: Pianist Hiroko Sakurazawa introduces a new concert series in a new venue that doesn’t even have a piano. “George Tsontakis, one of our great local musicians and a friend, helped to find and contact these performers. Since there is no piano at the venue, George reached out to some of his friends, including harpist Nancy Allen [of the New York Philharmonic] and violinist Phil Setzer [of the Emerson Quartet]. I am grateful that we could have such distinguished performers here ‘in the middle of nowhere’.”
Maverick Concerts concluded its 2018 summer season with two full weekends of music.
Saturday, August 25: Maverick Concerts’ music director Alexander Platt has enlisted players from the Caroga Arts Ensemble; singers from the Phoenicia Festival of the Voice; and members of Actors & Writers to read the poems.
Trio con Brio Copenhagen’s playing of Beethoven’s “Ghost” Trio, Op. 70, No. 1 was about as fine a version of that piece as I’ve ever heard, vigorous and energetic with powerful accents, appropriately creepy in the second movement, and with very good balance.
July 10-27: The Festival is full of events open to the public, ranging from master classes to full-length recitals, but its main focus is on the 25 students who come from literally around the world to study with master teachers.