A welcome sign of the community’s gradual “return to normalcy” is the announcement of Caramoor’s Summer Season, which will feature 35 live, in-person performances in a seven-week festival, followed by two post-season concert series.
In order to comply with New York state health and safety guidelines and requirements, seating will be limited and socially distanced, and all performances will be outdoors. Concerts will all be between 60 and 90 minutes in duration with no intermission.
Caramoor members have an opportunity to purchase tickets in a pre-sale until Sunday, April 25; tickets go on sale to the general public Monday, April 26.
The season kicks off with an opening night gala June 19 featuring Pulitzer Prize and nine-time Grammy winning trumpeter, Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra. It includes a celebratory pre-concert dinner.
Other season highlights include world premieres of new Caramoor commissions, as well as U.S. and New York premieres of important new works. The season will include solo recitals by pianists Richard Goode and Conrad Tao, as well as guitarist JiJi; a special 91st birthday celebration for Stephen Sondheim; and a Pops & Patriots concert.
The diverse lineup of artists and ensembles will include Alarm Will Sound, Apollo’s Fire, Chanticleer, Leonidas Kavakos, Amjad Ali Khan & Sharon Isbin, Pekka Kuusisto, Joan Osborne, Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, PUBLIQuartet, So Percussion, The Crossing, The Knights, Verona Quartet with David Fung, and Orchestra of St. Luke’s, Caramoor’s orchestra-in-residence for the past 42 summers.
The summer will also feature the return of the annual Jazz Festival July 31, as well as the American Roots Music Festival July 24.
There will be two unique experiential, site-specific works, by John Luther Adams and Donald Nally. “The Forest,” to be presented July 3, was created in response to the pandemic and the particular problems it presents for choral performance. Singers in The Crossing, the ensemble conducted by Mr. Nally, will be placed 30-feet apart from one another in Caramoor’s wooded grounds, where audience members will follow a special route at socially distanced intervals, to experience the immersive musical soundscape as they walk. Set to a libretto based on the singers’ own recollections of lockdown isolation, the music “creates an otherworldly atmosphere of peace and serenity, providing a sense of hope in a dark time,” according to Opera Wire.
The second site-specific piece, on July 11, is Mr. Adams’ “Ten Thousand Birds” performed by the Alarm Will Sound ensemble. The performance, inspired by the birdsong that is heard in the cycle of a day, will feature a pre-concert conversation by Artistic Director Alan Pierson. This event will be free to the public.
“I am thrilled to join Caramoor at this much anticipated moment as we launch our return to live in-person concerts,” Caramoor’s new president and CEO, Ed Lewis, told The Record-Review. “With the safety of our audience and artists a priority, the team has been working diligently to design a full summer season of world class performances, as well as to create opportunities for the public to enjoy our sound art installations, the Rosen House and our newly renovated grounds and gardens.”
Mr. Lewis continued, “This past Monday we exceeded all of our historic sales figures for the first day of our members’ pre-sale. That’s excellent news, and it tells us that audiences are ready to come back as well as just how much they value their Caramoor experience.”
Mr. Lewis said that currently Caramoor does not plan to stream the summer concerts, noting “our focus is on returning to the essence of the live in-person Caramoor experience. We are, however, offering both in-person and virtual options for the Opening Night Gala. Digital content will play a role in Caramoor’s future, but this summer we are all about ‘live.’”
Mr. Lewis officially begins his duties at Caramoor May 1. Most recently, he was vice chancellor for advancement at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts. He is also an accomplished violist who has been a member of the Dallas Opera and Dallas Chamber Orchestras.
The post-festival season will feature three “Concerts on the Lawn” with the all-woman Mariachi group Flor de Toloache on Aug. 13, bluegrass group Della Mae on Aug. 20, and jazz vocalist Shenel Johns on Aug. 27. Also, there will be three “Beginner's Ear” programs returning on Sundays in late summer — Aug. 15, 29 and Sept. 12. Moderated by New York Timeswriter Corinna da Fonseca-Wollheim, each is designed to bring mindfulness to the concert experience via a guided meditation, followed by musical performances set in nature.
In addition to attending concerts, visitors are also welcome to come to Caramoor to explore over 80 acres of woodlands, newly renovated grounds and gardens for socially distant walks and picnics in nature. They will also be able to discover the site-specific sound art installations of Sonic Innovations, Fridays through Sundays, from June 11 to Oct. 10, with free admission and no concert ticket needed. Visitors are asked to check the Caramoor website for details because on certain Sundays there will be a charge for admission since there will be afternoon concerts that can be enjoyed from the gardens.
“We’re so fortunate that our outdoor venues enable us to have a full concert season this summer,” said Caramoor Artistic Director Kathy Schuman. “Despite some operational differences, this year’s program remains as robust and varied as ever.”
Ms. Schuman remarked, “We can’t wait to welcome audiences back to Caramoor for programs that run the gamut from the celebratory to reflective. I think we’ve all deeply missed the kind of magical experience that comes from sharing live music in the company of others.”
Caramoor is located at 149 Girdle Ridge Road, Katonah.