Located in the heart of the Litchfield Hills, the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival, presented by the Yale School of Music, celebrates its 73rd season this year with performances and residencies of internationally esteemed ensembles and chamber musicians alongside students and young professionals from around the world.
From June 14 to August 16 Norfolk will host a roster of outstanding ensembles including: the Artis Quartet, the Brentano Quartet, the Emerson String Quartet, the Leschetizky Trio (Vienna), the Yale Choral Artists, and San Francisco's Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra.
In 2014 the Norfolk Festival is proud to honor its patroness, Ellen Battell Stoeckel, who passed away seventy-five years ago, in 1939. It was her dream that resulted in the glorious Music Shed, and it was her wish that after she died, music would continue in the small village of Norfolk, CT through a summer school for the Yale School of Music.
Norfolk director Paul Hawkshaw says, "In keeping with Ellen Battell Stoeckel's wishes, our mission at Norfolk is to cultivate the performance and teaching of chamber music at the highest level. We always want our audiences, students, and performing artists to have fun exploring the chamber music repertoire, and this year we are especially fortunate to have a truly international group of performers for our audiences to enjoy."
Something new for Norfolk will this year's festival on Saturday, June 14. To honor Ellen Battell Stoeckel, and as a fund raising event for its educational programs, the Norfolk Festival is presenting an evening of classic big band music from the 30's and 40's, with dancing in the Music Shed. The Shed will be transformed into a supper club for the evening, with music provided by the Flipside Big Band directed by Thomas Duffy.
The following weekend is a choral program by the Yale Choral Artists, a new ensemble of 24 professional singers from around the country under the direction of the Yale Glee Club's Jeffrey Douma. The Choral Artists will perform a program of new music inspired by early works: J.S. Bach's motet Singet dem Herrn will be coupled with a new work by Sven-David Sandstrom; a work by Thomas Tallis will be paired with a new, Tallis-inspired piece by Ted Hearne; and a work by Josquin des Pres will be coupled with a new Josquin-inspired piece by Hannah Lash.
From July 4 to August 9 Norfolk will host a six-week Chamber Music Session. Among the twelve concerts each Friday and Saturday night in July and August will be a concert of string sextets pairing the Dvořák Sextet, Op 48, with Schoenberg's Verklärte Nacht; and a program of chamber music to celebrate the Fourth of July including works by Leonard Bernstein, Charles Griffes and Dvořák. Of special note is a program on July 11 honoring clarinetist Keith Wilson who was Director of the Norfolk Festival from 1960 to 1982. Richard Stoltzman will perform works by Hindemith, Peter Sculthorpe and Brahms' Clarinet Quintet.
On Friday, August 15 San Francisco's Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, under the direction of Nicholas McGegan (OBE) will return to Norfolk with a program of vocal and instrumental works by Corelli, Handel and Rameau. Soprano Celine Ricci and countertenor Robin Blaze join the orchestra in scenes from Handel's opera Teseo.
The Norfolk Festival, under the leadership of Paul Hawkshaw since 2004, includes a New Music Workshop led by composer Martin Bresnick and guitarist/composer Benjamin Verdery and special guest Bryce Dessner of the 'indie' band The National, a Lecture series, a Young Artists' Performance Series (Thursday nights and Saturday mornings; free admission), Festival Artist concerts (Friday and Saturday nights), and a Family Day on July 13. This year's festival concludes on August 16 with a performance of works for chorus and orchestra from the Renaissance to the contemporary by the
Norfolk Festival Chorus and Orchestra directed by Simon Carrington.
For tickets and information contact The Music Shed, 20 Litchfield Rd. (Rtes. 44 and 272) Norfolk by phone: 203-432-1966 or visit the website
www.norfolkmusic.org. For information on where to dine and stay in the Litchfield Hills www.litchfieldhills.com