Harlem Quartet and Swingtime Big Band Come to Music Mountain

(July 12 — Falls Village, CT) America’s longest running summer chamber music festival, Music Mountain, continues its 90th season with Harlem Quartet presenting a program of works by Debussy, Franck, Bolcom and Gabriela Lena Frank on Sunday, July 28 (3pm). The weekend kicks off on Saturday, July 27 (5pm) with Swingtime Big Band, rocking the house with swing and American Songbook classics.

The New York-based Harlem Quartet performs Debussy’s String Quartet in G Minor, Op. 10; Gabriela Lena Frank’s: Milagros (Miracles) for string quartet (a Music Mountain debut); William Bolcom’s Three Rags for String Quartet; and Franck’s Piano Quintet in F Minor.

Since Harlem Quartet had its public debut at Carnegie Hall in 2006, it has thrilled audiences in North, Central and South America, Europe and South Africa, “bringing a new attitude to classical music, one that is fresh, bracing and intelligent.” (Cincinnati Enquirer)  The Quartet is currently serving a three-year residency at London’s prestigious Royal College of Music.

The New York Times has praised the Quartet’s “panache,” and critic Julian Haylock, reviewing their 2010 recording of string quartets by Walter Piston on NAXOS, called the group a “formidable ensemble whose members play highly demanding scores with infectious vitality, breezy confidence and (most importantly) affectionate warmth.” Composer William Bolcom remarked that Harlem Quartet can “perform the classics very well, but few other quartets swing correctly when playing music that requires that, and few other groups can call up so many authentic playing styles from all over the world.”

In addition to performing a varied menu of string quartet literature, Harlem Quartet has collaborated with distinguished artists including violinist Itzhak Perlman; cellist Carter Brey; clarinetist Paquito D’Rivera; pianist Misha Dichter; and jazz legends Chick Corea and Gary Burton.  Harlem Quartet has been featured on CNN, NBC’s Today Show and WQXR-FM, and it performed in 2009 for President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama at the White House.

New York-based Canadian pianist Francine Kay has performed extensively as a soloist and chamber musician in Europe, North America and Asia, at venues such as Carnegie Hall, Weill Recital Hall, Lincoln Center, Salle Gaveau, The National Gallery and many others. She has been a soloist with orchestras including the Toronto Symphony, the Princeton Symphony, New York’s West Side Chamber Orchestra, the Manitoba Chamber Orchestra and Orchestra London.

Swingtime Big Band returns for its twelfth consecutive summer at Music Mountain with a fun new program of classic tunes from the Great American Songbook – all inspired by names of people, characters and places! Plus, the band’s 2019 Centennial celebrations include 100th-Birthday tributes to jazz legends George Shearing and Mercer Ellington, and star vocalists Anita O’Day and Nat King Cole!

Audiences all over the region have enjoyed Swingtime’s authentic renditions of big-band-era classics (performed as originally recorded) by the the likes of Count Basie, Artie Shaw, Glenn Miller, Benny Goodman, Duke Ellington and many more.  The 20-piece band brings to life this uniquely American music for today’s audiences to experience in living color. Swingtime’s vocalists, Bobbie Ruth and Jerry Costanzo, recreate the stylings of the era’s legendary singers, including Peggy Lee, Ella Fitzgerald, Nat “King” Cole, Dean Martin, the immortal Frank Sinatra and many others. Leading the band is saxophonist and artistic director Steve Shaiman, whose informative historical tidbits about both the music and the bandleaders have become a much-loved part of the show.

Swingtime was recognized for its work in “perpetuating, promoting & performing with integrity the sounds of the Big Band Era” by the Big Band Hall of Fame in 2007, and has been featured at Lincoln Center’s renowned Midsummer Night Swing festival. The band’s latest CD, “In Living Color,” is a compilation of recent live concert performances, and it follows the band’s best-selling debut disc, “Live…From New York.”

Music Mountain is located in Falls Village, Connecticut on Music Mountain Road, where a short scenic drive will bring you to Gordon Hall atop Music Mountain. Free parking and picnic facilities are available. Music Mountain is supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts, Connecticut State Department of Economic and Community Development Office of the Arts, the Peter N. Krysa Designated Fund of Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation, and two funds of the Northwest Connecticut Community Foundation, Inc.: the Khurshed Bhumgara Fund and the Lucia Tuttle Fritz Fund.

Chamber music concerts continue with Emerson String Quartet (August 4); St. Petersburg String Quartet (August 11); St. Petersburg String Quartet and Piano Quartet (August 18); and Cassatt String Quartet (August 25).

The Saturday Evening Twilight Series continues with Michael Berkeley & No Tune Like a Show Tune (August 3); Wolverine Jazz Band (August 10); the Barbara Fasano Trio Featuring Eric Comstock (August 17); and the Galvanized Jazz Band (August 24).

Specially Priced Concerts include: Labor Day Benefit Concert & Reception on Sunday, September 1. All tickets $75. Special Concert to Celebrate the Completion of the 90th Anniversary Season on Sunday, September 22. All tickets: $60.

Regularly scheduled Chamber Music Concerts are $39. Twilight Series Concerts are $34. Children ages 5-18 are admitted FREE to ALL CONCERTS when accompanied by a ticket holder.

Saturday evening Twilight Concerts are at 5 pm. Sunday afternoon Chamber Music concerts are at 3 pm. Discounts apply through participating organizations. For a complete summer schedule, special ticket prices and promotions, visit musicmountain.org or call (860) 824-7126.

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