Orchestra of St. Luke's Announces Resonance Chamber Music Festival

Beginning in the 2016/2017 season, Orchestra of St. Luke's transforms its previous season-long three-concert chamber music series into an immersive, three-week chamber music festival. The Resonance Chamber Music Festival will include three concerts by St. Luke's Chamber Ensemble, presented at both the Morgan Library & Museum and Brooklyn Museum, as well as ancillary talks that reveal the history and social context of the music; museum tours and displays of music manuscripts; receptions with the artists; and more.

In its inaugural season, the festival will explore the life and works of Franz Schubert, including some of his best-loved chamber music compositions-the "Trout" Quintet and the "Cello" Quintet-and, arguably the genre the composer is most closely associated with, his vivid, emotive vocal music. On the final program, featuring the Octet, award-winning New York author Adam Gopnik will read his own reflections on Schubert and the intersections of life and music.

The festival opens with selected songs featuring guest soprano Ying Fang, a Metropolitan Opera star praised by The New York Times for her "pure and moving soprano, phrasing with scrupulous respect for the line." Songs on the program will include the charming Die Forelle ("The Trout"), which masterfully captures an onlooker's joy in watching fish swim free in a pond and dismay as they are caught, and Trockne Blumen ("Dry Flowers") from Die schöne Müllerin, a reflection on lost love. In his Variations on Trockne Blumen for flute and piano, also presented on this program, Schubert does not dwell on the somber emotions of the song, but creates a virtuosic tour de force, ending with a triumphant march. Concluding the program is the "Trout" Quintet, a five-movement work with the fourth movement's variations based on Die Forelle. With its dancing rhythms, lyrical melodies, and playful spirit, the "Trout" Quintet has been called the "happiest work in the world." Henry Kramer, described by The New York Times as a thrilling pianist, will bring exceptional energy and expressivity to these works. The program will be introduced by Grammy Award-winning composer Steven Mackey, who will lead a pre-concert discussion on writing music for voice.

The "Cello" Quintet-the centerpiece of the second festival program, which features music that was either unheard or unfinished in the composer's lifetime-is often considered Schubert's finest chamber music work. The "extra" cello that gives the piece its nickname also gives it a richer, darker sound compared to the more typical string quintet instrumentation with an added viola. That darkness is fascinatingly and beautifully at odds with the bright C Major key. The unfinished "Quartettsatz" Quartet was the first to reveal Schubert's true genius in the chamber music genre, even in its single movement.

The brilliantly orchestrated Octet, modeled after Beethoven's Septet, is defined by its driving energy, moments of melancholy peeking through, and the sense that Schubert is posing a question rather than providing an answer. This work will be the perfect complement to a reading by National Magazine Award winner Adam Gopnik, who will write reflections on Schubert specifically for this final festival program. Following the concert, Gopnik will engage the audience in a talk-back discussion. Gopnik-a writer for The New Yorker since 1986, a novelist, and an active lecturer-has also undertaken musical projects over the past five years as a lyricist and librettist. His personal love of Schubert's music led to his involvement in the first annual Resonance Chamber Music Festival.

Three-concert Festival Passes are on sale now and include access to exclusive preview events, pre- and post-concert talks, all-day admission to partner museums, related museum tours, and discounts at participating neighborhood restaurants the day of the performance.

Premium Passes, supporting the artistic activities of Orchestra of St. Luke's, include all of the Festival Pass benefits as well as an exclusive Schubertiade house concert with special guest Adam Gopnik, VIP festival-opening reception, acknowledgement in the Festival Book, and two tickets to Orchestra of St. Luke's opening night at the Caramoor Summer Season in June 2017.

Major support for the Resonance Chamber Music Festival is provided by Richard Gilder and the Ernst C. Stiefel Foundation.

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