Music Mountain Presents Ariel String Quartet, Bert Seager & More

Music Mountain Presents Ariel String Quartet, Bert Seager & More

Music Mountain, America's longest running summer chamber music festival, concludes its phenomenal 89th season! The distinguished and impassioned Ariel String Quartet performs an All-Mozart program with guest artist, Music Mountain's Artistic Director, Oskar Espina-Ruiz, Clarinet on Sunday, September 23 (3pm). The Twilight Series concludes on Saturday, September 22(6:30pm) with Bert Seager and The Why Not playing soulful original melodies and spontaneous improvisations.

"Music Mountain's 89th Season has moved us all at so many levels," explained Espina-Ruiz. "The whole season was dedicated to the memory of Nick Gordon, the north star of Music Mountain for over 43 years, who passed away in October, and it has attracted more people than ever before. This summer's 31 season-concerts, new collaborative community events, six-weeks of teaching programs, and the timeless magnificent music we presented, including the complete Beethoven Quartet Cycle by the Shanghai Quartet, have been a huge success."

Ariel String Quartet with guest artist, Music Mountain Artistic Director,Oskar Espina-Ruiz, Clarinet, offer the final chamber music concert of the season. The afternoon will be an all-Mozart program featuring String Quartet in B Flat Major, K. 589 "Prussian;" String Quartet in F Major, K. 590 "Prussian;" and Clarinet Quintet in A Major, K. 581.

Distinguished by its virtuosic playing and impassioned interpretations, the Ariel String Quartet has earned its glowing international reputation. The Washington Post noted their playing was with "exceptional boldness and confidence" and was "a blazing, larger-than-life performance." The ensemble was recently on tour in Israel and Europe with previous performances at the Lunenburg Academy of Music, the New England Conservatory, the Kennedy Center, and their debut at Carnegie Hall. The Ariel Quartet has been mentored extensively by Itzhak Perlman, Paul Katz, Donald Weilerstein, Miriam Fried, Kim Kashkashian, and Martha Strongin Katz, among others, and spent a formative year in Switzerland for in-depth studies with Walter Levin, the founding first violinist of the LaSalle Quartet. The Quartet serves as the Faculty Quartet-in-Residence at the University of Cincinnati's College-Conservatory of Music, where they direct the rigorous chamber music program and perform their own annual series of concerts in addition to their busy touring schedule.

Oskar Espina-Ruiz, clarinet and Music Mountain Artistic Director, has performed at major concert halls and festivals to high critical acclaim, including concerto performances at the Philharmonic Hall in St. Petersburg, Russia, and recitals in New York City, Washington DC, Moscow, Madrid, Tokyo, Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong. During the 2017-2018 season he is appearing in concert in Australia, China and the US, is getting back to the recording studio to record works by Arriaga and Isasi, and works on a new clarinet concerto dedicated to him by composer Alfonso Fuentes, to be premiered in 2019. Mr. Espina-Ruiz has appeared as soloist with the St. Petersburg State Academic Symphony (Russia), St. Petersburg Chamber Philharmonic (Russia), Orquesta Sinfónica de la Ciudad de Asunción (Paraguay) and Bilbao Symphony (Spain). His chamber music collaborations include the American, Shanghai, Cassatt, Escher and Daedalus string quartets, the Quintet of the Americas, pianists Victoria Schwartzman, Benjamin Hochman, Ursula Oppens and Anthony Newman, cellist David Geber (founder, American String Quartet) and Metropolitan Opera Orchestra artists. Mr. Espina-Ruiz has been described by the press as a "masterful soloist" and a "highly expressive" clarinetist. Since 2011 Mr. Espina-Ruiz has been on the clarinet artist faculty at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts.

Bert Seager and The Why Not play the final Twilight Concert of the season, mixing rhythms from diverse cultures to create unexpected improvised jazz. His compositions are filled with "effervescent optimism" (Cadence Magazine).

Pianist and composer Bert Seager has been a leading player on the jazz scene in Boston since 1981. He plays a varied program of originals, jazz classics and spontaneous music: always striving for transparency - framing each song's improvised narrative in a playful conversation. Mr. Seager has been a recipient of a National Endowment of the Arts grant for jazz. He is on the faculty of the New England Conservatory of Music.

The Why Not is a chamber-jazz quartet featuring piano, cello, upright bass, and hand percussion. These instruments bring listeners into unexpected sonic landscapes not usually associated with improvised jazz. Combined in new ways with dance rhythms from many cultures, the music makes one wonder what Schubert would have sounded like had he lived in Peru and played odd meters, or if Ravel had lived in Ghana and had been able to improvise over chord changes. The joyful expression of this musical intimacy, the shimmering transparency of the sound, and the sense that these musicians are as much involved in listening as in playing makes for compelling and memorable performances. Members include Cellist Catherine Bent, hand percussionist, Brian O'Neill, using an "organic drumset" of global instruments, and double bass player Ehud Ettun, together with pianist and composer Bert Seager. The band has toured extensively both in the United States and internationally in China, Hungary, Bulgaria, Ecuador, Peru, Canada, Israel, Jordan, and Japan.

The Saturday Evening Twilight Series features pre-concert dinners at the charming Falls Village Inn. Experience a piece of history built over 175 years ago that helped shape the history of Falls Village.

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 Connecticut Commission On Culture & Tourism and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Regularly scheduled Chamber Music Concerts are $35. Twilight Series Concerts are $30. Concert & Dinner Passes are available for all Twilight Series Concerts for $70; includes Pre-Concert Dinner (5pm) at The Falls Village Inn, a Litchfield County landmark - Classic American comfort fare, seasonal - and 6:30pm Twilight Concert at Music Mountain. Dinner reservations must be made no later than the Fridayprior to concert date by calling the Music Mountain box office at 860-824-7126.

Children ages 5-18 are admitted FREE to ALL CONCERTS when accompanied by a ticket holder. Saturday evening Twilight Concerts are at 6:30 pm. Sunday afternoon Chamber Music concerts are at 3 pm. Discounts apply through participating organizations. For a complete summer schedule, special ticket prices, and to download a ticket order form visit musicmountain.org or call (860) 824-7126.

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Music Mountain, 225 Music Mountain Road, Falls Village, CT 06031

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