Principal Conductor-Designate Bernard Labadie Makes Orchestra of St. Luke’s Debut, Celebrating the Orchestra’s Summer Residency at Caramoor
Hailed as “one of the most versatile and galvanic ensembles in the U.S.” (WQXR), Orchestra of St. Luke’s (OSL) was first formally founded at Caramoor 38 years ago, and has long made the idyllic estate its summer home. Fittingly, then, it is at Caramoor – 90 acres of picturesque Italianate architecture and gardens in Katonah, Westchester, just one hour’s drive from Manhattan – that French-Canadian conductor Bernard Labadie makes his eagerly anticipated OSL debut this summer, before launching a four-year tenure as the ensemble’s new Principal Conductor in the fall of 2018. One of the world’s foremost exponents of 18th-century repertoire, Labadie leads an all-Mozart program, pairing three early symphonies with the charming Concerto for Flute and Harp (July 2).
Under the leadership of current Principal Conductor Pablo Heras-Casado, now poised to become the orchestra’s first Conductor Laureate, OSL anchors the annual Summer Season Finale, a program of Schumann and Liszt featuring Jean-Yves Thibaudet – one of only two classical pianists to be inducted into the Hollywood Bowl Hall of Fame – as soloist (July 30). Rounding out the summer residency, OSL also collaborates with Caramoor’s two 2017 artists-in-residence, joining Grammy Award-winning guitarist Jason Vieaux for a summertime mix of Baroque and tango (July 16) and Metropolitan Opera star soprano Angela Meade for both a semi-staged performance of Bellini’s Il pirata (July 8) and the opening-night gala concert, “A Night of Italian Opera” (June 17). Both operatic events will be conducted by Caramoor’s departing Director of Opera Will Crutchfield, and recorded for broadcast on WQXR, New York City’s only dedicated classical station.
Jeffrey Haydon, CEO of Caramoor, said:
“For nearly 40 years, Caramoor has been pleased to have Orchestra of St. Luke’s in residence each summer and to have hosted the first moment for many of its Principal Conductors to perform with the orchestra. This summer, we are thrilled to welcome Bernard Labadie to Caramoor to conduct Orchestra of St. Luke’s in an all-Mozart program and to bring his acclaimed expertise in this repertoire to our audiences.”
Since its formal founding at the historic Westchester estate back in 1979, Orchestra of St. Luke’s has enjoyed an intimate and enduring partnership with Caramoor. Just as Labadie looks forward to making his OSL debut there this summer, it was at Caramoor six years ago that the orchestra first played under the direction of Heras-Casado, whose rapport with the ensemble was such that before the year was out he had already been named its Principal Conductor.
Labadie makes Caramoor and OSL debuts with all-Mozart program (July 2)
Labadie’s first appearance with Orchestra of St. Luke’s also marks his Caramoor debut, for which he leads three early Mozart symphonies – No. 17 in G, K. 129, No. 29 in A, and “La finta giardiniera” – and the Flute and Harp Concerto, with Elizabeth Mann, OSL’s principal flute, and Emmanuel Ceysson, principal harp of the MET Orchestra. Being a Classical-period specialist, Labadie boasts a stellar Mozartean track record. As the New York Times’s Corinna da Fonseca-Wollheim observed, he succeeded in leading the New York Philharmonic and the New York Choral Artists in “a glowing performance of the Requiem that was one of the most cohesive I have heard.” And the opportunity to focus on a single composer is one the conductor particularly appreciates, as he explained to the Los Angeles Times:
“I like one composer, one language, one universe. Rehearsal time is so limited, you want to make the most of it. And it’s easier to make the most if you dig down in a concentrated way. If you’re doing Mozart, Brahms, Tchaikovsky, you’re dealing with three completely different worlds. It’s difficult to find the right sound. [As conductors,] our job is to make the energy circulate, to make it go from dots on paper to the musicians, who then carry the result to the audience. The conductor has not made a single sound by himself. We’re just a vehicle – a way of transmitting the energy.”
Heras-Casado leads OSL and Thibaudet in Season Finale (July 30)
As has become traditional, OSL helps draw Caramoor’s summer season to a close. This year’s Season Finale will be led by Heras-Casado, Musical America’s 2014 Conductor of the Year, with whom the orchestra enjoys rare chemistry; as the New York Times observes, “Under the leadership of its firebrand music director, Pablo Heras-Casado, this is an ensemble to watch.” Their program pairs Schumann’s ultimately triumphant Second Symphony with the music of Liszt; the Hungarian composer’s Les Préludes opens the concert and his Second Piano Concerto forms the program’s centerpiece, with Jean-Yves Thibaudet as soloist. A two-time Grammy nominee who recently received a lifetime achievement award from Victoires de la Musique, the French pianist currently serves as Artist-in-Residence with the Orchestre National de France, Vienna Symphony, and Los Angeles’ Colburn School. When he performed the same concerto with the Czech Philharmonic at Carnegie Hall, the New York Times reported:
“Thibaudet was the excellent soloist, bringing just the right flair to the work’s built-in flamboyance. He played brilliantly and seemed scarcely to break a sweat in the cascading scales and crashing octaves.”
Artist-in-Residence Jason Vieaux leads OSL from guitar (July 16)
OSL makes its penultimate appearance of the summer in the company of 2017 Artist-in-Residence Jason Vieaux, an established festival favorite, who is “perhaps the most precise and soulful classical guitarist of his generation” (NPR). Vieaux leads the orchestra from the guitar in Vivaldi’s Guitar Concerto in D before partnering with his regular collaborator, bandoneon virtuoso Julien Labro, in the latter’s own orchestral arrangement of Piazzolla’s Cuatro Estaciones Porteñas (The Four Seasons of Buenos Aires) after which Grammy-nominated OSL concertmaster Krista Bennion Feeney undertakes the violin solo and leads the orchestra in Vivaldi’s beloved original (July 16).
Opening-night gala (June 17) and final opera in Bel Canto at Caramoor series (July 8)
OSL also plays a vital role in opera at Caramoor. After last season’s Bel Canto at Caramoor presentation – the American premiere of Rossini’s Aureliano in Palmira, the Huffington Post declared:
“Will Crutchfield, the Orchestra of St. Luke’s, and a cast of impressive singers made some operatic history this weekend… [The orchestra’s] presence is a gift to the opera program. Tight ensemble and vigorous playing brought both drive and polish.”
This summer marks the 20th and final season of Bel Canto at Caramoor, and the orchestra serves as the cornerstone of the final offerings in the series. These both feature departing Director of Opera Will Crutchfield, whose “stylistic authority” is, as the Financial Times notes, “unmatched in this repertoire in the US,” and showcase the exceptional artistry of 2017 Artist-in-Residence Angela Meade, “the most talked-about soprano of her generation” (Opera News). Having first catapulted to international prominence at Caramoor, Meade returns to star in this year’s operatic centerpiece – a semi-staged production of Bellini’s Il pirata (July 8), in which she makes her eagerly anticipated role debut – and also in its festive opening-night gala concert, “Celebrating 20 years of Bel Canto at Caramoor with A Night of Italian Opera” (June 17). A program of favorite Italian arias, duets, and ensembles bookended by the iconic overture and finale from Rossini’s William Tell, the concert will be complemented by the opening-night gala, which includes a celebratory pre-concert cocktail reception and dinner, premium concert seating in the Venetian Theater, and an “After Dark” party for post-concert drinks, dancing, and desserts.
For the fourth consecutive year, Caramoor partners with WQXR, New York City’s classical music station. This season’s broadcasts will capture the opening-night gala, broadcast live on Classical 105.9 WQXR, Classical 90.3 FM Ossining, and streamed at www.wqxr.org, while the performance of Il pirata, will be recorded and broadcast this fall on WQXR, and distributed nationally by the WFMT Radio Network.
Caramoor is a performing arts center located on a unique 90-acre setting of Italianate architecture and gardens in Westchester County, NY. It enriches the lives of its audiences through innovative and diverse musical performances of the highest quality. Its mission also includes mentoring young professional musicians and providing educational programs for young children centered around music. Audiences are invited to come early to explore the beautiful grounds, tour the Rosen House, listed in the National Register of Historic Places, and on special Sundays, enjoy a delicious Afternoon Tea or unwind with a pre-concert picnic, and discover beautiful music in the relaxed settings of the Venetian Theater, Spanish Courtyard, and the magnificent gardens. Summer concerts take place in two outdoor theaters: the acoustically superb Venetian Theater, which seats approximately 1,500, and the more intimate, romantic Spanish Courtyard, which seats around 470. In the fall and winter, concerts are presented in the magnificent Music Room in the Rosen House. Caramoor’s gardens, also used for concerts and the sound exhibition Sonic Innovations, are well worth the visit and include nine unique perennial gardens. Among them are a Sense Circle for the visually impaired, the Sunken Garden, a Butterfly Garden, the Tapestry Hedge, and the Iris and Peony Garden.
Getting to Caramoor
Getting to Caramoor is simple by car, train or public transportation. All parking is free and close to the performance areas. Handicapped parking is also free and readily available.
By car from New York City, take the Henry Hudson Parkway north to the Saw Mill River Parkway north to I-684 north to Exit 6. Go east on Route 35 to the traffic light (0.3 miles). Turn right onto Route 22 south, and travel 1.9 miles to the junction of Girdle Ridge Road where there is a green Caramoor sign. At the junction, veer left and make a quick right onto Girdle Ridge Road. Continue on Girdle Ridge Road 0.5 miles to the Caramoor gates on the right. Approximate drive time is one hour.
By train from Grand Central Station, take the Harlem Division Line of the Metro-North Railroad heading to Southeast, and exit at Katonah. Caramoor is a 3.5-mile drive from the Katonah station, where taxi service is always available and free shuttle service is available for select performances. For current information, check the Metro-North schedule.
For the performances of Il pirata and Petite Messe Solennelle, Caramoor offers ticketed, round-trip transportation from NYC on the Caramoor Coach, a luxury air-conditioned coach traveling from Grand Central/Lexington Ave to Caramoor’s front door and back. To learn more, contact the Box Office.
Orchestra of St. Luke’s at Caramoor, summer 2017
Opening Night Concert & Gala:
Celebrating 20 years of Bel Canto at Caramoor with A Night of Italian Opera
Artist-in-Residence Angela Meade, soprano
Santiago Ballerini, tenor
Harold Wilson, bass
Bel Canto Young Artists
Orchestra of St. Luke’s / Will Crutchfield
Rossini: Guillaume Tell Overture, final rondo (OSL)
Verdi: “Va, pensiero, sull’ali dorate” from Nabucco (chorus)
Verdi: “Ah, dagli scanni eterei” from Aroldo (Meade)
Bellini: “A te, o cara” from I puritani (Ballerini, 3 BCYA soloists, chorus)
Thomas: “Enfant chéri” from Le Caïd (Wilson)
Mozart: “Der Hölle Rache” from Die Zauberflöte (BCYA soloist)
Bellini: “Tu! Sciagurato! Ah, fuggi … Bagnato dalle lagrime” from Il pirata (Meade, Ballerini)
Verdi: “Qui Radamès verrà…O patria mia” from Aida (Meade)
Donizetti: “Chi mi frena” from Lucia di Lammermoor (6 BCYA soloists, chorus)
Mascagni: Intermezzo from Cavalleria Rusticana (OSL)
Donizetti: “Pour mon âme quel destin” from La fille du régiment (Ballerini)
Rossini: Final hymn from Guillaume Tell (tutti)
Orchestra of St. Luke’s / Bernard Labadie
Mozart: Symphony No. 17 in G, K. 129
Mozart: Concerto for Flute and Harp in C, K. 299 (with OSL’s Elizabeth Mann, flute; Emmanuel Ceysson, harp)
Mozart: Symphony in D, K. 196/121 “La finta giardiniera”
Mozart: Symphony No. 29 in A, K. 201
Bel Canto at Caramoor
Bellini: Il pirata
Artist-in-Residence Angela Meade, soprano (Imogene)
Santiago Ballerini, tenor (Gualtiero)
Harold Wilson, bass (Ernesto)
Bel Canto Young Artists
Orchestra of St. Luke’s / Will Crutchfield, conductor
Orchestra of St. Luke’s
Jason Vieaux, Artist-in-Residence and guitar
Vivaldi: Guitar Concerto in D, RV 93
Piazzolla (arr. Labro): Cuatro Estaciones Porteñas (with Julian Labro, bandoneon)
Vivaldi: The Four Seasons (with OSL concertmaster Krista Bennion Feeney, violin)
Orchestra of St. Luke’s / Pablo Heras-Casado
Liszt: Les Préludes
Liszt: Piano Concerto No. 2 in A (with Jean-Yves Thibaudet, piano)
Schumann: Symphony No. 2
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All concerts made possible, in part, by ArtsWestchester with funds from the Westchester County Government.
All concerts made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.