Enjoy the Finer Things in Life at These Classical Summer Concerts
Get lost in the instrumental melodies of iconic composers at cultural hotspots across the Hudson Valley.
Adobe Stock / DeshaCAM
Summer is the best time for live music in the Hudson Valley, with concerts and festivals big and small for any taste. This goes equally for those who prefer a stunning soprano to a saxophone solo, or a lone night at the opera to a red solo cup.
This area is home to several astounding summer classical series, touching music both antique and contemporary. If you’re looking to class it up this summer, try one of these upcoming performances:
Caramoor focuses almost entirely on contemporary classical. This year’s edition spotlights the Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Caroline Shaw, whose groundbreaking work “Partita for 8 Voices” got her an invitation from Kanye West for his The Life of Pablo album. Concerts are held throughout the grounds.
July 26: Daniil Trifanov
Russian virtuoso Trifanov returns to Carammoor for a program of piano pieces by Beethoven, Schumann, and Prokofiev.
July 28: Orchestra of Saint Luke’s
This finale to the summer season features violinist Christian Tetzlaff on orchestral pieces by Mendelssohn and Beethoven.
Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts, Katonah, 914.232.1252
Every summer, the Fisher Center at Bard College plays host to Summerscape, an array of programming centered around the work of one composer. The star of this year’s Bard Music Festival is Erich Wolfgang Kornhold, a Moravian-born child prodigy and contemporary of past BMF composers Strauss and Puccini who moved to the United States in the 1930s and became one of the most important composers in the history of Hollywood.
In addition to the standard Korngold and his World, Bard will be presenting a Korngold opera, as well as a number of films with his soundtracks.
July 26-August 4: The Miracle of Heliane
This 1927 opera is centered around a love triangle in a totalitarian state, its allegorical plot setting the stage for new-to-Summerscape performers Daniel Brenna and Alfred Walker, directed by Christian Räth.
August 9: From Viennese Prodigy to Hollywood Master
This career-spanning program includes some of Korngold’s earliest works to his overture for the 1940 film Sea Hawk, making it an ideal introduction.
August 11: Popular Music from the Cabarets, Taverns, and Salons of Korngold’s Vienna
Works by Johann Strauss II, Schoenberg, Stolz, Hollaender, and more feature on this program of classical works that found popular success in the interwar period.
August 11: Before the Reich: Korngold and Fellow Conservatives
Late-Romantic pieces by Korngold, Schmidt, Shcoek, and more demonstrate another side of the inter-war period’s classical music culture. With a 1 p.m. pre-concert talk.
August 17: Sustaining the Beautiful – Art During and After the Catastrophe
The American Symphony orchestra performs major works by Korngold, Hindemith, and Strauss reckoning directly with the catastrophes of Nazi rule, the Holocaust, and World War II. With a 7 p.m. pre-concert talk.
August 18: Die Tote Stadt
This concert-length semi-staged performance of Korngold’s 1920 opera tells a surreal story of loss – the title translates as The Dead City – from a novel by Georges Rodenbach.
The Fisher Center at Bard College, Red Hook, 845.758.7900
The annual Chamber Music Festival welcomes a number of different quartets from around the world, playing diverse classical programs.
July 28: Jupiter Quartet
The highlight of this program should be Nikolai Medtner’s 1926 “Second Improvisation for Piano,” with Michael Brown accompanying.
August 4: Quatuor Danel
Headquartered in Belgium, this quartet is dedicated to interpreting the works of Beethoven, Janek, Janacek, and Franck.
August 11: Harlem Quartet
Taking a break from a 3-year residency at London’s Royal College of Music, the Harlem Quartet will perform a program with works by Brahms, Haydn, and Dizzie Gillespie.
August 24: Maverick Chamber Orchestra
Presented in association with the Festival of the Voice happening just down the road in Phoenicia, this program of works by Berio, Glass, and Mahler will feature two Metropolitan Opera vocalists.
Maverick Concert Hall, Woodstock, 646.965.2365
July 27: Summer Pops: Broadway in Your Backyard
For a somewhat more family-friendly event, try this annual pops concert. Soloists sing their hearts out to selections from Broadway standbys like The Sound of Music, Jesus Christ Superstar, Les Miserable, and other crowd-pleasing classics..
Aquinas Hall, Mount Saint Mary College, Newburgh