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2015-16 Season Preview

Posted by on Jun 21, 2015 in News |

Tooltip TextSCP’s season: First up will be September 20 with Stacey Shames,harp; Jo-Ann Sternberg, clarinet; Susan Rotholz, flute; Jill Levy, violin; Jessica Troy, viola; Eliot Bailen, cello. Program to include works of Boccherini, Jongen, Ravel and Brahms. Second concert will be December 6 with Jill Levy, violin; Patrick Pridemore, French horn; and Margaret Kampmeier, piano. Program to include a Brahms Trio for French horn and piano and a Beethoven sonata for piano and violin. Composer Jeff Scott will attend to talk about his piece for horn, violin and piano. The spring concert will be a duo for violin and cello on April 3 with Adriana Contino and Jill Levy playing works of Bach and Kodaly. Our restaurant fundraiser will be at the Circus Cafe this year on April 5. Final concerts will be on May 28 & 29. Program to include Schumann’s Piano Quintet and works of Dohnanyi and...

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What’s Next

Posted by on May 20, 2015 in News, Uncategorized |

In recognition of the city’s centennial, Saratoga Chamber Players, bringing together musicians from Europe, Asia, Canada and the U.S. since 1987, presents “What’s Next”, a chamber concert with strings and bassoon to honor the traditions of the past and to look to the future. Under the Artistic Direction of Jill Levy, concertmaster of the Albany Symphony Orchestra, the concert on June 13 at 7:30 PM in North Creek at Tannery Pond will be repeated in Saratoga Springs on June 14 at 3:00 PM at the United Methodist Church, 5th Avenue & Henning Road. The program features 3 generations of a music-making family. Great-grandfather Adolf Busch, composer of String Quartet in One Movement, Op. 29, co-founded the Marlboro Music School and Festival with his son-in-law, Rudolf Serkin. His granddaughter, cellist Judith Serkin, and great-granddaughter, bassoonist Rose Vrbsky, will perform with violinists Jill Levy and Lucy Chapman and violist Kathy Andrew. Also on the program are works that reflect both past tradition and innovations that influence the future of music. Giacomo Puccini wrote I Crisantemi (Chrysanthemums), Elegy for String Quartet in memory of the recently deceased Duke Amadeo of Savoy. It is one of the few non-operatic works he wrote. Two of its melodic themes reappeared 2 years later in his opera of 1892, Manon Lescaut. This Elegy is rarely performed in its original form as a string quartet, most often played as an orchestral arrangement. François Devienne, overshadowed by his contemporaries Mozart and Haydn, wrote for wind instruments which his fellow composers rarely did. As a bassoonist for the Opéra de Paris and later flute teacher at the Paris Conservatoire, he composed scores of works for these instruments, among them the String Quartet in C Major, Op.73, no. 1. The success of his style led to his appellation as the “French Mozart.” Joseph Bodin de Boismortier became one of the most popular and prolific composers of the 18th century because, in a break with tradition and as a composer without a patron, he wrote to please his audiences in order to make a living. He became wealthy from publishing his own works and was one of the first to write a concerto for the bassoon using a new form developed in Italy, Sonata in D minor, Op. 14, no.3. Ludwig Beethoven’s String Quartet in F Major, Op. 135 is a distillation of his earlier works in form and style. It was the last complete piece Beethoven composed before his death a few months later in 1827. It is unlike his other late quartets in that it has many “teasing” moments with reminiscences of Haydn’s...

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SCP opens 27th Season

Posted by on Nov 1, 2013 in News |

Saratoga Chamber Players opens its 27th season on Sunday November 3 at 3 PM with a varied concert of works by Haydn, Prokofiev, Morton Gould, Mozart, Brahms and Bartok. The concert is at the United Methodist Church; 5th Avenue & Henning Road; Saratoga Springs, NY, just off Northway exit 14. Jill Levy, Artistic Director and concertmaster of the Albany Symphony Orchestra will present a concert with an unusual mix of oboe, clarinet, violin, viola and double bass and with nationally recognized, award-winning musicians: Melanie Feld, oboe; Jo-Ann Sternberg, clarinet; Keats Dieffenbach with Jill Levy, violins; Jessica Troy, viola; and John Feeney, double bass. Ms. Dieffenbach was last in Saratoga as a member of ACJW’s Skidmore residency. Sternberg, Troy, and Feeney are frequent participants in the SCP “family”. Ms Feld is a newcomer this season, although a seasoned performer, having served as principal oboist with the Stamford Symphony since 1980. Most unusual on this program is Morton Gould’s jazz-inspired set of duos for clarinet and double-bass, collectively titled Benny’s Gig, written in 1962 to celebrate Goodman’s upcoming tour of what was then the Soviet Union. The eighth and last duo of “Benny’s Gig” was added in 1979, on the occasion of Goodman’s 70th birthday. The program also includes two dance selections, transcribed by bassist John Feeney for 2 violins, viola & double bass.The very lively Brahms Hungarian Dance #1 is most often scored for orchestra or piano. Bartok’s Romanian Dances was composed as a suite of six short piano pieces. It is based on seven Romanian tunes from Transylvania, originally played on fiddle or shepherd’s flute. Feeney has taken these dances and given them a delightful new vigor with his transcriptions. Sergei Prokofiev’s Quintet in G minor, Op. 39 (1924) is another gift since it is not often performed. Scored for oboe, clarinet, violin, viola and double bass, it contains some of the jazzy themes of the 20‘s. There are two classic works on the program. Mozart’s Oboe Quartet in F major, K. 370 (K368b) was written in early 1781 while in Munich where Mozart renewed an acquaintance with Friedrich Ramm, a virtuoso oboist in the Munich orchestra. It was for Ramm that Mozart composed the quartet. The other classic piece is Haydn’s String Quartet Op. 9, no. 2 in Eb Major. Tickets may be purchased on-line at or at the door: $18 adults, $15 seniors, $12 students and free to accompanied children. The concert is sponsored in part by a grant from the New York State Council on the Arts, a state...

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Saratoga Chamber Players Celebrates 150 Years of Music and Art in Saratoga

Posted by on Jun 16, 2013 in News |

PRESS RELEASE – For Immediate Release Saratoga Chamber Players celebrates 150 years of music and art in Saratoga during concerts on Saturday June 8 at Tannery Pond Community Center in North Creek at 7:30, repeated on June 9 at 3PM in Zankel Hall on the Skidmore College campus. The Zankel performance will be accompanied by a show of 150 years of art in Saratoga curated by Beverley Mastrianni. For these concerts, Artistic Director Jill Levy will present Dvorak’s Cypresses for String Quartet, Mozart’s Sonata for Bassoon and Cello, Garfield’s Quartet for Bassoon, Violin, Viola and Cello and Brahms’ String Quartet, no. 2 in A minor. Saratoga audiences of 150 years ago would have listened to the Mozart, Brahms and Dvorak works. Recent SPAC attendees heard noted composer Bernard Garfield as principal bassoonist of the Philadelphia Orchestra prior to his retirement. Musicians participating in these concerts are part of the Saratoga Chamber Players family. Violinist Lucy Chapman last appeared in the SCP 25th anniversary concert in Zankel in December 2011. She chairs the New England Conservatory strings studio faculty, was Associate Concertmaster of the San Francisco Symphony and is first violin of the Muir Quartet. She was a Grammy Award winner for her recording with clarinetist Richard Stoltzman and pianist Richard Goode. Violist Kathy Andrew and cellist Judith Serkin are both active musicians in Vermont. Andrew has been Concertmaster of the Berkshire Symphony and performs widely throughout New England. She toured the U.S. with Eric Clapton’s “Pilgrim Tour”. Cellist Judith Serkin comes from a distinguished musical family. She was a founding member of both the Guilford Quartet and the Mendelssohn Quartet. She regularly plays and has toured with Musicians from Marlboro. Her daughter, Natalya Rose Vrbsky, has played with the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia as well as the Philadelphia Orchestra. She has participated in numerous music festivals including Tanglewood, Aspen and Marlboro. She is currently Principal Bassoon in the Sarasota Opera Orchestra. Violinist Jill Levy is now in her 18th season as Artistic Director of SCP. She has been Concertmaster of the Albany Symphony Orchestra since 1983 and solos frequently with them, including a recent performance with Jaime Laredo. The New York Times review of the ASO’s 2011 Carnegie Hall appearance praised the “graceful solo from the concertmaster, Jill Levy.” Former member of the Pittsburgh Symphony and the Orchestra del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino in Florence, Italy, she is currently a regular member of the Sherman Chamber Ensemble. Holders of the Saratoga ArtsPass and children accompanied by an adult are admitted free. Tickets for all others are: Adults $18, Seniors $15, Students $12. The concert is sponsored in part by grants from the New York State Council on the Arts, a state agency, and from ArtsFest. To charge with Master Card or Visa call 518-584-1427. For further information on the concerts, musician bios and photos, see...

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SCP To Celebrate the Promise of Spring and Renewal with March 31 Concert

Posted by on Jun 15, 2013 in News |

To celebrate the Promise of Spring and Renewal, the next Saratoga Chamber Players concert on March 31 will offer an exciting program of works by Haydn, Chopin, Schoenberg and Brahms. The concert will be at 3PM at the United Methodist Church, 5th Avenue and Henning Road, Saratoga Springs. For this performance Artistic Director and violinist Jill Levy brings four other award winning musicians including the clarinetist, Romie de Guise-Langlois who wowed Saratoga audiences three years ago at the Skidmore residency of ACJW (Academy of Carnegie Hall, Juilliard and Weill Institute). Levy and De Guise-Langlois are joined by pianist Peggy Kampmeier, flutist Susie Rotholz and Eric Bartlett, cellist with the New York Philharmonic. After the Haydn Piano Trio in C# major, Hob. XV:16 with its playful teasing, the selections all offer musical reflections of survival and renewal. Chopin’s Nocturne, No. 20 in C # minor will showcase the talents of Margaret Kampmeier whose February appearance with SCP was highly praised by a local critic. The Nocturne provided salvation from extermination for Holocaust survivor Natalia Karp. Her dazzling rendition played for the Nazi camp commandant, Amon Goeth, was so impressive that he spared her life. More recently this Nocturne was featured in the opening and closing scenes of Roman Polanski’s “The Pianist,” which recounts the life of the talented Polish musician, Władysław Szpilman, who escaped capture and internment during World War II. Schoenberg’s Kammersymphonie no. 1 in E major, op.9 is a well known example of quartal harmony. It was composed for chamber orchestra in reaction to the romantic monumentalism of Brahms, Mahler and Wagner. The piece stands as a harbinger of the renewal of music and greatly influenced composers of the 20th century. His pupil, Anton Webern, arranged the version for flute, clarinet, violin, cello and piano to be heard at this concert. The final offering on the program is Brahms’ Trio in A minor, op.114 for clarinet, piano and cello. Brahms had ceased composing but was inspired to take up pen again and write this luscious piece after hearing Richard Mühlfeld, principal clarinetist of the Ducal orchestra in Meiningen. Complete bios for the musicians are on the website Tickets are $18 adults, $15 seniors, $12 students and free to children accompanied by an adult. To order tickets, call...

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Pianist Margaret Kampmeier returns to the SCP to Present a Feb. 13 Concert

Posted by on Jun 14, 2013 in News |

Pianist Margaret Kampmeier returns to the Saratoga Chamber Players to present a concert with violinist Jill Levy on February 3 at 3:00PM in the United Methodist Church, 5th Avenue and Henning Road, Saratoga Springs. The two musicians have been frequent collaborators at recent Saratoga Chamber Players concerts. One reviewer called Margaret Kampmeier “a master of the keyboard… with perfect poise and sonorous variety….” She is a founding member of the Naumberg award-winning New Millenium Ensemble. She has appeared with the Kronos Quartet, the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, the Colorado Quartet and Peter Schikele. Jill Levy is now in her 19th season as Artistic Director and violinist of the Saratoga Chamber Players as well as concertmaster of the Albany Symphony Orchestra. The New York Times review of the ASO’s performance at Carnegie Hall in the Spring of 2011 praised her “graceful and fluid” playing. The concert opens with Beethoven’s Violin Sonata No.4 in A minor, Opus 23, a piece warmly received by the composer’s contemporaries. Next will be Stravinsky’s Divertimento for violin and piano, one of a number of offspring from the composer’s ballet, “Le Baiser de la fée.” it is based on Tchaikovsky songs and evokes the latter’s sweet, delicate melodies but with Stravinsky’s own elements of unpredictability. Also on the program is the work of Estonian composer, Arvo Pärt, Fratres, written at a time when religion was frowned upon by the Communist state. The title means “brethren” or “Fraternity” and the music, described as a call to prayer, seems to express Pärt’s search for spirituality. The program ends with the the luscious, romantic piece by Robert Schumann, Sonata, No. 1 in A minor, Opus 105 written in 1851 and first performed a year later by Clara Schumann and violinist Ferdinand David. Tickets are $18 adults, $15 seniors, $12 students and free to accompanied children. The concert is sponsored in part by a grant from the new York State Council on the Arts, a state agency. To charge with Master Card or Visa call 518-928-9664. To learn more, please visit the SCP concert...

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