[ Director's Welcome ]

Welcome to Norfolk

Summer 2018

Welcome back to Norfolk for another season! I am delighted to share with you what we have planned. This summer, we will celebrate the centenary of 1918, a year in which — among many other musical events — Debussy died, Leonard Bernstein was born, and Arnold Schoenberg founded his Society for Private Musical Performance.

Looking back one hundred years ago provides a point of reflection, as forces of rapidly advancing technology, nationalism, and world conflict created uncertainty in what would lie ahead. At the same time, a sense of self-determinism — a belief in the ability to choose a deliberate path for the future — was apparent. The world of music faced as much turmoil as the battling nations of Europe. French musicians rebelled from the Germanic tradition. Schoenberg was in the midst of his struggle to “emancipate dissonance” which would eventually lead him to create his twelve tone system. At the same time, composers like Debussy answered atonality by going in a completely different musical direction. I hope that this theme, reflected in this summer’s concerts, will give you some insight into the musical climate of the time and allow you to reflect on these composers’ ideas.

Yale School of Music Professor Paul Berry will provide context to the theme and the pieces on each Friday night concert during his Pre-Concert Conversations. These lectures, along with the introduction of boxed picnic dinners, made Friday nights quite popular with last summer’s audiences.

I am proud to continue featuring our immensely talented Fellows each Friday night performing alongside their teachers and mentors. As always, we have an illustrious roster of artists visiting Norfolk this summer including debuts by clarinetist Romie de Guise-Langlois, the Shanghai Quartet, violinist Benny Kim, violist Melissa Reardon, and cellist Raman Ramakrishnan.
A highlight of the summer will be the welcome return of Dawn Upshaw performing with the Brentano String Quartet, as well as appearances by perennial favorites like the Emerson Quartet, Frank Morelli, Peter Frankl, and Boris Berman. Our annual Gala will take place on July 21 with Nicholas McGegan and the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra performing music by Handel — please join us for this special evening!

All of us studying, performing, and working at Norfolk would like to thank Dean Blocker and the Yale School of Music, the Ellen Battell Stoeckel Trust, the families who welcome our Fellows into their homes, and everyone who has generously contributed to the Festival whether by donating time or money, or by coming to see a concert. The Norfolk Chamber Music Festival is truly “Music Among Friends” and we could not exist without the extraordinary community that comes together in support of the Festival year-round.

As you browse through our program book this summer, whether a fan of Romantic, Classical, or more contemporary compositions, I’m sure you will find something you’ll like.

Again, I want to wish you all a warm welcome as we enjoy another wonderful season full of concerts and friends!

Melvin Chen,
Director