Joshua Gindele on Dvořák, Norfolk
and Yes … Tennis

By Janet Reynolds

Cellist Joshua Gindele on Dvorak, Chamber Music and Tennis | Norfolk Chamber Festival

Joshua Gindele

The Miró Quartet is a Norfolk alumni group, having been at the Festival in the summers of 1996 and 1998. Since then, the Quartet, which is the quartet-in-residence at the University of Texas at Austin, has won numerous awards, including being chosen as the first ensemble to win the coveted Avery Fisher Career Grant in 2005.

Cellist Joshua Gindele remembers those summers fondly. “We love it there. It was a formative place for the quartet,” he says. (The Quartet formed in 1995.) “We love that there are not many distractions.”

They are excited as well, Gindele says, with the overall focus on Dvořák. “The thing with Dvořák for us is he was innovative,” he says. “He wrote very distinct textures for each part. He was able to make sometimes three or four textures work brilliantly together. Playing music like that lets us each play with a lot of character. When Dvořák is played really well, you can hear all those voices playing in harmony.” MORE

Published July 15, 2017
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Chris Brubeck and Triple Play

By Janet Reynolds

Editor’s Note: Every summer Norfolk Chamber Music Festival opens its doors and grounds to the community for an afternoon of  free events. Want to introduce your children to live music in a family-friendly setting? This is the way to do it. The Open House, which is on Sunday, July 16 beginning at 2:00 p.m., is entirely free and includes an ice cream social, tours of the historic Whitehouse, a concert by the Festival’s Fellows, games, and for the finale, a performance by Chris Brubeck’s Triple Play. We caught up with Brubeck — yes, son of Dave Brubeck — on his busy touring schedule to talk a bit about how he got into music and why he’s excited about this particular gig.

Chris Brubeck is no stranger to Norfolk. He has played at the Festival with his father, the legendary jazz pianist and composer, Dave Brubeck. “Norfolk is one of the greatest situations in all of Connecticut in terms of musical traditions,” Chris says.

As a child, Brubeck was also conscious of Norfolk because his brother took cello lessons from Yale School of Music professor and Festival regular, Aldo Parisot, who was also a good friend of Brubeck’s father. “All his kids are contemporaneous with me,” Brubeck says. “We’re all still good friends.” It makes Norfolk feel, he adds, “more of an extended family concept.” MORE

Published July 11, 2017
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Tara Helen O’Connor On Why the Flute and Why She Loves Norfolk

By Janet Reynolds

For flutist Tara Helen O’Connor, her upcoming performance on Friday, July 14, at the Norfolk Festival is a homecoming.  She was a Fellow in 1989, at the beginning of her career, an experience she calls “life changing.”

“The faculty was incredibly generous with their time and expertise,” she says. “We worked really hard, practiced all day. The whole vibe there was so enriching, so warm, so life changing. It really cemented my desire to pursue music as a career at all costs.”

Yale School of Music faculty member and flutist Thomas Nyfenger was O’Connor’s teacher while she was at Norfolk. “I had such wonderful coaching from him,” she says, “and then the whole Faculty was in the dining room and we got to hang out together. My fondest memories are from Norfolk playing chamber music.” MORE

Published July 11, 2017
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Jeffrey Douma on Conducting the Human Voice

Jeffrey DoumaConductor Jeffrey Douma may have grown up playing the cello, but when he was a junior in high school, he heard a really good choir and that, as they say, was that. “The first time I really heard a good choir, I realized how remarkable the sound of an a cappella choir could be,” he says, noting he had always sung but never taken it seriously. “I realized that’s where my heart was.”

“I love orchestral and instrumental music, but I do think there’s something even more direct and emotionally profound about the sound of human voice,” he continues. “It’s very personal and also very mysterious.”

While some might assume that singing is easier to do than, say, playing the trombone, Douma doubts it. “Most people don’t have a lot of ideas of how vocal sounds are produced,” he says. “As I’m speaking to you, I’m creating all these different vowels and consonants. My mouth and tongue are creating a complicated series of small manipulations to create these sounds.” MORE

Published June 15, 2017
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Martin Bresnick on The Passions of Bloom

By Janet Reynolds

Editor’s note: Composer Martin Bresnick has a long history with Norfolk Chamber Music Festival. We did a profile of him last year that you can read.

 Martin Bresnick

This year, however, marks a very special event: the premiere on June 21 of Bresnick’s Whitman, Melville and Dickinson—Passions of Bloom with the Yale Choral Artists. The oratorio, which is inspired by Bach’s St. John Passion and St. Matthew Passion, celebrates three American literary icons—Emily Dickinson, Herman Melville and Walt Whitman—and Yale literature professor and renowned American literary critic, Harold Bloom. We talked to Bresnick about his inspirations for this work. MORE

Published June 9, 2017
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Meet the Festival’s New Director

As most of you know, Melvin Chen has joined the Festival as the new Director. We begin our “Meet The Director” Series with a few questions and answers that we hope will help you get to know him a little.


What was the first work of music that grabbed your attention? Any thoughts of what specifically hit you from that piece? MORE

Published November 14, 2016
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A Chat with Simon Carrington

By Janet Reynolds

SimonCarrington.by.unknownIf you want a musical sampler of choral music, you won’t want to miss the Norfolk  Choral Festival, a concert of music from the Renaissance to the 21st century performed Saturday, August 20. Conducted in part by the acclaimed choral director  Simon Carrington, who leads the Festival’s week-long choral workshop, the concert will feature works by Mozart, Bach, Byrd, as well as 21st century composers Trumbore, Whitacre and Crabtree. Twenty-four professional singers from around the world will perform, accompanied by the Norfolk Festival Chamber Orchestra. MORE

Published August 11, 2016
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A Chat with Clarinetist Richard Stoltzman

By Janet Reynolds

RichardStoltzman.byLisaMarieMazzucoClarinetist Richard Stoltzman is well known to Norfolk Chamber Music Festival-goers. He started as a student there in the 1960s and has returned to perform many summers since.

This time around Stoltzman is mixing the old with the new, performing in a Beethoven trio and a piece by contemporary composer Martin Bresnick. (Bresnick directs Norfolk’s New Music Workshop. You can read an interview with him here.)

While Stoltzman is excited to revisit the Beethoven trio, he’s particularly intrigued by the Bresnick trio, which is enigmatically titled  * * * .  “I have minimal knowledge of this,” he says on the phone from a restaurant. “I don’t even know what the three asterisks are for. This is a mystery piece for me.” MORE

Published July 21, 2016
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A Chat with An Unlikely Muse Creator Harry Clark

By Janet Reynolds

Johannes_Brahms_pic_midcareer

Johannes Brahms

Cellist Harry Clark calls himself a “doubler.” But unlike other musicians who play two instruments professionally — itself fairly rare— Clark is a professional cellist and playwright.

As he notes in his website biography, “I know of one banjoist-playwright doubler — Steve Martin.” (Who, some might suggest, is actually a tripler since he’s also a comedian.)

Specifically, Clark has expanded his interest in music to create a series of musical portraits, or staged readings with live music, that portray moments in musical history. He has written nearly 50 of these staged performances since he started, featuring everyone from Tchaikovksy, Dvořák and Satie to Liszt and Astor Piazzolla. His latest portrait, An Unlikely Muse, will be performed at Norfolk on Aug. 13. MORE

Published July 20, 2016
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A Chat with Min Jung Kim, Director, New Britain Museum of American Art

By Janet Reynolds

Music Room at Whitehouse

Whitehouse Music Room, Norfolk

The turn of the 20th century was a time when many of America’s prominent families collected art, creating mini-museums in their homes. Ellen Battell Stoeckel and her family were part of that movement, and you have a rare opportunity to see their impressive collection of American art on Saturday, July 23.

That’s when Min Jung Kim, director of the New Britain Museum of American Art, will give a talk in the room in Whitehouse where the art has been displayed for decades. Standing amongst the Hudson River School artists and others represented in this impressive collection, Kim will talk about the symbiosis between this private collection and the impressive collections of American art at the NBMAA. The talk begins at 4 and is followed by a picnic dinner and live performance by the Bretano String Quartet. MORE

Published July 20, 2016
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