Annual summer concert series offers four concerts by world-renowned artists, June 14 - August 2, 2009.

POUGHKEEPSIE, NY—Beginning on Sunday, June 14, the Vassar Department of Music will offer the 14th annual free summer concert series, held in the acoustically superb (and air-conditioned) Martel Recital Hall of the Skinner Hall of Music on the Vassar College campus.  

This series of four concerts will open with an afternoon of chamber music on June 14 at 3pm—performed by violinist Joseph Genualdi, cellist Sophie Shao, and pianist Richard Wilson—and will continue with concerts on June 21 (violinist Stephanie Chase, cellist Mark Shuman, mezzo-soprano Mary Ann Hart, and pianist Todd Crow, 3pm); July 10 (cellist Colin Carr and pianist Thomas Sauer, 8pm), and August 2 (pianist Brian Mann, with guest artists including jazz violinist Iain Mann, 3pm).

Established in 1995, each year this summer series offers the Hudson Valley community and beyond an opportunity to hear world-renowned musicians—Vassar faculty members and guest artists—perform together in a relaxed and inviting setting.


An Afternoon of Chamber Music, June 14
The opening concert on Sunday, June 14 at 3pm—with violinist Joseph Genualdi, cellist Sophie Shao, and pianist Richard Wilson—will feature performances of works including Mozart’s Sonata in Bb for Violin and Piano, K. 454; Wilson’s Music for Violin and Cello (in four movements) and his Diablerie for Solo Violin; and Beethoven’s Trio in D, Op. 70, No. 1 ("The Ghost").

About the June 14 musicians:
Pianist Joseph Genualdi, founding first violinist of the Muir Quartet, is the recipient of such distinctions as the Naumburg Award for Chamber Music and the Concours D¹Evian. He has had a long association with the Marlboro Music Festival and has also appeared at the Cheltenham, Nimes, Spoleto, Angel Fire, Ravinia, Bravo Colorado, and Kneisel Hall festivals. Genualdi is currently Artistic Director of the Chicago Chamber Musicians of which he is a founding member.  He also serves on the faculty of the North Carolina School of the Arts.

Cellist Sophie Shao, praised by The Strad, for her “superior sense of style,” the World News for her  “sensitive, stylistic playing,” and the New York Times for her “eloquent, powerful performance,” is a member of the Vassar music faculty. She was the recipient of an Avery Fisher Career Grant, and in 2001 and 2002 she won top prizes at both the Rostropovich International Cello Competition and the XII International Tchaikovsky Competition. Shao has performed as a soloist with many orchestras, including the Abilene Philharmonic, Erie Symphony, Houston Symphony, and Russian State Academic Symphony Cappella, among others; and at festivals including Caramoor, Marlboro, Music from Angel Fire, Ravinia, and Sarasota. From 1998-2000 she was a member of Lincoln Center’s Chamber Music Society Two, a group developed for outstanding young performers.

A member of the Vassar faculty since 1966, Richard Wilson holds an endowed professorship, the Mary Conover Mellon Professor of Music. A pianist and composer, Wilson has composed over 90 works, ranging in medium from solo tuba to full orchestra, which have been played in major halls around the world. He is the recipient of numerous awards, including an Academy Award, the Walter Hinrichsen Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Creative Arts Award in Music from the City of Cleveland, the Stoeger Award from the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, and a Guggenheim Fellowship under which he composed his opera Æthelred the Unready. Wilson is also composer-in-residence with the American Symphony Orchestra, where he gives pre-concert lectures.

An Afternoon of Chamber Music, June 21
The second afternoon of chamber music on Sunday, June 21, at 3pm, will feature violinist Stephanie Chase, cellist Mark Shuman, mezzo-soprano Mary Ann Hart, and pianist Todd Crow performing works by Beethoven, Grieg, and Smetana.

About the June 21 musicians:
Violinist Stephanie Chase is "one of the violin greats of our era" (Newhouse Newspapers) and among the most accomplished and distinguished American musicians before the public today.  A top medalist of the International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow and a recipient of the prestigious Avery Fisher Career Grant, her performances as guest soloist with the world’s most eminent orchestras - including the New York Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony, and London Symphony Orchestra - are acclaimed for their “elegance, dexterity, rhythmic vitality and great imagination” (Boston Globe), in cultural capitols such as London, Vienna, Chicago, Milan, San Francisco, Hong Kong and New York.

Pianist Todd Crow, the George Sherman Dickinson Professor of Music at Vassar College, has been widely acclaimed for performances in North and South America, and Europe. The New York Times has described his playing as "heroic, [showing] endless flair, color, and stamina." The Times of London has called his playing "spine-chilling" and "exhilarating," and The Wall Street Journal raved that his playing exhibited "stunning control and a wonderful sense of musical architecture." Crow has appeared as soloist with orchestras in the United States, England, Germany, the Czech Republic, Venezuela, and elsewhere, and in recital or chamber music at Washington’s National Gallery of Art, London’s Wigmore Hall, and New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art as well as Avery Fisher Hall and Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center. Most recently, he performed with the Jerusalem Symphony in Israel and with Milano Classica and I Solisti Aquilani in Italy. He made his Carnegie Hall debut as soloist with the American Symphony in 1992 and his London orchestral debut at the Barbican Centre with the London Philharmonic in 1986. He performs regularly in the major halls of New York and London and is heard frequently on BBC Radio in both live and recorded performances.

Mezzo-soprano Mary-Ann Hart has won numerous song competitions, including the Carnegie Hall International American Music Competition, Concert Artists Guild, and NATS Artist Awards; she also received a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. She has appeared with the New York Philharmonic, Minnesota Orchestra, and American Composers Orchestra, among others, and has recorded for Chandos, Albany, Eterna, Arabesque, Telefunken-Decca, and Musical Heritage.

Cellist Mark Shuman has performed as a chamber musician and soloist in concert halls throughout the world. For many years a member of the Composers String Quartet, he is also a founder of the period instrument group The Aulos Ensemble. Shuman has worked with a broad spectrum of artists ranging from Elliott Carter and Raymond Lepard to Streisand and Lenny Kravitz. In his efforts to expand the cello repertoire, he has sought out contemporary and previously neglected works and has recorded the cello music of the Spanish composer and virtuoso Gaspar Casado. His most recent release, on ASV Quicksilva, is the complete cello music of Mendelssohn recorded with pianist Todd Crow. He is currently a member of the New York City Opera Orchestra and on the faculty of Columbia University.

An Evening of Romantic Music for Cello and Piano, July 10
On Friday, July 10, at 8pm, frequent collaborators—cellist Colin Carr and pianist Thomas Sauer—will offer an evening of romantic music for cello and piano, featuring works by Mendelssohn, Schumann, and Brahms.

About the July 10 musicians:
Cellist Colin Carr appears throughout the world as a soloist, chamber musician, recording artist, and teacher. He has played with major orchestras worldwide, including the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, The Philharmonia, Royal Philharmonic, BBC Symphony, the orchestras of Chicago, Los Angeles, Washington, Philadelphia, Montreal and all the major orchestras of Australia and New Zealand. Conductors with whom he has worked include Rattle, Gergiev, Dutoit, Elder, Skrowasczewski and Marriner. He is a regular guest at the BBC Proms, has twice toured Australia, and has recently played concertos in South Korea, Hong Kong, Malaysia and New Zealand. Some of his most memorable performances include the Dvorak Concerto to close the Prague Autumn Festival, and Beethoven's Triple Concerto, with Sir Colin Davis conducting, at Royal Festival Hall in London.


Highly sought after as soloist, chamber musician, and teacher, pianist Thomas Sauer, is a member of the Vassar music faculty. Also a member of the Mannes Trio, ensemble-in-residence at the Mannes College of Music, Sauer collaborates frequently with the renowned instrumentalists Midori and Colin Carr. Recent appearances include concerto performances with the Quad-City Symphony; solo performances at Carnegie Hall, Merkin Concert Hall (New York City), and St. John’s College, Oxford; chamber music performances at the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center and the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society; duo recitals with Colin Carr at the Holywell Music Room, Oxford, and the Wolf Trap Center; duo recitals with Midori at the Philharmonie in Berlin and the Palais des Beaux Arts in Brussels; and performances at the Marlboro, Portland, Seattle, El Paso Pro Musica, Four Seasons, and Salt Bay Chamber Music Festivals. Sauer is also a member of the piano faculty of the Mannes College and is the founder and director of the Mannes Beethoven Institute.

An Afternoon of Soft Summer Jazz, August 2
The series will conclude on Sunday, August 2, at 3pm with an afternoon of soft summer jazz featuring pianist Brian Mann, with guest artists including jazz violinist Iain Mann.

Music has occupied a place of prominence at Vassar College since its founding, in its curriculum, faculty, student activities, and facilities. Formed in 1865, the Department of Music offers an extensive program encompassing opportunities for majors and non-majors to explore performance, composition, history, and theory in depth. Students are encouraged to gain a broad perspective in several or all of these areas. With a student-to-faculty ratio of approximately eleven to one, and an average class size of fifteen, the department is able to support individual students as they work to realize their full musical potential.

For additional information and details on the summer concert series, please call (845) 437-5900 or visit the website The air-conditioned Skinner Hall of Music at Vassar College is wheelchair-accessible. People with disabilities requiring accommodations should contact the Office of Campus Activities at (845) 437-5370. Free parking is available at Skinner Hall, and the campus’s adjoining south parking lot. 

Vassar College is a highly selective, coeducational, independent, residential liberal arts college founded in 1861.

Posted by Office of Communications Wednesday, April 22, 2009