Rolling Out 2024-25: Our 30th Anniversary Season

Hello Friends,

We finished our 2023-24 season – our 29th! – with a stunning multimedia performance on May 19 by Alan Blackman Jazz at the Strand Center Theater in Plattsburgh. The ultra-cool quintet performed Blackman’s award-winning Coastal Suite – a significant contemporary jazz work of fifteen movements played in continuous fluid sequence – with projection of Ruth Brownlee’s gorgeous abstract seascape paintings. This was our first collaboration with Plattsburgh’s beautiful historic theater and, with 250 in the audience, we deem it a good success. We are planning to present several more concerts at the Strand during our 2024-25 season. Read on!

Some news has been leaking out over the past few months and we’d like to put it out there officially now. The 2024-25 concert season will be my last and it’s going to be FAB! with an exciting, eclectic lineup taking place both in Saranac and Plattsburgh (60-40%). Beyond that, I will continue to do some program curation at the Strand. The present team have landed on their feet and are just beginning to hit their stride. We’d like to help them provide some more sophisticated programming to our community. Meanwhile, please mark your calendar now for our final events outlined below.

It has been my privilege and pleasure to serve you these many years. I have loved my work so very, very much because I am fascinated by and adore all types of music, and have wanted to share the love and astounding bounty and beauty with you. For our last rodeo we’re going all-out with stellar programming. Please plan on attending as many events as you can. And please also note that our first event, just one month away, is our summer fund-raiser to help us meet the (rather large) expenses of our final concert season. Thank you so much for your friendship, loyalty, and support for 30 years. It has been a great ride!

Yours ever, Angela

CALENDAR AT A GLANCE

Sunday, July 14 at 4:00 pm – Weatherwatch Farm
Larry Ham-Woody Witt Quartet: piano, saxophone, bass & drums
Mainstream Jazz: classics and originals
House Party Fundraiser launching our 30th Anniversary Season

Saturday, August 3 at 7:00 pm – Saranac Methodist Church
Meadowmount Young Artists: classical chamber music masterpieces
(free concert; donations accepted for Meadowmount Scholarship Fund)

Sunday, September 22 at 3:00 pm – Saranac Methodist Church
Chien-Kim-Watkins Trio: program to feature the glorious Ravel Trio
Gloria Chien, piano; Soovin Kim, violin; Paul Watkins, cello

Sunday, October 13 at 3:00 pm – Strand Center Theater, Plattsburgh
Tim Collins & Quadro Nuevo: Mediterranean “Lightness of Being” Jazz
vibes, saxophones, accordion, bass

Sunday, November 3 at 3:00 pm – Strand Center Theater, Plattsburgh
ARKAI: electroacoustic violin-cello duo – new album launch
With guest artist Jane Boxall, percussionist extraordinaire

Sunday, December 1 at 3:00 pm – Saranac Methodist Church
Clayton Stephenson, piano: Bach, Beethoven, Mussorgsky, Gershwin
WINNER: Cliburn Finalist and Avery Fisher Career Grant

Sunday, February 9 at 3:00 pm – Strand Center Theater, Plattsburgh
Le Vent du Nord: traditional and progressive Québécois band
vocals, fiddles, accordion, hurdy-gurdy, guitar, bouzouki, bass

Sunday, March 9 at 3:00 pm – Strand Center Theater, Plattsburgh
Lúnasa: traditional and progressive Irish band
flutes, fiddle, vocals, pipes, guitar, bass

Sunday, May 4 at 3:00 pm – Saranac Methodist Church
Constantinople: Early Middle Eastern & African music
WINNER: Juno Award Best Classical Album 2024
Kiya Tabassian, setar; Ablaye Cissoko, kora; Patrick Graham, percussion

Sunday, June 8 at 4:00 pm – Saranac Methodist Church
Alexander String Quartet: Haydn, Kian Ravaei, Schubert
farewell tour appearance of one of the great quartets of our time


This project is made possible with funds from the Statewide Community Regrants Program, a regrant program of the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature and administered by the Adirondack Lakes Center for the Arts.

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Our Expanding Sound Universe

We are SO EXCITED about our upcoming events in 2023-24 and cannot wait to share some outrageous talent and extraordinary music with you! It will be our 29th year doing what we do and bringing it to you – and the best ever!!!

Our Expanding Sound Universe is the concept for our new cycle of live concerts, launching on Labor Day, Monday, September 4th with the great Paul Winter Consort. Seven superb ensembles – a total of 35 artists – will perform in a broad range of music periods, genres, and instrumental sonorities; spanning from ancient Asian folk music and the earliest roots of Western music in the medieval period, right up to the present moment with “fresh ink” contemporary compositions and in-the-moment jazz and new-age improvisations.  

The music encompasses Asian Folk, Western Classical, Global Roots, Jazz, Rock, and Electronic; and features the classical Asian instruments koto, erhu, shamisen, saenghwang; medieval instruments vielle, psaltery, wooden flute, Celtic harp; and electronic instruments theremin and Haken Continuum; as well as the wilderness voices of Wolf, Whale, and Wood Thrush (recorded). There will also be, of course, a complete array of typical Western instruments with bowed strings, plucked strings, winds, piano, a wide variety of percussion, as well as human voices.

top: Paul Winter, ARKAI, Rob Schwimmer
center: Alan Blackman Jazz, INTERWOVEN
bottom: Alexander String Quartet, Ensemble Scholastica

Embedded in the overarching theme of Our Expanding Sound Universe is another theme: Music in Service to a Cause. Environmental and climate concerns are central to Paul Winter’s This Glorious Earth and Alan Blackman’s Coastal Suite programs. Issues of race, diversity, equity, and inclusion are central to the missions of ensembles INTERWOVEN and ARKAI, both of whom are Asian and actively using their music as a tool for cultural diplomacy domestically and abroad.  Ensemble Scholastica has embraced feminism, making its mission to discover and promote overlooked women composers of the medieval period through scholarship and performance. Several of the ensembles will be in residence with us to perform a variety of community outreach events: concerts in a senior residence, performances and workshops in schools, pre-concert talks, and pop-up concerts in a public space.

Calendar at a Glance:

Paul Winter Consort: Labor Day, Monday, September 4 at 3:00 pm at Weatherwatch Farm

Alexander String Quartet: Sunday, October 15 at 3:00 pm at the Saranac Methodist Church

INTERWOVEN: Sunday, November 12 at 3:00 pm at the Saranac Methodist Church

ARKAI: Sunday, January 28 at 3:00 pm at the Saranac Fire Hall

Rob Schwimmer: Sunday, March 10 at 3:00 pm at the Saranac Methodist Church

Ensemble Scholastica: Sunday, April 14 at 3:00 pm at the Redford Church of the Assumption

Alan Blackman Jazz Quintet: Sunday, May 19 at 3:00 pm at the Saranac Methodist Church

Please visit our Calendar page for more information about the artists and ensembles on our 2023-24 concert season and how their music illustrates the concepts of Our Expanding Sound Universe and Music in Service to a Cause from their unique perspectives.

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Renewed Commitment

Hello Friends,

Thank you for checking in here. Having wrapped up our year-end appeal, we are launched into the new year full of hope and enthusiasm, and full of deep gratitude for our special community of music lovers and supporters. Your contributions play a vital role in determining our programming in the year ahead and our ability to bring top-level artists and ensembles to our stage. Thank you!

Despite the challenges of the past few years, Hill and Hollow Music continues to thrive with joyful live performances by outstanding musicians and record attendance by both long-time aficionados, as well as new friends who have discovered us only recently. Coming through the pandemic has made us appreciate in-person gatherings and live-music celebrations more than ever.

We recently participated in national and international music conferences in New York City and Montreal, where we attended dozens of showcase performances by excellent ensembles of every musical stripe. We are nourished and inspired – our cup runneth over with talent and exciting possibilities! We are so ready to sharpen our pencil and curate a new cycle of concerts for you!

Thank you again for your tangible expressions of support and sharing our belief in the uplifting and transformational power of music. Thank you for your commitment to a strong presence of fine art music in our community and region. We look forward to seeing you again soon in the concert hall as our new season gets underway.

Warmly,

Angela Brown and
Hill and Hollow Music Trustees

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Surrender to the Unfamiliar

Two colorful performances of traditional and contemporary Middle Eastern music by the Dara Anissi Ensemble took place at the Saranac Fire Hall November 19 and 20, with Dara Anissi on the oud, Martin Shamoonpour on the daf, recorder, and amazing bagpipes made of a large animal’s bladder (maybe a pig or possibly a camel) and Nikolai Ruskin on the doumbek, violin, and ney. One simply had to let go of all attachment to familiar Western musical rhetoric of diatonic scales and predictable meters and surrender oneself to a different, exotic sound-world of modality, “bent” tones, uneven meters, and complex layered rhythms. The three musicians are very tightly attuned to each other, listening and watching intently for musical cues, as there was a lot of improvisation and A LOT of DRAMA. The music was full of surprises and excitement. The audience was perfectly happy to surrender themselves to a not-so-everyday music experience – they really loved it! Saturday’s show was sparsely attended at around 30, but the vibe was really nice and mellow. Sunday afternoon we had to pull out every chair we could find to seat 100. The Fire Hall rocked!

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Heavenly Playing by Alexander String Quartet

The superb San Francisco-based ensemble performed a meaty and memorable program at the Methodist Church of Mozart’s String Quartet No. 22 in B-flat major, K589 (1790); Danish composer Carl Nielsen’s String Quartet No. 1 in G minor, Op. 13 (1889); and Debussy’s String Quartet in G minor, Op. 10 (1893). The world-famous ensemble delighted the audience with their easy manner and unpretentious virtuosity. They drew a good crowd of 100 eager listeners who were hungry for and deeply appreciative of a serious program performed with the highest level of artistry. They play on a matched set of instruments made by Francis Kuttner, known as the Ellen M. Egger Quartet.

photos by John Eldridge

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World on a String Inhabits a Universe of Brazilian Rhythms

Paul Meyers’ World on a String jazz trio dispelled the gloom and warmed up a chilly Labor Day at Weatherwatch Farm. Three friends, each a virtuoso renowned in his own right – Paul Meyers on nylon string guitar, Leo Traversa on electric bass, and Vanderlei Pereira on drums and percussion – created a mellow, cozy atmosphere inside the tent with expressive music grounded in intricate and compelling Brazilian rhythms. It was captivating to see and hear how tight and comfortable these players are together. Their program, divided between originals and standards, was very organic and flowing. About 100 friends turned out for a totally delightful and satisfying show.

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Will Patton Ensemble Enchants

Over 100 gathered snugly under the tent for an afternoon of lively and poignant music by the Will Patton Ensemble. Rain could not dampen anyone’s spirits with this seasoned band of six amigos: the crème de la crème of Vermont virtuosos playing their classic Gypsy jazz hits Café Manouche, Le Marais, and Chez Tchavolo; and Brazilian choro favorites Parana, Nao Me Toques, Caro Raul, and Choro for Rachel. And much more! Jazz standards like Sweet Lorraine, Québécois trad tunes Ste. Béatrice and Ste. Anne, and the nostalgic bittersweet Upper Valley Waltz. So many magical moments – this ensemble was a perfect choice for an outdoor summer concert!

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Sultry Summer Gala & Concert

A great turnout of 125 on a sweltering Sunday evening in late July for a long-awaited concert at the Saranac Methodist Church. The celebrated Israeli-American pianist Alon Goldstein and the venerable Fine Arts Quartet with the rising young bassist Lizzie Burns gave us Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 19 in F Major, K459 and Concerto No. 25 in C Major, K 503 (arr. Ignaz Lachner). In between – a palette cleanser, so to speak – the Fine Arts Quartet performed Philip Glass’s String Quartet No. 2 “Company.” A fabulous concert! This special program had been a sad casualty of covid in 2020 and we were elated to have been able to reschedule it. Beforehand, a festive gathering under a canopy erected in White’s hayfield featured delicious hors d’oeuvres by Josh Vaillancourt, owner-operator of our local farm-to-table restaurant Farmhouse Pantry. Both music and food were extraordinary!

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Paul Meyers World on a String – Jazz Trio

RESCHEDULED: LABOR DAY – September 5 at 3:00 pm at Weatherwatch Farm

We were absolutely crushed having to cancel June performances by Paul Meyers’ World on a String trio at the Saranac Fire Hall. The band’s drummer, Vanderlei Pereira, had contracted COVID. This master musician with his prodigious knowledge of Brazilian and Afro-Cuban rhythms, impeccable technique and distinctive touch so essential to the band was impossible to replace! Rescheduling was complicated because of the band’s busy performance schedule, but we were able to arrive at the date of Monday, September 5: LABOR DAY. You might recall that we have had Labor Day concerts at Weatherwatch Farm two years running during the covid pandemic – 2020 and 2021 – and our audience enjoys the atmosphere very much.

Paul Meyers World on a String Rescheduled LABOR DAY: Monday, September 5 at 3:00 pm

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Faith and Madness a Study in Contrasts

There were many glowing moments in Calmus’s concert at the Church of the Assumption in Redford. The ancient music of Palestrina, Schütz, C.P. Bach, J.S. Bach and Altnikol (J.S. Bach’s son-in-law) has enhanced and deepened humanity’s faith and spiritual longing for centuries and continues to resonate in the present. The five singers of Calmus are as one voice – so attuned to one another in their collective comprehension of text, subtle harmonic shifts, and projection of mood and message through silken blended tone and unified diction and dynamics.

The “unhinged” secular half of the program allowed the artists more freedom to show their individual vocal colors and temperaments in expressing extreme emotions in the madrigals of Monteverdi, Gesualdo, Janéquin, and Flecha. The historic stone church provided just the right amount of ring – lush resonance without an echo. Whispered pianissimi reached the farthest corner of the sanctuary up in the balcony. When Calmus offered as an encore Mykola Lysenko’s “Prayer for Ukraine” –“Bozhe velykyi yedinyi” – there was not a dry eye in the audience. One hundred attended the exceptional performance and the next day Calmus was off to Charlottesville to continue their USA 2022 Tour!

Anja Pöche, soprano; Maria Kalmbach, alto;
Friedrich Bracks, tenor; Ludwig Böhme, baritone; Manuel Helmeke, bass

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