2015 Summer Arts Preview | Theater | Hudson Valley | Hudson Valley; Chronogram
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2015 Summer Arts Preview 

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Hudson Valley Jazz Festival (August 27-30)

Still a only a few seasons young, this Orange County occurrence is a godsend for resident and visiting jazz lovers. Held at various venues in Warwick, Monroe, Sugar Loaf, and elsewhere, the series is organized by drummer Steve Rubin. Performers are still being added, but the list thus far includes Wallace Roney, Jeff Ciampa, the Bobatoon Collective, Bill Pernice, Jason Miles and Ingrid Jensen, and the Russ Kassoff Trio. Hudsonvalleyjazzfestival.org

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100 Years of Maverick Concerts

He called it his "music chapel." No doubt the head-scratching locals, as well as many of the citified musicians he was hoping to attract, thought he was out of his mind. Chamber music in the middle of the woods? In Upstate New York? And yet there it is, still standing nestled amid the trees just outside of Woodstock: the rustic wooden hall built by Maverick Concerts founder Hervey White and his ragtag crew of devoted area music lovers/amateur carpenters not long after the turn of the last century. It's the site of the oldest continuous summer chamber music festival in the United States, which this month opens its 100th season.

"Three things have kept Maverick thriving for the last 100 years," says its music director, Alexander Platt. "Its utterly unique setting, the dedicated volunteers who have maintained and run the festival, and its emphasis on quality—to present 'the best of the best.'"

In many ways, the Hudson Valley has the bearded, flamboyantly dressing White, a writer and one of the founders of the nearby Byrdcliffe Art Colony, to thank for creating the climate that led to the 1969 Woodstock music festival and the other outdoor concert series we enjoy today. Described as "Bacchanalian and raucous," the early Maverick festivals drew throngs of costumed, proto-hippie revelers who are seen posing with flowers in their hair—both women and men—in period photos.

Fitting in with its founder's pioneer spirit and the Maverick name itself, the festival has hosted a number of musical premiers over the course of the last century, most notably the 1952 debut of composer John Cage's provocative 4'33". In keeping with this innovative tradition, for its centennial season Maverick will present the debuts of three specially commissioned new works by area composers: Peter Schickele's Percussion Sonata No. 3: "Maverick" in a season-opening performance by the percussion ensemble NEXUS (6/27); guitarist Frederic Hand's Four Pieces for Flute and Guitar performed by the composer and flutist Paula Robison (7/7); and George Tsontakis's String Quartet 7.5 (Maverick) performed by the American String Quartet (9/13). Further series highlights include pianists Simone Dinnerstein performing Bach's Goldberg Variations (7/3) and Adam Tendler performing Cowell and Cage—including 4'33" (7/4); the return of the Miro Quartet to play Beethoven and Schubert (8/8); Europe's fast-rising Danish String Quartet performing Nielsen, Ades, and Shostakovich (8/9); a solo set by jazz pianist Fred Hersch (7/1); and the popular, ongoing Young People's Concerts.

"We're constantly looking for new voices to present alongside the timeless music Maverick has always focused on," says Platt. "I think Hervey White is smiling down with great pride that his chapel is still resonating with wonderful music."

The Maverick Concert series begins with a preseason concert by Ars Choralis on June 13 and continues through September 13. Maverickconcerts.org.

JOSHUA TIMMERMANS
  • Joshua Timmermans

Four Questions for Warren Haynes

It's hard to believe, but Mountain Jam clocked its 10th year at Hunter Mountain Ski Resort last year. Originally a one-day occasion held to celebrate the 25th anniversary of sponsor WDST/Radio Woodstock, this year's festival (June 4-7) features the Black Keys, Robert Plant and the Sensational Space Shifters, the Alabama Shakes, Grace Potter, moe., Lake Street Dive, Big Gigantic, Rusted Root, the Budos Band, Larry Campbell and Teresa Williams featuring Bill Payne of Little Feat, Railroad Earth, Amy Helm and the Handsome Strangers, and a long list of others that of course includes perennial returners Michael Franti and Spearhead and Gov't Mule (the latter performing a set of their own, as well as a Pink Floyd tribute set dubbed "Dark Side of the Mule"). For this year's summer festival round-up, Gov't Mule guitarist and festival cofounder Warren Haynes graciously answered a few questions.

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