2004 Summer Season

Litchfield, CT -- Contact: Janet L. Serra For Immediate Release 860-567-4506 lhcvbnwct@aol.com LITCHFIELD, CT-Beethoven to Blues, Northwest Connecticut is alive with music this summer. Music Mountain in Falls Village is celebrating its 75th Jubilee Anniversary as America's oldest continuing chamber music festival with many special programs featuring the Shanghai String Quartet and the St. Petersburg String Quartet and a noted guest soloist, pianist Ruth Laredo. The venerable Norfolk Chamber Music Festival, a mainstay since 1941, is also planning a gala season with many appearances by the Tokyo String Quartet. On the lighter side, top names in pop including Melissa Ethridge and Pat Benatar will headline the season at the Ives Concert Park in Danbury, Music Mountain will feature jazz on many Saturday nights and the 9th annual Litchfield Jazz Festival will bring headliners including Arturo Sandoval, Maria Muldaur and John Pizzarelli for three days of non-stop music at the Goshen Fairgrounds August 6 to 8. Sweet Strings Music Mountain (860-824-7126; www.musicmountain.org) is celebrating its 75th season June 13 to September 5 as a leading showcase for the music of string quartets. Their 132-acre hilltop site in the Litchfield hills is listed in the National Register of Historic Places, and the legendary acoustics of Gordon Hall guarantee resonant sound to the 335 patrons inside as well as to listeners on the lawn. Radio broadcasts of Music Mountain classical concerts are heard on over 70 stations across the country. The noted Shanghai String Quartet will be a major part of the program this summer, with a series of all Beethoven concerts on Sundays June 13 and 20, July 4 and 11 and August 29, as well as an evening performance on Saturday, July 4. Pianist Ruth Laredo will be a guest soloist on August 1 with the St. Petersburg String Quartet and again on September 4 and 5 with the Shanghai String Quartet. Other Sunday afternoon performers include the Arianna String Quartet on July 18 and August 15, the Tan String Quartet of Singapore on July 25, the Bard Festival String Quartet on August 8 and the Avalon String Quartet on August 22. Serious but never stuffy, Music Mountain begins each 3 p.m. Sunday afternoon concert with lighter "celebrations" beginning at 2 p.m., with a diverse lineup from the Brass Players of the Boston University Tanglewood Institute to the Salisbury Band, and the Canine Quadrille and the Dancing Dogs. The classical music schedule is augmented by nine Saturday nights of jazz. Other features this summer include a series of Community Family Concerts on Wednesday evenings, an expanded choral schedule, and a new series of four piano recitals on Friday nights in August. Classic to Contemporary The highly regarded Norfolk Chamber Music Festival (860-542-3000; www.yale.edu/Norfolk) performs on the beautiful Ellen Battell Stoeckel Estate in Norfolk, Connecticut, the summer home of the Yale School of Music. The program for 2004 includes Chamber Music on Friday and Saturday evenings July 9 to August 21 and Contemporary Music featured on July 1-2, July 24 and August 20. The Tokyo String Quartet will perform on Saturdays July 10, 17 and 31 and August 7 and 14. Special events include a benefit performance of Gilbert and Sullivan's Iolanthe by New York's Blue Hill Troupe on June 19 and Guitarist Benjamin Verdery with the group Ufonia on July 24. Season finale on August 21 will bring the well-known Montreal baroque ensemble Les Idees Heureuses for an evening of French Music and Dance of the Baroque, featuring soprano Suzie LeBlanc. Starlight Serenades The Ives Concert Park (203-837-9226,www.ivesconcertpark.com) named for the Danbury-born composer, will present an all-star lineup on Saturday nights beginning June 18 with Melissa Ethridge, followed by Hootie and the Blowfish June 27; Al Green July 16; Pat Benatar July 24; Peter Frampton August 13; and Patty Loveless August 22. A special July Fourth celebration will feature the Hartford Symphony in a pops concert followed by fireworks. Listeners can opt for reserved seats or bring picnics and listen from the lawn. Jazz Jam The lineup at the Litchfield Jazz Festival at the Goshen Fairgrounds (800-567-4162, www.litchfieldjazzfestival.com) is bigger and better than ever this year. Starting things off on Friday night at 7:30 p.m. is the Dave Santoro Group followed by Arturo Sandoval at 9 p.m. Saturday festivities began at noon with the Bill Mays Trio and continues into the night, when Fred Cole will headline a salute to Nat King Cole at 7:15 p.m. and an all-star Count Basie Centennial Celebration will take the stage at 9 p.m. Sunday's non-stop festivities, also beginning at noon, will feature Maria Muldaur at 3:30 p.m., popular pianists Brad Mehldau at 5:15 p.m. and a grand finale with John Pizzarelli Bossa Nova from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. Talented students at the Litchfield Jazz Festival Summer Music School will have their own Gazebo Stage for performances between main stage acts. Audiences can opt for seats in the big tent or for lawn seating. Children 12 and under are free on the lawn. For more information on fairs and a new free guide to the region, including lodging, attractions and maps, contact the Northwest Connecticut Convention & Visitors Bureau, P.O. Box 968, Litchfield CT 06759-0968, 800-663-1273, or visit their website at Northwest Connecticut