Sixty-eight years, ago a group of friends in Croton-on-Hudson, who had been gathering once a month to listen to records of classical music and discuss the performances, asked themselves, “Why not bring some of these musicians up to Westchester for live performances?” They did so, bringing the then-young Juilliard String Quartet up to Croton for two performances, one for young people and a second in the evening for adults, setting up a performance space in the high school. Both were over-subscribed.
Thus, Friends of Music Concerts was born, an all-volunteer, non-profit organization with a three-fold mission: to bring musicians of world renown and those relatively new in the burgeoning musical scene to Westchester; include children and older students in special ways to build audiences of the future; and make all those musical experiences as affordable as possible.
Our 69th season began in September 2022 with the wonderful Emerson String Quartet. It continued in October with recitals by the excellent pianist Jeremy Denk and then the dynamic young Jamaican-American violist Jordan Bak with his piano collaborator Ji Yung Lee. November saw the return to our stage of the phenomenal Dover Quartet.
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Three exciting concerts are on tap for the spring of 2023. First up, on the evening of Saturday, March 18, is Curtis on Tour, a group comprised of students, faculty, and alumni from Philadelphia’s renowned Curtis Institute of Music. Their adventurous program will include Stravinsky’s L’Histoire du Soldat, narrated by actor John De Lancie. Their instruments will include violin, double bass, clarinet, bassoon, trumpet, trombone, piano, and percussion.
The afternoon of Sunday, April 16, will bring to our stage the young Spanish/Dutch pianist Albert Cano Smit. As a winner of the Young Concert Artists International Auditions held in New York City, he received our annual Performance Award. His program will include works by Mozart, Messiaen, Albéniz, and Ginastera.
Our season will conclude on the evening of Saturday, April 22, with the Academy of St Martin in the Fields Wind Ensemble, joining us from across the pond. The group’s instruments include oboe, clarinet, bassoon, and horn; with them will be a pianist as guest artist. Their program includes works by Reinecki, Mozart, and Beethoven.
All these musical delights certainly are affordable. Single tickets to our concerts are just $35; $15 for college students with IDs. Because all students 18 and under are admitted free of charge, it’s easy for them to come along with their parents, or on their own, to sample the wonder-full world of classical music.
Presenting concerts is not the only thing Friends of Music Concerts does, however. Another of our popular initiatives is our grant-funded Partnership in Education Program, through which we bring into selected school districts, at no cost to themselves, young professional musicians for one-day residencies when they perform and give master classes to the district’s music students.
Last season, as part of this program, the Tesla Quartet was in residence at White Plains High School, the Aizuri Quartet was at Henry Hudson High School in Montrose, and the Balourdet Quartet was at Sleepy Hollow High School. Additionally, the PUBLQuartet, which in the past has performed as part of our concert series, was in residence at SUNY/Purchase. In all cases, teachers were excited by the way these young professionals elicited their students’ rapt attention. The professionals often noticed that the students’ playing talent improved following the master classes. We now are accepting applications for a new round of such residencies, hoping to expand the program by increasing the grants that make them possible.
For more information about our concerts (including venue locations) and our other programs please visit our website:
Try it. You’ll like it!