This year, the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival, the festival of the Yale School of Music, will offer yet another rich season of music played by the young artists of the Yale Summer School of Music, as well as a weekend series featuring the most renowned international artists associated with the Yale School of Music. It will begin with a weekend of new music from Martin Bresnick’s New Music Workshop on June 29 and 30. Most importantly, it will offer the main local opportunity to enjoy the final season of the great Tokyo String Quartet, as I have mentioned in my review of their appearance earlier this month at the Tannery Pond Concerts. The distinguished Artis Quartet from Vienna and the Keller Quartet, from the Liszt Academy of Music in Budapest, will also play. Among them, they will offer an especially comprehensive selection of Beethoven’s quartets, along with other classics of the genre. The Tokyo will also join pianist Wei-Wi Yang in Elgar’s magnificent piano quintet. As always the great soloists of Yale School of Music will be on hand: Ani Kavafian, violin, Stephen taylor, oboe, Richard Stoltzman and David Shifrin, clarinet, Frank Morelli, bassoon, Allan Dean, trumpet, and William Purvis, horn, as well as pianists André-Michael Schub and Peter Frankl.
The Norfolk Festival is the proud descendant of the Litchfield County Choral Union, which emerged in the 1890′s from the interest of two generations of the Battells, a wealthy Norfolk family, in Yale University, which brought about both the founding of the Yale School of Music and the Litchfield County Choral Union. Choral and chamber music concerts were originally held in the Battell mansion, and later in the Music Shed, which opened in 1906. Special trains from New York were arranged for the distinguished musicians and the society audience. Ellen Battell Stoeckel, wife of the son of the first professor at Yale Music School, announced her intention to donate her estate to Yale as a music school, and the first classes were held there in 1937.