Music / New York Arts

The Concerts at Camphill Ghent 2016 – 2017: Season Opening Concert Coming Up, October 15, 3pm

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The Concerts at Camphill Ghent 2016 – 2017:
Season Opening Concert Coming Up, October 15, 3pm

Artistic Director Gili Melamed-Lev
Artistic Director Gili Melamed-Lev

A relatively new chamber music series in our area, The Concerts at Camphill Ghent, extending through the rather sparse autumn through spring months, has just recently come to my attention, and it looks well worth a season subscription. Every concert is compelling, and they all fit together as a whole. Clearly some strong consideration has gone into the selection of both the music and the musicians. The series was founded and is managed by a musician, the outstanding pianist, Gili Melamed-Lev, who oversees the programming and participates extensively herself. This is by no means exceptional in itself, but the particular stamp she has put on it stands out. For one thing, as Ms. Melamed-Lev explained to me recently, the players are drawn largely from musicians who live and work locally, and, given the many distinguished institutions—colleges and festivals—in the Hudson Valley, the Capital Region, and the Berkshires, there is an exceptional wealth of talent. Secondly, the programming remains firmly rooted in the 18th and 19th century classics—for a compelling reason. The series is sponsored by Camphill Ghent, an extraordinary community for elders, founded as recently as 2011, and the concerts serve the purpose of enriching the lives of the residents as well as those of visitors from the surrounding areas. The concerts function as a bridge between Camphill Ghent and the larger community outside. For this reason, Ms Melamed-Lev has rightly found it appropriate to approach challenging modern and contemporary repertory with some discretion, but without neglect. in fact there is a special emphasis on introducing and supporting contemporary composers—this season Larry Wallach, Philip Lasser, and Sheila Silver.

Local music lovers will recognize many of the participants. In the opening concert on October 15, Kenneth Cooper, who has long presided over the popular “Brandenburgs at New Year” concerts organized by the Berkshire Bach Society, will play the harpsichord, joined by his frequent collaborator, Judith Mendenhall, and local gambist, Lucy Bardo, in a Bach-based program. Three admirable Williams College adjuncts, Joanna Kurkowicz (concertmaster of the Boston Philharmonic), Ronald Feldman, and Doris Stevenson will play Beethoven’s “Ghost” Trio, together with sympathetic works by Mendelssohn, Brahms, and Bolcom. Eugene Drucker, violinist in the Emerson Quartet, who has also settled in the Berkshires, and Roberta Cooper will join Gili Melamed-Lev in a substantial program called Brahms and the Spirit of Beethoven. At the final concert, faculty and students from the Bard Conservatory of Music will travel up the Hudson to play with her in a program which will include Dvořák’s beloved Piano Quintet, a Beethoven String Trio, and Larry Wallach’s String Quartet. (It is Camphill Ghent’s third year of collaboration with the intention to offer a performing opportunity for outstanding students.) Dr. Wallach is a long-time faculty member of Bard College and Bard College at Simon’s Rock, as well as a frequent contributor to The Berkshire Review for the Arts and New York Arts.

Gili Melamed-Lev will be a part of all of these concerts except the November trio program, including a further four-hand piano recital with pianist Mark Evans, with whom she performs regularly as the Lev-Evans Duo. Mr. Evans, a graduate of the Mannes School of Music and the College of St. Rose, is an Assistant Professor at Schenectady County Community College School of Music. He performs widely around the Capital Region. Gili Melamed-Lev also teaches there, and coaches students at Williams College. She is a graduate of The Juilliard School, performs frequently in chamber music concerts and solo recitals in the Northeast, as well as throughout North America, Europe, and Israel. She has contributed often to various health-related and social initiatives, including Camphill Ghent, where she has been Artistic Director of the music program since 2012, its second year of existence. Her recordings show her to be an impressively strong musician, who plays with a steady command of pace, clarity, rich color, and fine sensitivity to nuances of tempo and phrasing, both as a soloist and in ensemble.

Ms. Melamed-Lev and her distinguished colleagues make The Concerts at Camphill Ghent an irresistible destination from October through May. I plan not to miss a single concert, if possible, and I urge you to do the same!

In addition to the concert series Camphill Ghent is graced by an art gallery, and special care has been devoted to the design of its buildings and gardens, on the principle that the arts are vital to the well-being of any person, regardless of their health and physical or mental condition. Camphill is a movement founded in 1939 near Aberdeen by Karl König, an Austrian pediatrician, and others on the principle that people who are affected by developmental problems still possess a healthy core, which can respond to and flourish in the best things of life, work, and art. It this is addressed in the right way, these people can live happy, productive lives to the best of their abilities. Camphill is best known for the astonishing results it has achieved with people who have suffered mental or neurological problems, but the aim of Camphill Ghent has been to build a community of elders, only some of whom have been challenged by handicaps. There are townhouses for those who are able to live independently as well as an assisted living facility. The interior environments and the grounds are light and open. The planners and designers have missed few assets which might enhance the quality of life, including the excellent kitchen, but this begins above all with the knowledge and experience of the residents, who include artists, musicians, and dancers, as well as a broad collection of people from all walks of life. The concerts are a significant part of life at Camphill Ghent, and by attending even a single concert, you are contributing to and benefitting from participation in this vibrant community.


Season Schedule

Saturday, October 15, 2016, 3pm

Intimate Conversations, Bach and Beyond:
Bach, Kabalevsky, Stravinsky, Mendelssohn, and Telemann

J. S. Bach – Flute Sonata in B minor
G. F. Telemann – Trio Sonata in C minor
Kabalevsky – Children’s Pieces
J. S. Bach – Violin Sonata in A Major
Mendelssohn – Songs without Words
Mendelssohn – Intermezzo from Symphony No. 1
Stravinsky – Galop

Kenneth Cooper, Harpsichord
Judith Mendenhall, Flute
Joel Pitchon, Violin
Lucy Bardo, Cello
Gili Melamed-Lev, Piano

Saturday, November 12, 2016, 3pm
The Supernatural, the Sacred and the Self
Piano Trios, Mendelssohn C Minor and Beethoven, Bolcom and Brahms

Beethoven – Piano trio in D Major, Op. 70, No. 1, “The Ghost”
William Bolcom – Capriccio
Brahms – Intermezzo from the FAE Sonata
Mendelssohn – Piano in C minor, No. 2, Op. 66

Joanna Kurkowicz, Violin
Ronald Feldman, Cello
Doris Stevenson, Piano

Saturday, December 3, 2016, 3pm
Romanticism, Pre- and Post-

Mozart, Debussy, Dvorak, Haydn and
Shostakovich Mozart – Sonata in B Flat Major, K. 454
Debussy – Sonata in G minor, L140
Dvořák – Romantic Pieces, Op. 75
Haydn – Sonata in G Major, Hob. XV:32
Shostakovich – Preludes

Helena Baillie, Violin & Viola
Gili Melamed-Lev, Piano

February 11, Saturday 2017
Brahms and the Spirit of Beethoven,
an all-Brahms program

Brahms – E minor Cello Sonata
Brahms – G Major Violin Sonata
Brahms – C Major Trio

Eugene Drucker – Violin
Roberta Cooper – Cello
Gili Melamed-Lev – Piano

Saturday, March 18, 2017, 3pm
A Domestic Relationship at the Keyboard
Schubert, Brahms, Lasser and Debussy, Piano 4 hands

The Lev-Evans Duo
Mark Evans, Piano
Gili Melamed-Lev, Piano

Saturday, April 22, 2017, 3pm
Remembrance and Celebration
A collaboration with the Bard Conservatory of Music:
Dvořák Piano Quintet, Wallach String Quartet, and Beethoven String Trio

Robert Martin, Cello
Tianpei Ai, Violin
Shuang Yang, Violin
Marka Gustavsson, Viola
Gili Melamed-Lev, Piano

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