When it comes to live music offerings, Caramoor’s summer season is about as robust as they come. Year after year, the center’s open-air venues, each with their own distinct vibe, breathe air into the busy lives of Westchester commuters and residents. The Spanish Courtyard frames the Italianate architecture of the Rosen House; the Sunken Garden creates an intimate and nature-laden respite from the world; the Venetian Theater makes way for soaring vocals and musical notes that take on lives of their own; and Friends Field feels like just that – an invitation to a friend’s (very large) backyard.
The talent that fills those spaces is as broad as the venues themselves; Caramoor brings performers from across the globe to its corner of Westchester, and helps local performers find roots in their own backyard. For example, Plena Libre (July 1) blends traditional Puerto Rican styles with modern Afro-Caribbean influences; meanwhile, the 2023 Grammy winner for Best New Artist, Samara Joy (August 4), is a graduate from SUNY Purchase.
One new summer addition will delight parents (like myself) who have young children: “Concerts for Little Ones,” a series on select Friday mornings, will be geared toward children aged two through six. Various performers will introduce the little ones to diverse styles of music and invite them to sing and dance along.
When I was a kid living in the Bronx, I remember my grandparents bringing my family to this treasure of a place they found “upstate” in Westchester. I remember listening to live music and making crafts (There was something about knights and a puppet show as well; the details are fuzzy). As an adult, I’ve attended Caramoor’s galas with my husband, their American Roots festival with my parents, and now I take my son there as well: it has been his introduction to opera; his escape from Covid life; a place to have a picnic with mom and dad.
What I mean to point out is that this “upstate treasure” that is now 10 minutes from my home, has provided multiple generations of my family with entertainment and adventure.
And I know we’re just one of many. Perhaps a child at one of this season’s concerts will return with their own kids one day.
The summer 2023 season kicks off with actress and Broadway star Audra McDonald alongside the Orchestra of St. Luke’s on June 17. The rest of the season is bursting with cultural cache and programming chutzpa:
Collaborations like the one between pianist Conrad Tao and tapper Caleb Teicher on July 20 bring together artistic disciplines in unexpected and playful ways.
Projects like Ivalas Quartet, which is devoted to featuring Black and Indigenous composers (June 23), break the mold of what people think classical music should be, while concerts such as pianist Garrick Ohlsson’s all-Chopin program (July 30) still let you bask in the classics.
There are many occasions to get up and dance, but also opportunities to reflect, including live music-accompanied meditation in the Sunken Garden.
An expanding sound art exhibition, Sonic Innovations, adds another new project to its collection of eight returning installations. Liz Phillips’s Dyning in the Dovecote is an interactive sound installation that transforms in accordance with its environment, including its audience, the sunlight and wind.
Music emerges from every corner of Caramoor’s grounds during its annual all-day festivals – the Jazz Festival (July 22) and American Roots Festival (June 24) – making the casual flow of the day ripe for gatherings with loved ones.
Personally, I’ll be attending as many of these events as possible. I hope to see you all there!
Mary Alice Franklin is ArtsWestchester’s Communications Manager and Editor of ArtsNews. She has a Bachelors in English and Masters in Publishing, and has been published in Paste Magazine, HuffPost, Art Zealous, Art Times, and more.