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SPAC Announces New Partnership With Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center

Lucas Willard

The Saratoga Performing Arts Center has announced a new partnership to bring more chamber music to its summer lineup of events.

At the Spa Little theater at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center Monday, SPAC President and CEO Marcia White announced that the world-renowned Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center will make SPAC its new summer home.

"It will launch a partnership that will position SPAC as the destination of choice of world-class chamber music in the summer," said White.

White said that CMS will join in a partnership with SPAC not unlike the venue’s long-standing commitments with New York City Ballet and the Philadelphia Orchestra. The New York City Ballet in particular has been shortening its stay at SPAC in recent years, and will only be in residence for one week next year.

"This new partnership represents an expansion and a deepening of tradition and commitment that has been part of SPAC's identity from the very beginning," said White.

Under the agreement, CMS will program and perform a three-week, six concert series beginning in August of next year. Susan Reed is Chairman of the Board at SPAC.

"For us this is a significant new investment in classical music programming. Indeed it's our first new residency in many years, but it's a partnership and residency that the board believes will serve SPAC's mission to cultivate, promote, foster, sponsor, and develop amongst its members and the community at large appreciation and love of the performing arts," said Reed.

Suzanne Davidson, Executive Director of CMS, said that the Society has been increasing its web presence and has been streaming performances online, recently expanded its radio series to 52 weeks a year, and is hoping to build relationship with local universities. But amid all of CMS’ developments, Davidson said the Society desired a summer residency to celebrate its near 50 years of performances.

"We're taking a look at where we want to be at age 50," said Davidson, "and one of the key things we thought we absolutely needed to do is to create a major  chamber music summer presence."

Prior to a performance of a Beethoven sonata at the press conference, CMS Artistic Directors David Finckel and Wu Han offered their thoughts on the new partnership.

Finckel revealed some of the details of what chamber music fans can expect at SPAC next year.

"The works represent almost equally the Classical Romantic and 20th Century eras, the composers hail from Austria, Germany, France, Bohemia, Hungary, and America - with one composer actually coming from upstate New York. And at the present time we have 19 artists held, 16 of whom have not appeared here for at least six years," said Finckel.

Wu Han described chamber music as addictive and was confident that the new partnership will inspire new fans from the community and beyond.

"I would love to make this place the summer gathering of all chamber music lovers, and we are going to win them over one-by-one," said Wu Han.

The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center is the largest of its kind in the world. The CMS residency at SPAC will begin on August 11th, 2014, and continue until August 26th.

For more information visit: http://www.spac.org/

Lucas Willard is a reporter and host at WAMC Northeast Public Radio, which he joined in 2011.