Chamber Music Society launches 48th season

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Scott Woolweaver

The Martha’s Vineyard Chamber Music Society (MVCMS) enters its 48th season next week with a Summer Concert Festival featuring 10 performances, five programs, and a star-studded array of more than a dozen talented visiting artists who perform both in this country and worldwide. As she does each year, festival pianist and artistic director Delores Stevens will add her inimitable keyboard gifts to most performances.

According to a press release, the assemblage of accomplished world-class musicians includes a number of familiar Vineyard favorites: Boston-based violist Scott Woolweaver, violinist Stephanie Chase, and Paul Stevens, Ms. Stevens’ son, a noted French horn player and music professor.

Joining them will be two performers appearing on Island stages for the first time. Andy Lin, a Chinese-born and Juilliard-trained violist, and Gary Levinson on violin, will add new dimensions and talents to the series.

Weekly concerts take place each Monday at the Old Whaling Church in Edgartown, and on Tuesdays at the Chilmark Community Center, where every performance is followed by a reception where audience members enjoy refreshments while visiting with the musicians.

The Infinity Brass, launching the series on July 16 and 17, is an audience favorite with its unique eclectic repertoire mixing jazz with classical genres. The group’s upbeat program “Escape with Infinity Brass” features five horns accompanied by Stevens in selections ranging from J.S. Bach and Mozart to an Ellington classic.

Widely acclaimed flutist Carol Wincenc, a Juilliard professor who concertizes worldwide, joins violist Andy Lin and Stevens on July 23 and 24 for a program including Sibelius, Bloch, and Duruflé.

With the month’s final program titled “Strings Attached to Classics,” violinist Gary Levinson appears with Michael Klotz, viola, and cellist Jason Calloway, along with Stevens. Featured on these July 30 and 31 concerts will be Schumann’s “Piano Quartet in E-flat major” along with Mozart’s “Duo for Violin and Viola in G major,” and a Beethoven trio.

Familiar faces with top-notch musical flair take the stage together August 6 and 7. The Martha’s Vineyard Piano Quartet, comprised of violist Woolweaver, Chase, violin, and cellist Jan Müller-Szeraws, with Stevens, has played several Thanksgiving concerts here to appreciative holiday audiences. They will perform Clara Schumann, a seldom-heard sonata by English composer York Bowen, and “Piano Quartet in G minor, op. 45”​ by Fauré.

The “Fantastic Festival Finale,” August 13 and 14, spotlights renowned clarinetist Franklin Cohen, until recently the longtime principal clarinetist for the Cleveland Orchestra. Cohen is joined by his violinist daughter, Diana Cohen, and her husband Roman Rabinovich at the piano in a program that includes Haydn, Poulenc, Bartok, and John Adams.

An authentically Vineyard-grown, -based, and -operated organization, MVCMS has for several decades supported music education efforts for Island youth. Some 200 elementary and middle school students take part in lessons through the school strings program, with instruments provided free of charge.

The society awards a yearly scholarship to a promising high school graduate, to assist the student in pursuing college-level musical education. A new artist-in-residence program brings professional musicians to Island schools to teach and perform. In addition, the group welcomes all children and students to attend performances free of charge.

For more information and tickets visit mvcms.org, email MVCMS@vineyard.net, or call 508-696-8055. Festival subscription $160, $144 with Island Club Card; individual tickets $35, $30 with Island Club Card. Free admission for children and students.