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Chesapeake Chamber Music Festival
June 5 - June 17
World-renowned flutist Tara Helen O’Connor will be among 15 chamber music musicians performing at this year’s 33rd Annual Chesapeake Chamber Music (CCM) Festival that will be held in Talbot County, from June 5 through June 17.
Tara is a charismatic performer noted for her artistic depth, brilliant technique and colorful tone spanning every musical era. For Tara, life is full and busy. She recently traveled to Greece with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center and the crew from Live from Lincoln Center. Last season, she traveled to Shaker Village in Kentucky to film “Simple Gifts” with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center and the crew from Live from Lincoln Center.
Tara comments, “Being so busy, I often wonder how it is all going to get done most days. But, I love learning the pieces I will be playing this season at the Chesapeake Chamber Music Festival. I am profoundly grateful to be included in this roster of such great musicians that Marcy Rosen and J. Lawrie Bloom, the Festival’s artistic directors who have put together the Festival. We all feel grateful to be invited to be a part of it and we are excited to play great chamber music for our audiences.”
Tara, a recipient of an Avery Fisher Career Grant and a two-time Grammy nominee, was the first wind player to participate in the CMS Two program and is now a Season Artist of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. A Wm. S. Haynes flute artist, Tara is a regular participant in the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, Music@Menlo, Chamber Music Festival of the Bluegrass, Spoleto Festival USA, Chamber Music Northwest, Mainly Mozart Festival, Music from Angel Fire, the Banff Centre, the Great Mountains Music Festival, Chesapeake Music Festival and the Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival.
Although she quips that she has lost count of the years she has participated in the Chesapeake Chamber Music Festival, it remains one of her favorites. She adds, “There are so many fun familial and friend connections among the musicians at the Festival. Marcy was the best woman in our wedding. There are layers of relationships – brothers, husbands, wives and old friends playing together. We all really like each other and enjoy playing and dining together. My violinist husband and I have a deep connection and feel music in a similar way, so it has always been very comfortable and familiar when we play together. We also have this feeling with the musicians we play with regularly at the Chesapeake Chamber Music Festival.”
She adds, “Playing together we all deeply trust in each other’s musicianship. You get to know the tendencies of each player and how they move. It is always inspiring and fun.”
As its name would suggest, chamber music was created to grace rooms rather than halls. At this year’s Festival, festivalgoers will enjoy returning to the smaller and more intimate venues in Talbot County, including the Tred Avon Yacht Club, Oxford Community Center, and Academy Art Museum, as well as Easton’s Christ Church and Trinity Cathedral. The spacious Avalon Theatre will feature the 2018 Chamber Music Competition Winner as part of its special concert during Week Two of the Festival.
Tara comments, “Chamber music players are so versatile in playing in different settings. We prepare the same way whether it is Carnegie Hall or a small church in a small town. It is about the music we play and communicating it to the audience.” She adds, “There is a charm to the Avalon Theatre when you walk in the paths of other greats who have played there.”
Paula Robison, the flutist at the Lincoln Center, was the person who inspired Tara to pursue flute in college immediately upon hearing her perform in a master class. Today, as a much sought-after chamber musician and soloist, Tara has appeared on A&E’s “Breakfast with the Arts” and PBS’ “Live from Lincoln Center.” She has recorded for Deutsche Grammophon, EMI Classics, Koch International, CMS Studio Recordings with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center and Bridge Records. She has just released a solo CD of American flute works entitled “The Way Things Go” on Bridge Records with pianist Margaret Kampmeier.
She reflects, “The chamber music scene is very small and like in any profession you must be very good at what you do. Additionally, there is no conductor in chamber music, so you must know the score and know how to conduct with your instrument in a way that doesn’t intrude on the music making process. It requires a specialized and intimate skill set. There is no hiding in chamber music.” She adds, “Part of being a chamber musician is knowing when to listen, where to lead, when to follow. Our roles rotate and change as we play depending on which part we are playing.”
Tara has premiered hundreds of new works and has collaborated with the Orion String Quartet, St. Lawrence Quartet, Emerson String Quartet, Jaime Laredo, Dawn Upshaw, Eliot Fisk, Jeremy Denk, Ida Kavafian, Peter Serkin and David Shifrin. Tara is a member of the woodwind quintet, Windscape, the legendary Bach Aria Group, and is a founding member of the Naumburg Award-winning New Millennium Ensemble. A passionate advocate of new music, she is a member of the Talea and Cygnus Ensembles.
She states, “Working with young living composers gives you direct insight into the composer’s process. Every single piece of music was at one point new and was given a premiere. Obviously, the language has changed and developed over the years and thanks to the ease of travel and the world wide web, composers of today have access to music and art from all over the world.”
Tara holds a DMA from Stony Brook University. She is Associate Professor of Flute, Head of the Woodwinds Department and the Coordinator of Classical Music Studies at Purchase College Conservatory of Music. Additionally, Tara is on the faculty of Bard College Conservatory of Music, the Contemporary Performance Program at Manhattan School of Music and is a visiting artist, teacher and coach at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto. She lives with her husband, violinist Daniel Phillips and their adorable miniature dachshund Chloé, on the Upper West Side of Manhattan.
Tara Helen O’Connor will perform throughout Week One of the Chesapeake Chamber Music Festival, however, a special concert on Saturday, June 3 at 5:30 p.m. at the Academy Art Museum will showcase her flute. At the concert, “Artistry of Tara Helen O’Connor & Her Friends,” Tara will be joined by her friends Daniel Phillips, Steven Tenenbom, Marcy Rosen, Robert McDonald, and Catherine Cho playing the powerful music of composers Andrew Norman, Sergei Prokofiev and César Franck.
Sponsors of this year’s Festival include the Talbot County Arts Council and the Maryland State Arts Council. Additional generous financial support from corporate, public and private benefactors enables Chesapeake Music to offer affordable tickets for Festival concerts and recitals; open rehearsals are free to the general public. For additional information, visit www.ChesapeakeMusic.org or call 410-819-0380. Experience the Extraordinary at Chesapeake Music’s 2018 Chamber Music Festival.
Tuesday, June 5 • 5:30 p.m.
Opening Concert/Reception: Christ Church, Easton
“Festival Opening Extravaganza!”
Featuring live concert commentary by Jonathan Palevsky of WBJC
Artists: Catherine Cho, Marcy Rosen, Robert McDonald
Wednesday, June 6 • 10 a.m.
Open Rehearsal: Academy Art Museum, Easton
Thursday, June 7 • 5:30 a.m.
Concert and Reception: Tred Avon Yacht Club, Oxford
“Winds in the Spotlight”
Artists: Peggy Pearson, J. Lawrie Bloom, Adrian Morejan, Catherine Cho, Marcy Rosen, Wei Ping Chou, Steven Tenenbom, Daniel Phillips, and Tara Helen O’Connor
Friday, June 8 • 7:30 p.m.
Concert: Academy Art Museum, Easton
“The Artistry of Tara Helen O’Connor & Her Friends”
Artists: Tara Helen O’Connor, Daniel Phillips, Steven Tenenbom, Marcy Rosen, and Robert McDonald
Saturday, June 9 • 7:30 p.m.
Concert: Oxford Community Center, Oxford
“Strings and Winds Unite”
Artists: Tara Helen O’Connor, Daniel Phillips, Steven Tenenbom, Marcy Rosen, Peggy Pearson, Catherine Cho, Wei Ping Chou, Jeffrey Weisner, J. Lawrie Bloom, and Adrian Morejon
Tuesday, June 12 • 10 a.m.
Open Rehearsal: Academy Art Museum, Easton
Wednesday, June 13 • 5:30 p.m.
Concert: Trinity Cathedral, Easton
“A Mozart Sandwich”
Artists: Peggy Pearson, Diane Walsh, Kendra Colton, Catherine Cho, Tessa Lark, Catherine Cho, Daniel Phillips, Marcy Rosen, and Michael Thurber
Thursday, June 14 • 5:30 p.m.
Concert: Academy Art Museum, Easton
“Handel and Bach”
Artists: Kendra Colton, Soprano; Peggy Pearson, Catherine Cho, Tessa Lark, Daniel Phillips, Marcy Rosen, Michael Thurber, Merideth Buxton, and Diane Walsh
Friday, June 15 • 7:30 p.m.
Concert: Avalon Theatre, Easton
“A Youthful Celebration”
Artists: Diane Walsh, Tessa Lark, Daniel Phillips, Marcy Rosen, and Michael Thurber
Saturday, June 16 • 5:30 p.m.
Concert: Academy Art Museum
Artists: Tessa Lark, Michael Thurber, and Bob Frederick
Sunday, June 17 • 4 p.m.
Angels Concert: Prager Family Auditorium, Easton
Reception: Talbot Historical Society Garden, Easton
Artists: Daniel Phillips, Tessa Lark, Catherine Cho, J. Lawrie Bloom, Catherine Cho