The Washington Square Music Festival celebrates its 60th season beginning tonight Tuesday, June 5th at 8 p.m. with concerts continuing at the park Tuesdays in June.
Tonight’s performance will feature “the music of Johann Strauss II, Richard Strauss and Ludwig van Beethoven is a fitting tribute to the longevity of this venerable Greenwich Village tradition that has, for so long, offered free summer music in the historic park.” Lutz Rath is the Music Director and Peggy Friedman is Executive Director of the Festival.
The free concerts begin at 8 p.m. on the Garibaldi Plaza Stage (east of fountain) and are presented under the “auspices” of the Washington Square Association. Seating is first come, first served.
In the event of rain, concerts will be held at Judson Memorial Church, 55 Washington Square South, across from the park.
Schedule this season:
June 5, 8 p.m.: The Festival Chamber Orchestra conducted by Lutz Rath
Robert Ingliss, oboe soloist
Johann Strauss II: Overture to Die Fledermaus (The Bat)
Richard Strauss: Concerto in D major for Oboe and Small Orchestra
In memory of Henry Schuman
Ludwig van Beethoven: Symphony # 1 in C major, op. 21
Richard Strauss’s rarely performed oboe concerto (1948) is a tribute performance to the Festival’s late Music Director and oboist, Henry Schuman, who died in 2001. A beautiful and difficult piece, it will be performed by master oboist Robert Ingliss, principal oboe of the New Jersey Symphony and the Santa Fe Opera Orchestras.
“Beethoven’s First Symphony, dedicated to Baron Gottfried Van Swieten, came at age 29. Fittingly, it was the dawn of a new century. It appeared late in what scholars define as the first period of Beethoven’s career, just a year or two before the crisis brought about by his gradual loss of hearing. By the mid-1790s, Beethoven had tried most of the important instrumental genres, save for symphony and string quartet. Those were the pieces in which his teacher Haydn had made his greatest mark and enjoyed his most significant successes. When Beethoven did come forward with his first symphonies, he built on the achievements of Haydn and Mozart while not hiding his debt to them. Contemporaries reacted to the work by using the word “masterpiece” repeatedly and praising its ‘originality.’” – Christoph Eschenbach
June 12, 8 p.m.: The Festival Chamber Ensemble
Mélanie Genin, harp soloist
Laila Salins, narrator
Nino Rota: Quintet for flute, oboe viola, cello and harp
Claude Debussy: Danse sacrée et danse profane for harp and strings
Sergei Prokofiev: Quintet op 39 for oboe, clarinet, violin, viola and double bass
Debussy: Les Chansons de Bilitis – Six épigraphes antiques for harp, flute and narration – arrangement Genin-Gregory
June 19, 8 p.m.: The Festival Chamber Ensemble
Joseph Haydn: Divertimento # 14 In C Major, Hob Ii: 11
“Der Geburtstag” (anniversary)
Heitor Villa-Lobos “Assobio a Játo” (The Jet Whistle) for flute & cello
Bohuslav Martinu: Nonet for wind ensemble and strings
Jan Dismas Zelenka: “ Hipocondrie” quintet
June 26, 8 p.m.: Kuumba Frank Lacy Sextet & vocalist
Free form jazz.
Programs are subject to change.
Photo: Sally J. Bair