Performing Arts Series Spring 2021 Virtual Season preview image including pictures of the Danish Quartet, pianist Sullivan Fortner, Dancers Christal Brown and Lida Winfield, and two ensembles from the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center
The Performing Arts Series’ all-virtual, all-free Spring 2021 season includes the Danish String Quartet, jazz pianist Sullivan Fortner, a dance performance entitled “Same But Different,” and CMS Front Row programs entitled “Vivaldi Explosion” and “Bach Brandenburg Concertos.”

Welcome to Our Virtual Season

The Middlebury Performing Arts Series is proud to announce an all-virtual season, featuring free, online concerts by nationally and internationally renowned musicians. With bonus content and online residency activities, audiences will enjoy dynamic performances by these extraordinary artists, all from the safety of home.

Our performances will take place on Friday nights at 7:30 PM Eastern Time, with one exception,* and will remain available online for several days. The events are free and available to all. (*The Danish String Quartet broadcast is on a Saturday, February 27, rather than the usual Friday.)

This continues the Performing Arts Series’ 101-year tradition of enhancing Middlebury’s curriculum and igniting cultural and creative exploration by presenting a diverse spectrum of world-class performances and residencies for the greater Middlebury community. Middlebury is proud to have Vermont’s longest-running Performing Arts Series—over 1,150 performances since 1919!

View Upcoming Events

Danish String Quartet 2/27/2021

Saturday, February 27, 2021

Virtual

Danish Quartet performing stringed instruments on Robison Hall stage
Danish String Quartet virtual performance 02/27/2021 (Credit: Aaron Kimball )

The Grammy-nominated Danish String Quartet is among today’s most in-demand chamber music ensembles. The palpable joy with which they perform—paired with their rare musical spontaneity—leaves audiences feeling as if they’re hearing treasured chamber music standards for the first time. Since their sold-out Middlebury debut in 2017, the quartet was named Musical America’s 2020 Ensemble of the Year. We also have another special connection: quartet violinist Rune Tonsgaard Sørensen returned to Middlebury in early March 2020 with folk trio Dreamers’ Circus, for what became the last live performance of the Performing Arts Series’ 100th anniversary season.

In this new, exclusive broadcast for Middlebury audiences, the quartet performs a program of Bach, Webern, and Nordic folk music, recorded in one of their favorite Copenhagen venues. The performance will remain available to watch on demand for one week (through 03/05/2021).

A Nelson Fund event.
 

Sullivan Fortner, Jazz Piano 3/12/2021

Friday, March 12, 2021

Virtual

Jazz pianist Sullivan Fortner sitting at an upright piano
Jazz pianist Sullivan Fortner performs virtually 03/12/2021

Grammy Award-winning pianist Sullivan Fortner has gained international praise as a pianist, composer, and band leader, and for his collaborative work with artists such as Wynton Marsalis, Paul Simon, Diane Reeves, Etienne Charles, Cecile McLorin Salvant, John Scofield, and more. In 2019, Fortner earned recognition in multiple DownBeat Critics Poll categories, winning first place in Rising Star Piano and Rising Star Jazz Artist. He’s also the recipient of the 2015 winner of the Cole Porter Fellowship by the American Pianists Association, the Leonore Annenberg Arts Fellowship, and the 2016 Lincoln Center Award for Emerging Artists.

Fortner’s broadcast is exclusive for our Middlebury campus and community, and he’ll play a mix of original works and jazz standards. The performance will remain available to watch on demand for one week (through 03/19/2021). Preregister for free below, or visit our Digital Stages starting Friday, March 12 at 7:30 PM.

A Nelson Fund event.
 

CMS: "Vivaldi Explosion" 3/26/2021

Friday, March 26, 2021

Virtual

Chamber musicians including mandolinist Avi Avital performing Vivaldi
CMS Front Row broadcast of “Vivaldi Explosion” will air 03/21/2021 (Credit: Tristan Cook )

Experience the peerless artistry of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center (CMS), with this extraordinary HD concert, featuring archival CMS video recordings of some of Vivaldi’s most beloved concertos and sonatas. In Vivaldi Explosion, an extraordinary assemblage of musicians grace the stage, including Israeli mandolin virtuoso Avi Avital. The broadcast includes a Q & A hosted by Middlebury friends—and chamber music power couple—David Finckel and Wu Han.  

The Vivaldi Explosion program will remain available to watch on demand for one week (through 04/02/2021). Preregister for free below, or visit our Digital Stages starting Friday, March 26 at 7:30 PM.

A Nelson Fund event. Presented by the Middlebury Performing Arts Series. Part of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center’s CMS: FRONT ROW, a series of exceptionally high quality, digital, chamber music concerts curated by David Finckel and Wu Han. Our CMS: FRONT ROW broadcasts are part of the Nelson Fund series and made possible with generous support from Raphael and Jane Bernstein.

Christal Brown and Lida Winfield: Same but Different 4/2/2021

Friday, April 2, 2021

Virtual

Dancers Christal Brown and Lida Winfield perform "Same but Different"
Middlebury dance faculty Christal Brown and Lida Winfield perform “Same but Different” virtually on 04/02/2021 (Credit: JHsu Media )

Same but Different is a collaborative duet between Middlebury dance faculty Christal Brown and Lida Winfield, exploring their similarities and differences in a cultural commentary on race, age, and gender. 42 years young and recently orphaned, Lida grew up in the North, Christal grew up in the South, both of them grew up inhabiting small towns. Lida is white, Christal is black. As children, Christal was considered a genius and Lida was labeled dumb. At this point in their lives, Lida and Christal have both lived the rigors of being artists, professors, educators, and survivors of life.

Same but Different will feature a Q & A with the artists following the broadcast, and the program will remain available to watch on demand for one week (through 04/09/2021). Preregister for free below, or visit our Digital Stages starting Friday, April 2 at 7:30 PM.

Same but Different was produced by the Flynn Center for the Performing Arts, with support from the National Performance Network and the Middlebury Performing Arts Series.
 

CMS: BACH: The Complete Brandenburg Concertos 4/23/2021

Friday, April 23, 2021

Virtual

Chamber musicians performing Bach's Brandenburg Concertos
CMS Front Row broadcast of all six of Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos ends our 2020-2021 virtual season on 04/23/2021. (Credit: Tristan Cook )

At the end of every calendar year, the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center has a tradition of presenting the complete set of six Brandenburg Concertos. It seems only fitting that we air this joyous broadcast at the end of our academic year—in line with Middlebury’s Bach Festival history.  The CMS Front Row program celebrates chamber music at its finest; pulled from CMS’ extensive performance archive and expertly-curated by CMS co-Artistic Directors (and Middlebury friends) David Finckel and Wu Han—who also lead Q&A session with the artists.

Middlebury’s broadcast of all six Brandenburg Concertos will remain available to watch on demand for one week (through 05/03/2021). Preregister for free below, or visit our Digital Stages starting Friday, April 23 at 7:30 PM.

Presented by the Middlebury Performing Arts Series. Part of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center’s CMS: FRONT ROW, a series of exceptionally high quality, digital, chamber music concerts curated by David Finckel and Wu Han. Our CMS: FRONT ROW broadcasts are part of the Nelson Fund series and made possible with generous support from Raphael and Jane Bernstein.

Past Events This Season

Imani Winds 9/25/20

Friday, September 25, 2020

PAS Event

The five members of Imani Winds

Celebrating 20 years of music making, the Grammy-nominated Imani Winds have led both a revolution and the evolution of the wind quintet. Their dynamic playing, adventurous programming, imaginative collaborations, and commitment to education have inspired audiences of all ages and backgrounds. Though their playlist embraces traditional chamber music repertoire, they also reach forward into the 21st century, expanding the wind quintet repertoire by commissioning music from new voices that reflect both historical events and present times.

We planned to bring you this groundbreaking quintet last April, but now we proudly open the 20–21 season with the Imani Winds in an exclusive virtual concert, featuring works by John Harbison, Paquito D’Rivera, and Jeff Scott. This event is part of a digital residency that will also bring the Imani Winds into Middlebury College music classes.

“The signature contribution of this group [is] a technical ease with extravagant gestures, intense production of sound, and the daring expressive liberties that come only after musicians have developed a sixth sense of ensemble-bonding. Imani’s got it all.”—Philadelphia Inquirer

7:15 PM ET Opening Act: Matthew Evan Taylor, Assistant Professor of Music

A Nelson Fund event.

Free.

Sphinx Virtuosi 10/2/20

Friday, October 2, 2020

Location link below

Sphinx Virtuosi

One of the nation’s most dynamic professional chamber orchestras, this self-conducted ensemble is comprised of 18 top Black and Latinx classical soloists. Its national tour includes annual stops at Carnegie Hall and Miami’s New World Center, bringing fresh, diverse programming to leading venues around the country. They engage in immersive outreach to bring classical music to communities nationwide, including students of all ages.

Their virtual concert program, entitled This Is America, draws inspiration from the country’s most promising voices of today. “Despite the physical isolation imposed by the pandemic, we are unified through our shared commitment to social impact through our expression…we seek to find new ways to lift the voices of our black and brown communities through the lens of our black and brown musicians.”

“Electrically charged performances of as high a caliber as any other professional group, but with the vital energy of a life-and-death mission.”—New York Concert Review

7:15 PM ET Opening Act: Heath Quartet, PAS Quartet-in-residence 

A Nelson Fund event.

Free

David Shifrin, Clarinet 10/9/20

Friday, October 9, 2020

PAS Event

David Shifrin

The Middlebury Performing Arts Series presents Avery Fisher Prize-winning clarinetist David Shifrin, one of only two wind players to have been awarded the prestigious prize since the award’s inception in 1974. Shifrin is in constant demand worldwide as an orchestral soloist, recitalist, and chamber music collaborator. In this virtual concert, he’ll perform works by Mozart, Bassi, and Duke Ellington. Fun fact: Duke Ellington performed on Middlebury’s Performing Arts Series in 1960. This dynamic program also features violinists Danbi Um and Bella Hristova, violist Mark Holloway, cellist Dmitri Atapine, and pianist Gloria Chien. 

7:15 PM ET Opening Act: Dan Frostman, Oboe; Library Manager and Affiliate Artist in Music

Part of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center’s CMS: FRONT ROW, a series of exceptionally high quality, digital, chamber music concerts curated by David Finckel and Wu Han. Our CMSFRONT ROW broadcasts are part of the Nelson Fund series, and made possible with generous support from Raphael and Jane Bernstein.

Free

Michael Brown, Piano 10/16/20

Friday, October 16, 2020

PAS Event

Michael Brown

Described as “one of the leading figures in the current renaissance of performer-composers” by the New York Times, pianist Michael Brown is the winner of both Lincoln Center’s 2018 Emerging Artist Award and a 2015 Avery Fisher Career Grant. He makes regular appearances with orchestras and festivals across the U.S. and was selected by pianist András Schiff to perform an international solo recital tour. In this online performance, Brown will play works by Barber and Mendelssohn, plus one of his own compositions, and will be joined by violinist Chad Hoopes, violists Paul Neubauer and Matthew Lipman, cellist Nicholas Canellakis, double bassist Joseph Conyers, and pianist Gilles Vonsattel,—many of whom have appeared in our own Robison Hall. 

7:15 PM ET Opening Act: Ronnie Romano ‘20, Piano

Part of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center’s CMS: FRONT ROW, a series of exceptionally high quality, digital, chamber music concerts curated by David Finckel and Wu Han. Our CMSFRONT ROW broadcasts are part of the Nelson Fund series, and made possible with generous support from Raphael and Jane Bernstein.

Free

Arnaud Sussmann, Violin 10/23/20

Friday, October 23, 2020

PAS Event

Arnaud Sussmann

Winner of a 2009 Avery Fisher Career Grant, violinist Arnaud Sussmann has distinguished himself with his unique sound, bravura, and profound musicianship. Minnesota’s Pioneer Press writes, “Sussmann has an old-school sound…a rare combination of sweet and smooth that can hypnotize a listener.” Sussmann will perform Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 4 and Chausson’s Concerto in D Major for Violin, Piano, and String Quartet. For this concert he is joined by flutists Sooyun Kim and Tara Helen O’Connor; violinists Bella Hristova, Francisco Fullana, Kristin Lee, and Yura Lee; violist Richard O’Neill; cellists Dmitri Atapine and Nicholas Canellakis; double bassist Xavier Foley; pianist Wu Han; and piano-harpsichordist Hyeyeon Park. 

7:15 PM ET Opening Act: Matt LaRocca ‘02, Viola/Composer

Free

Part of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center’s CMS: FRONT ROW, a series of exceptionally high quality, digital, chamber music concerts curated by David Finckel and Wu Han. Our FRONT ROW broadcasts are part of the Nelson Fund series, and made possible with generous support from Raphael and Jane Bernstein.

Alessio Bax and Lucille Chung, Pianos 10/30/20

Friday, October 30, 2020

PAS Event

Alessio Bax and Lucille Chung

The real-life marriage of concert pianists Alessio Bax and Lucille Chung—with their abundant artistic chemistry, passion, and stunning virtuosity—has led to one of the most appealing and impressive piano duos of our time. In the words of the UK magazine Music and Arts, “Theirs is a marriage of wondrous colors and dexterous aplomb, subtly balanced to make a musical performance sound as one.” Bax and Chung will perform Mozart’s K. 449—and the Middlebury premiere of Bartók’s Sonata for Two Pianos and Percussion—with a supremely talented group of collaborative musicians: violinists Bella Hristova and Arnaud Sussmann, violist Paul Neubauer, cellist Sophie Shao, double bassist Joseph Conyers, and percussionists Ayano Kataoka and David Rosenbaum.

7:15 PM ET Opening Act: Sophie Shao, Cello; 13-time PAS artist

Free

Part of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center’s CMS: FRONT ROW, a series of exceptionally high quality, digital, chamber music concerts curated by David Finckel and Wu Han. Our FRONT ROW broadcasts are part of the Nelson Fund series, and made possible with generous support from Raphael and Jane Bernstein.

Gilbert Kalish, Piano 11/6/20

Friday, November 6, 2020

PAS Event

Gilbert Kalish

The profound influence of pianist Gilbert Kalish as an educator and pianist has established him as a major figure in American music-making, receiving the Richard J. Bogomolny National Service Award for his significant and lasting contribution to the chamber music field. He also holds the rare distinction of the longest Middlebury Performing Arts Series relationship, having first played on campus in 1966. Performing works by Crumb, Schubert, and Brahms, Kalish will be joined by soprano Lisette Oropesa, clarinetist David Shifrin, violinist Nicolas Dautricourt, violist Paul Neubauer, and cellist Torleif Thedéen. This concert is additionally made possible with generous support from Olin C. Robison.

Free

7:15 PM ET Opening Act: Sadie Brightman, Piano; Affiliate Artist in Music

Part of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center’s CMS: FRONT ROW, a series of exceptionally high quality, digital, chamber music concerts curated by David Finckel and Wu Han. Our CMS: FRONT ROW broadcasts are part of the Nelson Fund series, and made possible with generous support from Raphael and Jane Bernstein.

Jupiter Quartet 11/13/20

Friday, November 13, 2020

PAS Event

Jupiter Quartet

The Jupiter String Quartet is a particularly intimate group, consisting of violinists Nelson Lee and Meg Freivogel, violist Liz Freivogel (Meg’s older sister), and cellist Daniel McDonough (Meg’s husband, Liz’s brother-in-law). Now enjoying their 17th year together, this tight-knit ensemble is firmly established as an important voice in the world of chamber music. Among their many honors are top prizes at the Banff International String Quartet Competition, Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition, Young Concert Artists International auditions, the Cleveland Quartet Award, and the Avery Fisher Career Grant.

Middlebury enjoys a long and fruitful relationship with the Jupiters, who first visited campus in 2010. Though they have often treated us to core string quartet repertoire such as Beethoven and Bartók, they are also strongly committed to new music. For this concert, they will treat us to a program of Mendelssohn, George Walker, and Michi Wiancko.

“Jupiter, always talented, has reached that stage where musical expression, not technical proficiency, has become the focus … an intensely alert investigation of the musical possibilities in each work.”—Boston Classical Review

7:15 PM ET Opening Act: Middlebury College Choir; directed by Jeffrey Buettner, Professor of Music

This Nelson Fund event is made possible thanks to the Sunderman Family Concert Endowment Fund, in memory of Dr. F. William Sunderman Jr. and Dr. Carolyn Reynolds Sunderman.

Free

Gloria Chien, Piano 1/22/21

Friday, January 22, 2021

Virtual

Photo of pianist Gloria Chien

The Middlebury Performing Arts Series opens its Winter 2021 Virtual Season with pianist Gloria Chien—an equally acclaimed performer, concert presenter, and educator. Selected by the Boston Globe as one of its Superior Pianists of the year, Taiwanese-born Chien has performed as a recitalist and chamber musician around the globe, and performs frequently with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center as an alumna of its Bowers Program. Chien founded the String Theory chamber music series in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and is Co-Artistic Director of both the Chamber Music Northwest and Lake Champlain Chamber Music festivals. Chien’s CMS program features works by Field, Liszt, and Mendelssohn. “Gloria Chien, who appears to excel in everything…”—Boston Globe
 
Part of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center’s CMS: FRONT ROW, a series of exceptionally high quality, digital, chamber music concerts curated by David Finckel and Wu Han. Our CMS: FRONT ROW broadcasts are part of the Nelson Fund series, and made possible with generous support from Raphael and Jane Bernstein.

Cho-Liang Lin, Violin 1/29/21

Friday, January 29, 2021

Virtual

Photo of Violinist Cho-Liang Lin

Violinist Cho-Liang Lin—Musical America’s 2000 Instrumentalist of the Year—is lauded the world over for the eloquence of his playing and for superb musicianship. In a concert career spanning more than 30 years, he is equally at home with orchestra, in recital, playing chamber music, and in the teaching studio. An avid chamber musician, he’s made recurring appearances at the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, the Aspen Music Festival, and the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival. He also serves as artistic director of the Hong Kong International Chamber Music Festival. As director of La Jolla Music Society’s SummerFest from 2001 to 2018, Lin developed the program into a multidisciplinary festival featuring dance, jazz, and new music.  Lin’s CMS program features works by Foss, Dvořák, and Tchaikovsky. “Cho-Liang Lin has an enviable reputation on record not only for his dazzling technique and flawless intonation but his instinctive artistry… His perfect intonation and tonal purity excite admiration.”—Gramophone
 
Presented by the Middlebury Performing Arts Series. Part of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center’s CMS: FRONT ROW, a series of exceptionally high quality, digital, chamber music concerts curated by David Finckel and Wu Han. Our CMS: FRONT ROW broadcasts are part of the Nelson Fund series, and made possible with generous support from Raphael and Jane Bernstein.

Anne-Marie McDermott, Piano 2/5/21

Friday, February 5, 2021

Virtual

Photo of pianist Anne-Marie McDermott

Winner of the Young Concert Artists auditions, a Mortimer Levitt Career Development Award for Women, and an Avery Fisher Career Grant, pianist Anne-Marie McDermott has enjoyed a celebrated, worldwide concert career for over 25 years.  She serves as artistic director of the Bravo! Vail Music and Ocean Reef Music festivals, as well as Curator for Chamber Music for the Mainly Mozart Festival in San Diego.  Her award winning recordings include works by Prokofiev, Bach, Gershwin, most recently Haydn. She tours each season with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, as a member of the piano quartet Opus One, and as part of a trio with her sisters Kerry and Maureen McDermott. Her CMS program will include Mozart and Smetana. “…She’s one of the great American pianists of her generation. Her depth of insight, precision of phrasing, and command of the piano on all levels are ceaselessly marvelous.”—Philadelphia Inquirer
 
Presented by the Middlebury Performing Arts Series. Part of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center’s CMS: FRONT ROW, a series of exceptionally high quality, digital, chamber music concerts curated by David Finckel and Wu Han. Our CMS: FRONT ROW broadcasts are part of the Nelson Fund series, and made possible with generous support from Raphael and Jane Bernstein.