Live From Lincoln Center today announced that Odyssey: The Chamber Music Society in Greece, will air on PBS Friday, September 6, 2019. In 2015, LIVE FROM LINCOLN CENTER went on location to Kentucky’s Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center (CMS) to produce the acclaimed Simple Gifts, the first program outside of New York City in its series history. The two institutions now reunite once again, traveling abroad for Live From Lincoln Center’s first production outside the U.S., with support from the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF). The broadcast also contains another milestone – the CMS concert at the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center (SNFCC) marks the center’s first presentation of a U.S. musical organization.
Artists of the Chamber Music Society, led by its artistic directors, David Finckel and Wu Han, embark on this multifaceted, visually striking musical journey to the country where so many of the classical arts were first developed. The core of the adventure is the unique intimacy of chamber music performances in extraordinary places, while highlighting the Greek cultural influences that still resonate within our language, arts, philosophy, and civic life.
Live From Lincoln Center documents the musicians on a contemporary odyssey that culminates in the cosmopolitan HUB of Athens, where they perform at the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center, designed by renowned architect Renzo Piano. Their travels also take them to the remote hills of Pelion, where Jason reputedly set sail with the Argonauts, and where additional concerts are performed in the picturesque and intimate spaces of the 18th-century Church of Taxiarchon, in Milies; the Church of St. Constantine and Helen, in Volos; and the magnificent amphitheater tucked away in the heart of the bustling town of Larissa. Pelion is located on a tree-covered mountainous peninsula that faces the sea on both sides. Scattered around the sides of the mountain are old villages that have preserved their unique character and architecture through the centuries. Appropriately, THE JOURNEY ends with a visit to Delphi, the sacred precinct of Apollo, the god of music, poetry, light, and healing. In keeping with its education mission to foster excellence in the art of chamber music, the Chamber Music Society gave master classes to local music students who also attended its concerts.
The production is made possible in part through a grant from the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF) and the generosity and expert technical assistance provided by Greek public broadcaster Hellenic Broadcasting Corporation (ERT). Broadcast is planned on Greek public television in the coming months, and the episode will also be available for streaming on pbs.org for 28 days following the U.S. premiere.
The Chamber Music Society is represented by a superb contingent of musicians, including mezzo-soprano Emily D’Angelo; pianist Wu Han; violinists Aaron Boyd, Sean Lee, Arnaud Sussmann, and Danbi Um; violists Matthew Lipman and Paul Neubauer; cellists Dmitri Atapine and David Finckel; and flutist Tara Helen O’Connor. The broadcast will feature classic masterpieces of chamber music by Beethoven, Bach, and Mendelssohn, alongside works highlighting Greek culture, including Ravel’s Cinq mélodies populaires grecques (Five Greek Folksongs) and Debussy’s Syrinx. It will also feature a work by George Tsontakis, a contemporary American composer of Greek descent.
In anticipation of the television broadcast, CMS will release in August 2019 an audio recording of select performances from the trip. The album will be available on the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center label, both as a physical CD and digital download.
The Chamber Music Society’s artistic directors, David Finckel and Wu Han, said:
“Our trip to the cradle of Western civilization proved to be a musical odyssey like none other we or our fellow musicians had taken. It was with a deep sense of purpose that we ventured there, and with a profound feeling of enlightenment that we returned home. Live From Lincoln Center’s documentation of this journey was an unprecedented achievement, for CMS and for Lincoln Center as a whole. Sharing this novel artistic adventure with the world at the onset of our 50th anniversary season provides a harbinger of the kind of innovative possibilities that await CMS in its next half-century.”
Live From Lincoln Center’s executive producer, Andrew C. Wilk, said:
“For more than four decades, LIVE FROM LINCOLN CENTER has brought many of the world’s most inspiring artists in music, theater, and dance to the homes of millions of Americans. We have collaborated with the Chamber Music Society on a number of beautiful programs, and we’re thrilled to be marking this milestone with them-our first international production. We’re also delighted to be partnering for the first time with our good colleagues at the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center and ERT.”
Pictured: The Temple of Apollo, Delphi; courtesy of Live From Lincoln Center