June 5, 2019

PU Concerts Announces 2019-2020 Season

Princeton University Concerts’ 126th season will be a celebration of American musicians and composers. At the opening in October, the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center presents a program entitled “New World Spirit” which explores the lineage of American classical music. The season continues through to the spring when the Dover String Quartet makes its Princeton University Concerts debut.

PUC will pay tribute to Beethoven’s 250th anniversary not only by presenting his music throughout the season — including performances of the composer’s piano trios by violinist Isabelle Faust, cellist Jean-Guihen Queyras, and pianist Alexander Melnikov, and his songs by baritone Matthias Goerne and pianist Jan Lisiecki — but also by supporting the creation of new work. As part of the Music Accord consortium, whose fellow members include the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and the Tanglewood Music Center, PUC has co-commissioned two works that will appear on the series. Frederic Rzewski’s Demons, dedicated to author/political activist Angela Davis, was written for young violin star Benjamin Beilman who will make his PUC debut alongside fellow Avery Fisher Career Grant-winner Andrew Tyson at the piano. The Calidore String Quartet will return for their mainstage debut in a program including a work by composer Anna Clyne as inspired by Beethoven’s Grosse Fuge, which they will also perform alongside Bach’s Art of the Fugue.

This kind of intentional programming will be featured throughout the season, including a program of Charles Ives’ complete violin sonatas with PUC veteran Stefan Jackiw and pianist Jeremy Denk in his PUC debut. This programming is aligned with PUC’s commitment to providing immersive experiences, as reflected in the expansion of the popular Up Close series into a framework that allows experiencing performances and artists up close in many different ways, including concerts with audiences seated onstage, mini-residencies by the season’s artists, and partnerships with departments and programs across the Princeton University campus, allowing for more in-depth approaches to the music on PUC’s season.

The 2019-20 Performances Up Close series will focus on the spontaneity of music by highlighting musicians who are also improvisers, composers, and innovators. The Berlin-based Vision String Quartet will present classics in the chamber music repertory — including an overlooked string quartet by female composer Grazyna Bacewicz — and their own arrangements of jazz and pop standards. Venezuelan pianist Gabriela Montero will offer staples of the piano repertoire by Rachmaninoff and Schumann alongside live improvisation, including improvised music to a screening of Charlie Chaplin’s film The Immigrant. And pianist/composer Conrad Tao will make his PUC debut with tap dancer Caleb Teicher in a program that includes dance improvisations to works by J.S. Bach, Tao, and others.

A new Icons of Song series features vocalists and pianists. Tenor Ian Bostridge will return to the series with jazz pianist, improviser, and composer Brad Mehldau in a program that pairs Schumann’s Dichterliebe with Mehldau’s brand new song cycle The Folly of Desire, featuring lyrics from the poetry of Shakespeare, e.e. cummings, Brecht, Yeats, Goethe, Blake, and others. Opera star Joyce DiDonato puts an unusual spin on Schubert’s Winterreise by staging this song cycle from the perspective of the protagonist’s beloved. Metropolitan Opera and Philadelphia Orchestra Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin will put down his baton in this rare appearance as a pianist to join her for this project. The season will end with an “Ode to Beethoven,” as baritone Matthias Goerne and 23-year-old pianist Jan Lisiecki present the composer’s songs.

PUC maintains its commitment to accessibility with tickets for all of the programs on the 2019-2020 season starting at just $10. Throughout the year, PUC also invites the community to a range of free supplemental events including the nationally-recognized Live Music Meditation series, pre-concert talks given by renowned musical scholars, musical previews by talented Princeton students, post-concert Q&As, an annual Chamber Jam, and more.

Subscriptions to the 2019-2020 season are now on sale. Packages start at just $16 per concert. Visit princetonuniversityconcerts.org or call (609) 258-2800.