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Caramoor Fall Festival: Music for omnivores

The Knights
Bergen Record

By Natalia Baage

Caramoor music returns with their fall festival, bringing in the likes of Tony Award-winning Broadway singer Patti LuPone and Grammy Award-winning cellist Yo-Yo Ma.

Coming off the heels of their successful jazz festival in August, Caramoor has assembled another great lineup for audiences to enjoy over two melodious weekends.

From Sept. 24 to Oct. 3, the Caramoor Fall Festival features Ms. LuPone, Mr. Ma, the Knights Chamber Orchestra, the Bill Frisell Trio, and Caramoor’s Rising Stars and Young Artist program. In addition, a benefit will take place to raise money for the property.

“Musicians are inspired by atmosphere,” said Colin Jacobsen, the violinist of the Knights Chamber Orchestra. “And Caramoor is chock-full of atmosphere. All the ingredients are here for a magical experience.”

The self-described “musical omnivore” said that he and the Knights feel privileged to not only be playing at Caramoor but also to be teaming up with musical legend Mr. Ma for the first time.

“We’re just honored to be at Caramoor, which is what we consider to be one of the great homes for music,” said Eric Jacobsen the conductor of the Knights Chamber Orchestra.

“Yo-Yo Ma is a musical hero to many people,” said Colin. “We’re so excited to play with him in this format. Caramoor is a magical place; it’s ideal for music-making. A beautiful setting and people who are genuinely listening to the music.”

According to Colin, chemistry plays a big role in communicating the mood of the music to the audience, something that Mr. Ma is well-known for.

At Caramoor, Colin said, sharing music becomes natural and effortless.

“Once we love the music we are playing, we’re so happy to share it with the audience,” he said. “We hope that the energy and joy that we have will be translated to them. And Yo-Yo is one of the great communicators of our time, so we’re excited to see what that chemistry will be like at Caramoor.”

Colin’s brother, Eric, shared that feeling, saying that while being able to play at the same venue as Mr. Ma, Ms. LuPone and Mr. Frisell, the most satisfying feeling is infusing the audience with the inner feel of their music.

“I hope they love it, and I hope we can communicate what we want to them,” Eric said. “That’s the best part about playing concerts. Otherwise, why not just stay home and play? If we can communicate the music that we’re performing, and if they enjoy it, in whatever way – they’re happy, they’re sad – but if somehow it moves them, we love to feel that.”

Michael Barrett, the general director of Caramoor, designed the festival to include a variety of musical genres.

“We’re really after a broad scope so that there will be something there for everybody,” he said. “We expect people will want to come to Caramoor once over these weekends, so they will probably find something they like.”

Broadway singer and actress Patti LuPone will be performing her one-woman concert, “The Gypsy in My Soul,” which will feature music from her Broadway career. She is best known for appearing in the well-celebrated musicals “Evita” and “Les Miserables.”

Mr. Frisell, known for his eclectic jazz, brings his band featuring bassist Tony Scheer and drummer Rudy Royston to Caramoor for an evening of ambiance, improvisation and unduplicatable beats.

For Mr. Barrett, the fall festival signals one of the last outdoor venues that can be appreciated as the seasons change and the temperatures become cooler.

“I expect audiences to come and have a wonderful time,” he said. “The leaves are changing and it’s our way of opening up the property to the public and having events here when the weather is still beautiful.”

Mr. Barrett said that he hopes people from New York City will come up to Katonah for the festival. While New York City is full of music, he said, it does not have the same environment. Caramoor offers a beautiful estate with property and nature to match.

“I hope that it’s popular and that people enjoy it,” he said. “I also hope that people outside of our immediate area get the idea to come.”

This year’s fall festival is larger than last year’s, as it will remain at Caramoor for two weekends instead of one. The 2011 fall festival is anticipated to return with an all-new group of musicians.