Reviving the ‘salon’ concert: Hear intimate classical

A peak inside the special venue ‘The Garage at Chatham’. Image (C) Jon Morrell.

The Garage at Chatham (GAC) is a summer arts series in the Hudson Valley (in the village of Chatham, NY). The event adopts the tradition of salon concerts, meaning that artists perform- often new works- for a small group of aficionados in an intimate setting. In this case, and with an unusual twist, the events are performed an actual garage.

The 2023 summer season kicks off June 10th and the events are free.

The salon concerts are the brainchild of opera singer Jon Morrell and his wife, former opera singer, Adrienne Morrell. The concept was founded during the COVID-19 pandemic. During this period, the two singers discovered the acoustic possibilities of their garage while working on it during the first months of the shutdown.

Along with their friend, the conductor/composer Thomas Carlo Bo (who lives in an apartment on their property in upstate New York), they produced an intimate, locally-sourced, free classical concert out of their garage in the summer of 2020.

The response to this was overwhelming and the success led them to create their first full summer series in 2021.

Now in its 3rd full season, the series has attracted some world-renowned talent, who very often debut new works at the GAC. The events mark a form of revival of the salon concerts of the 19th century. These were an essential format familiar to composers Schubert, Beethoven, Chopin and Liszt.

Garage at Chatham (GAC), an intimate music venue. Image (C) Jon Morrell

Jon Morrell’s goal with the summer series is to promote new works/compositions and create a cultural, intellectual exchange between artists and the audience that can only be achieved within an intimate setting such as this. The performances are always less than 90 minutes in length.

The 2023 season opens with a tribute to the trailblazing Zoellner Quartet on June 10th. The intermezzo style evening includes The Hon. Alex Foley speaking about the Zoellner Quartet. Foley is the great-granddaughter of Joseph Zoellner Senior, the founder of the quartet. This is followed by the world-premiere performance by the Conduit Quartet, assembled by cellist Julian Muller, and joined by Eric Gratz on first violin, James Thomspon on violin, and Anthony Bracewell on viola.

Alex Foley is in the process of writing a book about the Zoellner Quartet, which were akin to the progressive ‘rock stars’ of the early 20th century, with over 3,000 performances to their names.

The 2023 season also includes a solo violin performance from 2023 Artist in Residence Miranda Cuckson, who is set to release a new album of her work. There is also a performance from pianist Taka Kigawa, a “classical violin meets flamenco music” performance with Jose Moreno (cajon, vocals and dance), Pedro Cortes on guitar, and Miranda Cuckson on violin.

Later, the ‘Summer Jazz at the GAC’ brings three performances, with jazz guitar (Paul Meyers), Jazz Vocals, and “Garage Band- The GAC Nonet”. In addition, the composers in residence will enlighten the select garage-concert goers. These include the accomplished Dave Soldier and Brian Shank.

I have also attached a few photos- of the garage and Jon Morrell. I am happy to answer any questions, provide interviews, and of course, we would love to have you join us this summer.

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