By Roy Ziegler
Cellist, Michelle Djokic
Pianist, Blair McMillen
Last summer the Concordia Chamber Players helped to launch the new, highly acclaimed Princeton Festival blithely pared with the production of Sweeney Todd. Encouraged by the enthusiastic response to its inaugural season the festival has expanded its repertoire this year. It all begins on June 24 at 5 PM with a pre-performance gala, reception and dinner followed by Puccini’s Madama Butterfly at the Kirby Arts Center in the Lawrenceville School. Then the festival switches gears with an afternoon of jazz featuring the Joe Locke and Milt Jackson Tribute Band on June 25 at 4 PM. On July 1 at 1:30 PM the festival will present Gian Carlo Menotti’s one act opera, The Old Maid and the Thief, followed at 8 PM by Madama Butterfly.
Michelle Djokic, founding artistic director of the Concordia Chamber Players and associate principal cellist for the San Francisco Symphony will lead the ensemble in works by Rachmaninoff, Shostakovich and Schubert. “We were thrilled by the reception the Princeton Festival experienced in its first season in 2005, and we are excited by the expanded array of venues that is scheduled for this season,” said Djokic. Joining Concordia on July 2 at 3 PM Blair McMillen, one of the most sought-after young pianists today and recently described by the New York Times as “riveting”, “brilliant” and “prodigiously accomplished and exciting”, will perform in the Shostakovich Piano Trio, Opus 67.
The Concordia Chamber Players will also feature violinist, Peter Winograd, first prize winner of the Aspen Music Festival of Competition; Catarina Szepes, violinist, who performs with chamber orchestras throughout Europe, Australia, South America and the United States; Daniel Panner, principal violist of the New York City Opera and cellist, Mark Kosower, recipient of the Avery Fisher Career Grant from the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts and Professor of Cello and Chamber Music for the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. They will present Rachmaninoff’s Trio Elegiaque #1 and Schubert’s String Quintet in C Major.
The Princeton Festival will continue on July 8 at 8 PM when Daniel Beckwith, Conductor for the Princeton Festival Orchestra will present “An Evening With Mozart” with pianist, Natalie Zhu performing the Piano Concerto Number 20 in D minor, K 466, the Overture to “Cosi fan tutte”, the serenade for Winds, K375 and ending dramatically with the Jupiter Symphony in C major. The festival concludes with a final performance of Madama Butterfly Sunday, July 9 at 2:00pm.
Tickets and programming information are available at www.princetonfestival.org or call 800-595-4849.