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On Thursday, June 30 at 8 pm, pianist Jeremy Denk performs in the 35th Annual Rockport Chamber Music Festival. A MacArthur Award winner, Denk has established himself as one of America’s most thought-provoking and compelling artists. He has adjusted his program from the theme “Medieval to Modern” to a program of two Mozart sonatas, Beethoven’s “The Tempest, and Schubert’s “Wanderer Fantasy.”  In addition to winning the MacArthur “Genius” Fellowship, Denk also won the 2014 Avery Fisher Prize, and Musical America’s 2014 Instrumentalist of the Year award. He has appeared as a recitalist and soloist with major orchestras throughout the country, including a recent performance of Bach’s complete set of six keyboard concertos with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center and St. Martin-in-the-Fields in London. Additionally, he recently launched a four-season tenure as an Artistic Partner of the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra.  Denk is known for his original and insightful writing on music, which has appeared in the New Yorker, New Republic, and on the front page of the New York Times Book Review. In 2014, he served as music director of the Ojai Music Festival, for which he composed “The Classical Style” with Steven Stucky.  His recording of Beethoven’s final piano sonata and selected György Ligeti Etudes was named one of the best discs of 2012 by the New Yorker, NPR, and the Washington Post. His recording of the Goldberg Variations reached number one on Billboard’s Classical Chart and his Ives’s Piano Sonatas were selected for many “best of the year” lists. Denk tours frequently with violinist Joshua Bell, and their album French Impressions won the 2012 Echo Klassik Award.


MOZART: Sonata No. 8 in A minor, K310/300d

MOZART: Sonata No. 15 in F major, K. 533/494

BEETHOVEN: Piano Sonata No. 17 in D minor, Op. 31, No. 2 (“The Tempest”)

SCHUBERT: Fantasie in C major, Op. 15 (D. 760) (“Wanderer Fantasy”)

Tickets: $55-$79

On Friday, July 1 at 8 pm, the Harlem Quartet—Ilmar Gavilán, violin, Melissa White, violin, Jaime Amador, viola, and Felix Umansky, cello—joins with Cuban jazz pianist Aldo López-Gavilán, well-known for his tremendous skills which inspired jazz pianist Chucho Valdes to proclalim him “simply a genius, a star.” The concert includes works by Dizzy Gillespie, Billy Strayhorn, as well as several original compositions by Aldo López-Gavilán. The Grammy Award winning Harlem Quartet, praised for its “panache” by The New York Times, is “bringing a new attitude to classical music, one that is fresh, bracing and intelligent,” says the Cincinnati Enquirer. The quartet’s mission is to advance diversity in classical music, engaging young and new audiences through the discovery and presentation of varied repertoire that includes works by minority composers.  The Quartet completed the Professional String Quartet Residency Program at New England Conservatory in 2013, and participated in NEC’s string quartet exchange program in Paris, working extensively with violinist Günter Pichler. The Quartet has also worked closely with jazz legends Chick Corea and Gary Burton, with whom the quartet recorded the album Hot House. Following a concert tour of twenty-five major cities, the Harlem Quartet’s recording with Corea and Burton entitled “Mozart Goes Dancing” won a Grammy Award for Best Instrumental Composition.

Cuban jazz pianist Aldo López-Gavilán was born to a family of musicians. His father is a conductor and composer, his mother is a concert pianist, and his brother is the violinist of the Harlem Quartet. López-Gavilán began his formal piano studies at the age of seven. His first international triumph was at the age of 11 when he won a Danny Kaye International Children’s Award, organized by UNICEF. He made his professional debut at 12 and later went on to perform Prokofiev’s Third Concerto with the National Symphonic Orchestra of Cuba.  While studying classical music, López-Gavilán developed remarkable improvisational skills and was invited to perform in the world-famous Havana Jazz Festival with legend Chucho Valdés.  He has released multiple recordings including En el ocaso de la hormiga y el elefante which won the 2000 Grand Prix at Cubadisco, Soundbites, among others, as well as a DVD, Más allá del ocaso. López-Gavilán was included in a documentary on the history of Latin jazz in Cuba entitled ¡Manteca, Mondongo y Bacalao con Pan!, directed by Pavel Giroud. He has also composed music for such documentaries as El Proceso: la historia no contada and Lester Hamlet’s film Casa vieja. Recently, he also became a member of renowned singer-songwriter Carlos Varela’s band for a South American tour.



DIZZY GILLESPIE: A Night in Tunisia

ANTONIO CARLOS JOBIM: The Girl from Ipanema


Tickets: $47-$65

On Saturday, July 2 at 8 pm, two of the most beloved folk rock acts of the 70’s—Aztec Two-Step & Jon Pousette-Dart—join forces for a dynamic double bill! Aztec Two Step, the acoustic duo of Rex Fowler and Neal Shulman, continue to thrill audiences with the pristine harmonies and infectious, jangly melodies like “Baking” and “The Persecution and Restoration of Dean Moriarty.” Jon Pousette-Dart has become a fixture in the Northeast, both for his time leading the popular Pousette-Dart Band in the 70’s and for his more recent solo acoustic efforts.  Aztec Two-Step enjoyed tremendous success throughout the 70’s as part of the burgeoning folk rock movement. The duo began when Rex Fowler and Neal Shulman met for the first time at a Boston folk club in 1971, instantly hitting it off and finding a close musical connection. They formed Aztec Two-Step shortly after (the name being taken from a poem of beat poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti), and their self-titled debut was picked up by Elektra Records and quickly found a mainstream audience. They became one of the more prominent folk rock acts in the country, and after a lengthy hiatus, the duo returned in 1986 with the acclaimed Living in America album (which landed on Billboard’s year-end Best Of poll). The pair continued writing, recording and performing throughout the years, and in 2012 celebrated their 40th anniversary with Cause & Effect, a new set of originals bursting with Fowler and Shulman’s trademark harmonies and deft melodic touch. Jon Pousette-Dart founded the Pousette-Dart Band as a Boston-area string band in the early 70’s, playing the city’s coffeehouse circuit for a few years and gaining a small, but devoted local following. Soon enough, they landed a record deal after being spotted at a club by music industry legend Don Law. The Pousette-Dart Band toured with major acts like The Eagles, Little Feat, James Taylor, the J. Geils Band and many more, and released four acclaimed albums on Capitol Records from 1976-1979. However, the band broke up in 1981. In the 90’s Pousette-Dart returned to music full-time, his sound evolving into more of a singer-songwriter bluesy- folk aesthetic. In the last fifteen years he’s continued on the solo path, releasing a handful of records including 2002’s Sample This and 2011’s Anti-Gravity. He will be releasing his highly anticipated next record Talk in the coming year.

Tickets: $35-$49

On Tuesday, July 5 at 8 pm, Ladysmith Black Mambazo returns to perform an incredible concert at the Shalin Liu Performance Center. South Africa’s iconic singing group, Ladysmith Black Mambazo are winners of multiple Grammy Awards and known for their distinct isicathamiya style of a cappella singing, which combines powerful vocals with intricate harmonies and dynamic coordinated dance moves. Formed by Joseph Shabalala in the early 60’s, Ladysmith Black Mambazo were the most popular singing group in South Africa by the late 70’s, their records going gold or platinum and their concerts constantly selling out. Yet, once they appeared on Paul Simon’s Graceland album in 1986, they became global stars. That exposure led to international tours and a record contract with Warner Bros, which released Shaka Zulu in 1988. Shaka Zulu went on to win a Grammy for Best Traditional Folk Album.  Over the course of their career, Ladysmith Black Mambazo would go on to receive fifteen more nominations, winning four times. After leading the group for more than fifty years, the founder Joseph Shabalala has retired. Four of his sons remain in the group, including the new leader Thamsanqa Shabalala.  They have released more than 50 records, their most recent being 2014’s Always With Us. This year marks the 30th anniversary of their historic collaboration with Paul Simon on his Graceland album. 

Tickets: $47-$65


On Monday, June 27 at 1 pm, Rockport Music will present the Metropolitan Opera Encore presentation in HD of Puccini’s Tosca, originally aired in 2012.  Patricia Racette portrays the tempestuous diva Floria Tosca in Luc Bondy’s production of Puccini’s enduring favorite.  Tickets: $15

On Tuesday, June 28 at 7 pm, Rockport Music presents another encore showing of the overwhelmingly popular presentation of Hamlet with Academy Award® nominee Benedict Cumberbatch (BBC’s SherlockThe Imitation Game, Frankenstein at the National Theatre) in the title role of Shakespeare’s great tragedy.  Tickets: $22


Unless otherwise indicated, all concerts and events are held at the Shalin Liu Performance Center, 37 Main Street, Rockport, Massachusetts 01966. For tickets or more information, visit our website at or call 978.546.7391.