Noise and nature will connect once again this summer, as local music lovers unite to celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the Maverick Concerts in Woodstock. Throughout the summer, Maverick Concert Hall will continue the yearly tradition of a summer filled with classical and jazz music, fulfilling Hervey White’s vision.
MUSIC IN THE WOODS FOR OVER 100 YEARS
Founded in 1916 by Hervey White, a local resident with a love for the arts, the first festival set the stage for the legacy that would soon follow. White’s background in writing financed his dream of establishing his own arts colony where promising artists could showcase their talents. What began as numerous small cabins in the woods, where flocking musicians played music for enjoyment and paid rent only if they could, became an influential festival, where White raised enough money to build the iconic handcrafted outdoor concert hall that has been used since its construction in 1916.
Nothing short of an architectural masterpiece, Maverick Concert Hall is perfectly nestled in nature. Seemingly protected by the trees and time, the hall boasts both covered and outdoor seating, incredibly high wooden beams that allow the music to beautifully echo, and a stage that connects performers and attendees as one.
Continuing a century long tradition is no small feat. Alexander Platt, Maverick’s Music Director explains, “The Maverick has survived an entire century, through wars, hurricanes and depressions both tropical and economic, for three very simple reasons: a devoted audience, which now comes both from Woodstock and the entire region, a devotion to the highest musical quality, and the devotion of an amazing band of volunteers, whether they be our friends, board members, or tustees.”
The time and loyalty that has been put into this affair guarantees the 2015 season is sure to be nothing short of memorable. In honor of the 100th Anniversary, many of the events will celebrate where it all began as a re-creation of the first season. Kicking off the season on the centennial note, a Peter Schickele original, “Maverick” will be performed by NEXUS, a much loved percussion ensemble. Performances by the Shanghai Quartet and Ran Dank will further recognize the sounds of a concert from Maverick’s first season.
The classical and jazz genres that have long been associated with the Maverick festivals and add to its charm and popularity will continue throughout the 2015 season. While many of the musicians on the schedule create original pieces, many will perform classic arrangements by influential composers during the event, including Ludwig van Beethoven, Joseph Haydn, and Daron Hagen.
In comparison, there will also be artists performing the works of Romantic era composers such as Franz Schubert, Felix Mendelssohn, and Robert Schumann. The variation in themes between the classical and Romantic era music, as well as the avant-garde genre by composers John Cage and Henry Cowell, are sure to offer something for everyone.
Jazz at the Maverick is a beloved tradition, and as such numerous jazz events will be hosted. Two Grammy nominated pianists, Eldar Djangirov Trio and Fred Hersch, will be performing. Their repertoires span the spectrum of jazz with influences ranging from modern to swing. Multiple guitarists will be performing a variety of jazz genres, one of whom will also be singing songs by prominent musicians such as Gershwin, Rodgers and Hart, and Cole Porter.
While the music is perhaps the main event at the Maverick festivals, other acts can be seen as well. A salute to White, whose original events often included theatrical performances in addition to music, Actors and Writers, a local group of theatre and film professionals throughout the Hudson Valley, will hold numerous performances throughout the season. In addition to presenting original short plays written by members of the company, they will also perform a reading of William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, as well as a reading of Paddy Chayefsky’s Broadway hit, Middle of the Night.
A love for the arts is where it all began. One man’s vision led to a festival that would continue on to reach its centennial. The 100th Anniversary of the Maverick Concerts is right around the corner, a hidden gem in our very own Woodstock, the stage and sounds a sign of the dedication of those who share a love for music and White’s legacy.
Platt simply states, “This year will certainly be no exception, as we bring to Woodstock some of the very best in the classical, world, folk, and jazz scene today. I really can’t wait to get back to my mountain perch, and be with you all again.”
Maverick’s 100th anniversary happened in 2015. Current schedule.
Article by Chantel O’Connor
Feature photo by The Gaede Striebel Archive