Spectacularly skilled musicians and brilliantly crafted programs are only part of the secret to success Chamber Music from Spoleto Festival USA—the series is set apart by the unmatched stage chemistry and rollicking good time these musicians have as they play together. Director and violinist Geoff Nuttall’s signature wit and joie de vivre mark each of the 13 revelatory programs. Returning favorites last season included countertenor Anthony Roth Costanzo, percussionist Steven Schick—a “solo percussion knockout” (ArtsATL), as well as oboist James Austin Smith, violinist Livia Sohn, and pianists Pedja Muzijevic and Stephen Prutsman, among others. They were joined by several newcomers, including composer-in-residence Jaroslaw Kapuscinski, composer/cellist Joshua Roman, whose versatility and adventurous spirit have gained international attention; Swiss-born Gilles Vonsattel, an “immensely talented pianist” who plays “with intelligence and imagination” (The New York Times); and the Rolston String Quartet, a young Canadian ensemble that won the 2016 Banff International String Quartet Competition. As host, journalist Lisa Simeone brings listeners thoughtful commentary and historical background on the pieces, composers, and artists featured on the series.
ARTISTIC DIRECTOR BIOGRAPHY
GEOFF NUTTALL (The Charles E. and Andrea L. Volpe Director for Chamber Music) began playing the violin at age eight after moving to Ontario from Texas. He spent most of his musical studies under the tutelage of Lorand Fenyves at The Banff Centre, the University of Western Ontario, and the University of Toronto, where he received his bachelor’s degree. In 1989 Nuttall co-founded the St. Lawrence String Quartet. As a member of this Grammy-nominated foursome, he has played more than 2,000 concerts throughout North and South America, Europe, Australia, and Asia. The world-renowned foursome’s busy touring schedule has taken them to such venues as Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Metropolitan Museum, Kennedy Center, London’s Wigmore Hall, Royal Concertgebouw Hall in Amsterdam, Theatre de Ville Paris, Tokyo’s Suntory Hall, and the White House for President Clinton and guests. Nuttall’s other notable engagements include Arvo Pärt’s Tabula Rasa concerto for two violins, performed with the LA Phil as part of the Minimalist Jukebox Festival; and performances with soprano Dawn Upshaw in Peter Sellars’s staging of György Kurtág’s Kafka Fragments in New York, Los Angeles, Berkeley, London, Brussels, and Rome.
With the St. Lawrence String Quartet, Nuttall served as graduate ensemble in residence at The Juilliard School, Yale University, and Hartt School of Music, acting as teaching assistants to the Juilliard, Tokyo, and Emerson string quartets, respectively. He is now on faculty at Stanford University, where the St. Lawrence String Quartet has been ensemble in residence since 1999, and makes his home in the Bay Area with his wife Livia Sohn and sons, Jack and Ellis. This is Nuttall’s seventh season as the Charles E. and Andrea L. Volpe Director for Chamber Music.
For 17 days and nights each spring, Spoleto Festival USA fills Charleston, South Carolina’s historic theaters, churches, and outdoor spaces with performances by renowned artists as well as emerging performers in opera; theater; dance; and chamber, symphonic, choral, and jazz music. Now approaching its 42nd season, Spoleto Festival USA is internationally recognized as America’s premier performing arts festival.