The announcement of the 123rd Princeton University Concerts (“PUC”) season also brings with it the announcement of a landmark event: the last time that the Takács String Quartet will perform the complete cycle of Beethoven String Quartets, works for which they have famously set the gold standard in their interpretation. Having selected Richardson Auditorium in Alexander Hall as one of the three American venues in which the group will bid farewell to this extraordinary cycle, the Takács anchors the 2016-2017 PUC season celebrating the pillars of the great classical music tradition—both as they have stood and as they evolve in the present day. This includes presenting the most revered artists in the field, of whom 15 are making their Princeton University Concerts debut. The Concert Classics Series includes the legendary pianist Murray Perahia “whose place among the great pianists of our time is not disputed” (The Guardian), Europe’s most celebrated string ensemble, the Hagen String Quartet, and the long-awaited return of beloved violinist Pamela Frank who will be joined by PUC favorite Christian Tetzlaff for a rare program of violin duos. Yet as a gesture to the pillars of PUC’s mission of presenting music in as vibrant a way as possible, for the first time the season will open not with the Concert Classics Series but with the new PUC125: Performances Up Close series launched last year. Joined by guitarist Pablo Sáinz Villegas, the young violinist Augustin Hadelich will treat an audience intimately seated around him onstage in-the-round to a sound resembling that of “a virtuoso out of the Golden Age.” (The New Yorker) When the Classics series launches a week later, it extends the youthful appropriation of tradition with mezzo-soprano Jamie Barton, “opera’s nose-studded rock star,” (The New York Times) and a heartwarming reminder of this process in 25-year-old Daniil Trifonov’s two-piano recital with his teacher, Sergei Babayan. With a special event featuring Béla Fleck and his wife Abigail Washburn to top off the season, PUC is excited to pay tribute to the diversity imbuing the core of music as it continues to shape and be a part of our traditions.
To continue PUC’s tradition of commitment to accessibility, all programs in the 2016-17 season remain exceptionally affordable. Starting at just $10, ticket prices for the world’s best chamber music—performed in Richardson Auditorium, an historic venue beloved by performers and audiences alike—remain uncontestably the lowest in the region. They often include a range of opportunities to further engage the audience with the music including pre-concert talks given by renowned musical scholars, musical previews by talented Princeton students, live music meditations, and opportunities to converse with the artists at receptions, post-concert Q&As, and an annual “Late Night Chamber Jam.”
Speaking about the upcoming season, Princeton University Concerts Director Marna Seltzer said: “This is the 5th full season that I have programmed and I am so proud of the way the organization has evolved, offering new experiences for a growing and curious audience. We’ve built on, and even redefined the “Classics,” experimented with new formats such as the PUC125 Performances Up Close Series and introduced kids ages 3-12 to the joy of live music. I can now say that there really is something for everyone. Classical music is alive and well at Princeton and an experience with PUC will convince you of that.”
Subscriptions to the 2016-2017 season are now on sale. With more subscribers than PUC has seen in over 2 decades, interested individuals are highly encouraged to secure their tickets as early as possible. Subscribers often receive special discounts to events not only affiliated with PUC—including saving 10% off single ticket prices—but also to events at the Princeton University Music Department. Patrons can choose from a flexible variety of subscription packages by phone at 609-258-2800, Monday-Friday, 10AM-4PM. Online ordering will be available soon.
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