The Fourth of July weekend celebration at the Maverick in Woodstock is all about the range and inclusivity of that venerable and radical serious-music institution. In a typically maverick fashion, the weekend moves from Bach to Cage, featuring two of the repertoire’s most famous piano works – both of which, ironically, were never meant to be performed on piano.
On Friday, July 3 at 7 p.m., the popular and Bachcentric pianist Simone Dinnerstein takes to the Maverick’s Yamaha C7X grand piano to perform the work that broke her on the international scene: Bach’s beloved Goldberg Variations. Dinnerstein’s concert schedule has taken her around the world since her triumphant Carnegie Hall debut. She has performed at the Kennedy Center, Vienna’s Konzerthaus, the Berlin Philharmonie, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and London’s Wigmore Hall. Her festival appearances have included the Mostly Mozart Festival and the Aspen, Verbier, Ravinia, Bard and Stuttgart Bach festivals.
While Bach remains her forte, in recent years, Dinnerstein has recorded Beethoven and Mendelssohn, and has branched into folky art song with Night, a duet with the singer/songwriter and frequent Andrew Bird collaborator Tift Merritt. But it was Dinnerstein’s 2007 recording of the Goldberg Variations that set her concert hall reputation a-growing. Composed expressly for a two-manual harpsichord, Bach’s masterwork of theme-and-variation is famous for the roadblocks that it throws at pianists. That eccentric virtuoso Glenn Gould was among the first wave of pianists to solve the technical difficulties of the transition.
While John Cage’s famous work of provocative philosophical showmanship 4’33 was in fact written for pretty much any instrument or combination of instruments, its debut performance was given by pianist David Tudor at the Maverick in Woodstock in 1952. You know the tune. On Saturday, July 4 at 6 p.m., the pianist Adam Tendler, a Cage specialist of sorts, brings 4’33 back to its birth site in a program that includes Cage’s fascinating Sonatas and Interludes for Prepared Piano, which, while quite gradual and spacious in their development, are not fully devoid of piano strikes. An eclectic serious-music renegade who specializes in experimental music and in the use of non-traditional performance spaces, Tendler will also perform selected works by another maverick: the American 20th-century composer Henry Cowell.
Finally, on Sunday, July 5 at 4 p.m., guitarist Frederic Hand and flautist Paula Robison will perform the world premiere of Hand’s Four Pieces for Flute and Guitar, which was commissioned for the centenary of the Maverick Concerts. The Sunday program will also include Italian serenades and love songs, American songs of the spirit and Sephardic songs.
For ticketing options for all shows, visit https://maverickconcerts.tix.com. The Maverick Concert Hall is located at 120 Maverick Road in Woodstock. For information, call 679-8217 or visit https://www.maverickconcerts.org.