Spoleto’s Bank of America Chamber Music series is unlike any other in the country. Forget the staid, buttoned-up atmosphere. Instead, imagine 33 rollicking, immersive concert experiences, full of laughter, jokes, and esteemed musicians just generally rocking out.
This is chamber music at Spoleto, an environment passionately championed by Geoff Nuttall, Spoleto’s late Director of Chamber Music, who embodied Spoleto’s creative ethos to the fullest. Geoff made each concert wildly engaging and active—rallying the audience to hum along or answer trivia. In 2013, The New York Times called him the “Jon Stewart of Chamber Music,” a nickname Nuttall for which he approved. “I love Jon Stewart—he’s hilarious, smart, and quirky, so any time I can be connected to him, I’m honored,” he said in 2018. “My predecessor Charles [Wadsworth] set the tone of speaking in between pieces, and it has since become customary in the biz. I try to make people feel comfortable, and make everyone feel like we’re all watching the concert together and participating in the same game. To do that, I try to break the ice, maybe with a silly joke. But my end goal is always to make the audience feel connected.”
Of course, there are more than jokes. The performers are renowned worldwide. The repertoire is dynamic and vibrant, weaving wide-ranging perspectives, compositional styles, and historical periods.
Take this excerpt…
from 19th-century Joseph Lanner’s Die Romantiker, performed by Geoff Nuttall (violin), Sini Simonen (violin), Ayane Kozasa (viola), Anthony Manzo (double bass), and Paul Wiancko (cello)—a dynamic group Geoff nicknames “Going for Baroque”:
Same period, new perspective:
Pair that with Louise Ferrernc’s Piano Quintet in A minor, featuring Julia Hamos (piano), Sini Simonen (violin), Ruth Gibson (viola), Nina Lee (cello), and Anthony Manzo (double bass):
You’ll also hear familiar works—
like Stravinsky’s 20th-century masterpiece The Rite of Spring (arr. for 2 pianos), played by Inon Barnatan and Pedja Muzijevic…
…and unfamiliar works,
like this east coast premiere of cellist/composer Paul Wiancko’s thrilling Tiny Doors to Big Worlds, which he composed in 2022. Below is an excerpt, you can listen to the full piece (along with Paul’s description of it) here.
So, what’s in store for 2023?
This season’s concerts, curated by several of Geoff’s closest musical colleagues and inspired by his omnivorous musical tastes, feature more than 35 pieces with no composer represented more than once. No doubt, the musicians will pull out all the stops. There’s a silent film set to music on Program III, a set of George Gershwin songs on Program VI, and more surprises to come. From saxophones to violins, harpsichords to opera singers, the Bank of America Chamber Music series continues to know no bounds. For the most incredible musical party, book tickets today.