‘Music for a Sunday Afternoon’ summer concert series returns to Old Westbury Gardens

The Island Now
CROSS ISLAND: Cellist Suzanne Mueller and pianist Elinor Abrams Zayas open the series, continuing a 13-year tradition. The program will comprise solos and duets that span centuries and styles, seamlessly blending beloved favorites with intriguing discoveries.

Old Westbury Gardens has announced the return of the “Music for a Sunday Afternoon“ Summer Concert Series, featuring series “Artist-in-Residence” cellist, Suzanne Mueller, who will present four concerts, accompanied by a roster of seasoned performers spanning the genres of classical, jazz, and folk music.

“My collaborators and I are really thrilled to be returning to our musical summer home again this year. It doesn’t feel like summer without these concerts,” said Mueller. “It’s especially meaningful to me because I had to sit out the 2019 season and most of the 2018 season due to medical issues that kept me homebound and unable to play. I was really looking forward to returning last year and was crushed when we had to cancel.”

Each concert will begin at 3 p.m. on the lawn at the Orchard Hill Barn (or inside the Barn in case of inclement weather or extreme heat). Attendees are encouraged to bring lawn chairs or blankets. Attendees should also be aware that COVID-19 protocols are in effect and will be enforced on the dates of the concerts.

Pianist Elinor Zayas who will be performing at the first concert Cross Island on July 11th, says Old Westbury Gardens is a wonderful environment for this concert series offering a truly unique player and audience experience.

“Over the years, I have had the wonderful experiences of playing under the West Porch Beech Tree, inside the Ballroom on the beautiful Steinway piano, in the Walled Garden, and most recently, in the Barn,” says Zayas. “Whether outdoors in a bucolic setting, or indoors, in the event of inclement weather, it has been a special time playing in such a beautiful setting, with very appreciative audiences in attendance. There’s something transformative about playing in Nature, listening to birds singing along with the music, and being surrounded by beautiful gardens and plantings. It puts all involved, performers and audience, into a peaceful state of being.”

Rebecca Hall from the folk duo Hungrytown will be performing on August 1st.

“We have been performing at Old Westbury Gardens for almost twenty years, and these concerts, set against such a gorgeous, bucolic backdrop, are always the high point of our summer,” Hall says. “We love the opportunity to collaborate with cellist Suzanne Mueller, as well as the experience of talking to the audience members, all of whom seem to enjoy the peaceful setting and the variety of musical genres presented in this space.”

Mueller says these concerts have built a strong audience following, and that she’s heard from several regular “Music for a Sunday Afternoon” fans who have said that they’re really excited to be able to attend them again.

“It’s an amazing place to play,” Mueller explains. “The setting is beautiful and it’s a unique situation. Over the course of a concert, we can get a couple of hundred enthusiastic audience members.

They bring blankets and chairs, and always comment on and always comment on how much they love being able to hear the wide variety of music we play in such a beautiful setting—from beloved favorites to new discoveries, always presented with informative introductions about the composers and music.”

The performers on this year’s “Music for a Sunday Afternoon” concert series include:
July 18 at 3 p.m.: The McCarron Bros. Jazz Quartet with Suzanne Mueller, Cello—Paul Carlon, saxophone; Mark McCarron, guitar; Trifon Dimitrov, bass; Arei Sekiguchi, drums; and Suzanne Mueller, cellist
July 25 at 3 p.m.: Gotzen-Berg and Mueller—Christopher Gotzen-Berg, guitarist; Suzanne Mueller, cellist (debut performance as a duo)
August 1 at 3 p.m.: Hungrytown with Suzanne Mueller, Cello—with husband and wife folk duo, Rebecca Hall and Ken Anderson, accompanied by Suzanne Mueller, cellist

For more information, please visit https://www.oldwestburygardens.org/sunday-concerts

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