Music Mountain Season Opens With Pianist Misha Dichter

“How come I’ve never made it to Music Mountain?” asks Misha Dichter, somewhat ruefully — and entirely rhetorically. Never mind the reason. The stars have aligned at last, because a week from Sunday, the legendary American pianist and the Harlem Quartet (a youthful and diverse ensemble from New York City) kick off Music Mountain’s 82nd season with a program of favorites. As Dichter himself says, “Better late than never.” He continues, “Music Mountain is of course so well known” as a renowned home for chamber music. “I am delighted that it overlaps with my playing with the Harlem Quartet,” says Dichter, who has had a long and acclaimed career as a soloist, as well as a duo pianist with his wife, Cipa. The highlights of the program include Schumann’s great Piano Quintet in E Flat Major, Opus 44, and an arrangement for the quintet of Billy Strayhorn’s classic “Take the A Train,” best known as Duke Ellington’s signature tune.About the Schumann, Dichter said he keeps favorite quotes (“words of wisdom”) taped to the music desk of his piano. One of them, by Franz Liszt, a favorite composer of his, tells how “toward the end of his life one of Liszt’s biggest failings was that he didn’t have success playing Schumann’s music.” The message for Dichter is one of always striving to play more Schumann, especially lesser known works of the repertoire, and to attain a deeper understanding of his nuanced and richly expressive music. (Quite ironically, says Dichter, Liszt was critical of the quintet and called it “retrograde.”) Also on the program are Mozart’s String Quartet No.15 in D Minor, one of the genius’s so-called Haydn quartets and one of the most haunting; and Borodin’s String Quartet No. 2 in D Major, the third movement of which contains a melody that is among Borodin’s most beautiful and instantly recognizable. Both pieces are played by the Harlem Quartet: Ilmar Gavilán, violin; Melissa White, violin; Juan-Miguel Hernandez, viola, and Paul Wiancko, cello.The Music Mountain 82nd Season opening benefit, concert, and reception takes place on Sunday, June 19, at 3 p.m. in Gordon Hall. Tickets are $75. To order, call 860-824-7126, or go to www.musicmountain.org.

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