The season kicks off on September 19 with a program of American music, including Alan Louis Smith's Vignettes: Ellis Island — A Song Cycle in Six Parts for Voice and Piano (1999), whose text is drawn from oral histories of immigrants who passed through Ellis Island.
The theme of traveling figures in the CMS season-opening concert in a more direct way as well. Bruce Adolphe's new Crossing Broadway is on the program in honor of the Society's own wanderings: while Alice Tully Hall (the group's home) is being renovated, most of the main CMS series will be presented at the New York Society for Ethical Culture (which is across Broadway and a block down 64th Street from Lincoln Center).
The American theme will be continued in the four concerts of "American Voices 1750-2008" scheduled between February 8 and 24, 2008. Highlights include rarely played works by Benjamin Franklin (yes, that one), John Antes (a Pennsylvanian who wrote string trios while serving as a missionary in Egypt) and Louis Moreau Gottschalk. Other featured composers in the series include Amy Beach, Edward MacDowell, Charles Ives, Charles Tomlinson Griffes, George Antheil, George Gershwin, Aaron Copland, Samuel Barber, Leonard Bernstein, Henry Cowell, John Cage, Lukas Foss and Mario Davidovsky.
Two of Joan Tower's works for solo viola will be performed in April by violist Paul Neubauer, alongside her new Piano Trio. Apart from the Tower and Bruce Adolphe premieres, other CMS commissions to be heard next season include a piano septet from Mario Davidovsky and Roberto Sierra's Songs from the Diaspora for soprano and piano quintet.
Every concert lineup needs an anniversary celebration — and on January 30, 2008, to mark the beginning of the 100th birthday year of Elliott Carter, the CMS presents the complete cycle of Carter's five string quartets performed in one evening by the Pacifica Quartet. (We fully expect that the composer himself will be there, alive and well.)
The Orion String Quartet, affiliated with the CMS since 1994, celebrates its 20th anniversary with Beethoven quartets. Meanwhile, the Alban Berg Quartet bids farewell after a 37-year career with a concert (part of their final tour) of Haydn and Beethoven and 20th-century repertoire. Other quartets on the season lineup include the Borodin Quartet, the St. Lawrence String Quartet and the Artemis Quartet.
A winter Baroque Festival will feature two performances of Bach's Brandenburg Concertos as well as his The Art of the Fugue, arranged for string quartet and wind quintet by Samuel Baron. Another highlight of the festival will be a performance of the Goldberg Variations by pianist Jeffrey Kahane.
Other focal points of the CMS '07-08 season include concerts of Rachmaninoff's and Faur_'s chamber music; the New York premiere of double bassist and composer Edgar Meyer's Concert Piece for Double Bass and Wind Octet (with the composer as performer); and pianist Menahem Pressler in a program of Mozart, Dvoršk and Schubert.
For the first time, the CMS is offering concerts beginning at 9:30 p.m. in the Rose Studio. The "New Music in the Rose" concerts will offer works by George Perle, Thomas Ads, Jennifer Higdon, David Schiff, Nicholas Scherzinger, Eric Tanguy, Joan Tower, Paul Moravec, Norio Fukushi, Gabriela Lena Frank, Elliott Carter and Keeril Makan.