World Class Music, Close to Your Home
Board of Directors
Helen R. Grosso,
1st Vice President
Arlene R Stang,
2nd Vice President
Jerome J. Liebman,
Eliot T. Bailen,
Liba H. Furhman,
Michael Ebert, MD
Nancy Newman Elghanayan
Douglas J. Feltman
Ann Bailen Fisher
Terri Schiffman Hahn
Bill McGoldrick - Honorary
Stephanie R. Warren
J. Donald Hill
Ambassadors are a designated corps of volunteers dedicated to
furthering SCE's mission and presence in the community.
Please join us in thanking them for their efforts!
The Sherman Chamber Ensemble
The New York Times described a performance by the Sherman Chamber Ensemble as "the Platonic ideal of a chamber music concert." Hailed by the Danbury News-Times as "a regional treasure," the Sherman Chamber Ensemble is dedicated to bringing world-class musicians to our communities and schools to perform a diverse range of music in a way that is intimate and inclusive.
The Sherman Chamber Ensemble was founded in 1983 by Artistic Director Eliot T. Bailen and his wife, flutist Susan Rotholz, when it debuted at the Sherman Playhouse to a packed house and rave reviews. Since then SCE has expanded its activities to a year-round schedule of nearly two dozen performances for all ages in a variety of local venues. Starting in 1997 the group has offered a full subscription season of 3 chamber music concerts in both Sherman and Kent, CT. Regular spring concerts at the Jewish Community Center in Sherman kick off the season, and an annual Thanksgiving weekend series of free matinee concerts in Sherman and Kent mixes classical and jazz favorites to appeal to all ages. SCE offered its first children's workshop in 1995 and continues to schedule several events for youngsters each year. Adults and children alike enjoy Labor Day weekend bluegrass jamborees featuring Ensemble members and talented local performers. Events such as a "Celtic Pub Night" and the annual "Live at the Lake" coffeehouse allow SCE's classical musicians to show their talents in yet another medium, in collaboration with a stellar line-up of pop, rock and traditional musicians. A free family picnic pairing food and fun with a sampling of SCE's musical styles was introduced in 2007 and has become an annual community event.
SCE also regularly appears on series organized by venues such as the New Milford Commission for the Arts, the Pawling (NY) Concert Series and libraries throughout the region. SCE's European debut came in 2009 with a performance at the Basilique de Fourvi&egrav;re on Lyon, France. In 2011 it was invited by the Brooklyn (NY) Public Library to present a special performance in commemoration of the 10th anniversary of 9/11. The 2011 season also saw the addition of a Messiah sing-in in December in conjunction with Music in the Nave at St. Andrew's Church in Kent and a program of Civil War era music, presented in collaboration with the Sherman Library, Sherman Historical Society and Naromi Land Trust as part of the regional One Book, One Lake regional community reading initiative.
SCE kicked off its 30th Anniversary Season in 2012 with a weekend of Baroque concerts in Pawling, NY and Kent, CT in January. In addition to the signature summer chamber music series and other annual events, highlights of the year will include spring concerts at the Jewish Community Center in Sherman and the Brookfield Library and SCE's inaugural collaboration with the Kent Singers for a program in June featuring the Fauré Requiem.
The Sherman Chamber Ensemble's commitment to developing the next generation of music makers and music lovers is manifest in its activities for children, including participatory concerts in conjunction with its summer chamber music series and a range of school assembly performances, master classes, songwriting workshops and extended classroom residencies for all ages. The centerpiece of SCE's educational outreach activities is "Song to Symphony," a songwriting residency by Eliot Bailen that culminates in a full musical theater production, performed by students accompanied by a full orchestra. Educational programs have been held at The Sherman School, Kent Memorial Library, Sherman Library, Dutchess Day School (Millbrook, NY) and the Kent Center School, in conjunction with Arts Alive. Mr. Bailen has conducted variations on his songwriting workshop model locally in classroom residencies at the Pawling (NY) Middle School and the Sherman School and in conjunction with the Washington (CT)-based After School Arts Program (ASAP) Summer Camp and the Sherman Historical Society's Kids @ Cobbler Shop summer camp. A weeklong summer musical theater and songwriting camp for youngsters aged 10-15 debuted in 2009.
The unique composition of the Sherman Chamber Ensemble allows it to offer its audiences a wide-ranging mix of the traditional chamber music repertoire and the best of contemporary classical music, along with a generous dash of "crossover" music from jazz and popular genres. Audiences and performers have enjoyed the challenge of works by less familiar composers like Toru Takemitsu and unusual offerings like George Crumb's Voice of the Whale. Twentieth century composers such as Piazzolla, Schikele, Diamond and Ryden are a staple of SCE performances. Recent programs have introduced audiences to the music of the Mexican Baroque and the Sephardic tradition.
SCE's championing of new music has led to numerous commissions and premieres. The Ensemble celebrated its 20th anniversary season in 2002 with the commission of a new work by composer and former Sherman resident Edie Hill as its contribution to the yearlong, community-wide celebration of the bicentennial of the town of Sherman. The 2006 season featured the world premiere of The Aeolian Harp by Aaron Grad, commissioned by SCE. Funding from the "Meet the Composer" program has made it possible for these composers to participate in a range of enrichment activities in conjunction with the world premieres of their work. November 2008 saw the world premiere of a new chamber jazz work for flute, clarinet, cello and jazz piano trio entitled Excursions and Impressions, commissioned by SCE from Ted Rosenthal. In April 2011, SCE presented the New England premiere of Perhaps a Butterfly, song settings for soprano, child soprano, flute and string trio created by Eliot Bailen based on poems of the children of Terezin 1942-1944.
All SCE's musicians are of world class caliber and reputation and have been chosen for their expertise in chamber music, their musical warmth, and their ability to engage with the audience. Regular Ensemble members are Susan Rotholz (flute), Eliot Bailen (cello), Jill Levy (violin), and Sarah Adams (viola). Frequent guest artists have included Kenneth Cooper (harpsichord and forte-piano), Jon Klibonoff (piano), Benjamin Hochman (piano), Margaret Kampmeier (piano), Stacy Shames (harp), Peter Weitzner (bass), Paul Woodiel (violin), Alan Kay (clarinet), Ted Rosenthal (piano) and James Baker (percussion).
The Sherman Chamber Ensemble has received annual funding from the Connecticut Office on the Arts (formerly the Commission on Culture & Tourism) since 1995 and in 2006 became one of the first groups to be awarded multi-year organizational support from the Commission. SCE received "Meet the Composer" grants from the New England Foundation on the Arts in 1995, 2002 and 2006. Since 1997, SCE has received numerous grants for artistic development, educational programming and infrastructure improvement, including from the Kaplen Foundation, Meserve Memorial Fund and the Daphne Seybolt Culpeper Memorial, Ada Howe Kent, Ellen Knowles Harcourt, Mabel Burchard Fischer and George A. and Grace L. Long foundations. Corporate supporters have included Webster Bank, NewMil Bank, Union Savings Bank and First Union Bank. Ongoing support is provided by generous individual donors through an annual membership program and frequent house concert benefits.
Jazzing Up the Classics
Saturday, November 28, 3:00 PM
Christ Church, Pawling, NY
Sunday, November 29, 3:00 PM
St. Andrew's Church, Kent, CT
Messiah Performance and Sing-In
Friday, December 4, 7:30 PM
St. Andrew's Church, Kent, CT
Best of Baroque
Saturday, January 9, 2016 at 3 pm
Christ Church, Pawling, NY
Sunday, January 10, 3:00 PM
St. Andrew's Church, Kent, CT
Ticket sales only cover a portion of the costs of SCE's fine concerts and educational activities in the community. We rely on the support of individuals, families, businesses, foundations, community organizations and government agencies to bring "world class music, close to home" in Western Connecticut and New York State.
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