Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Raritan River Music Festival Marks 35 Years, May 4-25


The 35th Award-Winning Raritan River Music Festival

Saturdays, May 4-25, at 7:30pm

various venues (see below)
Advance tickets for each concert are $25 In-person single ticket, $25 Online Stream Family Viewing. Prices at the door are $30 per single ticket.
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The Raritan River Music Festival, winner of the National Award for Adventurous Programming from ASCAP/Chamber Music America, is pleased to announce its 35th season. Acclaimed guitarists Laura Oltman and Michael Newman (above, left), the festival’s Artistic Directors, founded the Raritan River Music Festival with the goal of bringing live chamber music to historic venues in idyllic Hunterdon County. The four-week festival includes debuts, new commissions and world premieres promising to deliver a musical feast.

Daedalus Quartet
WHEN: Saturday, May 4th, at 7:30 PM
Stanton Reformed Church, 1 Stanton Mountain Rd., Stanton, NJ 

The festival will open with a performance by the Daedalus Quartet who represents string quartet playing at its finest. Praised by the New Yorker as “a fresh and vital young participant in what is a golden age of American string quartets,” the Daedalus quartet has established itself as a leader among the new generation of string ensembles impressing critics and listeners alike. Their performance will include William Grant Still’s Lyric Quartette, Bela Bartok’s String Quartet No. 4 and the world premiere performance of Deep Summer Folklore by Andrew Davis.

Hot Club of Philadelphia
WHEN: Saturday, May 11, at 7:30PM
Bethlehem Presbyterian Church, 2 Race St., Pittstown (Grandin), NJ

On May 11th the Hot Club of Philadelphia will present In Django’s Footsteps: Paris, 1935. Inspired by Paris’ 1930’s “Quintet of the Hot Club of France,” guitarist Django Reinhardt and violinist Stephane Grappelli, The Hot Club of Philadelphia, with its founding guitarist Barry Wahrhaftig, brings its unique interpretations of Manouche (Romani) Jazz, aka “Gypsy Jazz,” Hot Jazz, and French Swing, along with Americana styles to Raritan River Music Festival audience for the first time. HCPhilly comprises Philly’s finest on violin, bass, guitars, and vocals.

Newman & Oltman Guitar Duo
WHEN: Saturday, May 18th, at 7:30 PM 
 Historic Hunterdon County Courthouse, 71 Main St., Flemington, NJ

The Newman & Oltman Guitar Duo, hailed by the Washington Post as “a revelation to hear,” will perform new commissions in addition to a celebration of Cuban legend Leo Brouwer’s 85th birthday on May 18th. Guitarists Laura Oltman and Michael Newman, Founding Artistic Directors of Raritan River Music, have spent half a century working to develop a lasting literature for the instrument. The concert will highlight selections from an upcoming new recording of recent commissions, including new music by Pulitzer Prize winner Paul Moravec (New Jersey native), João Luiz (Brazil), Celil Refik Kaya (Turkey), and composer Leo Brouwer. Special guests Celil Refik Kaya and João Luiz, the duo’s former students and now distinguished colleagues, will join Laura and Michael.

Manhattan Chamber Players
WHEN: Saturday, May 25, at 7:30PM
Old Greenwich Presbyterian Church, 217 Greenwich Church Rd, Stewartsville, NJ

The festival will close with the Manhattan Chamber Players performing Brahms & Dvořák: Titans of the Romantic Era. Praised in the media for “their blend of vigorous intensity and dramatic import” (Classical Source Magazine), the Manhattan Chamber Players are a collective of renowned New York based musicians who share the common air of performing the greatest works in the chamber repertory at the highest level. Their Raritan River Music Festival debut will feature two such master pieces composed for piano quartet, piano, violin, viola, and cello by Czech composer Antonin Dvořák and his German mentor Johannes Brahms.

Under Laura and Michael’s stewardship, Raritan River Music (RRM) has evolved into more than the annual festival concerts in May by delivering programs year-round for young children, seniors, and patients at health-care facilities around the region. RRM also creates a legacy of new works and recordings commissioned by RRM’s patrons, as well as presenting new music at each concert by local school-age composers.

In addition to founding and serving as Artistic Directors of the RRMF, Michael and Laura are the Founders and Artistic Directors of the New York Guitar Seminar at Mannes and are celebrating their 35th season as ensemble-in-residence at Mannes College of Music.

For more details about the festival, nationally recognized educational enrichment programs, recordings, videos, and links to the performers’ web sites visit

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