The International Artist Series returns

By Barry Kempton

Though The Schubert Club presents some 50 performances each year, our flagship series is undoubtedly the International Artist Series at the Ordway. That series opens tomorrow evening with leading American baritone Nathan Gunn in a program of German-language favorites (Schumann, Schubert and Hugo Wolf) and two of America’s leading art song composers, Samuel Barber and Charles Ives. It promises to be a special evening, not least because Nathan will perform with his regular piano collaborator (and wife) Julie Jordan Gunn. This will be their first appearance in the International Artist Series though they did perform a few years back in our summer song festival. I’m looking forward to tomorrow evening’s program enormously.

The Schubert Club has been presenting recitals since 1893 – that’s 120 years ago! I’m happy to say that not only is it the premier recital series in this State, but it’s one of the leading recital series of its kind in the country. We have over 1,300 subscribers and regularly welcome 1,500+ audience members to these performances.

The principle behind this International Artist Series has always been to present world-class artists at affordable ticket prices. Did you know that you can subscribe to five recitals at the Ordway this season for between $225 and $95? That’s $45 a concert for the best seats in the house! We’re proud of these ticket prices – and grateful to past Schubert Club supporters who have made it possible for us to keep these ticket prices low through donations and bequests to our endowment.

As I look at past artists in this series, it is a little difficult to know how to select a sample list of those who have performed in the past 120 years. Jascha Heifetz, Arthur Rubinstein and Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau feature for me among the very greats of the twentieth century. More recently, we’ve been fortunate to present Dame Janet Baker, Renée Fleming, Yo-Yo Ma and Cecilia Bartoli on the series. If you’re curious to see the full list, click here.

It is our goal to bring every major international classical music artist to the series at least once. Though we might not have an absolutely perfect record in this regard, I do think those responsible for this series over the years have been extraordinarily successful. It is my hope that we will continue along these lines long into the future. This coming season, three of our five recitalists appear on the series for the first time, starting tomorrow evening with Nathan and Julie Jordan Gunn. I hope to see you there.


photo above: A snippet of the program from the very first International Artist Series concert presented in 1893.