Back With Laughter
Chantal Juillet prepares to take her final bows, she looks
back on 20 seasons at SPAC
flies when you’re making great music. After two decades,
violinist Chantal Juillet, founding director of the Saratoga
Chamber Music Festival, is taking her leave of Saratoga
Springs—as is Charles Dutoit, longtime summer director-
conductor of the Philadelphia Orchestra. (It was a mutual
decision, as the two were married in February.)
Juillet is hard to track down for the simple reason that
she’s so busy. It’s the life of the professional musician,
sure—last week Switzerland, this week Saratoga Springs—but
right now, things are especially hectic. The SCMF season
began earlier this week: first with the Kalichstein-Laredo-Robinson
Trio (see our review, page 26), then Juillet accompanied
violinist Sarah Chang in a program of French music. Next
week, Juillet will be among the players accompanying featured
pianists Kirill Gerstein and Jean-Yves Thibaudet. And she’s
also preparing for the Aug. 12 “farewell concert” on the
amphitheater stage with the Philadelphia Orchestra, when
she will be featured soloist on (and Dutoit will conduct)
Erich Wolfgang Korngold’s “lush, lyrical” Violin Concerto.
So arranging an interview is tricky—but not impossible.
At a prearranged time, Juillet places a call to do this
interview—and, she explains, she has to stand in the middle
of her driveway to do it.
had a hard time—I’m in the Tanglewood area, and it’s like
Saratoga—I’m not getting signals everywhere.”
Asked about her fondest memories of the festival and Saratoga,
my God—so many.”
know,” she says, “I started this festival from scratch.”
At the beginning, it was all musicians from out of town:
“I wasn’t using any players from the Philadelphia Orchestra.”
And it didn’t all go smoothly, either: “I remember putting
on this great show with Avery Brooks, from [Star Trek:]
Deep Space Nine, as narrator—we had this incredible
team of players—and I remember there were 40 people in the
Juillet laughs at the memory.
was sure that this was going to be my first and last season,”
she says. “But my boss then, Herb Chesbrough, said, ‘No
no no, I think we can develop this through word of mouth,
and it’s going to expand,’ and he had the courage to give
me a three-year contract at that time, she says.”
she adds, “I still remember fondly that first season because
it was so good—I think—and there was nobody in the audience!”
According to the online Canadian Dictionary, the Montreal
native “won all the major Canadian music competitions in
her category by the age of 16,” and has since, based on
her subsequent illustrious career, been made a Knight of
the National Order of Quebec (2005) and an Officer of the
Order of Canada (2006).
After her long tenure at SPAC, Juillet has many fond memories.
been a great 20 seasons for me, because I got to become
very friendly, on a personal basis, with all the people
that came [to perform].”
She’s referring to the many internationally renowned musicians
who’ve performed in Saratoga, like Yo-Yo Ma and Martha Argerich.
was able to call them up and say, ‘Would you like to come
back and play in my series?’”
Once in Saratoga to perform, she explains that a collegial
atmosphere prevailed and the musicians ended up hanging
out. Partially, this can be explained by the logistical
problem of restaurants not being open after concerts.
given up on restaurants,” she says, “and usually have barbecues
at one of our houses. . . . Everyone pitches in, and it’s
made the atmosphere very unsnobby and unpretentious and
Asked to highlight one performance over two decades, she
defers: “It’s difficult . . . they were all special.”
Explaining further, Juillet says, “I’ve gone to many festivals,
and I have to say that Saratoga has been very friendly and
very warm atmosphere, because we put the chamber music [series]
in such a beautiful venue.”
It’s impossible to disagree. The SCMF is held in the Spa
Little Theater, which dates back to the Saratoga Spa State
Park’s Depression-era building projects. It’s an intimate
venue with great acoustics.
fantastic, I call it my theater now.”
But not for much longer, and time is running short: “There
are always last minute things that need to be resolved,
like the printing of programs—and interviews and photo sessions
. . .”
She laughs, and the interview ends. Except . . .
Five minutes later, Juillet calls back. There’s one more
thing she wants to add: She’s very proud to have initiated
the SPAC’s visiting composer program, which has, over the
years, led to many notable performances and original compositions.
And then she rings off. There’s no doubt that Chantal Juillet
has left an indelible mark on SPAC, and Saratoga.
PERFORMING ARTS CENTER (Saratoga Spa State Park, Saratoga
Springs, 587-3330). Sun: John Mayer, Train.
MAPLE AVENUE (9 Maple Ave., Saratoga Springs, 583-CLUB).
Fri: Jill Hughes. Sat: Keith Pray’s Soul Jazz
ALLEY BAR (Long Alley Road, Saratoga Springs, 587-9766).
Tue: karaoke with Mark the Shark.
LENA (47 Phila St., Saratoga Springs, 583-0022). Thu:
open mic. Fri: Jamcrackers. Sat: Session Americana.
Wed: Rob Jonas.
(430 Broadway, Saratoga Springs, 587-5577). Thu: Tequila
CAFE (392 Broadway, Saratoga Springs, 583-1106). Thu:
open mic with Nate Solomon. Sat: karaoke.
(16 Caroline St., Saratoga Springs, 587-7359). Tue: open
mic with Peter Pashoukos.
ICEHOUSE (70 Putnam St., Saratoga Springs, 261-1766).
Thu: Ten Year Vamp. Fri: Gravity. Sat: the
LOCAL PUB AND TEAHOUSE (142 Grand Ave., Saratoga Springs,
587-7256). Sun: Traditional Irish Players (1 PM).
(17 Maple Ave., Saratoga Springs, 583-6955). Thu: Latin
night. Sat: DJ. Wed: open mic.
CAROLINE STREET (1 Caroline St., Saratoga Springs, 587-2026).
Thu: Skidmore Jazz. Mon: Chris Carey. Tue:
jazz piano. Wed: Masters of Nostalgia.
DEN (63A Putnam St., Saratoga Springs, 584-8066). Thu:
reggae dance party. Fri: Skeletons In The Piano CD
release. Sat: the Figgs, the Charlie Watts Riots.
Sun: Half Step. Wed: Vinnie Amico and friends.
(13 Caroline St., Saratoga Springs, 581-1316). Fri-Sat:
Works Saratoga, 12 Ballston Ave., Saratoga Springs.
8/6-7, 7 PM. Tom Briscoe with Aaron Ward.
Performing Arts Center, Saratoga Spa State Park, Saratoga
Springs. 8/5, 8 PM: Jeff Tyzik will conduction the Philadelphia
Orchestra and singers in a Broadway pops program. $18-$72.50.
8/6, 8 PM: Alec Bladwin will narrate, Charles Dutoit will
conduct the PO in Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf.
Also, works by Glinka, Stravinsky, and Liszt’s Piano
Concerto No. 2 featuring Kirill Gerstein. $18-$72.50.
8/7, 8 PM: Charles Dutoit will conduct the PO, guest singers
and the Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia on Beethoven’s
Symphony No. 9.
Little Theater, Saratoga Performing Arts Center, Saratoga
Springs. 8/9, 8 PM: Pianists Jean-Yves Thibaudet and Kirill
Gerstein, with Saratoga Chamber Music Festival Players,
will perform works by Dohnanyi, Fauré, Schumann. $36.50,
$41.50. 8/10, 8 PM: The Wister Quartet will perform works
by Mozart, Tchaikovsky. $36.50, $41.50. 587-3330.
County Arts Council, Arts Center Gallery, 320 Broadway,
Saratoga Springs. 584-4132. Saratoga Inside Out: A Juried
Exhibition. 8/7-9/25. Reception 8/7, 5-8 PM.
Museum of Dance and Hall of Fame, 99 S. Broadway, Saratoga
Springs. 584-2225. Postage Paid : Dance Around the World.
Also, In a Labyrinth: The Dance of Butoh. Also, Ballet
Russes Centennial Exhibit. Also, The C.V. Whitney
Hall of Fame. Plus, the children’s wing. Through Fall
Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame, 191 Union Ave., Saratoga
Springs. 584-0400. Treasures of the Vault: 60 Years and
Growing. Through 8/31. Hall of Fame Heroes. Ongoing.
York State Military Museum, 61 Lake Ave., Saratoga Springs.
581-5100. Picturing Battle: Memories of War, Art of Thurlstrup,
U.S. Army Signal Corps and Steve Jordan. Ongoing. Also,
Dewitt Clinton Falls: Uniform of the New York National
Automobile Museum, 110 Avenue of the Pines, Saratoga
Spa State Park, Saratoga Springs. 587-1935 ext. 20. New
York racing exhibit. Ongoing.
Teaching Museum and Gallery, Skidmore College, 815 N.
Broadway, Saratoga Springs. 580-8080. Opener 20 Paula
Hayes: Understory. Through 4/1/11. Also, Suzanne
Bocenegra: I Write the Songs. Through 2/2/11. Also,
Opener 19: Los Carpinteros. Through 8/31. Also, For
You. Through 8/22.
Polo, Whitney Field, Saratoga Springs. Through 8/6-8:
The Whitney Cup. 584-8108 or saratogapolo.com.Saratoga
2010 Saratoga meet runs through Sept. 6. The track is dark
Location: Union Avenue, Saratoga Springs, 584-6200.
Admission: $3 Grandstand ($5 Travers Day), $5 Clubhouse
($10 Travers Day).
First Race Post Time: 1 PM daily, except July 30 at 2:30
PM, Aug. 28 at 11:35 AM, Sept. 3 at 2:30 PM.
Major Stakes Races include: The Whitney (Aug. 7), The Alabama
(Aug. 21), The Travers (Aug. 28).
Chantal Sutherland leaving the paddock on Essence Hit Man,
a 3 year old running in Grade II “The Amsterdam” stakes
race on Monday [8/2/2010]. Essence Hit Man ran well finishing
2nd after shipping in from Canada's Woodbine Race Track.