(MORRISTOWN, NJ) -- One of the many little miracles during the Pandemic was the Morris Museum's Lot of Strings Festival, which brought some of classical music's finest ensembles to the Museum's Back Deck in the Summer and Fall of 2020. The museum's unused parking lot was enterprisingly transformed into NJ's newest performance space, able to accommodate over 200 socially-distant music lovers per concert under the sunset skies of Morris County. Some of the best musicians in the world, like Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, the American Symphony Orchestra, The Tesla, JACK and Catalyst String Quartets, shared their prodigious talents under the stars with audiences eager for live entertainment.
Described by the New York Times as "Live Music Splendor in a Parking Lot," these concerts are choreographed to coincide with the sunsets that have become a signature of this series. Bachtrack's review of Orpheus Chamber Orchestra's concert last October said, "Spectators with their folding chairs, wine glasses and food baskets reminded me of the ambience on the Tanglewood Festival's lawn on a sunny afternoon. The sunset, as seen through the branches of a huge pine, was as spectacular. "
After Nicholas Tzavaras and his program of the first three Bach Cello Suites, the schedule for May includes the all-female ensemble The Rhythm Method on Sunday, May 9th, Mother's Day, with a program called Hidden Mothers, which features the work of under-appreciated and under-heard female composers. Catalyst Quartet returns to the Back Deck on Sunday, May 16th for a program featuring African-American composers.
At the end of May, the focus shifts from strings to woodwinds with Back Deck favorites, Orpheus Chamber Orchestra and the American Symphony Orchestra. On May 23rd a Woodwind Quintet from Orpheus Chamber Orchestra will perform a lively and diverse program of woodwind favorites, that includes works by Bach, Ravel, Carl Nielsen and Valerie Coleman of Imani Winds (who will have their own Back Deck evening in August.) On May 30, members of the American Symphony Orchestra dispatch a woodwind trio to serenade us with a French-themed evening that includes the work of Koechlin, Francaix and Poulenc, among others.
In June the strings are back and members of the Orpheus return to the Back Deck twice, June 6th with Mendelssohn's String Quintet and June 20th with string quintets by Dvořák. Tesla Quartet returns to the Back Deck on June 13th and Nicholas Tzavaras will finish his program of Bach Cello Suites on Saturday, June 27th.
All of the Lot of Strings Festival performances begin at 7:00pm in April and May, 8:00pm in June, July August, and September. For a complete Lot of Strings Festival schedule, click here.
Tickets: All blocks are $50 for an 8’x8′ block which accommodates up to 2 patrons. At present, the maximum number of blocks permitted will be 75 (or 150 people.) Patrons are welcome to arrive as early as an hour and a half before the concert to set up and enjoy the evening sun. To purchase tickets over the phone, call the box office at 973-971-3706.
Tickets must be ordered in advance by phone or online only. The rain date decision will be made by 12:00 pm day of the event. Tickets may be purchased online at morrismuseum.org, by phone at 973.971.3706, or in person at the Morris Museum. The Morris Museum’s Bickford Theatre is located at 6 Normandy Heights Road in Morristown, NJ, and offers free parking and full accessibility. Box office hours for phone sales are Monday through Friday, 10:00am to 5:00pm.
Please Bring Your Own Chairs. Chairs will not be provided.
Founded in 1913, the Morris Museum is an award-winning, multi-faceted art and cultural institution serving the public through its exhibitions and performances which strive to interpret the past and discover the future through art, sound, and motion. The Museum is home to the historic and internationally-significant Murtogh D. Guinness Collection of Mechanical Musical Instruments and Automata. Changing exhibits of contemporary content further illuminate its Permanent Collection. The Museum’s Bickford Theatre is a 312-seat performing-arts facility, offering unique programming in film, jazz, and live performance through its innovative series, Live Arts at the Morris Museum. The Morris Museum has a proud tradition of meaningful educational programs and family events. New Jersey’s only Smithsonian Affiliate Museum, Morris Museum is also the first museum in New Jersey to be accredited by the American Alliance of Museums, it has been designated a Major Arts Institution and has received the New Jersey State Council on the Arts Citation of Excellence, among other awards.
The Morris Museum is a Blue Star Museum, offering free admission to active-duty military personnel and their families, from Memorial Day to Labor Day.