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SPAC to honor Hamlen with Brandenburg Concertos

SPAC to honor Hamlen with Brandenburg Concertos

Orchestra of St. Luke's will perform in Saratoga Springs on Dec. 15
SPAC to honor Hamlen with Brandenburg Concertos
Charles Hamlen with Elizabeth Sobol in Saratoga after Sobol was named president of SPAC.
Photographer: courtesy of SPAC

The Saratoga Performing Arts Center will once again present the Orchestra at St. Luke's performing Bach's Brandenburg Concertos at 7 p.m. Dec. 15 at the Bethesda Episcopal Church in downtown Saratoga Springs.

The evening's concert will serve as a tribute to Schenectady native Charles Hamlen, who died in August of this year after a long battle with leukemia. Hamlen was a classical music lover and founder of IMG Artists, a management agency that fostered the careers of many musicians, including violinist Joshua Bell.

"Following the success of last year's program, which completely sold out, we are bringing back the treasured Brandenburg Concertos," said SPAC President and CEO Elizabeth Sobol. "Once again, our community will have the opportunity to experience one of the world's great chamber music orchestras in an acoustically and architecturally exquisite space."

The Orchestra of St. Luke's, one of the country's most versatile orchestras which has been praised as "fresh and invigorating" by the New York Times, collaborates with the world's finest artists and performs approximately 70 concerts at venues around the country, including Carnegie Hall and Lincoln.

Hamlen was born in Schenectady in 1943, the youngest of four children. His father, Richard, worked at General Electric and his mother, Caroline, was a librarian. He studied piano and cello, and after graduating from Harvard College in 1965 he became a French teacher.

"Charlie Hamlen was one of the most beloved leaders in classical music, and my greatest mentor and friend," said Sobol. "I literally started my career in a basement apartment in Manhattan that housed the fledgling Hamlen Management, which later became the global leader in the field, IMG Artists. His important work in the arts and advocacy in support of AIDS groups touched the lives of countless individuals.

"Charlie was instrumental in bringing Orchestra at St. Luke's to Saratoga last year with the goal of making the Bethesda Brandenburg Concertos an annual tradition in the region," continued Sobol. "To be able to bring this incredible orchestra back for a return visit is not only a great moment for our community, but also a meaningful tribute to Charlie, who inspired so many with his love of music and his generosity of spirit."

During his career, Hamlen personally managed musicians such as flutist James Galway; pianists Stephen Hough, Jean-Yves Thibaudet and André Watts, and violinists Bell and Leila Josefowicz.

In 1993 he left IMG, which was then booming, and founded Classical Action: Performing Arts Against AIDS, a charity that went on to stage benefit concerts that raised millions for AIDS groups.

Tickets for the performance are $25. For more information, visit spac.org.

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