‘The Unanswered Question’ to Highlight Charles Ives Day

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The Danbury Music Centre presents Danbury, Connecticut’s annual celebration honoring the birth of composer Charles Edward Ives, born on Main Street in Danbury on October 20, 1874.


The daylong series of events takes place on Sunday, October 21 beginning with a hike up Pine Mountain, a special place of retreat for Charles Ives, followed by a visit to his birth home and a visit to his grave in Wooster Cemetery.


The day will culminate with a concert at 3pm on the top floor of the Charles A. Bardo Parking Garage on Library Place. This year’s musical celebration will feature The Unanswered Question, written by Ives in 1906. Composed for trumpet solo, woodwinds, and strings, the work contemplates the unanswerable, perennial question of existence. The trumpet asks the question and is answered by the strings representing the vast silences of the Druids who know, see and hear nothing. The woodwinds also seek the answer but abandon their quest in frustration. Ultimately the question remains unanswered. Anthony Nunes will be the solo trumpet player. Dan Coffman will direct members of the Danbury Symphony Orchestra.


The Danbury Brass Band and Alan Raph, conductor.

The Danbury Brass Band will also be featured in this concert under the direction of Alan Raph. The Danbury Brass Band will perform songs by Charles Ives including Slow March written in Danbury in 1888 upon the death of Chin-Chin, a favorite family pet.


Nancy F. Sudik and Larry Deming are the hosts of this annual event. This concert is co-sponsored by the Danbury Parking Authority.


All events are free but reservations are required for the hike. Contact Nancy F. Sudik at the Danbury Music Centre to make reservations or for more information about Ives Day: (203) 748-1716  or dmc1935@snet.net.






Hike to the top of Pine Mountain – 9:30am


Reservations are necessary. Contact the Danbury Music Centre with your name and email address: (203) 748-1716  or dmc1935@snet.net.. The hike is moderately difficult. The vista from the top of the mountain extends to Long Island Sound on a clear day. In the event of rain, the hike is canceled.


Visit the Charles Ive birth home at noon and the cemetery at 1:30pm


Meet at noon at the birth home on the corner of Mountainville Avenue and Southern Blvd. Visit the gravesite where Charles Ives and his family are buried in Wooster cemetery, section M,


Attend a concert at 3pm on the top floor of the Charles A. Bardo Parking Garage


The views from the top of the parking garage are beautiful. In the event of rain the concert will be held at the Danbury Music Centre, adjacent to the parking garage.  The garage is located on Library Place.




About Charles E. Ives


Charles Ives was born on Main Street in Danbury on October 20, 1874 and grew up in downtown Danbury. The music he composed was greatly influenced by the songs of his day, including hymns, fiddle music, barn dances, and popular songs of the late 19th century. Ives became a millionaire but not by composing music. Knowing he could not support a family as a composer – especially given his maverick composing style – he worked in the insurance industry where he created actuarial tables still in use today. He is now considered the greatest of American composers and in 1947 he was awarded a Pulitzer Prize for his Third Symphony, “The Camp Meeting”.


Hiking to the top of Pine Mountain was a favorite activity of Charles and his younger brother, Moss. It was at this location that he and his brother erected a lean-to shanty and where Ives was inspired to write some of his uniquely American music. The vistas from Pine Mountain extend all the way to Long Island Sound and are particularly beautiful in mid-October when the leaves are at peak color. Pine Mountain was ever present in Ives’ life from his birth to his death. During his childhood he could see the mountain by looking to the southwest of his grandparents’ home on Main Street in Danbury. When he married and moved to Umpawaug Road in Redding, the mountain was visible to the northwest of his house. Hikers should meet before 9:30am at the top of Pine Mountain Road. There is ample parking.


Charles Ives was born in a home owned by his father, George’s, parents. It was located next to Savings Bank of Danbury on the corner of Chapel Place and Main Street. In 1967 the house was moved to Mountainville Avenue. Visitors should meet at noon at the home on the corner of Mountainville Avenue and Southern Boulevard.


Ives is buried in Wooster Cemetery, section M, along with earlier generations of his family. The family plot overlooks a pond made famous in one of Ives’ songs, “Remembrance”. Charles Ives’ great grandfather, who is also buried in the family plot, founded Wooster Cemetery and laid out its design specifying that the plot of land overlooking the pond should be reserved for the Ives family. Visitors should meet in section M of the cemetery.

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