Mendelssohn and Dvorak Concert

Town & Country—Mendelssohn and Dvorak

Performed Live at Saint James Place in Great Barrington, MA

Close Encounters’ Winter-Spring 2023 concerts sizzle and sparkle with a wide swath of genres, styles, composers, instruments—and of course, the great musicians who share their brilliant artistry.  “Town & Country,” presented on Saturday, February 18, juxtaposes two of the most beloved of classical composers—Felix Mendelssohn and Antonin Dvorak—in two of their most winsome works.  Mendelssohn’s precocious brilliance, polish and flair (Schumann famously described him as “the Mozart of the 19th century”) and Dvorak’s down-home lyricism are present in good measure in the works being performed.

Glittering cosmopolitan Berlin and the village of Nelahozeves, Bohemia (now Czech Republic, population 2,200) are the respective places of origin of Felix Mendelssohn and Antonin Dvorak. Mendelssohn’s Trio in C minor offers some of his most exquisitely crafted music, with a magical scherzo right out of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” The spirit of Slavic folk music is at the heart of the “Dumky” Trio, opus 90—showcasing Dvorak’s gifts of melody and inventiveness. The suave salon vs. fireside village dance; city lights and rural utopia if you will.

Performers are pianist Renana Gutman, a top prize winner in numerous competitions; Xiao-Dong Wang, one of the most brilliant violinists to come out of China; and internationally acclaimed cellist and artistic director Yehuda Hanani.

For the first time since the start of Covid in 2020, audience members are invited to a post-concert reception.  All ticket holders are welcome!

Tickets, $52 (Orchestra and Mezzanine), $28 (Balcony) and $15 for students, are available through Close Encounters With Music. Prorated subscriptions for the upcoming five concerts $175, a 35% savings! Virtual subscriptions and individual tickets are also available.

Complete Information on the season’s seven concerts can be found here

Saturday, February 18, 2023 6 PM, Saint James Place

Town & Country—Mendelssohn and Dvorak

Close Encounters With Music:

“Innovative and captivating…a smart blend of classical, contemporary, and cutting-edge.”

 “CEWM patrons have learned that sooner or later they’ll be blindsided by a performance so sublime it will defy explanation.”  —  The Berkshire Edge

ABOUT THE ARTISTS-

Praised by the New York Times for her “passionate and insightful” playing, Renana Gutman has performed across four continents as an orchestral soloist, recitalist and collaborative artist. She has appeared at The Louvre and Grenoble Museum (France); Carnegie Recital Hall, People’s Symphony Concerts, Merkin Hall (New York); St. Petersburg’s Philharmonia (Russia), Stresa Music Festival (Italy), Ravinia Rising Stars (Chicago), Jordan Hall and Gardner Museum (Boston); Herbst Theatre (San Francisco), Menuhin Hall (UK), UNISA (South Africa), and National Gallery, Phillips Collection, and Freer Gallery (Washington DC). Her performances are heard frequently on WQXR’s “Young Artists Showcase,” WFMT “Dame Myra Hess,” Chicago, and American Public Media’s “Performances Today.” Her recording of Chopin Etudes op.25 is soon to be released by “The Chopin Project.” A top prize winner at the Los Angeles Liszt competition, International Keyboard Festival in New York, and Tel-Hai International Master Classes in Israel, she has been the soloist with the Jerusalem Symphony, Haifa Symphony, Belgian “I Fiamminghi,” and Mannes College Orchestra. Her festival appearances include Marlboro and Ravinia. 

Named “one of the most polished performers of the post-Starker generation and a consistently expressive artist.” by The New York Times, Yehuda Hanani’s charismatic playing and profound interpretations bring him acclaim and reengagements across the globe. He has won wide international recognition as soloist, chamber musician and inspiring pedagogue. His concerto appearances have been with the Chicago Symphony, Philadelphia Orchestra, Baltimore Symphony, San Antonio, New Orleans, Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, Berlin Radio Symphony, Israel Philharmonic, BBC Welsh Symphony, Irish National Symphony, Buenos Aires Philharmonic, Jerusalem Symphony, Honolulu Symphony, Taipei and Seoul symphonies among many other orchestras, and he has toured with I Solisti de Zagreb, conducting from the cello. A frequent guest at Aspen, Bowdoin, Chautauqua, Yale at Norfolk, Great Lakes, Casals Prades, Finland Festival, Ottawa, Oslo, Round Top Institute, Manchester, and the Australia Chamber Music festivals, he has collaborated in performances with preeminent fellow musicians, including Leon Fleisher, Aaron Copland, Christoph Eschenbach, David Robertson, Vladimir Fedoseyev, Itzhak Perlman, Vadim Repin, Julian Rachlin, Dawn Upshaw, Yefim Bronfman, Eliot Fisk, the Tokyo, Vermeer, Muir, Escher, Ariel, Colorado, and Manhattan quartets. His recording of the monumental Alkan Cello Sonata received a Grand Prix du Disque nomination, and on CD and in live performances, he has given premières of works of Nikolai Miaskovsky, Lukas Foss, Leo Ornstein, Paul Schoenfield, Thea Musgrave, Joan Tower, Eduard Franck, Osvaldo Golijov, Lera Auerbach, Tamar Muskal, Virgil Thomson, William Perry and Pulitzer Prize winners Bernard Rands and Zhou Long. In New York City, he has appeared as soloist at Carnegie Hall, the 92nd Street Y, Alice Tully, and the Metropolitan Museum. Among the early designers and proponents of thematic programming, his engaging chamber music with commentary series, Close Encounters With Music, has captivated audiences from Miami to Kansas City, Omaha, Detroit, Calgary, Scottsdale, the Berkshires, and at the Frick Collection in New York City. A three-time recipient of the Martha Baird Rockefeller grant, Mr. Hanani’s studies were with Leonard Rose at Juilliard and with Pablo Casals. He has inspired scores of cellists as Professor of Cello at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, and previously served on the faculty of the Peabody Conservatory. Artistic director of Berkshire High Peaks Festival, he presents master classes internationally at conservatories and for orchestras, including the Juilliard School, University of Indiana at Bloomington, New England Conservatory, McGill University, Paris Conservatoire, Berlin Hochschule für Music, Royal Academy of Music and Guildhall School in London, Tokyo National University, Jerusalem Academy of Music, the Central Conservatories in Beijing, Shanghai and Tianjin, and the New World Symphony in Miami. In recognition of his distinguished teaching, he was given the title of honorary professor of the Tianjin Conservatory, China. His objective is to instill a sense of wonder and adventure in young musicians, to lead them to technical mastery and bridge tradition with innovation. He now is a member of the faculty of the Mannes College of Music in New York City.

Xiao-Dong Wang has been called the most talented violinist to emerge from China. He began his studies at age 3 with his father, concertmaster of the Shanghai Symphony; he then studied with the renowned teacher Zhao Ji-Yang at the Shanghai Conservatory. As first prize winner in the Menuhin International Violin Competition and the Wieniawski-Lipinski International Violin Competition at the ages of 13 and 15, he was brought to the attention of violin pedagogue Dorothy DeLay who arranged a four-year scholarship at Juilliard. Mr. Wang has performed as soloist with orchestras around the world, including the London Royal Philharmonic, the London Mozart Players, Adelaide, Perth, Queensland symphony orchestras and Sydney Opera Orchestra. His recording credits include the Bartok Concerto No. 2 and Szymanowski Concerto No. 1 for Polygram. He has also appeared performing on both violin and viola in chamber music concerts at Lincoln Center, Kennedy Center, Aspen, Ravinia and festivals and music series worldwide. Wang was the resident soloist of the Shanghai Symphony for the 2012-13 season, during which time he also performed as a soloist with other major Chinese orchestras, including the China Philharmonic in Beijing. He is artistic director of the chamber music group Concertante, collaborating with world renowned musicians and producing a vast number of recordings.

HOW TO REACH US

Close Encounters With Music

Post Office Box 34

Great Barrington, MA 01230

800.843.0778

Web: cewm.org

e-mail: [email protected]  

If you don’t already, please follow us on social media! We work to keep our posts informative and inspiring. 

 Facebook: @closeencounterswithmusic Instagram: @closeencounterswithmusic Twitter: @CEWMusic

Town & Country—Mendelssohn and Dvorak

Performed Live at Saint James Place in Great Barrington, MA

Close Encounters’ Winter-Spring 2023 concerts sizzle and sparkle with a wide swath of genres, styles, composers, instruments—and of course, the great musicians who share their brilliant artistry.  “Town & Country,” presented on Saturday, February 18, juxtaposes two of the most beloved of classical composers—Felix Mendelssohn and Antonin Dvorak—in two of their most winsome works.  Mendelssohn’s precocious brilliance, polish and flair (Schumann famously described him as “the Mozart of the 19th century”) and Dvorak’s down-home lyricism are present in good measure in the works being performed. 

Glittering cosmopolitan Berlin and the village of Nelahozeves, Bohemia (now Czech Republic, population 2,200) are the respective places of origin of Felix Mendelssohn and Antonin Dvorak. Mendelssohn’s Trio in C minor offers some of his most exquisitely crafted music, with a magical scherzo right out of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” The spirit of Slavic folk music is at the heart of the “Dumky” Trio, opus 90—showcasing Dvorak’s gifts of melody and inventiveness. The suave salon vs. fireside village dance; city lights and rural utopia if you will.

Performers are pianist Renana Gutman, a top prize winner in numerous competitions; Xiao-Dong Wang, one of the most brilliant violinists to come out of China; and internationally acclaimed cellist and artistic director Yehuda Hanani.

For the first time since the start of Covid in 2020, audience members are invited to a post-concert reception.  All ticket holders are welcome!

Tickets, $52 (Orchestra and Mezzanine), $28 (Balcony) and $15 for students, are available through Close Encounters With Music. Pro-rated subscriptions for the upcoming five concerts $175, a 35% savings! Virtual subscriptions and individual tickets are also available.

Complete Information on the season’s seven concerts can be found here

Saturday, February 18, 2023 6 PM, Saint James Place

Town & Country—Mendelssohn and Dvorak

Close Encounters With Music:

“Innovative and captivating…a smart blend of classical, contemporary, and cutting-edge.”

“CEWM patrons have learned that sooner or later they’ll be blindsided by a performance so sublime it will defy explanation.”  —  The Berkshire Edge

ABOUT THE ARTISTS-

Praised by the New York Times for her “passionate and insightful” playing, Renana Gutman has performed across four continents as an orchestral soloist, recitalist and collaborative artist. She has appeared at The Louvre and Grenoble Museum (France); Carnegie Recital Hall, People’s Symphony Concerts, Merkin Hall (New York); St. Petersburg’s Philharmonia (Russia), Stresa Music Festival (Italy), Ravinia Rising Stars (Chicago), Jordan Hall and Gardner Museum (Boston); Herbst Theatre (San Francisco), Menuhin Hall (UK), UNISA (South Africa), and National Gallery, Phillips Collection, and Freer Gallery (Washington DC). Her performances are heard frequently on WQXR’s “Young Artists Showcase,” WFMT “Dame Myra Hess,” Chicago, and American Public Media’s “Performances Today.” Her recording of Chopin Etudes op.25 is soon to be released by “The Chopin Project.” A top prize winner at the Los Angeles Liszt competition, International Keyboard Festival in New York, and Tel-Hai International Master Classes in Israel, she has been the soloist with the Jerusalem Symphony, Haifa Symphony, Belgian “I Fiamminghi,” and Mannes College Orchestra. Her festival appearances include Marlboro and Ravinia. 

Named “one of the most polished performers of the post-Starker generation and a consistently expressive artist.” by The New York Times, Yehuda Hanani’s charismatic playing and profound interpretations bring him acclaim and reengagements across the globe. He has won wide international recognition as soloist, chamber musician and inspiring pedagogue. His concerto appearances have been with the Chicago Symphony, Philadelphia Orchestra, Baltimore Symphony, San Antonio, New Orleans, Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, Berlin Radio Symphony, Israel Philharmonic, BBC Welsh Symphony, Irish National Symphony, Buenos Aires Philharmonic, Jerusalem Symphony, Honolulu Symphony, Taipei and Seoul symphonies among many other orchestras, and he has toured with I Solisti de Zagreb, conducting from the cello. A frequent guest at Aspen, Bowdoin, Chautauqua, Yale at Norfolk, Great Lakes, Casals Prades, Finland Festival, Ottawa, Oslo, Round Top Institute, Manchester, and the Australia Chamber Music festivals, he has collaborated in performances with preeminent fellow musicians, including Leon Fleisher, Aaron Copland, Christoph Eschenbach, David Robertson, Vladimir Fedoseyev, Itzhak Perlman, Vadim Repin, Julian Rachlin, Dawn Upshaw, Yefim Bronfman, Eliot Fisk, the Tokyo, Vermeer, Muir, Escher, Ariel, Colorado, and Manhattan quartets. His recording of the monumental Alkan Cello Sonata received a Grand Prix du Disque nomination, and on CD and in live performances, he has given premières of works of Nikolai Miaskovsky, Lukas Foss, Leo Ornstein, Paul Schoenfield, Thea Musgrave, Joan Tower, Eduard Franck, Osvaldo Golijov, Lera Auerbach, Tamar Muskal, Virgil Thomson, William Perry and Pulitzer Prize winners Bernard Rands and Zhou Long. In New York City, he has appeared as soloist at Carnegie Hall, the 92nd Street Y, Alice Tully, and the Metropolitan Museum. Among the early designers and proponents of thematic programming, his engaging chamber music with commentary series, Close Encounters With Music, has captivated audiences from Miami to Kansas City, Omaha, Detroit, Calgary, Scottsdale, the Berkshires, and at the Frick Collection in New York City. A three-time recipient of the Martha Baird Rockefeller grant, Mr. Hanani’s studies were with Leonard Rose at Juilliard and with Pablo Casals. He has inspired scores of cellists as Professor of Cello at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, and previously served on the faculty of the Peabody Conservatory. Artistic director of Berkshire High Peaks Festival, he presents master classes internationally at conservatories and for orchestras, including the Juilliard School, University of Indiana at Bloomington, New England Conservatory, McGill University, Paris Conservatoire, Berlin Hochschule für Music, Royal Academy of Music and Guildhall School in London, Tokyo National University, Jerusalem Academy of Music, the Central Conservatories in Beijing, Shanghai and Tianjin, and the New World Symphony in Miami. In recognition of his distinguished teaching, he was given the title of honorary professor of the Tianjin Conservatory, China. His objective is to instill a sense of wonder and adventure in young musicians, to lead them to technical mastery and bridge tradition with innovation. He now is a member of the faculty of the Mannes College of Music in New York City.

Xiao-Dong Wang has been called the most talented violinist to emerge from China. He began his studies at age 3 with his father, concertmaster of the Shanghai Symphony; he then studied with the renowned teacher Zhao Ji-Yang at the Shanghai Conservatory. As first prize winner in the Menuhin International Violin Competition and the Wieniawski-Lipinski International Violin Competition at the ages of 13 and 15, he was brought to the attention of violin pedagogue Dorothy DeLay who arranged a four-year scholarship at Juilliard. Mr. Wang has performed as soloist with orchestras around the world, including the London Royal Philharmonic, the London Mozart Players, Adelaide, Perth, Queensland symphony orchestras and Sydney Opera Orchestra. His recording credits include the Bartok Concerto No. 2 and Szymanowski Concerto No. 1 for Polygram. He has also appeared performing on both violin and viola in chamber music concerts at Lincoln Center, Kennedy Center, Aspen, Ravinia and festivals and music series worldwide. Wang was the resident soloist of the Shanghai Symphony for the 2012-13 season, during which time he also performed as a soloist with other major Chinese orchestras, including the China Philharmonic in Beijing. He is artistic director of the chamber music group Concertante, collaborating with world renowned musicians and producing a vast number of recordings.

HOW TO REACH US

Close Encounters With Music

Post Office Box 34

Great Barrington, MA 01230

800.843.0778

Web: cewm.org

e-mail: [email protected]  

If you don’t already, please follow us on social media! We work to keep our posts informative and inspiring. 

Facebook: @closeencounterswithmusic
Instagram: @closeencounterswithmusic
Twitter: @CEWMusic
Grand Piano Trio

BEETHOVEN TRIOS TAKE CENTER STAGE 

Performed Live at the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center in Great Barrington, MA

Innovative and captivating…a smart blend of classical, contemporary, and cutting-edge

 “CEWM patrons have learned that sooner or later they’ll be blindsided by a performance so sublime it will defy explanation.” 

                  —  The Berkshire Edge

The series continues on December 11 with an all-Beethoven program – two piano trios that are almost orchestral in breadth, scope and brilliance.

Tickets, $52 (Orchestra and Mezzanine), $28 (Balcony) and $15 for students, are available through Close Encounters With Music or the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center or by calling 413-528-0100. Subscriptions for the series of 7 concerts are $250 ($225 for seniors), a 35% savings!. Virtual subscriptions and individual tickets are also available.

Complete Information on the season’s seven concerts can be found HERE

Grand Piano Trios—Beethoven’s “Ghost” and “Archduke”

Sunday, December 11, 2022 4 PM

Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center

A virtual symphony for three musicians, expansive and noble—like the Austrian Archduke who was the dedicatee—the great “Archduke” is more than a trio. It offered Beethoven the perfect vehicle for the development of his compositional techniques and the exploration of instrumental brilliance and virtuosity with three independent, powerful voices.  In the “Ghost” Trio, channeling images from Shakespeare’s Macbeth, Beethoven plays with strangeness and eeriness.  Both works are among his most Olympian and are in the best possible hands: Pianist Ieva Jokubaviciute has been described as “an artist of commanding technique, refined temperament and persuasive insight” by the New York Times.  Violinist Hye-Jin Kim won First Prize at the Yehudi Menuhin International Violin Competition at the age of nineteen and has been guest soloist with major orchestras in the U. S., Europe and Asia since. They join internationally acclaimed music director Yehuda Hanani in compositions of tremendous scope, drama and wit.

ABOUT THE ARTISTS-

Lithuanian pianist https://www.ievajokubaviciute.com/ powerfully and intricately crafted performances have earned her critical accolades throughout North America and Europe. Labor Records released Ieva’s debut recording in 2010 to critical international acclaim, which resulted in recitals in New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, Baltimore, DC, Vilnius, and Toulouse. She made her orchestral debuts with the Chicago Symphony; in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; and in February 2017 was the soloist with the Orquesta Filarmónica de Montevideo in Uruguay. Her piano trio—Trio Cavatina—won the 2009 Naumburg International Chamber Music Competition. Her latest recording: “Returning Paths: Solo Piano Works by Janacek and Suk” was also released to critical acclaim in 2014. In the fall of 2016, she began a collaboration with the violinist Midori, with recitals in Canada, at the Cartagena International Music Festival in Colombia, and in Germany and Austria. Since, they have given recitals in Japan, Poland, Peru, Colombia, Mexico, India, and Sri Lanka. Jokubaviciute’s latest piano solo recording “Northscapes” was released in 2021. This recording weaves works, written within the last decade by composers from the Nordic and Baltic countries of Europe, into a tapestry of soundscapes that echo the reverberations between landscape, sound, and the imagination. It features works by Kaja Saariaho and Anna Thorvaldsdottir, among others. Appearances at international festivals include Marlboro, Ravinia, Bard, Caramoor Prussia Cove in England, Schleswig-Holstein Festival in Germany, festivals in Finland, and Music in the Vineyards in the Napa Valley.

Known for her musical sensitivity and deeply engaging performances that transport audiences beyond mere technical virtuosity, violinist Hye-Jin Kim leads a versatile career as soloist, recitalist, and chamber musician since her First Prize win at the Yehudi Menuhin International Violin Competition at the age of nineteen and a subsequent win at the Concert Artists Guild International Competition. Kim has performed as soloist with major orchestras worldwide including the Philadelphia, New Jersey Symphony, New Haven Symphony, BBC Concert (UK), Seoul Philharmonic (Korea), Pan Asia Symphony (Hong Kong), and Hannover Chamber (Germany). She has appeared in Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie, the Kennedy Center Terrace Theater, Kimmel Center Verizon Hall, the Kravis Center, Salzburg’s Mirabel Schloss, and Wigmore Hall in London. At the invitation of Korea’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, she performed at the U.N. Headquarters in both Geneva and New York and served as a cultural representative for Korea in Switzerland, Australia, New Zealand, Kazakhstan, and Uzbekistan through concerts and outreach engagements. A passionate chamber musician, Kim appears in notable chamber music festivals including Marlboro, Ravinia, Four Seasons, Music from Angel Fire, [email protected], Seoul Spring, Bridgehampton, Music in the Vineyards and Prussia Cove in England. A dedicated teacher for the next generation of musicians, she presents master classes throughout the US and is invited as a jury member in notable international and national competitions. Born in Seoul, Hye-Jin Kim entered the Curtis Institute at age fourteen and earned her master’s degree at New England Conservatory. Her debut CD with pianist Ieva Jokubaviciute, From the Homeland, featuring works by Debussy, Smetana, Sibelius, and Janacek is available on CAG Records. She is Associate Professor of Violin at East Carolina University and a member of the Cooperstown Quartet. Kim is the creator of Lullaby Dreams, a project that brings beauty and humanity to the hospital experience of babies, families and medical staff in neonatal intensive care units and children’s hospitals through music.

Named “one of the most polished performers of the post-Starker generation and a consistently expressive artist.” by The New York Times, Yehuda Hanani’s charismatic playing and profound interpretations bring him acclaim and reengagements across the globe. He has won wide international recognition as soloist, chamber musician and inspiring pedagogue. His concerto appearances have been with the Chicago Symphony, Philadelphia Orchestra, Baltimore Symphony, San Antonio, New Orleans, Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, Berlin Radio Symphony, Israel Philharmonic, BBC Welsh Symphony, Irish National Symphony, Buenos Aires Philharmonic, Jerusalem Symphony, Honolulu Symphony, Taipei and Seoul symphonies among many other orchestras, and he has toured with I Solisti de Zagreb, conducting from the cello. A frequent guest at Aspen, Bowdoin, Chautauqua, Yale at Norfolk, Great Lakes, Casals Prades, Finland Festival, Ottawa, Oslo, Round Top Institute, Manchester, and the Australia Chamber Music festivals, he has collaborated in performances with preeminent fellow musicians, including Leon Fleisher, Aaron Copland, Christoph Eschenbach, David Robertson, Vladimir Fedoseyev, Itzhak Perlman, Vadim Repin, Julian Rachlin, Dawn Upshaw, Yefim Bronfman, Eliot Fisk, the Tokyo, Vermeer, Muir, Escher, Ariel, Colorado, and Manhattan quartets. His recording of the monumental Alkan Cello Sonata received a Grand Prix du Disque nomination, and on CD and in live performances, he has given premières of works of Nikolai Miaskovsky, Lukas Foss, Leo Ornstein, Paul Schoenfield, Thea Musgrave, Joan Tower, Eduard Franck, Osvaldo Golijov, Lera Auerbach, Tamar Muskal, Virgil Thomson, William Perry and Pulitzer Prize winners Bernard Rands and Zhou Long. In New York City, he has appeared as soloist at Carnegie Hall, the 92nd Street Y, Alice Tully, and the Metropolitan Museum. Among the early designers and proponents of thematic programming, his engaging chamber music with commentary series, Close Encounters With Music, has captivated audiences from Miami to Kansas City, Omaha, Detroit, Calgary, Scottsdale, the Berkshires, and at the Frick Collection in New York City. A three-time recipient of the Martha Baird Rockefeller grant, Mr. Hanani’s studies were with Leonard Rose at Juilliard and with Pablo Casals. He has inspired scores of cellists as Professor of Cello at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, and previously served on the faculty of the Peabody Conservatory. Artistic director of Berkshire High Peaks Festival, he presents master classes internationally at conservatories and for orchestras, including the Juilliard School, University of Indiana at Bloomington, New England Conservatory, McGill University, Paris Conservatoire, Berlin Hochschule für Music, Royal Academy of Music and Guildhall School in London, Tokyo National University, Jerusalem Academy of Music, the Central Conservatories in Beijing, Shanghai and Tianjin, and the New World Symphony in Miami. In recognition of his distinguished teaching, he was given the title of honorary professor of the Tianjin Conservatory, China. His objective is to instill a sense of wonder and adventure in young musicians, to lead them to technical mastery and bridge tradition with innovation. He now is a member of the faculty of the Mannes College of Music in New York City.

Performed Live at the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center in Great Barrington, MA, Sunday, November 6 at 4 PM

Tamar Muskal’s twice-postponed work will receive its long-awaited world premiere, kicking off the new season with a musical adventure. In the words of the composer, “We live in a very challenging time—a time of war, sickness, climate disasters, and economic difficulties. One Earth, for a rapper/beatbox artist, tabla player, string quintet and a treble chorus, calls all people to positive action, to love, to beauty, and to anything that protects the planet and humanity. The piece is rich in sonorities, a fusion of different musical worlds, and contrasts between energetic rhythms, lyrical melodies and powerful rapping.” The program also features Schubert’s heavenly String Quintet in C Major—an early 19th Century call to humanity, beauty and truth.  Of Muskal’s music, the Chicago Tribune has written: “The ripples and shimmers that filled Muskal’s post-minimalist score were as evanescent as swirling, digitized visuals— dissolving into one another with kaleidoscopic beauty…high-tech music theater at its most inventive and fascinating.” 

“Tamar’s work embraces the universe and looks outward.  It’s all-encompassing, utopian, embracing.  Schubert plunges us into the depths of the inner and personal world, the heart and soul, its agony and sublime heights” is how artistic director Yehuda Hanani describes the two polarities of the program.  Joining him for the Schubert Quintet are the Borromeo Quartet.  Muskal’s One Earth calls for the 22-person Mount Holyoke College Chamber Singers, a string quintet, beatbox artist Christylez Bacon and tabla player Avirodh Sharma.  Tianhui Ng will conduct.

The series continues on December 11 with an all-Beethoven program – two piano trios that are almost orchestral in breadth, scope and brilliance.  Complete Information on the season’s seven concerts can be found at cewm.org.

November 6 musicians: Borromeo String Quartet; Yehuda Hanani, cello; Avirodh Sharma, tabla; Christylez Bacon, beatbox artist; Tianhui Ng, conductor; Rachel Feldman, choral director; Mount Holyoke College Chamber Singers

Tickets, $52 (Orchestra and Mezzanine), $28 (Balcony) and $15 for students, are available through Close Encounters With Music or the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center or by calling 413-528-0100. Subscriptions for the series of 7 concerts are $250 ($225 for seniors), a 35% savings!. Virtual subscriptions and individual tickets are also available.

ABOUT THE ARTISTS

Christylez Bacon (pronounced: chris-styles) is a GRAMMY® Nominated Progressive Hip-Hop artist and multi-instrumentalist from Southeast, Washington, DC. As a performer, he multi-tasks between various instruments including the West African djembe drum, acoustic guitar, and the human beat-box (oral percussion), all the while continuing the oral tradition of storytelling through his lyrics. In 2011, Mr. Bacon began a cross-cultural collaborative concert series in Washington, DC called the “Washington Sound Museum” (WSM), a monthly intimate celebration of music featuring guest artists from diverse musical genres with Christylez Bacon and his progressive hip-hop orchestra. Since WSM’s inception, Mr. Bacon has collaborated with artists from various cultural backgrounds, ranging from the Hindustani & Camatic music of India, the contemporary Arabic music of Egypt, and the music of Brazil.  With a mission of fostering cultural acceptance and unification through music, he constantly pushes the envelope – from performances at the National Cathedral, to becoming the first Hip-Hop artist to be featured at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival to composing and orchestrating an entire concert for a 12-piece orchestra commissioned by the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and the Smithsonian Institute, or recording a Folk/Hip-Hop children’s album. He is the recipient of several honors awarded by the Washington Area Music Association including the 2013 Artist ofthe Year, and the Montgomery County Executive Award for Excellence in the Arts. He was honored as a 2012 “Library Superhero” by Friends of the Library, Montgomery County.

Sought after for both fresh interpretations of the classical music canon and their championing of works by 20th and 21st century composers, the Borromeo String Quartet has been hailed for “edge-of-the-seat performances,” by the Boston Globe, which called it “simply the best.” Inspiring audiences for more than 25 years, the Borromeo continues to be a pioneer in its use of technology and has the distinction of being the first string quartet to utilize laptop computers on the concert stage. Reading music this way helps push artistic boundaries, allowing players to perform solely from 4-part scores and composers’ manuscripts, a revealing and metamorphic experience which Borromeo members now teach to students around the world. As the New York Times noted, “The digital tide washing over society is lapping at the shores of classical music. The Borromeo players have embraced it in their daily musical lives like no other major chamber music group.” Moreover, the Quartet often leads discussions enhanced by projections of handwritten manuscripts, investigating with the audience the creative process of the composer. Passionate educators, The BSQ has been ensemble-in-residence at the New England Conservatory and Taos School of Music and enjoyed a relationship with the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum for over two decades. It is quartet-in-residence at the Heifetz International Music Institute, where first violinist Nicholas Kitchen is Artistic Director. The quartet has worked extensively with the Library of Congress (highlighting both its manuscripts and instrument collections) and has been in residence at the Peabody Institute in Baltimore, Kansas University, the San Francisco Conservatory, and Colorado State University. Their presentation of the cycle of Bartók String Quartets as well as the lecture “Bartok, Paths Not Taken,” give audiences a once-in-a-lifetime chance to hear a set of rediscovered alternate movements Béla Bartók drafted for his six Quartets. The Borromeo’s expansive repertoire includes the Shostakovich Cycle and those of Mendelssohn, Dvořák, Brahms, Schumann, Schoenberg, Janáček, Lera Auerbach, Tchaikovsky, and Gunther Schuller. Recent premieres are works written for them by Sebastian Currier and Aaron Jay Kernis, presented in recitals at Carnegie Hall and Shriver Concerts. The Borromeo has received numerous awards throughout its illustrious career, including Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Career Grant, Chamber Music America’s Cleveland Quartet Award and the Young Concert Artists career award.

In addition to her role as visiting director of choral studies at Mount Holyoke College, conductor and mezzo-soprano Rachel Feldman also directs the choral ensembles at Connecticut College. Recent engagements include conducting Mount Holyoke choirs at Vespers, preparing William Walton’s “Belshazzar’s Feast,” and serving as the clinician for the Quinebaug Valley Middle School Music Festival. For two summers she has taught at Westminster Choir College’s High School Summer Vocal Institute, where she conducted the treble choir and taught music theory and history. Ms. Feldman recently earned her master’s degree in choral conducting from Westminster Choir College under the tutelage of Dr. Joe Miller, Dr. Amanda Quist, and Margaret Cusack. During the 2018-2019 season, she acted as graduate assistant conductor for the world-renowned Westminster Choir, assisting in the preparation of the choir’s performances and tours throughout China and Texas, ACDA’s national conference and Spoleto Festival USA. A Connecticut native, she began her musical training with the Elm City Girls’ Choir in New Haven and has since returned to the organization to conduct on tours to Canada and China. She received her bachelor’s at the University of Connecticut, studying conducting and, while there, assisted in conducting the Festival Chorus and the choir at Storrs Congregational Church. In addition to conducting, she remains active as a singer. She was a featured member of Westminster Choir, Westminster Symphonic Choir and Westminster Kantorei and currently performs with the Philadelphia Symphonic Choir, the professional choir for the Philadelphia Orchestra. Recent solo work includes Joby Talbot’s “Path of Miracles,” J.S. Bach Cantata 45, Pergolesi’s “Stabat Mater,” Vivaldi’s “Gloria,” Haydn’s “Lord Nelson Mass,” and Bernstein’s “Chichester Psalms.”

Cellist Yehuda Hanani is founder and artistic director of Close Encounters With Music. His engaging chamber music with commentary has captivated audiences from Miami to Kansas City, Omaha, Calgary, Scottsdale, the Berkshires, and at the Frick Collection in New York City. A three-time recipient of the Martha Baird Rockefeller grant and a nominee for Grand Prix du Disque for his pioneering recording of Alkan, he appears with orchestras and on the recital stage on five continents. Mr. Hanani is one of the illustrious cellists of today, has appeared with musical luminaries—Aaron Copland, Andre Kostelanetz, Dawn Upshaw, David Robertson, Itzhak Perlman, Leon Fleisher—since his career was launched; and is a prolific recording artist and an innovator in reshaping concert programs to include original, illuminating commentary. He has been the subject of hundreds of articles and interviews in the media, and his weekly program on NPR affiliate station WAMC Northeast Radio, “Classical Music According to Yehuda” attracted thousands of fans. Professor of Cello at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music for three decades, he is on the faculty of Mannes College in New York City and directs the Berkshire High Peaks Festival each summer.

Undaunted by new forms or new frontiers,Tamar Muskal has written everything from pop songs to symphonies to a score for the historic silent film “La Venganza de Pancho Villa” (for string quartet and a Mexican band—a collaboration with the Library of Congress, about the Mexican revolution), a song cycle commissioned by ASCAP and music for a documentary film about finding a cure for blindness (narrated by Robert Redford), exemplifying the diverse material and platforms she uses. Her work “The Yellow Wind,” based on the novel by Israeli author David Grossman, was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. Ms. Muskal has been the recipient of many other awards from institutions such as ASCAP, Meet-the-Composer, the Academy of Arts and Letters, the Jerome Foundation, American Music Center, the Fromm Music Foundation at Harvard University and a Guggenheim Foundation fellowship. Educated both in Israel and the United States, Ms. Muskal’s music harmonizes the unique cultural aspects of both places. Her music follows a counterpoint style, carefully structured, and with great attention for details. She earned her degrees in composition from the Jerusalem Academy for Music and Dance and Yale University. Her composition teachers included Mark Kopytman, Jacob Druckman, Martin Bresnick, Tania Leon and David Del Tredici. Recent and future commissions include a double concerto for saxophone and viola for the Williamsport Symphony, an orchestral piece for the Idyllwild Arts Academy, a song cycle for Jo Lawry, Sting’s backup singer commissioned by ASCAP for a string quartet, a piece for Lucy Shelton and the Colorado String Quartet on text by Hanoch Levin and a piece for bassoon and string quartet for Uzi Shalev of the Israeli Philharmonic for the International Double Reed Convention in New York. Ms. Muskal also focuses on music for theater. Recent works include “Angels in America” performed in Cincinnati, “The Labor of Life” and “The Seven Beggars” performed at La Mama Theater in New York, and “Cristabel” and “Trojan Women” performed in New Haven. Of her work “Mirrors,” John Von Rhein of the Chicago Tribune wrote: “The ripples and shimmers that filled Muskal’s post-minimalist score were as evanescent as swirling, digitized visuals – dissolving into one another with kaleidoscopic beauty. Mirrors is high-tech music theater at its most inventive and fascinating.” Tamar Muskal has written two works as part of the Close Encounters With Music Commissioning Program, one marking the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage, and the second, “One Earth,” receiving its world premiere this season.

Tianhui Ng is Music Director of the Pioneer Valley Symphony, Boston Opera Collaborative and the Victory Players and White Snake Projects. In addition, he is Director of Orchestral Studies at Mount Holyoke College. He has conducted orchestras around the world including the Savaria Symphony Orchestra (Hungary), Moravian Philharmonic Orchestra (Czech Republic), Dartington Festival Orchestra (UK), Orchestra of the Royal Opera of Wallonie (Belgium), and the Oregon Bach Festival Orchestra (USA). Equally at home in the realm of choral music, he has conducted the Stuttgart Chamber Choir (Germany), Carnegie Hall Festival Chorus (USA), Oregon Bach Festival Chorus (USA), Yale Schola Cantorum (USA), and the Young Person’s Chorus of New York (USA). He has collaborated with internationally renowned artists such as Dashon Burton, Tyler Duncan, Marcus Eiche, Jamie-Rose Guarrine, Ayano Kataoka, Ilya Polataev, Astrid Schween, Sara Davis Buechner, Nicholas Phan, and James Taylor. Bringing new music to fresh audiences, he has premiered works by Pulitzer and Rome Prize winners Jay Kernis, Robert Kyr, David Sanford, and Joan Tower. Tian Ng’s irrepressible musical spirit first expressed itself when he conducted a choir of kindergarten children in his native Singapore at the age of five. A pianist, singer and trombonist, he studied composition and Early Music at the University of Birmingham (UK) where he discovered his love for Stravinsky and contemporary music. Returning home, he helped found one of the first contemporary music ensembles in the country, and was soon composing for animation, dance, film, chorus, and orchestra; and following his affinity for inter-disciplinary work, created the groundbreaking site-specific community-based arts festival, NOMAD, with which he has won awards from the Singapore National Arts Council. Ng Tian Hui continued his education at the Yale School of Music where he fed his passion for the masterworks of the choral orchestral repertoire, assisting such renowned interpreters as Nicholas McGegan, Masaaki Suzuki, Dale Warland, Simon Carrington, Marguerite Brooks and Jeffrey Douma. His works have been heard in diverse settings such as the Hong Kong Film Festival, Animation World Magazine (USA), and Apsara Asia Dance (Singapore).

Avirodh Sharma is considered one of today’s leading exponents of the tabla, carrying on the tradition of percussion rhythm that originated on the Indian Subcontinent. Trinidadian born, Mr. Sharma was trained by his father, Dr. Ravideen Ramsamooj, managing director of the East Indian Music Academy who, together with his mother, Bharati Ramsamooj, have produced over 20,000 students in New York City. As a resident teacher at the Academy for over 24 years, Sharma has trained tabla players nationwide. A multifaceted artist, he is also a composer and producer, with work featured in films, documentaries, fashion shows, on radio and in television commercials. He has been featured in The New York Times, NY Daily News, TV Asia, STARZ NETWORK, Zee TV and NPR Radio. Sharma has worked with Grammy-winning artists including Shakti and Masters of Percussion, Vikku Vinayakram, Dhrubesh Regmi and Sukarma, Suresh Wadhkar, and many more. He has also collaborated with Asian Underground musician Karsh Kale, fiddler Patrick Mangan, and David Bowie drummer Sterling Campbell. In 2015, his debut recording as a tabla soloist was nominated for the 14th Independent Music Awards “Best World Beat Album.” He was recently commissioned by Parsons Dance Company to compose and perform Microburst in NYC’s Joyce Theatre, receiving critical acclaim. In the realm of theater, he composed and performed for Dishwasher Dreams which was developed at the Joseph Papp Public Theater. His performances have captivated audiences in Italy, Switzerland, Nepal, India, Dominican Republic, Bahamas, Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana and the U. S. This past January, he performed at Kumbh Mela, in India, the largest religious festival in the world with millions in attendance. He has appeared recently at the international festivals Artisti in Piazza (Italy), and Taj Mahotsav (Taj Mahal, India).

ABOUT CLOSE ENCOUNTERS WITH MUSIC

Close Encounters With Music stands at the intersection of music, art and the vast richness of Western culture. Entertaining, erudite and lively commentary from founder and Artistic Director Yehuda Hanani puts the composers and their times in perspective to enrich the concert experience. Since the inception of its Commissioning Project in 2001, CEWM has worked with the most distinguished composers of our time—Paul Schoenfield, Osvaldo Golijov, Thea Musgrave, Lera Auerbach, Jorge Martin, John Musto, among others—to create over 20 important new works that have already taken their place in the chamber music canon and on CD. A core of brilliant performers includes pianists Max Levinson, Roman Rabinovich, and William Wolfram; violinists Shmuel Ashkenasi, Cho-Liang Lin, Vadim Gluzman and clarinetists Alexander Fiterstein, Charles Neidich; vocalists Dawn Upshaw, Emily Marvosh and William Sharp; the Escher, Amernet, Muir, Manhattan, Dover, Avalon quartets, and Cuarteto Latinoamericano; and guitarist Eliot Fisk. Choreographer David Parsons and actors Richard Chamberlain, Jane Alexander and Sigourney Weaver have also appeared as guests, weaving narration and dance into the fabric of the programs.

HOW TO REACH US

Close Encounters With Music

Post Office Box 34

Great Barrington, MA 01230

Web: cewm.org

e-mail: [email protected]  

If you don’t already, please follow us on social media! We work to keep our posts informative and inspiring. 

Facebook: @closeencounterswithmusic

Instagram:@closeencounterswithmusic

Twitter:@CEWMusic

 

Season Opens on November 6 With The Long-Awaited World Premiere of One Earth, Continues With A Gallery Of Image-Conjuring Works in Pictures At An Exhibition, Copland’s Appalachian Spring, The Return Of Van Cliburn Gold Medalist Yekwon Sunwoo, And Much More

(Great Barrington, MA…) Embarking on its 31st year of presenting outstanding chamber music with lively commentary, Close Encounters With Music presents a season that sizzles and sparkles with the widest swath of genres, styles, composers and instruments—and of course, the great performers who share their brilliant artistry, including beatbox artist Christylez Bacon and tabla performer Avirodh Sharma; pianists Ieva Jokubaviciute, Max Levinson, Renana Gutman and Yekwon Sunwoo; violinists Giora Schmidt, Xiao-Dong Wang, Hye-Jin Kim and Helena Baillie; Metropolitan Opera soprano Danielle Talamantes, the Escher and Borromeo string quartets, the Manhattan Chamber Players, Mount Holyoke College Chamber Singers and more. 

Israeli-American composer Tamar Muskal’s “One Earth,” a new a work for string quintet, women’s chorus, rapper and Indian tabla player, receives its world premiere on Sunday, November 6, 4 PM at the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center after two years of Covid delays.  In the words of the composer, it “calls all people to positive action, to love, to beauty, and anything that protects the planet and humanity.” Muskal’s works are inherently theatrical, and she has been nominated for a Pulitzer Prize.  The opening concert also features Schubert’s transcendent String Quintet, one of the most beloved pieces in the chamber music repertoire.  Performers are the Borromeo String Quartet, hailed for its “edge of the seat performances” by the Boston Globe, which called it “simply the best.”  They are joined by internationally renowned cellist Yehuda Hanani.

Artistic director Yehuda Hanani is welcoming audience members new to the Berkshires as well as long-time residents to join for intimate programs with outsize talent, in the beautiful landmark Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center “to regain a sense of Community through the inspiring and healing effects of the best music ever penned. The great melodists Dvorak, Mendelssohn and Tchaikovsky touch us in the deepest recesses of our souls.  Copland helps restore our confidence in the success of the American experiment; Schubert opens the gates of Heaven; Beethoven reminds us what it is to be human; and our adorable rapper, Christylez Bacon, puts us in touch with the joyful, the playful and the light.”

In addition to offering live in-person concerts, curated online performances will be available to accommodate geographically remote listeners and newly expanded virtual followers. 

Ticket Information

Tickets, $52 (Orchestra and Mezzanine), $28 (Balcony) and $15 for students, are available through the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center or by calling 413-528-0100. Subscriptions are $250 ($225 for seniors) for the series of 7 concerts (a 35% savings!). Season subscriptions are available at [email protected] starting September 8.

“CEWM patrons have learned that sooner or later they’ll be blindsided by a performance so sublime it will defy explanation.”

—  The Berkshire Edge

Full Calendar Listings Here

CLOSE ENCOUNTERS WITH MUSIC stands at the intersection of music, art, and the vast richness of Western culture. Entertaining, erudite, lively commentary puts the composers and their times in perspective to enrich and enlighten your concert experience.  

Join our community of friends and patrons as we continue our tradition of bringing together sublime chamber music, distinguished performers and musical commentary, all in convivial settings. Share the excitement of world premiere performances and meet some of the most original and influential figures in contemporary classical music, as well as up-and coming stars of tomorrow.

And to accommodate our newly expanded virtual followers, we are also offering a virtual pass to a curated online selection of performances.

CLOSE ENCOUNTERS WITH MUSIC supports the renaissance of the Southern Berkshires by presenting six concerts this season at the landmark Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center. Situated in the heart of Great Barrington’s historic district, the Mahaiwe offers modern comfort in the nostalgic atmosphere of a 100-year-old theater. A seventh performance is held at the acoustically superb Saint James Place. Join the growing number of culture enthusiasts who converge from the Berkshires, Hudson Valley, Northwest Connecticut, New York City and Boston for each Close Encounters event! Contributing Patrons at all levels are invited to a special gala reception following the June concert (see Ticket Order form).

Close Encounters on the Radio/Podcast

Close Encounters With Music concerts are broadcast on WMHT-FM, and audiences are encouraged to tune in to the new weekly broadcasts of “Classical Music According to Yehuda” on WAMC Northeast Radio or visit www.wamc.org for over 250 podcasts. 

2022-2023 CALENDAR

Sunday, November 6, 2022 4 PM, The Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center

GRAND OPENING: OTHERWORDLY SCHUBERT AND “ONE EARTH”


Sunday, December 11, 4 PM, The Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center

GRAND PIANO TRIOS


Saturday, February 18, 6 PM, Saint James Place
TOWN & COUNTRY
 
Sunday, March 26, 4 PM, Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center
“PICTURES AT AN EXPOSITION”
 
Sunday, April 23, 4 PM, Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center

FROM BACH BRANDENBURG TO APPALACHIAN SPRING
 
Sunday, May 21, 4 PM, Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center
THE ESCHER STRING QUARTET
 
Sunday, June 11, 4 PM, Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center
SCHUBERT “TROUT” AND SCHUMANN PIANO QUINTET

The Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center is at 14 Castle Street, Great Barrington, MA.

Saint James Place is at 352 Main Street, Great Barrington, MA.

PRESS QUOTES

“Great music played with great heart… There’s a palpable mystique about Close Encounters concerts. The evening never failed to fascinate!…”  –The Berkshire Eagle

“The Berkshires are home to distinguished cultural events, but none so brilliant, perhaps, as the chamber music series Close Encounters With Music.” —Berkshire Record 

“…A stunning, majestic resolution, a brilliant ending to an unforgettable encounter with music.  Bravi!” —The Berkshire Edge 

“RESCUING NEGLECTED COMPOSERS: Mr. Hanani’s rich tone and thoughtful phrasing made a powerful case for it [Eduard Franck Sonata for Cello and Piano] in a performance that had a convincing subtext: The 19th-century cello repertoire is not so vast that cellists (or their admirers) should neglect works this opulently lyrical….Soulful, fiery performance of Mendelssohn Piano Trio No. 2.”—New York Times

“STUNNER CLOSES SEASON! Though Hanani, Stephen Prutsman and Dawn Upshaw all performed with that rare combination of mutual understanding and technical finesse which makes for the most satisfying chamber music, Hanani deserves special recognition for his astute program choices.”—Albany Times Union

“The program provided stellar performances…played with passion and pathos…”—Arizona Republic

“…To experience the finest music ever written, presented by leading musicians of the day, in the inviting atmosphere of the Berkshires, is the best of all possible worlds. . . The quality of Lincoln Center with an intimacy that exceeds it….” —Yehuda Hanani, ARTISTIC DIRECTOR

HOW TO REACH US

Close Encounters With Music

Post Office Box 34

Great Barrington, MA 01230

Web: cewm.org

e-mail: [email protected]  

If you don’t already, please follow us on social media! We work to keep our posts informative and inspiring. 

Facebook: @closeencounterswithmusic
Instagram:@closeencounterswithmusic
Twitter:@CEWMusic
Irene Rodriguez

Sizzling Performances Live at the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center in Great Barrington, MA, Sunday, June 12, 2022 at 4 PM

With stops in Buenos Aires’s tango ballrooms, Havana dance clubs, the court of Queen Isabella of Spain, salons of Barcelona, and theaters of Mexico City, Close Encounters With Music’s “Musica Latina” program bounces across the Atlantic from Spain to the Americas, uniting continents in one cultural ecumene. Born in Andalucia, Spain, Manuel de Falla spent his final years in Cordoba, Argentina—although the Franco government decided to bring his remains back to his birthplace of Cadiz. His biography exemplifies the path of the music and lives of many of the composers scheduled for this performance and the close connections of aesthetics, idiom and musical language among all.

“It’s a kaleidoscope of sizzling Latin American and Spanish folklore and rhythm – with original choreography by the magnificent Cuban dancer Irene Rodriguez punctuating and adorning some of the music” says CEWM artistic director Yehuda Hanani. Works performed include Manuel de Falla’s Fire Dance and Suite Populaire Espagnole, Ernesto Lecuona’s (he was the Gershwin of the Latin American world) Andalucia and Malaguena, Pablo de Sarasate’s Zapateado and Carmen Fantasie, Granados’ Los Requeibros from Goyescas, and Astor Piazzolla’s Oblivion piano trio. Cuban composer Jorge Martin’s Recuerda, a soulful and gripping work, will receive its first Berkshire performance. There will also be an authentic flamenco dance and guitar interlude.

The stellar guest artists joining cellist Yehuda Hanani, in addition to Irene Rodriguez are: pianist Max Levinson, violinist Giora Schmidt, and flamenco guitarist Cristian Puig.

A limited number of Patron Package tickets are available for seats at the Mahaiwe concert and a festive dinner afterward. The cost is $175.

Liang Wang

Performed Live at the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center in Great Barrington, MA, Sunday, May 29, 2022 at 4 PM

The organic voice of the oboe, a member of the woodwind family, meets kindred wood string instruments at the May 29 Close Encounters With Music performance. First oboist of the New York Philharmonic leads the way from Mozart’s Oboe Quartet to Cimarosa’s Oboe Concerto and Benjamin Britten’s Six Metamorphoses after Ovid, a musical masterpiece that will be accompanied by images of historic paintings of the mythological tales.   

The Metamorphoses is Ovid’s longest extant work, a continuous epic poem in fifteen books. Based on the poetry of Hesiod and Callimachus, it features a collection of separate stories linked by the common theme of transformation. A tour de force for oboe players, the programmatic work is a refresher course in Roman mythology and a rare experience for listeners to enjoy the full range of the oboe—from seductive to weeping to simulating flying chariots and thunderbolts, fountains and drunken feasts. 

Oboist Liang Wang is joined by violinists Itamar Zorman and Susan Heerema, violist Michael Strauss, and Close Encounters With Music artistic director and cellist Yehuda Hanani. Zorman, Strauss and Hanani also perform the Beethoven String Trio in C minor, written in his dramatic, misterioso key, with constant dialogue between minor and major, darkness and light. 

Click to purchase tickets to “Reeds and Strings” (IN PERSON OR VIRTUAL)

HOW TO REACH US

Close Encounters With Music
Post Office Box 34
Great Barrington, MA 01230

CEWM: 800.843.0778
Web: cewm.org
Email: [email protected]

SKYLARK A Cappella Group Photo

What might happen if Robert Langdon, acclaimed professor of Symbology at Harvard University (and fictional hero of Dan Brown’s best-selling novels, including The Da Vinci Code), were enlisted to explore hidden symbols, secret codes, and long-forgotten historical connections buried in manuscripts of choral music over the centuries? Join GRAMMY-nominated Skylark to find out. The Close Encounters With Music season continues with more surprises: Video introductions by author Dan Brown, musical selections drawn from the ancient to the modern, including works by Giuseppe Jannacconi (who wrote in the style of Palestrina), Franco-Flemish Renaissance composer Guillaume du Fay, Hildegard von Blingen, and Benjamin Britten hold the audience riveted as the mysteries are unpacked.

Boston-based Skylark is one of the leading vocal ensembles in the U.S., praised for their “gripping” performances (Times of London) and “original, imaginative, and engrossing” programming.  Gramophone has called them passionate…radiant…exquisite…ethereal…thrilling…stunning.” The intriguing mix they bring includes contemporary composers Sarah Rimkus, Fahad Siadat, Per Nørgård, and Gregory W. Brown, brother of Dan Brown, who will also be present with narration during the program.

Since its founding in 2011 in Atlanta and Boston, Skylark has branched out to perform its dynamic programs in museums, concert halls, and churches across the United States. Skylark made its international debut in March 2018 at St. John’s Smith Square, London, as part of the UK choir Tenebrae’s Holy Week Festival. The Times of London declared that Skylark was “the highlight” of a festival that included some of the UK’s leading choirs, including The Tallis Scholars, Polyphony, Tenebrae, and the Gabrieli Consort. 

In 2017, Skylark embarked on a historic tour with Clear Voices in the Dark, a compelling program featuring Francis Poulenc’s notoriously difficult Figure Humaine paired with songs of the American Civil War. Skylark’s performance at the French Institute Alliance-Française in New York was described as “fascinating…. impeccable diction and a seamlessly blended sound… Singing in a shimmering pianissimo that rises to a triumphant crescendo, the Skylark ensemble practically opens the heavens with the beauty of their sound…” (Stage Buddy NYC). The previous year, Skylark made its debut at Atlanta’s celebrated Spivey Hall with a chamber performance of Rachmaninov’s All-Night Vigil.

Skylark has conducted residencies at premier colleges and elite secondary schools including Harvard, MIT, Wellesley College, Endicott College, Milton Academy, Woodward Academy, and Philips Exeter Academy. Mathew Guard directs the chorus.

TICKETS Live at Mahaiwe $28/$52/ Virtual $28

Click to purchase tickets to “Skylark”

ABOUT CLOSE ENCOUNTERS WITH MUSIC

Close Encounters With Music stands at the intersection of music, art and the vast richness of Western culture. Entertaining, erudite and lively commentary from founder and Artistic Director Yehuda Hanani puts the composers and their times in perspective to enrich the concert experience. Since the inception of its Commissioning Project in 2001, CEWM has worked with the most distinguished composers of our time—Paul Schoenfield, Osvaldo Golijov, Thea Musgrave, Lera Auerbach, Jorge Martin, John Musto, Robert Beaser, among others—to create over 20 important new works that have already taken their place in the chamber music canon and on CD. A core of brilliant performers includes pianists Max Levinson, Roman Rabinovich, and William Wolfram; violinists Shmuel Ashkenasi, Cho-Liang Lin, Vadim Gluzman and clarinetists Alexander Fiterstein, Charles Neidich; vocalists Dawn Upshaw, Emily Marvosh and William Sharp; the Escher, Amernet, Muir, Manhattan, Dover, Avalon quartets, and Cuarteto Latinoamericano; and guitarist Eliot Fisk. Choreographer David Parsons and actors Sam Waterston, Sigourney Weaver, Jane Alexander and Richard Chamberlain Weaver have also appeared as guests, weaving narration and dance into the fabric of the programs.

HOW TO REACH US

Close Encounters With Music
Post Office Box 34
Great Barrington, MA 01230

CEWM: 800.843.0778
Web: cewm.org
Email: [email protected]

Pianist Yekwon Sunwoo

Presenting Van Cliburn Gold Medalist Pianist Yekwon Sunwoo in His Berkshire Debut: “A Night of Chopin and Brahms”

Four Scherzi and the Piano Quartet in G minor – Music of Demonic Power and Energy, Performed Live at the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center in Great Barrington, MA, March 20, 2022 at 4 PM

Gold medalist of the 15th Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, Yekwon Sunwoo has been hailed for his “unfailingly consistent excellence” (International Piano) and celebrated as “a pianist who commands a comprehensive technical arsenal that allows him to thunder without breaking a sweat” (Chicago Tribune).  He will be making his area debut on March 20 on stage with acclaimed violinist Daniel Phillips, violist Daniel Panner, and cellist and artistic director Yehuda Hanani.  The program showcases Sunwoo’s remarkable piano prowess both as a soloist as well as a chamber musician and partner.

Following in the footsteps of former illustrious Van Cliburn winners such as Radu Lupu, Olga Kern, Alexander Korbin and Vladimir Viardo, the prize has catapulted Yekwon Sunwoo to international attention.  Chopin’s Scherzi, from the word for “joke” (scherzo), are anything but light, humorous and fluffy, and though much recorded, are best performed live by only the most outstanding and secure piano talents.  Considered among Chopin’s masterpieces, this large-scale work, dramatic and romantic, features startling effects, mesmerizing and spiritual passages and unbridled power and exuberant energy. 

Yekwon Sunwoo is joined for the Brahms Opus 25 Piano Quartet by veteran chamber musicians – members of the Orion String Quartet, Mendelssohn String Quartet, contemporary ensemble Sequitur, and frequent collaborators with other top ensembles.  One of Brahms’s most viscerally seductive works, the Quartet in G minor it is much beloved for its famous rousing finale, the Rondo alla Zingarese (Gypsy Rondo), reflecting Brahms’s lifelong fascination with Hungarian folk music. 

Two master tunesmiths and four superb performers unite for an unforgettable performance and introduction to a new star in the musical firmament!

Click to purchase tickets to “Chopin and Brahms”

ABOUT THE ARTISTS

A powerful and virtuosic performer, he also, in his own words, “strives to reach for the truth and pure beauty in music.” The first Korean to win Cliburn Gold, Yekwon Sunwoo’s 19/20 season included appearances with Fort Worth and Tucson Symphonies and debuts with Washington Chamber Orchestra, Royal Danish Orchestra and Danish Radio Orchestra as well as at the Vail Festival with the Dallas Symphony. 2021 saw Mr. Sunwoo make his debut with Orchestra Chambre de Paris and return to KBS Symphony with Jaap Van Zweden. In previous seasons, he performed as soloist with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra under Marin Alsop, Houston Symphony, National Orchestra of Belgium, Sendai Philharmonic and Royal Scottish National Orchestra. Recital appearances include Carnegie Hall, Wigmore Hall and Salle Cortot. An avid chamber musician, he has performed at Chamber Music of Lincoln Center’s Inside Chamber Music Lectures, at Summit Music, Bowdoin International and Toronto Music Festivals. In addition to the Cliburn Gold Medal, Yekwon won first prizes at the 2015 International German Piano Award, the 2014 Vendome Prize held at the Verbier Festival, and the 2012 William Kapell International Piano Competition. Born in Anyang, South Korea, he began studying piano at the age of 8 and made his recital and orchestral debuts in Seoul at 15. His teachers include Seymour Lipkin, Robert McDonald and Richard Goode.  A self-proclaimed foodie, Yekwon enjoys finding Pho in each city he visits and takes pride in his own homemade Korean soups.

Violist Daniel Panner is Principal violist of New York City Opera, a member of the Mendelssohn String Quartet, and the contemporary ensemble Sequitur. He has performed at festivals including Marlboro, Tanglewood, and Aspen and collaborated with the Cleveland, Emerson, Guarneri, and Juilliard String Quartets as well as with artists such as Isidore Cohen, Felix Galimir, and Mitsuko Uchida. Winner of 1998 Walter W. Naumburg Chamber Music Award as a member of Whitman String Quartet, he has appeared with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center; toured with Musicians from Marlboro and Orpheus Chamber Orchestra and has been guest artist with Bargemusic, Carnegie Chamber Players, and Da Capo Chamber Players. His recordings include Thea Musgrave’s Lamenting With Ariadne for viola and chamber orchestra for Albany records and he has been featured on NPR’s Performance Today. He has served on the faculties of the Juilliard School and Queens College Conservatory of Music and is co-chair of the String Department at Mannes College of Music, the New School in New York City.

Violinist Daniel Phillips enjoys a versatile career as a chamber musician, solo artist, and teacher. A graduate of Juilliard, he is a founding member of the Orion String Quartet, which performs regularly at the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. Since winning the 1976 Young Concert Artists Competition, he has performed as a soloist with many orchestras, including the Pittsburgh, Boston, Houston, Phoenix, and San Antonio symphonies. He appears regularly at the Spoleto USA Festival, Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, Chamber Music Northwest, Chesapeake Music Festival, and Music from Angel Fire; has participated in the International Musicians Seminar in Cornwall, England since its inception; and recently returned to the Marlboro Music Festival. He has served on the faculty of the Heifetz Institute and the St. Lawrence String Quartet Seminar at Stanford. He was a member of the renowned Bach Aria Group and has toured and recorded in a string quartet for Sony with Gidon Kremer, Kim Kashkashian, and Yo-Yo Ma. A judge in the 2018 Seoul International Violin Competition and the 2019 Fischoff Chamber Music Competition, he is a professor at the Aaron Copland School of Music at Queens College and on the faculties of the Mannes College of Music, Bard College Conservatory, and The Juilliard School.

Cellist Yehuda Hanani is founder and artistic director of Close Encounters With Music. His engaging chamber music with commentary has captivated audiences from Miami to Kansas City, Omaha, Calgary, Scottsdale, the Berkshires, and at the Frick Collection in New York City. A three-time recipient of the Martha Baird Rockefeller grant and a nominee for Grand Prix du Disque for his pioneering recording of Alkan, he appears with orchestras, including the Chicago Symphony, Philadelphia Orchestra, Baltimore Symphony, Israel Philharmonic, Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, and on the recital stage on five continents. Mr. Hanani is one of the illustrious cellists of today, has appeared with musical luminaries—Aaron Copland, Andre Kostelanetz, Dawn Upshaw, David Robertson, Itzhak Perlman, Leon Fleisher—since his career was launched; and is a prolific recording artist and an innovator in reshaping concert programs to include original, illuminating commentary. Festival appearances and residencies have included Aspen, Bowdoin, Marlboro, Round Top, Great Lakes, Casals Festival Prades, Australia Chamber Music, Finland Festival, Israel Festival, and numerous others. He has been the subject of hundreds of articles and interviews in the media, and his weekly program on NPR affiliate station WAMC Northeast Radio, “Classical Music According to Yehuda” attracted thousands of fans. Professor of Cello at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music for three decades, he is on the faculty of Mannes College in New York City and directs the Berkshire High Peaks Festival each summer.

ABOUT CLOSE ENCOUNTERS WITH MUSIC

Close Encounters With Music stands at the intersection of music, art and the vast richness of Western culture. Entertaining, erudite and lively commentary from founder and Artistic Director Yehuda Hanani puts the composers and their times in perspective to enrich the concert experience. Since the inception of its Commissioning Project in 2001, CEWM has worked with the most distinguished composers of our time—Paul Schoenfield, Osvaldo Golijov, Thea Musgrave, Lera Auerbach, Jorge Martin, John Musto, among others—to create over 20 important new works that have already taken their place in the chamber music canon and on CD. A core of brilliant performers includes pianists Max Levinson,  Roman Rabinovich, and William Wolfram; violinists Shmuel Ashkenasi, Cho-Liang Lin, Vadim Gluzman and clarinetists Alexander Fiterstein, Charles Neidich; vocalists Dawn Upshaw, Emily Marvosh and William Sharp; the Escher, Amernet, Muir, Manhattan, Dover, Avalon quartets, and Cuarteto Latinoamericano; and guitarist Eliot Fisk. Choreographer David Parsons and actors Richard Chamberlain, Jane Alexander and Sigourney Weaver have also appeared as guests, weaving narration and dance into the fabric of the programs.

HOW TO REACH US

Close Encounters With Music
Post Office Box 34
Great Barrington, MA 01230

CEWM: 800.843.0778
Web: cewm.org
Email: [email protected]

Roaring Twenties Flyer

The Roaring Twenties—Berlin, Paris, New York from the stage of the historic Mahaiwe theater in downtown Great Barrington, MA
December 12, 2021 at 4 PM

The cabaret beckons at the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center Sunday, December 12 as Close Encounters With Music ushers in the holiday season in the Berkshires. In a performance that evokes the twenties of the last century—a time exemplified by Art Deco, Prohibition, the loosening of social restraints, Jazz, the Charleston and flappers—“Roaring Twenties” offers a panorama of composers and styles that defined and shaped the era: Gershwin, Kurt Weill, Alexander Zemlinsky, Hanns Eisler, Cole Porter, Poulenc, Schoenberg, and Erwin Schulhoff provide a bi-continental glimpse into a decade that still looms colorful, mythical and seductive in cultural history.

Soon to be banned in the thirties by the Third Reich, their brilliant, razor-sharp, wicked and enduring songs (“Bilbao”; “Speak Low”; “Makin’ Whoopee”; “Supply and Demand”; “’S Wonderful”) are part of the program featuring Entartete (degenerate, or Jewish, and then by definition undesirable) music, composers whose careers and lives were interrupted and irrevocably altered by the rise of Hitler. Under the new laws, the jazz and cabaret that had been embraced just a few years earlier were now viewed as decadent and posing a threat to European higher culture. The social, artistic, and cultural dynamism of this period ended abruptly with the stock market crash of 1929 and onset of the Great Depression and National Socialism but not before an eruption of creative frenzy in theater, film, art and music almost unparalleled in cultural history.

Wandering into the charged European pre-WWII landscape was also American composer Samuel Barber, whose works were inspired by his sojourn in Paris, as were those of Gershwin. The sonata for piano and cello is a sea of tranquility and emblematic of an isolationist America in an otherwise tempestuous political landscape. Hanns Eisler’s music got him twice ejected—initially from Germany for its subversiveness, and then from the US, for its political intent. Erwin Schulhoff, a European apostle of the new Jazz, died in a concentration camp. His Jazz Etudes for Piano, with movements titled Charleston, Blues, Chanson, Tango, and Toccata Sur le Shimmy “Kitten on the Keys” convey how fervently he internalized the edgy music of the day.

The program re-introduces an important but often neglected group of diverse composers whose works were suppressed during the Nazi era, along with those whose voices were silenced altogether, and places them and their works in context within 20th century music.

“The Roaring Twenties” performers are Heather Johnson, mezzo-soprano; Will Ferguson, tenor; Ieva Jokubaviciute, piano; and Yehuda Hanani, cello and artistic director. They bring to life the spirit of a music that was nearly destroyed. Hear the recovered voices, come to the cabaret!

Tickets, $52 (Orchestra and Mezzanine), $28 (Balcony) and $15 for students, are available through the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center box office, 413-528-0100 and mahaiwe.org. Subscriptions are $250 ($225 for seniors) for the series of 7 concerts (a 35% savings!). Season subscriptions are available through Close Encounters With Music – cewm.org.

THE ARTISTS

Lithuanian pianist Ieva Jokubaviciute’s powerfully and intricately crafted performances have earned her critical accolades throughout North America and Europe. She made her orchestral debuts with the Chicago Symphony and her piano trio—Trio Cavatina—won the 2009 Naumburg International Chamber Music Competition. Her recording of Czech composers “Returning Paths: Solo Piano Works by Janacek and Suk” was also released to critical acclaim. She has partnered with violinist Midori, with recitals in Canada, at the Cartagena International Music Festival in Colombia, Germany, Austria, Japan, Poland, Peru, Mexico, India, and Sri Lanka. Jokubaviciute’s latest piano solo recording “Northscapes,” works by Kaja Saariaho and Anna Thorvaldsdottir, is due to be released this year. Appearances at international festivals include Marlboro, Ravinia, Bard, Caramoor Prussia Cove in England, Schleswig-Holstein Festival in Germany, festivals in Finland, and Music in the Vineyards in the Napa Valley.

Mezzo-soprano Heather Johnson, hailed by Opera News as “a dramatic singer in the truest sense,” has received critical acclaim for her work both on the opera and concert stage. Recent engagements include Jan Arnold in Everest with Austin Opera, Despina in Cosi fan Tutte with Mill City Summer Opera, Dinah in Bernstein’s Trouble in Tahiti with Boston Lyric Opera, Laura in Luisa Miller at the Metropolitan Opera, and La Speranza in the U.S. stage premiere of Respighi’s realization of Monteverdi’s L’Orfeo with Chautauqua Opera. Also, the title role in Rossini’s Tancredi with Baltimore Concert Opera and Opera Southwest, Jo in Adamo’s Little Women with Madison Opera, Baba the Turk in The Rake’s Progress and the title role of Lizzie Borden both with Boston Lyric Opera. In 2012, Ms. Johnson made her house debut at the Metropolitan Opera as a Flower Maiden in Parsifal. She performed in the world premieres of The Long Walk by Jeremy Howard Beck with Opera Saratoga, Mark Adamo’s Becoming Santa Claus with The Dallas Opera, and Fierce Grace: Jeannette Rankin, a song cycle commissioned by OPERA America and performed at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C.

Acclaimed for his versatility in both opera and concert, William Ferguson made his debut with the Santa Fe Opera in 2006 as Caliban in the North American premiere of Thomas Adès’ The Tempest. He soon joined the roster of The Metropolitan Opera where he has performed Beppe in I Pagliacci as well as roles in Le Nozze di Figaro and The Magic Flute. He was also a regular artist at The New York City Opera. Additional credits include Wozzeck with Opera Festival of New Jersey, Così fan tutte at Aspen, Turandot with Opera Company of Philadelphia, Pirates of Penzance with Virginia Opera and Opera Omaha, the title role in Albert Herring at The Music Academy of the West, L’Heure Espagnole and Falstaff at the Tanglewood Music Center, and Peter Quint in The Turn of the Screw at Chautauqua. Mr. Ferguson has appeared with the American Symphony Orchestra, BBC Orchestra (London), Boston Symphony Orchestra, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra (England), Handel and Haydn Society, and the Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra, among others.

Cellist Yehuda Hanani is founder and artistic director of Close Encounters With Music. His engaging chamber music with commentary has captivated audiences from Miami to Kansas City, Omaha, Calgary, Scottsdale, the Berkshires, and at the Frick Collection in New York City. A three-time recipient of the Martha Baird Rockefeller grant and a nominee for Grand Prix du Disque for his pioneering recording of Alkan, he appears with orchestras and on the recital stage on five continents. Mr. Hanani is one of the illustrious cellists of today, has appeared with musical luminaries—Aaron Copland, Andre Kostelanetz, Dawn Upshaw, David Robertson, Itzhak Perlman, Leon Fleisher—since his career was launched; and is a prolific recording artist and an innovator in reshaping concert programs to include original, illuminating commentary. He has been the subject of hundreds of articles and interviews in the media, and his weekly program on NPR affiliate station WAMC Northeast Radio, “Classical Music According to Yehuda” attracted thousands of fans. Professor of Cello at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music for three decades, he is on the faculty of Mannes College in New York City and directs the Berkshire High Peaks Festival each summer.

“Life Is A Cabaret,” an essay in the season’s playbill by Richard Houdek, traces the movements, trends and personalities during the era variously known as the “Jazz Age” and the “Roaring Twenties.”

ABOUT CLOSE ENCOUNTERS WITH MUSIC

Close Encounters With Music stands at the intersection of music, art and the vast richness of Western culture. Entertaining, erudite and lively commentary from founder and Artistic Director Yehuda Hanani puts the composers and their times in perspective to enrich the concert experience. Since the inception of its Commissioning Project in 2001, CEWM has worked with the most distinguished composers of our time—Paul Schoenfield, Osvaldo Golijov, Thea Musgrave, Lera Auerbach, Jorge Martin, John Musto, among others—to create over 20 important new works that have already taken their place in the chamber music canon and on CD. A core of brilliant performers includes pianists Max Levinson, Roman Rabinovich, and William Wolfram; violinists Shmuel Ashkenasi, Cho-Liang Lin, Vadim Gluzman and clarinetists Alexander Fiterstein, Charles Neidich; vocalists Dawn Upshaw, Emily Marvosh and William Sharp; the Escher, Amernet, Muir, Manhattan, Dover, Avalon quartets, and Cuarteto Latinoamericano; and guitarist Eliot Fisk. Choreographer David Parsons and actors Richard Chamberlain, Jane Alexander and Sigourney Weaver have also appeared as guests, weaving narration and dance into the fabric of the programs.

HOW TO REACH US

Close Encounters With Music
Post Office Box 34
Great Barrington, MA 01230

CEWM: 800.843.0778
Web: www.cewm.org
Email: [email protected]