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]

The PRISM Quartet

Saturday, September 18, 2021, 5 PM

http://www.cewm.org/

Close Encounters With Music presents, in collaboration with TurnPark Art Space: The PRISM Quartet’s popular program, Hit Parade, features a cross-section of traditional and contemporary music. New works reflect the enormous range of cultural and aesthetic influences on today’s composers. Praised by The Philadelphia Inquirer for its ability to “move effortlessly between styles,” the program includes two stunningly beautiful sets of adaptations: Schumann Bouquet, selections from Robert Schumann’s Album for the Young, arranged for the PRISM Quartet by the Pulitzer Prize-winning composer William Bolcom; and selected movements from Italian composer Salvatore Sciarrino’s Pagine (Pages), a book of adaptations of works by J. S. Bach, Domenico Scarlatti, George Gershwin, Carlo Gesualdo da Venosa, and more.

Admission $25. Attendance is limited to 100. Reserve your spot  HERE.

ABOUT PRISM:

Intriguing programs of great beauty and breadth have distinguished the PRISM Quartet as one of America’s foremost chamber ensembles. “A bold ensemble that set the standard for contemporary-classical saxophone quartets” (The New York Times), PRISM has been presented by Carnegie Hall, the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, and throughout Latin America, China, and Russia under the auspices of USIA and USArtists International. PRISM has also appeared as soloists with the Detroit Symphony and Cleveland Orchestra, and conducted residencies at the nation’s leading conservatories, including the Curtis Institute and the Oberlin Conservatory. Two-time recipients of the Chamber Music America/ASCAP Award for Adventurous Programming, PRISM has commissioned nearly 300 works by eminent composers, including Pulitzer Prize-winners Julia Wolfe, William Bolcom, Jennifer Higdon, Zhou Long, and Bernard Rands; MacArthur “Genius” Award recipients Tyshawn Sorey, Bright Sheng, and Miguel Zenón. PRISM’s discography is extensive, with releases on Albany, BMOP/Sound, ECM, innova, Koch, Naxos, New Dynamic, New Focus, Orange Mountain Music, and its own label, XAS Records. The Fifth Century, PRISM’s ECM recording with The Crossing, was awarded a 2018 Grammy for Best Choral Performance.

PRISM musicians: Timothy McAllister, Taimur Sullivan, Matthew Levy, Zachary Shemon

Close Encounters With Music offered a series of virtual programs starting last July to keep the music going through out the pandemic. The decision was made to present the Berkshire High Peaks Festival virtually for the first time ever in Summer 2020, followed by an August live-streamed concert, “From Bach to Bachianas,” a guitar/cello recital featuring Eliot Fisk and Yehuda Hanani on stage in an empty Mahaiwe Theater. These and the October through April concerts that followed (“The French Connection,” A Night at the Opera,” Debussy and Brahms with the Escher Quartet, “Forever Bach – the Cello Suites,” Sebastians Baroque Ensemble) remain available for viewing on cewm.org, mahaiwe.org, and both organizations’ YouTube channels, and have collected thousands of views.

Two magical outdoor programs titled “Wine & Song,” took place on May 23 and June 13 at Edith Wharton’s The Mount in Lenox featuring vocalists Emily Marvosh, Sonja Tengblad, pianist Joseph Turbessi and the a cappella jazz ensemble West Side Five.

“The September 18 partnership with TurnPark Art Space is a wonderful transition from summer outdoors to indoor spaces this autumn. We are hopeful that we can begin a gradual return to concert presentation as we know it in on November 21—in person, and with a live audience at the Mahaiwe—with a rousing celebratory program postponed from June of 2020,” says artistic director Yehuda Hanani. “We look forward to welcoming everyone to scenic TurnPark, followed by our Great Reopening at the Mahaiwe!” 

ABOUT CLOSE ENCOUNTERS WITH MUSIC

Close Encounters With Music is in its 29th year of presenting music and other programming to audiences in the Berkshires and beyond. Entertaining, erudite and lively commentary from founder and artistic director Yehuda Hanani puts the composers and their times in perspective to enrich and enlighten the concert experience. Since the inception of its Commissioning Project in 2001, CEWM has worked with the most distinguished composers of our time — Joan Tower, Judith Zaimont, Lera Auerbach, Tamar Muskal, Thea Musgrave, Robert Beaser, Kenji Bunch, Osvaldo Golijov, John Musto, and Paul Schoenfield among others — to create important new works that have already taken their place in the chamber music canon and on CD. A core of brilliant performers who appear regularly with Close Encounters includes: pianists, Roman Rabinovich, Soyeon Kate Lee, Inna Faliks, Max Levinson and Michael Chertock; violinists, Shmuel Ashkenasi, Vadim Gluzman, Julian Rachlin, Peter Zazofsky, Itamar Zorman and Hagai Shaham; clarinetists Alexander Fiterstein and Charles Neidich; vocalists Dawn Upshaw, Jennifer Rivera, Danielle Talamantes and Kelley O’Connor; the Muir, Manhattan, Ariel, Vermeer, Escher, Avalon, Hugo Wolf, Dover string quartets; and the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet and guitarist Eliot Fisk. Choreographer David Parsons and actors Sam Waterston, Richard Chamberlain, Jane Alexander and Sigourney Weaver have also appeared as guests, weaving narration and dance into the fabric of the programs. Close Encounters With Music programs have been presented across the U.S. and Canada—Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Omaha, Cincinnati, Calgary, Detroit, at the Frick Collection and Merkin Hall in New York City, at The Clark in Williamstown, at Tanglewood and in Great Barrington, Mass., as well as the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts. Summer performances have taken place at the New York State Museum, Basilica Hudson, Orpheum Theatre in Tannersville, and in the orchard at Olana.  The Berkshire High Peaks Festival takes place each July at Berkshire School in Sheffield, Mass., as the educational initiative of Close Encounters With Music with fifty international students in residence for an immersive course of study and performance.

ABOUT TURNPARK ART SPACE

TurnPark Art Space combines a sculpture park, exhibition venues, and a stone amphitheater for outdoor performances. Conceived and founded by Igor Gomberg and Katya Brezgunova as an art space and a place for exploration for both children and adults, the park showcases contemporary architecture and sculpture at the foot of the Berkshire Mountains. Situated on 16-acres of a former quarry in the town of West Stockbridge, Massachusetts, TurnPark Art Space boasts a unique and diverse landscape. There are hills, meadows, a lake, and a 65-foot vertical drop offering breath-taking views of the surrounding landscape.

HOW TO REACH US

Close Encounters With Music

Post Office Box 34

Great Barrington, MA 01230

800.843.0778

Web: www.cewm.org

CEWM 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
End of Summer Celebration Flyer

Saturday, September 18, 2021, 12-4 PM

http://www.cewm.org/

Please join Close Encounters With Music for an End-of-Summer Celebration and Auction. You will enjoy beautiful vistas, a scrumptious lunch, an appearance by the PRISM quartet (saxophones). and an auction of exciting items to bid on, including:

– Dinner for two at Cafe Boulud at Blantyre

– A consultation with a master gardener to design, improve, and plan your garden

– Performance for you and your guests by the Berkshire Jazz Collective

– Works by painters, ceramists and photographers Paul Chaleff, Arthur Yanoff, Kenro and Yumiko Izu, Hans Heuberger, and more

–A “care package” from Jane Iredale Cosmetics

–Conversations with fascinating writers, thinkers, scientists, including Wall Street Journal columnist and author Lance Morrow and Nobel Prize winner Joachim Frank

The event is to support Close Encounters With Music’s programs in 2021-2022, a season that features the Gold Medalist of the recent Van Cliburn Competition; first oboist of the New York Philharmonic; Cuban dancer Irene Rodriguez in a  Spanish and Latin American evening; a rescheduled world premiere of a newly commissioned piece; “Roaring Twenties: Paris, Berlin, New York” with vocalists William Ferguson and Blythe Gaissert; the a cappella vocalists Skylark; guitarist Eliot Fisk in “Folk and Baroque” as well as many returning favorite performers and beloved chamber music works.  

PRISM Saxophones will perform in a tent.  Event address will be given upon purchase of tickets. Tickets are $80.00 and can be purchased HERE.

Intriguing programs of great beauty and breadth have distinguished the PRISM Quartet as one of America’s foremost chamber ensembles. “A bold ensemble that set the standard for contemporary-classical saxophone quartets” (The New York Times), PRISM has been presented by Carnegie Hall, the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, and throughout Latin America, China, and Russia under the auspices of USIA and USArtists International. PRISM has also appeared as soloists with the Detroit Symphony and Cleveland Orchestra, and conducted residencies at the nation’s leading conservatories, including the Curtis Institute and the Oberlin Conservatory. Two-time recipients of the Chamber Music America/ASCAP Award for Adventurous Programming, PRISM has commissioned nearly 300 works by eminent composers, including Pulitzer Prize-winners Julia Wolfe, William Bolcom, Jennifer Higdon, Zhou Long, and Bernard Rands; MacArthur “Genius” Award recipients Tyshawn Sorey, Bright Sheng, and Miguel Zenón; and US Artists Fellow Susie Ibarra. PRISM’s discography is extensive, with releases on Albany, BMOP/Sound, ECM, innova, Koch, Naxos, New Dynamic, New Focus, Orange Mountain Music, and its own label, XAS Records. The Fifth Century, PRISM’s ECM recording with The Crossing, was awarded a 2018 Grammy for Best Choral Performance.

Close Encounters With Music offered a series of virtual programs starting last July to keep the music going through out the pandemic. The decision was made to present the Berkshire High Peaks Festival virtually for the first time ever in Summer 2020, followed by an August live-streamed concert, “From Bach to Bachianas,” a guitar/cello recital featuring Eliot Fisk and Yehuda Hanani on stage in an empty Mahaiwe Theater. These and the October through April concerts that followed (“The French Connection,” A Night at the Opera,” Debussy and Brahms with the Escher Quartet, “Forever Bach – the Cello Suites,” Sebastians Baroque Ensemble) remain available for viewing on cewm.org, mahaiwe.org, and both organizations’ YouTube channels, and have collected thousands of views.

Two magical outdoor programs titled “Wine & Song,” took place on May 23 and June 13 at Edith Wharton’s The Mount in Lenox featuring vocalists Emily Marvosh, Sonja Tengblad, pianist Joseph Turbessi and the a cappella jazz ensemble West Side Five.

“We are hopeful that we can begin a gradual return to concert presentation as we know it on November 21—in person, and with a live audience at the Mahaiwe—with a rousing celebratory program postponed from June of 2020,” says Yehuda Hanani.  “This will feature our long-awaited world premiere of Tamar Muskal’s work for tabla, hip hop artist, two cellos and children’s chorus.  We look forward to welcoming everyone to the Great Reopening!” 

ABOUT CLOSE ENCOUNTERS WITH MUSIC

Close Encounters With Music is in its 29th year of presenting music and other programming to audiences in the Berkshires and beyond. Entertaining, erudite and lively commentary from founder and Artistic Director Yehuda Hanani puts the composers and their times in perspective to enrich and enlighten the concert experience. Since the inception of its Commissioning Project in 2001, CEWM has worked with the most distinguished composers of our time — Joan Tower, Judith Zaimont, Lera Auerbach, Tamar Muskal, Thea Musgrave, Robert Beaser, Kenji Bunch, Osvaldo Golijov, John Musto, and Paul Schoenfield among others — to create important new works that have already taken their place in the chamber music canon and on CD. A core of brilliant performers who appear regularly with Close Encounters includes: pianists, Roman Rabinovich, Soyeon Kate Lee, Inna Faliks, Max Levinson and Michael Chertock; violinists, Shmuel Ashkenasi, Vadim Gluzman, Julian Rachlin, Peter Zazofsky, Itamar Zorman and Hagai Shaham; clarinetists Alexander Fiterstein and Charles Neidich; vocalists Dawn Upshaw, Jennifer Rivera, Danielle Talamantes and Kelley O’Connor; the Muir, Manhattan, Ariel, Vermeer, Escher, Avalon, Hugo Wolf, Dover string quartets; and the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet and guitarist Eliot Fisk. Choreographer David Parsons and actors Sam Waterston, Richard Chamberlain, Jane Alexander and Sigourney Weaver have also appeared as guests, weaving narration and dance into the fabric of the programs. Close Encounters With Music programs have been presented across the U.S. and Canada—Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Omaha, Cincinnati, Calgary, Detroit, at the Frick Collection and Merkin Hall in New York City, at The Clark in Williamstown, at Tanglewood and in Great Barrington, Mass., as well as the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts. Summer performances have taken place at the New York State Museum, Basilica Hudson, Orpheum Theatre in Tannersville, and in the orchard at Olana.  The Berkshire High Peaks Festival takes place each July at Berkshire School in Sheffield, Mass., as the educational initiative of Close Encounters With Music with fifty international students in residence for an immersive course of study and performance.

HOW TO REACH US

Close Encounters With Music

Post Office Box 34

Great Barrington, MA 01230

800.843.0778

Web: www.cewm.org

CEWM 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
Logo

FEBRUARY 4, 2021

Fresh, unpredictable and uninhibited—these are some hallmarks of the Baroque. For its next virtual presentation, Close Encounters With Music presents the acclaimed ensemble The Sebastians, lauded for their ability to connect with audiences through dynamic and vital performances of music of the baroque and classical eras. Known for their “energetic…youthful, vigorous performance style…” they have been called New York’s “leading young early-music ensemble” (The New York Times). The colorful, exuberant program will feature Telemann’s “Paris” Quartet, the glorious Fifth Brandenburg Concerto of Johann Sebastian Bach, and works by Vivaldi, CPE Bach, Handel and Porpora, with star roles for harpsichord and baroque flute (traverso).

The Sebastian musicians–Jeffrey Grossman, harpsichord; Daniel Lee and Nicholas DiEugenio, violins; Jessica Troy, viola; Nathaniel Chase, violone; and David Ross, traverso—are joined on Saturday, April 3, 7:30 PM, by CEWM artistic director Yehuda Hanani for a performance of Vivaldi’s Sonata No. 5, with its extravagant Venetian flair.

The seventh and final program of the Winter/Spring season, “Felix, Fanny and Frederic: Chopin and the Mendelssohns” will premiere on Sunday, April 25th at 7:30 EST. Again in partnership with the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center and Classical WMHT-FM, the two April programs begin with the same lively and illuminating insights from Yehuda Hanani that audiences have enjoyed for almost thirty years, and end with “Afterglow” chats with guest musicians that are especially poignant as they discuss their pandemic experiences and vision for the future of classical music.

CEWM’s online offerings were launched in July when the decision was made to present an entirely virtual Berkshire High Peaks Festival, with the participation of 46 international string, piano and vocal students, followed by an August live-streamed concert, “From Bach to Bachianas,” a guitar/cello recital featuring Eliot Fisk and Yehuda Hanani on stage in an empty Mahaiwe Theater. These and the October through December concerts that followed (“The French Connection,” A Night at the Opera,” Debussy and Brahms with the Escher Quartet, and “Forever Bach – the Cello Suites”) remain available for viewing on cewm.org, mahaiwe.org, and both organizations’ YouTube channels, and have collected thousands of views.

Now in its 29th year, Close Encounters With Music will present the 12th Berkshire High Peaks Festival for advanced piano, string and vocal participants virtually again this summer, with an expanded faculty and new jazz and improvisation offerings. An outdoor season starts on May 23 and June 13 at Edith Wharton’s The Mount in Lenox with two programs titled “Wine & Song,” featuring vocalists Emily Marvosh, Sonja Tengblad, pianist Joseph Turbessi and the a cappella jazz ensemble West Side Five. On September 18 Close Encounters presents the preeminent saxophone quartet, the Prism, at TurnPark Art Space in West Stockbridge, one of several programs being planned there.

“We are hopeful that we can begin a gradual return to concert presentation as we know it in November 2021—in person, and with a live audience at the Mahaiwe—with a rousing celebratory program postponed from June of 2020,” says Yehuda Hanani. “This will feature our long-awaited world premiere of Tamar Muskal’s work for tabla, rapper, two cellos, marimba and children’s chorus. We look forward to welcoming everyone to the Great Reopening!”

CEWM’s online offerings were launched in July when the decision was made to present an entirely virtual Berkshire High Peaks Festival, with the participation of 46 international string, piano and vocal students, followed by an August livestreamed concert, “From Bach to Bachianas,” a guitar/cello recital featuring Eliot Fisk and Yehuda Hanani on stage in an empty Mahaiwe Theater. These and the October through December concerts that followed, available on cewm.orgmahaiwe.org, both organizations’ YouTube channels, and the Mahaiwe’s Facebook, have collected thousands of views.

UPCOMING CONCERT IN THE WINTER/SPRING SERIES:

Felix, Fanny and Frederic: Chopin and the Mendelssohns
Sunday, April 25, 2021, 7:30 PM EST (mahaiwe.org and cewm.org)
NO CHARGE

A dazzling pianist, accomplished violinist, composer, conductor, a gifted painter and a gymnast, Felix Mendelssohn enraptured the royal courts and concert halls of Europe before dying at 38, shattered by the sudden death of his beloved sister and musical soul mate, Fanny Hensel.  Beyond extravagant, outsize talent and an early death, Frederic Chopin and Mendelssohn shared a warm friendship.  No one matched Chopin’s genius in the realm of the keyboard, and, as Schumann declared, hearing the incomparably tender and rousing Piano Trio in D minor, “Mendelssohn is the Mozart of the 19th century.”   Fanny’s works were largely consigned to the drawing rooms of fashionable Berlin, but more recently are receiving their due in concert halls and on CD’s, having been rediscovered as works belonging in the classical pantheon. Three faces of Romanticism!

Irina Muresanu, violin; Max Levinson, piano; Yehuda Hanani, cello

ABOUT CLOSE ENCOUNTERS WITH MUSIC
Close Encounters With Music is in its 29th year of presenting music and other programming to audiences in the Berkshires and beyond. Entertaining, erudite and lively commentary from founder and Artistic Director Yehuda Hanani puts the composers and their times in perspective to enrich and enlighten the concert experience. Since the inception of its Commissioning Project in 2001, CEWM has worked with the most distinguished composers of our time — Joan Tower, Judith Zaimont, Lera Auerbach, Tamar Muskal, Thea Musgrave, Robert Beaser, Kenji Bunch, Osvaldo Golijov, John Musto, and Paul Schoenfield among others — to create important new works that have already taken their place in the chamber music canon and on CD. A core of brilliant performers who appear regularly with Close Encounters includes: pianists, Roman Rabinovich, Soyeon Kate Lee, Inna Faliks, Max Levinson and Michael Chertock; violinists, Shmuel Ashkenasi, Vadim Gluzman, Julian Rachlin, Peter Zazofsky, Itamar Zorman and Hagai Shaham; clarinetists Alexander Fiterstein and Charles Neidich; vocalists Dawn Upshaw, Jennifer Rivera, Danielle Talamantes and Kelley O’Connor; the Muir, Manhattan, Ariel, Vermeer, Escher, Avalon, Hugo Wolf, Dover string quartets; and the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet and guitarist Eliot Fisk. Choreographer David Parsons and actors Sam Waterston, Richard Chamberlain, Jane Alexander and Sigourney Weaver have also appeared as guests, weaving narration and dance into the fabric of the programs. Close Encounters With Music programs have been presented across the U.S. and Canada—Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Omaha, Cincinnati, Calgary, Detroit, at the Frick Collection and Merkin Hall in New York City, at The Clark in Williamstown, at Tanglewood and in Great Barrington, Mass., as well as the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts. Summer performances have taken place at the New York State Museum, Basilica Hudson, Orpheum Theatre in Tannersville, and in the orchard at Olana. In its 11th year, the Berkshire High Peaks Festival takes place each July at the Berkshire School in Sheffield, Mass., as the educational mission of Close Encounters With Music with fifty international students in residence for an immersive course of study and performance.

Artistic Director Yehuda Hanani has led the series since its founding, providing entertaining, erudite commentary that puts the composers and their times in perspective to enrich and amplify the concert experience. His charismatic playing and profound interpretations bring him acclaim and re-engagements across the globe. Under Hanani’s leadership, CEWM pushes the boundaries of traditional chamber music through thematic programming that embraces a range of musical idioms, styles, cultural influences, and eras. CEWM, now in its 29th season in the Berkshires, regularly commissions new works (25 to date!) and concert programs often weave music together with theater, dance, and literature. Venues include the landmark Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center and Saint James Place in Great Barrington.

HOW TO REACH US
Close Encounters With Music
Post Office Box 34
Great Barrington, MA 01230
Mahaiwe Box Office: 413.528.0100 www.mahaiwe.org
CEWM: 800.843.0778
Web: www.cewm.org
CEWM e-mail: [email protected]

Logo

FEBRUARY 3, 2021

Did J. S. Bach foresee a pandemic, that would keep musicians apart from one another, when he conceived of and wrote the Unaccompanied Suites for Cello? According to Close Encounters With Music artistic director Yehuda Hanani, the six suites are the most divine music that you can play alone. “Bach has been my constant companions over the past ten months. The suites are chameleon-like and present different faces, depending on your stage of life, your circumstances, what you wish to highlight. They take you the entire distance between the dance floor to the highest spiritual realm, from foot-stomping Breughel to the other-worldliness of Piero de la Francesca…”

Mr. Hanani is widely considered one of the most eloquent, insightful and authoritative proponents of the music of Bach. He has presented master classes focusing on them at festivals and conservatories around the world, and his recording of the suites for TownHall Records and live performances of the cycle have garnered international praise.

Close Encounters With Music, now in its 29th year, has produced and presented a virtual summer festival and four online concerts this past fall. The Bach program is the first of the new Winter/Spring season of concerts that will be recorded on the Mahaiwe stage and made available for viewing online. With these concerts, Close Encounters continues its tradition of chamber music with lively commentary, even in the age of COVID-19. Fall season performances are still available on the Close Encounters With Music YouTube channel.

Again in partnership with the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center and Classical WMHT-FM, the upcoming presentations will include three programs, from February through April. Full descriptions can be found below. Each concert will begin with the same illuminating insights from Yehuda Hanani that audiences have enjoyed for over twenty-eight years, plus an “Afterglow” chat with guest musicians that audiences this year have found especially poignant.

CEWM’s online offerings were launched in July when the decision was made to present an entirely virtual Berkshire High Peaks Festival, with the participation of 46 international string, piano and vocal students, followed by an August livestreamed concert, “From Bach to Bachianas,” a guitar/cello recital featuring Eliot Fisk and Yehuda Hanani on stage in an empty Mahaiwe Theater. These and the October through December concerts that followed, available on cewm.orgmahaiwe.org, both organizations’ YouTube channels, and the Mahaiwe’s Facebook, have collected thousands of views.

CONCERTS IN THE WINTER/SPRING SERIES:

Forever Bach—The Celestial Suites for Unaccompanied Cello
Sunday, February 28, 2021, 7:30 PM EST (mahaiwe.org or cewm.org)
NO CHARGE

A composer beyond time and place, and a journey to transcendence!  J. S. Bach’s Suites are blueprints for cellists of all generations for the construction of temples of sound in time. Though alone with one instrument, “Unaccompanied” is a bit of a misnomer, as they require the performer to be an acoustic illusionist:  Each suite is more like a drama for three or four characters played by one actor, at times presenting a challenge akin to tightrope-walking on a bass line while performing a juggling act!  Yehuda Hanani has juggled and wrestled with the suites for decades, and his recording of the six suites is one of the definitive renditions of this holy of holies for cellists.  “In this era of the cello, Hanani is among the best.  His Bach was absorbing, imaginative, beautiful in all respects.” –San Francisco Examiner; “A consistently expressive artist” –The New York Times.

Yehuda Hanani, cello

The Sebastians Baroque Ensemble
Sunday, April 3, 2021, 7:30 PM EST (mahaiwe.org and cewm.org)
NO CHARGE

The Sebastians connect with audiences through dynamic and vital performances of music of the baroque and classical eras. Known for their “energetic… youthful, vigorous performance style…” they have been called New York’s “leading young early-music ensemble” (The New York Times).  This colorful, varied program will feature Telemann’s “Paris” Quartet, the Fifth Brandenburg Concerto, and works by Vivaldi, CPE Bach, Handel and Porpora, with star roles for harpsichord and baroque flute (traverso).

Jeffrey Grossman, harpsichord; Daniel Lee and Nicholas DiEugenio, violin; Jessica Troy, viola; Ezra Seltzer, violoncello; Nathaniel Chase, violone; David Ross, traverso
Yehuda Hanani, cello

Felix, Fanny and Frederic: Chopin and the Mendelssohns
Sunday, April 25, 2021, 7:30 PM EST (mahaiwe.org and cewm.org)
NO CHARGE

A dazzling pianist, accomplished violinist, composer, conductor, a gifted painter and a gymnast, Felix Mendelssohn enraptured the royal courts and concert halls of Europe before dying at 38, shattered by the sudden death of his beloved sister and musical soul mate, Fanny Hensel.  Beyond extravagant, outsize talent and an early death, Frederic Chopin and Mendelssohn shared a warm friendship.  No one matched Chopin’s genius in the realm of the keyboard, and, as Schumann declared, hearing the incomparably tender and rousing Piano Trio in D minor, “Mendelssohn is the Mozart of the 19th century.”   Fanny’s works were largely consigned to the drawing rooms of fashionable Berlin, but more recently are receiving their due in concert halls and on CD’s, having been rediscovered as works belonging in the classical pantheon. Three faces of Romanticism!

Irina Muresanu, violin; Max Levinson, piano; Yehuda Hanani, cello