Image of Cordelia Hagmann holding Violin

Close Encounters With Music continues its 18th season Saturday, March 20, 6PM offering The Romantic Bach, a selection of Bach’s works reimagined by masters of the Romantic Era who wrestled with his revolutionary legacy. Brahms, Liszt, and Busoni, each from his own perspective, offered homage to the master they all revered through arrangements for the piano, the instrument of choice in their own time. Busoni, the tireless transcriber of Bach’s works, is represented by two Organ-Chorale Preludes, Liszt by an organ Fantasy and Fugue, and Brahms by his brilliant arrangement of the violin Chaconne for piano left hand. The program also includes Bach undiluted in the Violin Sonata No. 3 and the third Suite for Solo Cello and concludes with the premiere of a neo-Bach chamber work composed by Jonathan Keren that was commissioned by Close Encounters.

The performers include violinist Cordelia Hagmann who appears frequently as a chamber musician, recitalist and concertmistress in Europe and the U.S. She won top prizes at the Chesapeake Chamber Music Competition with the Moirae Trio in Winterthur and Zurich in her native Switzerland and has performed at Carnegie Hall, Merkin Hall, Alice Tully Hall, the Tonhalle in Zürich, KKL in Luzern, the Tel Aviv Conservatory, and the Jerusalem Music Center. As a soloist she has performed with the Musikkollegium Winterthur and the Temple Symphony Orchestra among others, and has been heard on Swiss National Radio.

Pianist James Tocco is widely regarded as one of the foremost interpreters of American masterworks, and his extensive discography, which reflects his varied tastes and astonishing versatility, includes the world premiere recording of Bernstein’s complete solo piano music, an all-Copland disc, the complete Chopin Préludes, the complete piano music of Charles Tomlinson Griffes, Erwin Schulhof ’s Cinq Etudes de Jazz, Bach-Liszt organ transcriptions, the four piano sonatas of Edward MacDowell, and Corigliano’s Etude-Fantasy. He is acknowledged to be the definitive interpreter of Corigliano’s Piano Concerto. Recent engagements include his Royal Concertgebouw debut, performing the MacDowell Concerto and Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue, both under Leonard Slatkin. He is associated particularly with Bernstein’s Age of Anxiety, which he recorded with Leonard Slatkin and the BBC London Symphony. He has performed with most major American and European orchestras including the Chicago, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Detroit, Los Angeles, Minnesota, and Pittsburgh as well as the Berlin, London, and Munich Philharmonics. He is Eminent Scholar/Artist-in-Residence at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music and Artistic Director of the Great Lakes Chamber Music Festival.

Yehuda Hanani’s charismatic playing and profound interpretations bring him acclaim and reengagements across the globe. An extraordinary recitalist, he is equally renowned for performances with orchestras such as the Chicago Symphony, Philadelphia Orchestra, Baltimore Symphony, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, Berlin Radio Orchestra, Israel Philharmonic, BBC Welsh Symphony, Buenos Aires Philharmonic, Honolulu Symphony, Jerusalem Symphony, Lithuanian Chamber Orchestra, and Taipei and Seoul symphonies, among others. His recording of the monumental Alkan Cello Sonata —the first ever—received a Grand Prix du Disque nomination, and his other discs have won wide recognition. His best-selling recording of the Unaccompanied Bach Suites has become a standard-setter, and of his recent Naxos CD with the National Symphony of Ireland Fanfare Magazine wrote: “Renowned cellist Yehuda Hanani, great virtuoso that he is, handles this with astounding aplomb… .”

Close Encounters continues its tradition of commentary before each performance and of inviting the entire audience to a reception to meet the artists immediately following the concerts.

Tickets, $35 or $25 for adults and $10 for students, are available at The Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center box office, 413.528.0100, through Close Encounters With Music at 800-843-0778 or by emailing [email protected] Please visit our website at www.cewm.org.

The Romantic Bach Saturday, March 20, 6 PM
Chopin and His Circle Saturday, April 24, 6 PM
Prague Spring—Czech Idyll Saturday, June 5, 6 PM

All performances take place at the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center, Great Barrington, Massachusetts

Tickets for the Conversations with… event is $25 which includes light refreshments:

Chopin Hour Sunday, April 26, 2 PM at the Hudson Opera House, Hudson, New York

“A chamber music series on a par with anything heard at the height of the season. For this, we year-rounders are blessed.” —Rogovoy Report

“‘L’Histoire” known in English as “A Soldier’s Story,’ … was an intriguing project, and a noble effort… [an]exuberant theatrical adventure… Stravinsky’s winsomely galloping waltzes, polkas and marches framing the dialogues were in superb hands with the ensemble…”

—Berkshire Eagle (December 2009)

“There’s a palpable mystique about these Close Encounters concerts.” —Berkshire Eagle

“STUNNER CLOSES SEASON! Though Hanani, Prutsman and 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

“An all-star lineup…CEWM’s usual high caliber.” —Metroland

About Soldier’s Tale! performance December 2009: “…an intriguing project, and a noble effort… exuberant theatrical adventure… Stravinsky’s winsomely galloping waltzes, polkas and marches framing the dialogues were in superb hands with the ensemble.” —Berkshire Eagle

A Painting of Soldiers

Saturday, December 5 at 6 PM Close Encounters With Music will bring all the magic and inspiration of A Soldier’s Tale! to life in its annual holiday concert with renowned English baritone Benjamin Luxon narrating the classic tale. This theatrical production features nine performers, a decorative scrim, choreographed dance interlude, and special lighting effects.

Set to music by Igor Stravinsky, with a libretto based on a Russian folk tale, the much-loved l’Histoire du Soldat is a parable about a soldier who trades his fiddle to the devil for a get-rich-quick recipe. The music—orchestral color at the fore—is scored for a septet of strings, winds and percussion; and the story is told by a narrator. Virtuoso violinist Yehonatan Berick leads the performance and other holiday fare, including light-hearted and virtuosic works by Rossini and Eugene Ysaye. Helping participants discover the charm of Stravinsky’s score, Berick and Artistic Director Yehuda Hanani will be joined by a diverse ensemble, all of whom are faculty members at the University of Michigan who have served as first desks with the Chicago Symphony, Cleveland Orchestra, Detroit Symphony, Metropolitan Opera, Rochester Symphony, and other venerable American orchestras across the U.S.

Young and old alike will respond to the aural excitement of the winds, brass and percussion instrumentation. Performers include Willam Campbell, trumpet; Daniel Gilbert; clarinet; David Lee Jackson, trombone; Jeffrey Lyman, bassoon; Diana Gannett, bass; Joseph Gramley, percussion; and Yehuda Hanani, cello.

Benjamin Luxon CBE was one of Great Britain’s major international singers. His career of some 30 years displays an unusual versatility and he was equally renowned as recitalist, concert, and opera singer. He began as a member of the English Opera Group which was formed by Benjamin Britten and quickly became one of Britten’s key singers culminating with Britten composing the role of Owen Wyngrave (his television opera) specifically for his voice. A regular guest artist at the Royal Opera House Covent Garden and Glyndebourne, he performed at the most important European opera houses, worked with the world’s major conductors and orchestras and made well over 100 recordings. His work was graced with a high musicality, honesty and a very fine acting ability. In 1986 he was made a Commander of the British Empire (CBE) for his service to British Music. In the early 90s his singing career came to an end due to severe hearing loss. His career is now focused on the spoken word, creating and performing programs of poetry and working with various theatrical companies, mainly as a Shakespearean actor.

Violinist Yehonatan Berick, soloist, recitalist, chamber musician (violin and viola), and pedagogue, was a prizewinner at the 1993 Naumburg Competition and a recipient of the 1996-97 Prix Opus. A member of The Los Angeles Piano Quartet, he has performed with the symphony orchestras of Quebec, Winnipeg, Jerusalem, and Haifa, and the Israel, Cincinnati, Montreal, and Manitoba chamber orchestras. Berick’s festival credits include Marlboro, Ravinia, Seattle, Great Lakes, Vancouver, El Paso, Maui, and Bowdoin; and he is a frequent guest performer with Close Encounter With Music. A member of Musicians from Marlboro, the Lortie-Berick-Lysy Piano Trio, and the Huberman String Quartet, he can be heard on recordings on the Summit, Gasparo, and Helicon labels. Currently Professor of Violin at the University of Michigan, his studies were at Tel Aviv University’s Music Academy and at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music.

Close Encounters continues its tradition of commentary before each performance and of inviting the entire audience to an Afterglow reception to meet the artists immediately following the concerts. Now in its 18th season in the Berkshires, the series’ exceptional artistic and audience success has made it one of the leading chamber music associations in the U.S., captivating music lovers from Miami to Kansas City, Omaha, Calgary, Scottsdale and the Berkshires. Since its inception, the Close Encounters Commissioning Program has supported the creation of, produced and premiered fifteen new works by major American and European composers, with several recorded on the Naxos label. In 2010-11, Close Encounters With Music will be in residence at the Frick Museum in New York City.

Tickets, $35 and $25, are available at The Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center box office, 413.528.0100, or through Close Encounters With Music at 800-843-0778 or by emailing [email protected] Please visit our website at www.cewm.org.

Upcoming!

Soldier’s Tale: Holiday Concert! Saturday, December 5, 6 PM
A Night of Quartets Saturday, February 20, 6 PM
The Romantic Bach Saturday, March 20, 6 PM
Chopin and His Circle Saturday, April 24, 6 PM
Prague Spring—Czech Idyll Saturday, June 5, 6 PM

These performances at the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center, Great Barrington, Massachusetts

Chopin Hour Sunday, April 26, 2 PM at the Hudson Opera House, Hudson, New York

“A chamber music series on a par with anything heard at the height of the season. For this, we year-rounders are blessed.” —Rogovoy Report

“There’s a palpable mystique about these Close Encounters concerts.” —Berkshire Eagle

“STUNNER CLOSES SEASON! Though Hanani, Prutsman and 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

“An all-star lineup…CEWM’s usual high caliber.” —Metroland

Image of Ventfort Hall

Close Encounters’ Conversations With… series opens Sunday, October 11, 2 PM, at Ventfort Hall, Lenox, with Music Rooms of the Gilded Age. Harvey Rosenberg, professor of the History of Interior Design and Architecture at FIT/SUNY for 25 years, and frequent lecturer at Parsons, Pratt and the New School of Interior Design, offers a slide presentation and discussion of how European design principles were incorporated into the Berkshire “cottages” of the Gilded Age.

Ventfort Hall, an imposing Elizabethan-style mansion, was built in 1893 for Sarah Morgan, the sister of J. P. Morgan. Designed by the architects Rotch & Tilden, it is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and declared an official project of “Save America’s Treasures,” a Millennium program of Hillary Rodham Clinton and the National Trust for Historic Preservation. It was one of the approximately seventy-five so-called “cottages” built in Lenox in the last century when the village became a popular resort and now home of The Museum of the Gilded Age. Located on spacious grounds in the heart of the village, it is partially restored and open to the public.

A series of intimate and stimulating conversations about music and ideas and an intrinsic part of the Close Encounters With Music season, Conversations With… has presented such notable speakers as writer and editor and WAMC’s “cultural czar” Seth Rogovoy; composer, National Endowment grantee and Guggenheim fellow Judith Zaimont; pianist and author Walter Ponce; Emmy Award-winning animator, illustrator, cartoonist and children’s-book author R.O. Blechman; Academy Award nominee Daniel Anker; scholar/performer/multimedia artist Robert Winter; and former Yankee, author and sportscaster Jim Bouton

Tickets for Music Rooms of the Gilded Age are $25 and include light refreshments. They can be ordered by emailing [email protected] or calling 800-843-0778.
Ventfort Hall is at 104 Walker Street, Lenox, MA.

Please join us for our concerts as well at the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center in Great Barrington:

Chopin in Paris Saturday, October 17, 6 PM
Soldier’s Tale: Holiday Concert! Saturday, December 5, 6 PM
A Night of Quartets Saturday, February 20, 6 PM
The Romantic Bach Saturday, March 20, 6 PM
Chopin and His Circle Saturday, April 24, 6 PM
Prague Spring—Czech Idyll Saturday, June 5, 6 PM

These six performances at the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center, Great Barrington, Massachusetts.

Tickets, $35 (and $40 for the June 5, 2009 concert) for adults and $10 for students, are available at The Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center box office, 413.528.0100, or through Close Encounters With Music at 800-843-0778 or by emailing [email protected] Subscriptions are $150 for a series of 6 concerts, $130 for seniors (65+). Please visit our website at www.cewm.org.

“A chamber music series on a par with anything heard at the height of the season. For this, we year-rounders are blessed.” —Rogovoy Report

“There’s a palpable mystique about these Close Encounters concerts.” —Berkshire Eagle

“STUNNER CLOSES SEASON! Though Hanani, Prutsman and 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

“An all-star lineup…CEWM’s usual high caliber.” —Metroland

A Painting of Chopin

A smart blend of classical, contemporary, and cutting edge from October through May

Saturday, October 17 marks the beginning of the highly anticipated 2009-2010 Close Encounters With Music season in the Berkshires. In its 18th year, Close Encounters presents six innovative and captivating programs of chamber music, thirty performers, and more than twenty composers at South County’s premier venue, the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center in Great Barrington. To celebrate the Chopin anniversary year of 2009, Close Encounters will present two programs that include works by Chopin and his contemporaries: Liszt, Hummel, Field, Paganini, Bellini, and Donizetti. In addition, the Conversations With… series resumes on October 11 with “Music Rooms of the Gilded Age” and a “Chopin Hour” on April 25.

Artistic Director Yehuda Hanani will be joined by returning favorites and exciting newcomers to the Close Encounters roster of artists. Pianists Walter Ponce, James Tocco, Lydia Artymiw, and Adam Neiman; violinists Yehonatan Berick, Cordelia Hagemann, and Stefan Milenkovich; violist Toby Appel, and the Avalon Quartet, all familiar to Close Encounters audiences, will perform treasured masterpieces of the chamber music repertoire. Composer Jonathan Keren contributes a world premiere, his Bach-inspired chamber piece to be offered at the March concert. Artists making their first appearances with Close Encounters With Music include the violinists Lily Francis and Erin Keefe, mezzo-soprano Stephanie Houtzeel and English baritone Benjamin Luxon narrating A Soldier’s Tale! by Igor Stravinsky.

The concert season begins on Saturday, October 17, 6PM with Chopin in Paris: A toast to the 200th anniversary of Chopin’s birth, with Ballades, Mazurkas and Polonaises—framed by works of his contemporaries, including his friendly rival Franz Liszt. Acclaimed in every major concert hall throughout the world, and with a special affinity for Chopin and the Romantics, pianist Walter Ponce has been hailed by the Chicago Tribune as “magical.” Queen Elisabeth of Belgium Competition laureate Stephanie Houtzeel brings her vocal luster to arias by Donizetti and Bellini, whose operas influenced Chopin’s bel canto style, and to his rarely heard Polish songs.

The Conversations With… series opens Sunday, October 11, 2 PM with Music Rooms of the Gilded Age. Harvey Rosenberg, professor of the History of Interior Design and Architecture at FIT/SUNY for 25 years, and frequent lecturer at Parsons, Pratt and the New School of Interior Design, offers a slide presentation and discussion of how European design principles were incorporated into the Berkshire “cottages” of the Gilded Age. Ventfort Hall in Lenox, the Elizabethan Revival mansion built in 1893 for the sister of J.P. Morgan, provides the perfect setting for this event.

On Saturday, December 5, 6PM Close Encounters presents its annual holiday concert A Soldier’s Tale! Set to music by Igor Stravinsky, with a libretto based on a Russian folk tale, the much-loved l’Histoire du Soldat is a parable about a soldier who trades his fiddle to the devil for a get-rich-quick recipe. The music—orchestral color at the fore—is scored for a septet of strings, winds and percussion; and the story is told by a narrator, in this case renowned English baritone Benjamin Luxon. Virtuoso violinist Yehonatan Berick leads this performance and other holiday fare, with Willam Campbell, trumpet; Daniel Gilbert; clarinet; David Lee Jackson, trombone; Jeffrey Lyman, bassoon; Diana Gannett, bass; Joseph Gramley, percussion; and Yehuda Hanani, cello.

The Avalon String Quartet (“Engrossed, impassioned and imaginative…” –The New York Times) returns on Saturday, February 20, 6PM to offer A Night of Quartets, a striking program of works by Beethoven, Arensky, and Prokofiev, all mining overlapping Russian folkloric themes. The Opus 59 No. 2 Razumovsky Quartet represents the pinnacle of Beethoven’s quartet writing, revolutionary in character and symphonic in reach. Arensky’s arresting work is for two cellos, and Prokofiev’s Quartet No. 2 bears his infatuation with folk instruments. Yehuda Hanani joins the Quartet in the Arensky.

The Romantic Bach, on Saturday, March 20, 6PM features Bach through the filter of Schumann, Mendelssohn, Brahms (the brilliant Chaconne arrangement for left-hand piano) and Liszt, and unfiltered, in his own voice, in Suites and Partitas. Truly a composer for all seasons and for all times, Bach, like Shakespeare, emerges always relevant through different ages and treatments. A highlight of the program is the world premiere of a new neo-Bach chamber piece commissioned by CEWM in homage to his magisterial presence. Performers are Cordelia Hagemann, violin; James Tocco, piano; Yehuda Hanani, cello.

Saturday, April 24, 6 PM Chopin and His Circle will be a second evening celebrating the Chopin 200th anniversary. From John Field, father of the nocturne, who paved the way to Chopin’s masterworks of the genre, to Hummel, whose music Chopin heard in Poland and whose concerti he played, to August Franchomme, his cohort, and to the charismatic Paganini, a frequent collaborator, this program offers a spectrum of Chopin’s friends and mentors as well as his sublimely poignant, swoon-inducing Ballades and Nocturnes. Adam Neiman, a latter-day Romantic, elicits lavish praise for his Chopin—“Playing of wisdom and light” —The Washington Post. Joining Mr. Neiman are Stefan Milenkovich, violin; Yehuda Hanani, cello; Amy Gillingham, cello.

As a complement to the April 24 concert, Adam Neiman will host a Chopin Hour, the season’s second installment of Conversations With…, Sunday, April 26, 2 PM at the Hudson Opera House, Hudson, NY. Hailed as one of the premiere pianists of his generation, with a burgeoning international career, Mr. Neiman will demonstrate the special place Chopin holds in the instrument’s repertoire and how the composer revolutionized the world of piano, presenting particular challenges to the performer as he pushed piano technique to a level unsurpassed at the time. The Hudson Opera House, built in 1855—only six years after Chopin’s death in Paris, is one of the oldest surviving theaters in America. Another Frederic, Hudson River painter Frederic Church showed his works here; Bret Harte read his poems; and Susan B. Anthony rallied support for women’s suffrage.

Concluding the season will be Prague Spring—Czech Idyll on Saturday, June 5, 6 PM. From the land of Franz Kafka, bucolic landscapes, and Bohemian crystal, music by Dvořak, Smetana, and Janaček that glows with lyricism and melodiousness. Dvořak’s Piano Quintet is a recognized masterpiece and, along with the other selections, it overflows with Mittel-europäische ease, cultivation, and affecting tenderness. It’s never too far from the Czech countryside and a languid summer’s evening. The stellar performers are Lydia Artymiw, piano; Erin Keefe, violin; Lily Francis, violin; Toby Appel, viola; Yehuda Hanani, cello.

Close Encounters continues its tradition of commentary before each performance and of inviting the entire audience to a reception to meet the artists immediately following the concerts.

Tickets, $35 (and $40 for the June 5, 2009 concert) for adults and $10 for students, are available at The Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center box office, 413.528.0100, or through Close Encounters With Music at 800-843-0778 or by emailing [email protected] Subscriptions are $150 for a series of 6 concerts, $130 for seniors (65+). Please visit our website at www.cewm.org.

Chopin in Paris Saturday, October 17, 6 PM
Soldier’s Tale: Holiday Concert! Saturday, December 5, 6 PM
A Night of Quartets Saturday, February 20, 6 PM
The Romantic Bach Saturday, March 20, 6 PM
Chopin and His Circle Saturday, April 24, 6 PM
Prague Spring—Czech Idyll Saturday, June 5, 6 PM

These six performances at the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center, Great Barrington, Massachusetts

Tickets for the two Conversations with… events are $25 which includes light refreshments:
Music Rooms of the Gilded Age Sunday, October 11, 2 PM at Ventfort Hall, Lenox, Massachusetts
Chopin Hour Sunday, April 26, 2 PM at the Hudson Opera House, Hudson, New York

“A chamber music series on a par with anything heard at the height of the season. For this, we year-rounders are blessed.” —Rogovoy Report

“There’s a palpable mystique about these Close Encounters concerts.” —Berkshire Eagle

“STUNNER CLOSES SEASON! Though Hanani, Prutsman and 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

“An all-star lineup…CEWM’s usual high caliber.” —Metroland

Image of the Avalon String Quartet

Close Encounters With Music continues its 18th season with The Avalon String Quartet (“Engrossed, impassioned and imaginative…” –The New York Times) on Saturday, February 20, 6PM offering A Night of Quartets, a striking program of works by Beethoven, Arensky, and Prokofiev, all mining overlapping Russian folkloric themes. The Opus 59 No. 2 Razumovsky Quartet represents the pinnacle of Beethoven’s quartet writing, revolutionary in character and symphonic in reach. Arensky’s arresting work is for two cellos, and Prokofiev’s Quartet No. 2 bears his infatuation with folk instruments. Yehuda Hanani joins the Quartet in the Arensky at South County’s premier venue, the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center in Great Barrington.

Hailed as “one of the most exciting young string quartets in America” (The Washington Post), the Avalon String Quartet has established itself as a leading chamber ensemble. Formed in 1995 at the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival, the Quartet came to the fore after participating in Isaac Stern’s Chamber Music Workshop at Carnegie Hall in 1997, subsequently appearing in the Stern Chamber Music Encounters in Jerusalem and making a Carnegie Hall debut at Weill Recital Hall in 2000. The quartet won the Channel Classics Prize and the Rockport Chamber Music Festival Prize at the 1999 Concert Artists Guild Competition, which led to the critically acclaimed recording Dawn To Dusk, and top prize in the ARD Competition in Munich. Following residencies at the Juilliard School and at Indiana University South Bend, the quartet is now in residence at Northern Illinois University, a position formerly occupied by the venerated Vermeer Quartet. They have performed in many major halls, including Alice Tully, the 92nd Street Y, and Carnegie Hall in New York; the Library of Congress in Washington; Wigmore in London; and Herculessaal in Munich; as well as the Caramoor, La Jolla, Ravinia, and Lincoln Center Mostly Mozart festivals. Dedicated educators, they have taught at the Interlochen Quartet Institute and at the Britten-Pears School in England. The Avalon has been featured in live performances and conversation on Chicago’s WFMT-FM, New York’s WQXR-FM and WNYC-FM, National Public Radio’s Performance Today, Canada’s CBC, Australia’s ABC, and France Musique.

Yehuda Hanani’s charismatic playing and profound interpretations bring him acclaim and reengagements across the globe. An extraordinary recitalist, he is equally renowned for performances with orchestras such as the Chicago Symphony, Philadelphia Orchestra, Baltimore Symphony, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, Berlin Radio Orchestra, Israel Philharmonic, BBC Welsh Symphony, Buenos Aires Philharmonic, Honolulu Symphony, Jerusalem Symphony, Lithuanian Chamber Orchestra, and Taipei and Seoul symphonies, among others. He has been a guest at Aspen, Chautauqua, Marlboro, Yale at Norfolk, Round Top (TX), Bowdoin, Great Lakes, and Grand Canyon festivals, Finland Festival, Great Wall Festival (China), Leicester (England), Ottawa, Prades (France), Oslo, and Australia Chamber Music festivals, and in New York City has appeared as soloist at Carnegie Hall, the 92nd Street Y, Alice Tully, and the Metropolitan Museum’s Grace Rainey Rodgers Auditorium. His recording of the monumental Alkan Cello Sonata —the first ever—received a Grand Prix du Disque nomination, and his other discs have won wide recognition. Mr. Hanani has been committed to extending the range of the cello repertoire and to collaborating with performers in many artistic realms, including choreographer David Parsons and actors Jane Alexander, Richard Chamberlain and Sigourney Weaver. His engaging chamber music with commentary series, Close Encounters With Music, has captivated audiences from Miami to Kansas City, Omaha, Calgary, Arizona, and the Berkshires. A recipient of three Martha Baird Rockefeller awards, Mr. Hanani’s studies were with Leonard Rose at the Juilliard School and with Pablo Casals. His best-selling recording of the Unaccompanied Bach Suites has become a standard-setter, and of his recent Naxos CD with the National Symphony of Ireland Fanfare Magazine wrote: “Renowned cellist Yehuda Hanani, great virtuoso that he is, handles this with astounding aplomb… .”

Close Encounters continues its tradition of commentary before each performance and of inviting the entire audience to a reception to meet the artists immediately following the concerts.

Tickets, $35 or $25 for adults and $10 for students, are available at The Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center box office, 413.528.0100, through Close Encounters With Music at 800-843-0778 or by emailing [email protected] Please visit our website at www.cewm.org.

A Night of Quartets Saturday, February 20, 6 PM
The Romantic Bach Saturday, March 20, 6 PM
Chopin and His Circle Saturday, April 24, 6 PM
Prague Spring—Czech Idyll Saturday, June 5, 6 PM

All performances take place at the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center, Great Barrington, Massachusetts

Tickets for the Conversations with… event is $25 which includes light refreshments:

Chopin Hour Sunday, April 26, 2 PM at the Hudson Opera House, Hudson, New York

“A chamber music series on a par with anything heard at the height of the season. For this, we year-rounders are blessed.” —Rogovoy Report

“There’s a palpable mystique about these Close Encounters concerts.” —Berkshire Eagle

“STUNNER CLOSES SEASON! Though Hanani, Prutsman and 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

“An all-star lineup…CEWM’s usual high caliber.” —Metroland

About Soldier’s Tale! performance December 2009: “…an intriguing project, and a noble effort… exuberant theatrical adventure… Stravinsky’s winsomely galloping waltzes, polkas and marches framing the dialogues were in superb hands with the ensemble.” —Berkshire Eagle

Image of Yahuda Hanani Playing the Cello

A smart blend of classical, contemporary, and cutting edge awaits from October through May

In its 17th season in the Berkshires, Close Encounters With Music offers up six innovative and captivating programs of chamber music, forty-five performers, and more than thirty composers at South County’s premier venue, the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center in Great Barrington. To celebrate the Mendelssohn anniversary year of 2009, Close Encounters will present two programs that include works by Clara and Robert Schumann, Fanny Mendelssohn, Frédéric Chopin, and the all but unknown Eduard Franck, a prolific composer whose works have not been in circulation for over a hundred years. An accomplished pianist and renowned teacher, his professional circle overlapped that of his teacher, Mendelssohn. The February and May concerts will introduce several of his works to the American public—the masterful String Sextet No. 1 in E-flat major, op. 41; the Piano Trio in E-flat major, op. 22; and a selection of his brilliant solo piano pieces.

Artistic Director Yehuda Hanani will be joined by returning well-loved musicians and exciting newcomers to the Close Encounters roster of artists. Pianists James Tocco and Adam Neiman, violinists Yehonatan Berick and Shmuel Ashkenasi, and the Amernet Quartet, all familiar to Close Encounters audiences, will perform treasured masterpieces of the chamber music repertoire. The superb 12-member Rose Ensemble will return with a holiday program of folkloric American melodies. Composer Stephen Dankner again contributes a world premiere, his klezmer-inspired String Quintet to be offered at the March concert. Artists making their first appearances include the Avalon String Quartet, violinist Stefan Milenkovich, and harpsichordist Aya Hamada.

The season begins on Saturday, October 18, 6PM with Crown Jewels: A Musical Tour through Europe’s Princely Courts, a glittering evening of Baroque and Classical works for chamber orchestra and soloists, written for Europe’s most musically voracious rulers. Esteemed soloists join the Camerata San Marco, the virtuosic all-woman string orchestra, in Haydn’s Cello Concerto in D minor; Mozart’s “Musical Joke;” Bach’s Double Concerto for two violins; and Italian gems from Corelli and Vivaldi. Soloists include Jonathan Keren and Cordelia Hagmann, violins; and Yehuda Hanani, cello.

The superb 12-member Rose Ensemble returns for its annual holiday concert on Saturday, December 6, 6PM presenting An American Holiday Tapestry, a performance in which the group reincarnates itself in the 17th and 18th centuries on American shores. Traditional Acadian and Scottish dance music, Shaker melodies, spirituals, wassail songs, and colonial Jewish synagogue hymns are featured. The remarkably broad selection also includes Mexican Baroque and Hawaiian selections with mandolin and vihujela de mano accompaniment, as well as guitar, Native American flute, and foot stomping!

On Saturday, February 21, 6PM, pianist James Tocco and violinist Shmuel Ashkenasi join Yehuda Hanani in the first of two programs entitled Celebrating Mendelssohn—and Discovering Eduard Franck. The astonishingly versatile composer-pianist-conductor-painter Felix Mendelssohn has come to personify genius and musical prodigy. The celebration of the 200th anniversary of his birth begins with a tribute to his inner circle: Clara and Robert Schumann’s timeless piano favorites, the darkly romantic Chopin Cello Sonata, and the “other” Mendelssohn Piano Trio in C minor, exquisite and richly melodic. Finally, the program will include an unknown treasure by Mendelssohn’s student—the American premiere of a piano trio by Eduard Franck, a distinguished composer overlooked by history.

“I am honored to be part of the revival of such a worthy composer, and to rectify an unfortunate historical omission,” says Yehuda Hanani, who was introduced to first editions of Franck’s chamber music scores by his descendants in Germany. “Whether because he published his works late in life, or because his innate reticence and lack of self-promotion contributed to the neglect of his output, his is a voice that should be heard.”

The Amernet Quartet returns on Saturday, March 28, 6PM to join maestro Hanani for A Night of Quintets. Schubert’s heavenly last word—and by current consensus, the ultimate statement in chamber music—the Quintet in C major anchors a program of works for string quartet with the addition of guest cello. The combination imparts rich textures to an evening that includes Boccherini’s sprightly Rococo Quintet in C major, and the premiere of a klezmer-inspired quintet by Williamstown composer Stephen Dankner.

The remarkable pianist Adam Neiman will be joined by violinist Stefan Milenkovich and Mr. Hanani for Beethoven and Shostakovich on Saturday, April 25, 6PM. The most uplifting and heart-wrenching—this evening will offer an exercise in extremes, a juxtaposition of the Shostakovich Piano Trio No. 2, a wartime elegy for a world gone mad, and Beethoven’s Olympic “Archduke” Trio.

Concluding the season will be the second installment of Celebrating Mendelssohn—and Discovering Eduard Franck on Saturday, May 30, 6PM. Close Encounters’ annual gala finale will present Felix Mendelssohn’s sparkling Songs Without Words and Variations—two forms Mendelssohn brought to their highest points, Robert Schumann’s majestic Piano Quartet in E-flat major, op. 47, and a sampling of Frédéric Chopin’s ballades, mazurkas, and polonaises. Also featured will be works by Fanny Mendelssohn, and the American premiere of the masterful String Sextet No. 1 by Eduard Franck, Felix’s student and friend, with the Avalon String Quartet, pianist James Tocco, violinist Yehonatan Berick, and cellist Yehuda Hanani.

Close Encounters continues its tradition of commentary before the performance and of inviting the entire audience to a reception to meet the artists immediately following the performance.

In addition, a special children’s concert, An American Quilt for Kids: Living in “Harmony,” will be offered on Sunday, December 7, 9:30AM at the Chatham, NY Middle School. While helping kids to discover the diversity of American musical styles that makes for an exciting and colorful US, the Rose Ensemble’s light-hearted and informative presentation will connect each individual to past generations through songs, instruments, and stories—a holiday treat for families, in collaboration with the Spencertown Academy Arts Center.

Close Encounters With Music will also continue its series Conversations With…, presenting Seth Rogovoy, “cultural czar” of WAMC Northeast Public Radio who will speak on “The Marriage of Classical and Klezmer,” Sunday, December 14, 2 PM, at the Lenox Athenaeum, and composer Judith Lang Zaimont, editor-in-chief of the critically acclaimed series The Musical Woman: An International Perspective presenting Fanny Mendelssohn—A Room of Her Own on Sunday, March 15, 2 PM, at the Lenox Athenaeum. $25 includes light refreshment at both events.

Tickets, $35 (and $40 for the May 30, 2009 concert) for adults and $10 for students, are available at The Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center box office, 413.528.0100, or through Close Encounters With Music at 800-843-0778 or by emailing [email protected] Subscriptions are $150 for a series of 6 concerts. Visit our website at www.cewm.org.

Crown Jewels Saturday, October 18, 6 PM
An American Holiday Tapestry Saturday, December 6, 6 PM
Celebrating Mendelssohn I Saturday, February 21, 6 PM
A Night of Quintets Saturday, March 28, 6 PM
Beethoven and Shostakovich Saturday, April 25, 6 PM
Celebrating Mendelssohn II Saturday, May 30, 6 PM
These six performances at the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center, Great Barrington

“A chamber music series on a par with anything heard at the height of the season. For this, we year-rounders are blessed.” – Rogovoy Report

“There’s a palpable mystique about these Close Encounters concerts.” – Berkshire Eagle

“STUNNER CLOSES SEASON! Though Hanani, Prutsman and 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

“An all-star lineup…CEWM’s usual high caliber.” – Metroland


Image of Yahuda Hanani Playing the Cello

(GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass.) –To coincide with the Mendelssohn anniversary year of 2009 (born February 3, 1809 in Hamburg) Berkshire-based chamber music organization Close Encounters With Music is planning festivities in several cities, beginning with tributes to the Mendelssohn inner circle at New York’s Merkin Concert Hall, that will include works by Clara and Robert Schumann, Fannie Mendelssohn, Frederic Chopin and the all but unknown Eduard Franck, a prolific composer whose works have not been in circulation for over a hundred years.

A pair of concerts, Celebrating Mendelssohn…and Discovering Eduard Franck I & II, on Wednesday, February 25 and Thursday, March 5, 2009, will introduce several of his works to the American public—the masterful string Sextet No. 1 in E-flat major, op. 41; the piano trio in E-flat major, op. 22; and a selection of his brilliant solo piano pieces. Joining artistic director and cellist Yehuda Hanani are violinists Shmuel Ashkenasi and Yehnonatan Berick; pianist James Tocco; and the Avalon String Quartet.

Eduard Franck’s background in many ways paralleled that of Mendelssohn himself. He was born in 1817 to a privileged Jewish banking family in Breslau that entertained the luminaries of the age: Heine, Humboldt, the Mendelssohns and Wagner. An accomplished pianist, prolific composer and renowned teacher, his professional circle overlapped with that of Mendelssohn and included the Schumanns and Chopin.

“I am honored to be part of the revival of such a worthy composer, and to rectify an unfortunate historical omission,” says Yehuda Hanani, who was introduced to first editions of Franck’s chamber music scores by his descendants in Germany. “Whether because he published his works late in life, or because a post-Enlightenment anti-Semitism contributed to the neglect of his output, his is a voice that should be heard.” Mr. Hanani was also part of the revival of the eccentric-mystic Charles-Valentin Alkan, and made the first recording ever of his monumental cello/piano work Sonate de Concert, and was at the center of the re-discovery of the music of avant-gardist Leo Ornstein, whose cello/piano sonata he recorded for Koch International.

According to Hanani, “Franck’s eloquent and elegantly-crafted music gives a broader scope, deepens our understanding of the Zeitgeist that produced the German Romantic composers preceding Brahms and Strauss, and provides a glimmer of chromaticism and what was to follow. Hearing his music, there’s an immediate flash of recognition as to where he fits in. In addition to the tremendous artistic satisfaction, there is also the thrill of reinstating a valuable figure who has been unjustly sidelined and is now beginning to receive his due.”

The newly-discovered Franck works will be framed by the “other” Mendelssohn Trio, in C minor; Clara Schumann’s Three Romances for Violin and Piano; Chopin’s darkly romantic Cello Sonata; Robert Schumann’s Piano Quartet; and solo piano works by Fanny Mendelssohn to demonstrate the affinities and gestalt of this group. “The idea is to recreate for these two evenings the intimate atmosphere of the 19th century salon, of which Close Encounters With Music is a modern-day version,” says Hanani.

Celebrating Mendelssohn I & II, will be repeated during the 2009 season in Cincinnati, the Berkshires, Scottsdale, and at the Great Lakes Festival in Michigan.

TICKETS AND LOCATION

Merkin Concert Hall
Goodman House
129 West 67th Street
New York, NY 10023
www.merkinconcerthall.org
Box Office: (212) 501-3330

THE PERFORMERS

James Tocco
“…Has the big technique and the expansive temperament … A knockout performance in which the musical values were not overshadowed by the keyboard pyrotechnics. Mr. Tocco took the piece to the limit…The final fugue was built with perfect logic, but logic did not prevent it from exploding in a grandly Romantic style…” —The New York Times

Catapulted to prominence as a student of Claudio Arrau and first-prize winner in the ARD International Munich Competition when he replaced Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli as soloist with the Vienna Festival, pianist James Tocco enjoys an international career, performing with the most notable orchestras and conductors of our day. He has appeared with the Cleveland and Minnesota orchestras; the Berlin, London, Hong Kong and Munich philharmonics, and London, Houston, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Detroit, Chicago, National and NHK (Japan) symphonies. Regarded as a supreme exponent of American music, he has recorded the music of Bernstein, Corigliano, MacDowell, and Charles Tomlinson Griffes to great critical acclaim. He is Eminent Scholar/Artist in Residence at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, and a faculty member at the Manhattan School of Music as well as artistic director of the Great Lakes Chamber Music Festival.

Shmuel Ashkenasi
“A masterly technique. Warm, clear and strong.”—The Japan Times

Founder and first violinist of the Vermeer Quartet, Shmuel Ashkenasi captured top prizes at the 1962 Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow, the Merriweather Post Competition in Washington, and the Queen Elizabeth Competition in Belgium. As a soloist he has toured the Soviet Union and concretizes each year throughout Europe, Israel and the Far East, performing with American orchestras such as the Philadelphia, Boston, Chicago, National, Atlanta, and Los Angeles philharmonics, as well as those of Berlin, Hamburg, Munich, Zurich, Rotterdam, Geneva and Stockholm. Among his solo recordings are the Paganini Violin Concertos with the Vienna Symphony for Deutsche Grammophon. He holds posts of Professor of Violin in Lubeck, Germany, and Roosevelt University’s Chicago College of Performing Arts and serves on the faculty of the Curtis Institute.

Yehuda Hanani
“One of the most polished performers of the post-Starker generation, and a consistently expressive artist.”—The New York Times

Yehuda Hanani has performed as a soloist with the Chicago, Philadelphia, Baltimore, St. Paul Chamber, Berlin Radio, Israel Philharmonic, Puerto Rico, BBC Welsh, Irish National, Jerusalem, Lithuanian Chamber, and Seoul symphony orchestras, among others, and he is a frequent guest at numerous festivals in the United States, Europe and Australia. Hanani has collaborated with music luminaries such as Aaron Copland, Leon Fleisher, Itzhak Perlman, Christoph Eschenbach, and David Robertson, and he has commissioned, premiered and recorded numerous works by leading contemporary composers. Professor of cello at Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, Hanani has released CDs of Vivaldi and Bach that have become best-selling standard setters. His recording for Naxos of three American cello concertos (Virgil Thomson, William Schuman, William Perry) will be released in August.

Yehonatan Berick
“Delicate balance and subtlety…combined with Devil-may-care expression and dynamism”—Detroit Free Press

Yehonatan Berick, soloist, recitalist, chamber musician (violin and viola), and pedagogue, was a prizewinner at the 1993 Naumburg Competition and a recipient of the 1996-97 Montreal Prix Opus. He has performed with the Quebec, Winnipeg, Jerusalem, and Haifa symphonies, and the Israel, Cincinnati, Montreal, and Manitoba chamber orchestras. He has appeared in recital with such pianists as James Tocco, Louis Lortie, and Stephen Prutsman, and has collaborated in chamber music performances with artists including members of the Guarneri Quartet. Berick’s festival credits include Marlboro, Ravinia, Seattle, Great Lakes, Moritzburg, Strings in the Mountains and Bowdoin, and he is a member of Musicians from Marlboro, the Lortie-Berick-Lysy Piano Trio and the Huberman String Quartet.

Avalon String Quartet
“One of the most exciting young string quartets in America”—The Washington Post

Formed in 1995 at the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival, the Avalon Quartet came to the fore after participating in Isaac Stern’s Chamber Music Workshop at Carnegie Hall in 1997, which led to invitations to perform at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall and Stern’s Chamber Music Encounters in Jerusalem. They are top-prize winners of the ARD Munich Competition Concert Artists Guild, and the Newport Chamber Music Festival’s Channel Classics Prize led to their critically acclaimed recording Dawn To Dusk. They are in residence at Northern Illinois University, a position formerly occupied by the distinguished Vermeer Quartet and perform annually in Chicago and DeKalb, as well as at Alice Tully, the 92nd St Y and Carnegie Hall in New York; the Library of Congress in Washington, DC; at Caramoor, Mostly Mozart and Ravinia festivals; and at the La Jolla Chamber Music Society and the Isabella Gardner Museum.

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, Lera Auerbach, Kenji Bunch, John Musto, among others—to create important new works that have already taken their place in the chamber music canon. A core of brilliant performers includes pianists James Tocco, Adam Neiman, Walter Ponce and Emma Tahmizian; violinists Shmuel Ashkenasi, Yehonatan Berick, Vadim Gluzman and Toby Appel; harpsichordist Lionel Party; clarinetists Alexander Fiterstein, Charles Neidich; vocalists Amy Burton, Jennifer Aylmer, Robert White, Lucille Beer and William Sharp; the Vermeer, Amernet, Muir, Manhattan, Avalon, Hugo Wolf 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.

“Great music played with great heart.”—Berkshire Eagle

“There’s a palpable mystique about these Close Encounters concerts.”—Berkshire Eagle

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

“The Close Encounters classical music series is well known for its adventurous, innovative programming. Artistic Director Yehuda Hanani struck gold….The performers were rewarded with a highly enthusiastic ovation.”— WAMC Northeast Radio

“Must see concerts…the mind-and heart-engaging Close Encounters With Music Series!”— Berkshire Living

Logo

APRIL 12, 2008

(SCOTTSDALE, Ariz.) – Close Encounters With Music will present Transcendental Night on April 12, 2008, at 8 p.m. at Theater 4301 in downtown Scottsdale. The series is underwritten by The Richard and Deborah Felder Foundation.

Single tickets are available for $25 from the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts Web site at www.scottsdaleperformingarts.org or the box office at (480) 994-ARTS (2787).

Close Encounters With Music brings together sublime chamber music, distinguished performers and musical commentary, all in the intimate setting of Theater 4301. Transcendental Night features acclaimed pianist Walter Ponce, violinist Yehonatan Berick and cellist Yehuda Hanani performing a program that explores mysticism and timelessness in music. The recital includes Beethoven’s Ghost Trio, Rachmaninoff’s Trio Elegiaque, piano works by Franz Liszt and Alexander Scriabin and the world premiere of Jorge Martin’s Recuerda (To Remember) for solo cello. A reception with the artists will follow the performance.

Internationally acclaimed pianist Walter Ponce has been heard in the most important concert halls of every major city of North and South America as well as in Europe, Japan, Korea and Africa. He came to the United States at age 17 on a Fulbright grant, receiving a Master’s and doctorate from The Juilliard School, where he was one of three students chosen to study with Vladimir Horowitz. Ponce is now professor and head of the piano area at UCLA.

A prize winner at the 1993 Naumburg Competition and a recipient of the 1996–97 Prix Opus, violinst Yehonatan Berick is a soloist, recitalist, chamber musician and pedagogue. He has performed with symphony orchestras and at leading festivals world-wide. Currently professor of violin at the University of Michigan, he can be heard on recordings on the Summit, Gasparo and Helicon labels. 

The founder and artistic director of the Close Encounters With Music chamber series, Yehuda Hanani has performed as a soloist with numerous symphony orchestras, and he is a frequent guest at festivals in the United States, Europe and Australia. He has collaborated with music luminaries such as Aaron Copland, Leon Fleisher and Itzhak Perlman, and he has commissioned, premiered and recorded numerous works by leading contemporary composers. Professor of cello at Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, Hanani has released CDs of Vivaldi and Bach that have become best-selling standard setters.

Jorge Martin is the recipient of an American Academy of Arts and Letters’ Academy Award in Music and a Cintas Fellowship in Music (for distinguished creative artists of Cuban descent). His works have been performed across the United States and Europe, and he has received numerous commissions, including two from Close Encounters With Music.

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 Artistic Director Yehuda Hanani puts the composers and their times in perspective to enrich the concert experience. He is joined by familiar musicians from the Close Encounters roster of artists as well as brilliant newcomers.

For additional information about Close Encounters With Music and featured artists please visit www.cewm.org.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
Accommodations for the artists are graciously provided by The Ritz Carlton, Phoenix. The Steinway piano is available to the series through the generosity of Steinway of Phoenix. Cookies for the reception are generously provided by AJ’s Fine Foods.

LOCATION AND PARKING
Theater 4301 is located in the Galleria Corporate Centre at 4301 Scottsdale Road on the corner of Drinkwater Boulevard and Fifth Avenue in downtown Scottsdale, one block east of Scottsdale Road. Free parking is available in the Galleria Corporate Centre parking garage.

STUDENT DISCOUNTS
Students with valid student identification may purchase half-price tickets (subject to availability; limit one per student) 72 hours before any performance at the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts box office. Tickets must be purchased in-person; phone orders are not accepted.

Photograph of Charles Coe

FEBRUARY 22, 2021

Photograph of Charles Coe

Close Encounters With Music and The Mount present Charles Coe and Berkshire poets Michelle Gillett and Leslie Harrison at Edith Wharton’s Estate and Gardens Saturday, November 12 at 4 PM. Recognized by Boston Magazine as “one of the finest poets in a place that has more than its share,” Charles Coe is known for his powerful readings and unusually warm and compassionate voice, and for poems that speak to the heart and mind as well as the ear. Combining subjects as diverse as African-American history, myth, jazz, and family, Coe offers poems personal and about music—written for Ella Fitzgerald, Charlie Mingus, and other music greats. He is the winner of the Massachusetts Cultural Council Poetry Fellowship and author of the collection Picnic on the Moon. A jazz and popular vocalist, he travels widely to perform and record his poetry.

The Boston Phoenix describes Charles Coe as “a poet’s poet, a kind of jazzy, postmodern Ben Jonson: bold, plain diction; soulful, improvised swirls in a matrix of straight-ahead narrative; understated, but shimmering with wit, compassion, integrity of purpose…” Tickets for this event are $15. Refreshments courtesy of Chocolate Springs are included following the reading.

Winner of an Artist Fellowship in Poetry from the Massachusetts Cultural Council, Coe now coordinates the Council’s literature and music grant programs. His work has appeared in numerous literary reviews and magazines. A volume of his poetry, Picnic on the Moon, has been published by Leapfrog Press. Charles Coe also appears on two spoken-word CDs: Get Ready for Boston, a collection of stories and songs about Boston neighborhoods, and on One Side of the River, an anthology of Cambridge and Somerville poets. In addition to poetry, he writes feature articles and book reviews that have appeared in publications such as Harvard Magazine, The Boston Phoenix, and The Boston Globe. He is co-chair of the Boston Chapter of the National Writers Union—a labor union for freelance writers.

Michelle Gillett won the Backwaters Press Poetry Prize for Blinding the Goldfinches, selected by Hayden Carruth and published in 2005. She has won poetry awards from the Massachusetts Cultural Council and recently published work in Upstreet, Salamander, The Comstock Review, Southern Poetry Review and Orion. She received an M.F.A. from Warren Wilson College.

Leslie Harrison’s debut book of poems, Displacement, won the 2008 Bakeless prize in poetry and was published by Mariner Books, a division of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, in July of 2009. She holds graduate degrees from The Johns Hopkins University and the University of California, Irvine. Her poems have been widely published in journals and anthologies. Ms. Harrison was the Philip Roth Resident in Poetry at Bucknell University for the fall of 2010 and was awarded a 2011 Fellowship in Literature from the National Endowment for the Arts. She resides in the Berkshires.

“Picnic with Poets” is part of a series of intimate and stimulating conversations about music and ideas is an intrinsic part of the Close Encounters With Music season. “Conversations With…” has presented such notable speakers as writer, editor and Bob Dylan biographer Seth Rogovoy; composer, National Endowment grantee and Guggenheim fellow Judith Zaimont; pianist-authors Walter Ponce and Adam Neiman; Emmy Award-winning animator, illustrator, cartoonist and children’s book author R.O. Blechman; art restorer David Bull; Academy Award nominee Daniel Anker; scholar/performer/multimedia artist Robert Winter; and former Yankee, author and sportscaster Jim Bouton.

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 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, Lera Auerbach, Jorge Martin, John Musto, 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 includes pianists James Tocco, Adam Neiman, Walter Ponce and Jeffrey Swann; violinists Shmuel Ashkenasi, Yehonatan Berick, Vadim Gluzman and Toby Appel; harpsichordist Lionel Party; clarinetists Alexander Fiterstein, Charles Neidich; vocalists Dawn Upshaw, Amy Burton, Jennifer Aylmer, Robert White, Lucille Beer and William Sharp; the Vermeer, Amernet, Muir, Manhattan, Avalon, Hugo Wolf quartets, and Cuarteto Latinamericano; 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.

ABOUT THE MOUNT

The Mount is the turn-of-the-century home that Edith Wharton designed and built in Lenox, MA, based on the precepts outlined in her 1897 book The Decoration of Houses, co-authored with architect Ogden Codman, Jr. A perfect example of the newly dawned American Renaissance, the classical revival house and its formal gardens represent the only full expression of Wharton’s architectural and landscape architectural theories. Only five percent of National Historic Landmarks are dedicated to women, and The Mount is one of them.