Fireworks Conductor and Snow

DECEMBER 8, 2020

Close Encounters With Music and its educational arm, Berkshire High Peaks Festival, invite classical music enthusiasts around the globe to ring in the New Year with a three-day session for pianists, string players, vocalists and lay audiences, sending a message of fortitude and meeting the challenges of COVID-19 with optimism and purpose.

Established twelve years ago as a summer destination for internationally acclaimed musicians and stars of tomorrow in scenic upstate New York and the Berkshires of Massachusetts, High Peaks was conducted entirely virtually in July 2020, with the participation of forty-six international students and twelve faculty members presenting over 22 events and webinars with outstanding success—also in forging a sense of a musical community and camaraderie from across continents.

The January “reunion” is designed to alleviate a sense of professional isolation, to counter the uncertainty and the void the pandemic has created with concrete suggestions and recommendations, stimulating master classes, panel discussions and advice from wellness specialists. The intention is to maintain the high level of excitement that has been a hallmark of twelve years of summer residencies.

“We want to keep the flames of passion and commitment, dedication and love for our chosen profession blazing,” says founder and Artistic Director Yehuda Hanani. “We are finding ways to relieve the loneliness that has been imposed on us, which is especially grievous in light of the diminished opportunities to collaborate in person with fellow performers. This will be a celebration of possibilities and achievements of alumni and faculty.

Events planned for the mini-festival include:

• Distinguished professionals will recount how they are coping, overcoming, and staying productive. These include first cellist of the Buenos Aires Philharmonic, Diego Fainguersch; chamber music instructor at Hanns Eisler Conservatory in Berlin, Wayne Foster Smith; cello instructor at the Thelma Yellin School of the Arts in Tel Aviv, Chagit Glaser; and versatile classical/Jazz pianist Mikael Darmanie. All are former students of Mr. Hanani at the Peabody Conservatory and the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. Each will reflect on what has changed, how music schools and organizations are functioning, and what the future looks like in their parts of the world.

• International director Crystal Manich, whose work of over 60 full-scale productions in opera, plays and musical theater has been seen worldwide, and whose recent work during Covid-19 includes Cosi fan tutte for Pittsburgh Opera with masks and social distancing for streaming, will offer tips for virtual auditions and performances – “Classical Music and Practices for the Digital Realm.”

• Master classes with festival faculty: pianist Alexander Shtarkman (Peabody Conservatory); violinists Irina Muresanu (University of Maryland) and Peter Zazofsky (Boston University); cellist Yehuda Hanani (Mannes School of Music); Metropolitan Opera soprano Danielle Talamantes; baritone Kerry Wilkerson (George Mason University) and more!

• “The Art of Interpretation” – a talk by Yehuda Hanani that applies to all of the performance arts, addressing the wonder of classical music and how it is kept dazzlingly alive through the prism of every age.

• Dr. Arnold Cohen and Dr. Mark Cannon, both psychiatrists and musicians, will offer morale-boosting advice on how to turn the challenges of Covid-19 into opportunities for personal and professional growth.

• How to Maintain Your String Instrument during the winter of Covid with violinmaker Francis Morris

A full schedule for January 3, 4 and 5 happenings will be posted on the festival website prior to January 1 – http://www.berkshirehighpeaksmusic.org/ The entire festival reunion is FREE and open to ALL.

Photographs of Performing Artists

SEPTEMBER 17, 2020

Embarking on its 29th year of presenting outstanding chamber music with lively commentary, the Berkshires’ premier chamber music organization Close Encounters With Music embraces its second quarter-century with a new season of chamber music treasures and discoveries, world-renowned musicians and extraordinary new faces, original programming of classical, contemporary and cutting-edge music—streamed online throughout the fall to meet the challenges facing live performing arts. The continuation of the regular in-person Season 2021 is pending COVID-19 developments.

“Even under the most dire of circumstances, throughout history, the need for music never stopped. We are resolute and happy to provide performances virtually as a reminder of the richness and beauty that life should offer,” says Artistic Director Yehuda Hanani. “I’m elated to be reunited with my friends and colleagues on the stage of the Mahaiwe and to share the bounty of Beethoven, Brahms, Boulanger, etc. online with not only our customary audiences, but also with an expanded public that defies geography. We’re grateful to those who are donating to this Autumn Series making it possible to offer these performances without ticket revenue.”

Close Encounters With Music will partner with the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center and Classical WMHT-FM to present the series of three concerts October through December filmed live from the Mahaiwe stage and available for everyone to access—with the illuminating and personal insights from artistic director Hanani that audiences have enjoyed for over twenty-eight years, plus an “Afterglow” chat with guest musicians.

CEWM 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 the August 2nd live-streamed concert, “From Bach to Bachianas,” a guitar/cello recital featuring Eliot Fisk and Yehuda Hanani on stage in an empty Mahaiwe theater. Videos of festival presentations and more are available on the Close Encounters With Music YouTube Channel.

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 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, Thea Musgrave, Lera Auerbach, 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 includes: pianists, Roman Rabinovich, Soyeon Kate Lee, 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, 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 Richard Chamberlain, Sam Waterston, 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, MA, 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 virtually July 20-31 with over 20 free concerts, talks and masterclasses available to audiences everywhere: www.berkshirehighpeaksmusic.org

Photograph of Eliot Fisk and Yehuda Hanani Playing Music

JULY 27, 2020

Great Barrington, Mass.— Close Encounters With Music and the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center are partnering to present a free virtual recital, From Bach to Bachianas, with guitarist Eliot Fisk and cellist Yehuda Hanani, Sunday, August 2 at 5:30pm. The performance will be streamed live from the Mahaiwe stage to Facebook. Information can be found on mahaiwe.org.

“The Mahaiwe has been our home in the Berkshires from the day it opened as a performance venue, and we have been the chamber music series in residence,” says Close Encounters With Music’s Hanani. “The Close Encounters With Music family — our audience members and artists — cherish the beautiful and elegant hall and we miss our sense of community and the Afterglow receptions on stage. We eagerly look forward to resuming presentations with true ‘close encounters’ with our loyal audience. Playing on the familiar stage with Eliot Fisk, we hope to send a message of hope through the gift of music.”

“I am delighted that we are able to partner with Close Encounters With Music to have these two masterful and acclaimed musicians filling the acoustically generous space inside the Mahaiwe with sound,” says Acting Executive Director Janis Martinson. “For both of our audiences, we hope this online concert will feel like a homecoming.”

The program includes works by Schubert, Gabriel Fauré, Villa-Lobos, Ernesto Lecuona, Cesar Cui, J. S. Bach and Vittorio Monti’s Gypsy Czardas. All are original arrangements by the two performers.

The guitar, the most prominent instrument of the Renaissance, and the cello, which had its flowering in the 19th century, will blend sonorities of plucked and bowed strings. The two performers have appeared together for over a decade across the U.S. (Phoenix, Chicago, Aspen, The Frick Collection in NYC), bringing together their combined mastery, superb musicianship and strong musical profiles, as well as their embrace of many styles, composers and periods to enrich possibilities for their respective instruments. Their collaborative CD, “Songs Without Words” on Albany Records, was warmly welcomed as a successful new genre:

“The thought of the cello as respresenting the human voice is brought out beautifully in these arrangements, made with taste and played with love.” (American Record Guide)

“By the time we reach the first Spanish-flavored selection in this generous cello-and-guitar duet program, anyone will be won over by how successful the combination is. …In short, a superb CD…Highly recommended for lovers of the cello, guitar, and songs in general.” (Fanfare)

Known worldwide for his adventurous repertoire and willingness to take art music into unusual venues (logging camps and prisons!), Eliot Fisk has performed to dazzling critical and public acclaim in recital, as soloist with major orchestras and in a wide variety of chamber music combinations, including a command performance for President Bill Clinton and King Juan Carlos of Spain. He has expanded the repertoire for the guitar through countless transcriptions and through commissions from leading composers as varied as Luciano Berio, William Bolcom and George Rochberg. Fisk is the last student of the legendary Andres Segovia, and was awarded the Cruz of Isabel la Catolica for his service to the cause of Spanish music.

Yehuda Hanani is 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, Irish National Symphony, Buenos Aires Philharmonic, Jerusalem Symphony, Belgrade Philharmonic and Taipei and Seoul symphonies, among many others. His pioneering recording of the monumental Alkan Cello Sonata received a Grand Prix du Disque nomination, and his other discs have won wide recognition. His engaging chamber music with commentary series, Close Encounters With Music, has captivated audiences from Miami to Kansas City, Omaha, Calgary, Scottsdale, and the Berkshires.

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.

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 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, Thea Musgrave, Lera Auerbach, 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 includes: pianists, Roman Rabinovich, Soyeon Kate Lee, 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, 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 Richard Chamberlain, Sam Waterston, 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, MA, 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 virtually July 20-31 with over 20 free concerts, talks and masterclasses available to audiences everywhere: www.berkshirehighpeaksmusic.org

Yehuda Hanani sitting with Cello

JULY 24, 2020

Berkshire High Peaks Festival is a 10-day summer intensive for cellists, violinists, violists and pianists that began 11 years ago as Catskill High Peaks Festival in Hunter, N.Y. and Tannersville, N.Y. Two years ago, this international gathering of music professionals and students relocated to Berkshire School in Sheffield, which had been home of Berkshire Choral Festival (now Berkshire Choral International) for more than three decades, beginning in 1982.

This year, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, High Peaks’ open-to-the-public master classes, lectures and concerts — which began July 22 and run through July 31 — have gone from in-person to virtual. Events can be accessed via Zoom and YouTube. Complete registration information and links are available at berkshirehighpeaksmusic.org.

The summer operation is under the wing of Close Encounters With Music and its founding artistic director, Yehuda Hanani.

Close Encounters With Music is primarily a fall-winter-spring series of chamber music concerts with commentary presented at two Great Barrington venues: Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center and St. James Place.

Hanani is a cellist who has performed in a variety of chamber ensembles, special collaborations, and as soloist with, among others, Chicago Symphony, Philadelphia Orchestra, Baltimore Symphony, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, Berlin Radio Orchestra, Israel Philharmonic, BBC Welsh Symphony, and Jerusalem Symphony. Beyond his accomplishments with the cello, Hanani is an essayist, teacher, and host of a weekly broadcast/podcast on WAMC-FM. This year he joins the faculty of the Mannes School of Music in New York.

In this Take Five, he talks about High Peaks and making music.

1. What led you to establish High Peaks 11 seasons ago? How did it come together?

I was on the faculty of many music festivals at the time — Aspen, Bowdoin, Great Lakes, Round Top, Great Wall, China, etc. and was also directing a festival in Taiwan. When I was approached by a group of students to continue our conservatory work informally over the summer, this was meant to be personal, non-institutional, with shared meals, hikes and enjoying the beauty of the Hudson Valley and Berkshires as a backdrop to serious immersion. We began with strings, added piano, and recently a vocal department, but have managed to retain the spontaneity and freshness of our origins. We held early sessions in Hunter and Tannersville, hosted by the Catskill Mountain Foundation, then moved to the beautiful Carey Center for Global Good in Rensselaerville, N.Y. Two years ago, at the request of board members of Close Encounters With Music, we moved our base to the Berkshire School campus in Sheffield, and were scheduled to be there again this summer before the pandemic struck. It has become the educational initiative of Close Encounters, and we currently have 46 students, despite COVID-19.

2. What were the particular challenges in taking High Peaks virtual this summer?

The technology is far from perfect for large presentations. Obviously, not being together in one location presents many hurdles. We’re in numerous time zones, and for instance, with the 13-hour time difference, the only time our faculty can teach students in Korea is late at night. And there is no possibility for s’mores by the fire at night. … Since chamber music is at the heart of what we do, we have had to abandon (the time lag makes felicitous ensemble playing an impossibility) sonatas, trios, etc. and concentrate on solo repertoire. Our vocalists, though, have prerecorded piano accompaniment segments. What the public sees that appears to be musicians playing together in unison, is actually a pastiche put together by engineers who lend the videos an illusion of reality. To sum up, what’s missing is human contact! Instead, we substituted additional lessons and packed the 10 days with stimulating talks and master classes by composer Joan Tower, supreme guitarist Eliot Fisk, former members of the Kronos and Cleveland quartets, etc. There are over 22 public presentations. And I have to salute our remarkable faculty, which includes violinists Peter Zazofsky and Irina Muresanu; Met soprano Danielle Talamantes; former Chautauqua opera director Jay Lesenger, and other towering musicians.

3. What do you hope people will find in High Peaks and what would you hope they will take away from a High Peaks experience?

A passion for their future profession, resilience, problem-solving skills, original thinking and belief in a better tomorrow.

4. In addition to being artistic director of High Peaks and Close Encounters With Music, you are a cellist. So, what are the particular rewards, the satisfactions in making music both as an artistic director and as an instrumentalist?

They are all one and the same: communicating this most abstract of art forms and sharing the magic of the transformation of sounds into meaning.

5. What do you like to do in your off-hours to relax, when you’re not making music?

I’m quite an accomplished baker, using exotic flours like coconut, amaranth, buckwheat, etc. We’re surrounded by plants — indoors and outdoors — so taking care of the Segalyana palms, the bougainvillea, sorrel, etc. is part or the routine. And I’m a voracious reader. When I’m not actively practicing, rehearsing, corresponding with students around the world, I can be found dreaming up new artistic adventures, connecting music, art and history to tantalize our CEWM audiences.

Photographs of the Performing Artists

FEBRUARY 13, 2020

(Great Barrington…) The greatest period of creativity among French composers coincides with the emergence of Impressionist art. Attempting to define that French “je ne sais quoi” is as elusive as describing a bottle of Château Petrus.  But, as exemplified by the music of Fauré (Piano Quartet No. 1), Debussy (the prophetically daring cello Sonate), Saint-Saëns (Rondo Capriccioso) and Lili Boulanger (D’un matin de printemps), tension between elegance, restraint and intense fervor is a hallmark of the French aesthetic. There is passion, powerful emotion and a remarkable level of concentration. The mood is sensuous, pleasure-oriented, delicately colored and shimmering with élan.  Refinement is balanced with brilliant instrumental display in what is one of Fauré’s rare virtuoso pieces, in Saint-Saëns’ violin showpiece and Debussy’s 1918 captivating master work for cello. For sheer glamour and artistic vitality, late-19th and early 20th century Paris has not been surpassed and gave rise to lasting new isms and musical portraitists who created some of the best loved classical music of today. It’s the magic that was Paris. 

Rachel Lee Priday, violin; Dov Scheindlin, viola; Mikael Darmanie, piano; Yehuda Hanani, cello

In the Close Encounters With Music tradition, each performance is followed by an AFTERGLOW reception, with hors d’oeuvres and wine provided by local restaurants.

ABOUT THE ARTISTS: 

Yehuda Hanani’s charismatic cello playing and profound interpretations bring him acclaim and re-engagements around 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, Irish National Symphony, Buenos Aires Philharmonic, Honolulu Symphony, Jerusalem Symphony, Lithuanian Chamber Orchestra, I Solisti Zagreb, and Taipei and Seoul symphonies, among others. He has been a guest at Aspen, Bowdoin, Chautauqua, Marlboro, Yale at Norfolk, Round Top (TX), Great Lakes, and Grand Canyon festivals, Finland Festival, Great Wall (China), Leicester (England), Ottawa, Prades (France), Oslo, and Australia Chamber Music festivals, and has collaborated in performances with preeminent fellow musicians, including Leon Fleisher, Aaron Copland, Christoph Eschenbach, David Robertson, Vladimir Fedoseyev, Itzhak Perlman, Julian Rachlin, Vadim Repin, Dawn Upshaw, Shlomo Mintz, Yefim Bronfman, Eliot Fisk, the Tokyo, Escher, Vermeer, Muir, Lark, Avalon and Manhattan quartets, as well as members of the Cleveland, Juilliard, Borromeo, and Emerson. In New York City, Yehuda Hanani has appeared as soloist at Carnegie Hall, the 92nd Street Y, Alice Tully, The Frick, and at the Metropolitan Museum’s Grace Rainey Rogers Auditorium. In addition to his pioneering recordings of Charles Valentin Alkan (for which he received a Grand Prix du Disque nomination), Nikolai Miaskovsky, Leo Ornstein, and Eduard Franck, he is one of the originators of thematic programming with commentary that engages and illuminates contemporary audiences. Professor of Cello at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory and past faculty member at the Peabody Conservatory, he joins the faculty at the Mannes School of Music in New York City in 2020.

“The sonatas came bounding to life in vital interpretations rich in imaginative detail and virile strength.  Mr. Hanani was rightly rewarded with cheers from the audience.” –The New York Times                

“Soulful, fiery performance.” –The New York Times                                                                      

As a soloist, Mikael Darmanie has performed throughout the Americas, Europe, Russia and the Caribbean. Recent festival appearances have included: The Weil Institute at Carnegie, Trinity Wall Street, Prototype, Bang on a Can Marathon, Close Encounters With Music, Berkshire High Peaks Festival, Cape Cod Symphony Nth Degree, Pianofest in the Hamptons, the Mozarteum, Mainly Mozart, and L’Acadèmie de Musique de Sion, to name a few. As a member of the Warp Trio, he performs throughout the world in genres ranging from jazz to hip-hop, rock, fusion and electronic music.and as a DJ. In his travels he regularly presents masterclasses and workshops in classical music and in various forms of improvisation. Since his debut as a conductor with the Carolina Chamber Symphony in 2008, he has performed throughout the U.S., conducting various piano concerti from the keyboard and symphonic works. Also a composer, his works have been performed in the U. S., Europe and Russia; and he has been a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellow. He is currently pursuing a doctorate degree at SUNY Stony Brook under the guidance of Gilbert Kalish.

Violinist Rachel Lee Priday is a passionate and inquisitive explorer in all her musical ventures, in search of contemporary relevance when performing the standard violin repertoire, and in discovering and commissioning new works. Her wide-ranging repertoire and eclectic programming reflect a deep fascination with literary and cultural narratives. She has appeared as soloist with major international orchestras, including the Chicago, Saint Louis, Houston, Seattle, Buffalo and National Symphony Orchestras, the Boston Pops, and the Berlin Staatskapelle, and with orchestras in Graz, Austria, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Korea, where she performed with the KBS Symphony, Seoul Philharmonic and Russian State Symphony Orchestra on tour. Recital appearances have brought her to eminent venues including the Mostly Mozart Festival at Lincoln Center, Musée du Louvre, Verbier Festival, Ravinia Festival and Dame Myra Hess Memorial Series in Chicago, and tours of South Africa and the UK. Recent seasons have seen a new violin sonata commissioned from Pulitzer Prize Finalist Christopher Cerrone and the premiere of Matthew Aucoin’s “The Orphic Moment” in an innovative staging that mixed poetry, drama, visuals, and music. Rachel has collaborated with Ballet San Jose, and was lead performer in Tchaikovsky: None But The Lonely Heart during a week-long theatrical concert with Ensemble for the Romantic Century at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM). Her work as soloist with the Asia America New Music Institute promoted new music relationships and cultural exchange between Asia and the Americas, combining new music premieres and educational outreach in the US, China, Korea and Vietnam. Ms. Priday began her violin studies at the age of four in Chicago. Shortly thereafter, she moved to New York to study with Dorothy DeLay, and continued at the Juilliard School Pre-College Division with Itzhak Perlman. She holds a B.A. degree in English from Harvard University and an M.M. from New England Conservatory, where she studied with Miriam Fried. As of Fall 2019, she serves as Assistant Professor of Violin at the University of Washington School of Music. She has been profiled in The New Yorker, Los Angeles Times, Family Circle Magazine, and The Strad. Praised by the Chicago Tribune for her “irresistible panache,” Rachel Lee Priday enthralls audiences with her riveting stage presence and “rich, mellifluous sound.” She performs on a Nicolo Gagliano violin (Naples, 1760) double-purfled with fleurs-de-lis, named Alejandro.

Acclaimed by the New York Times as an “extraordinary violist” of “immense flair,” Dov Scheindlin is a member of Orpheus Chamber Orchestra and an associate member of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra. He has also been violist of the Arditti, Penderecki and Chester String Quartets. His chamber music career has brought him to 28 countries around the globe and won him the Siemens Prize in 1999. He has appeared as soloist with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra of Amsterdam, the Radio Symphony Orchestra of Berlin, the Paris Radio Philharmonic Orchestra and the Munich Philharmonic. Mr. Scheindlin has recorded extensively for EMI, Teldec, Auvidis, and Mode, and won the Gramophone Award in 2002 for the Arditti Quartet’s recording of Sir Harrison Birtwistle’s Pulse Shadows. As a member of the Arditti Quartet, he gave nearly 100 world premières, among them new works by Benjamin Britten, Elliott Carter, György Kurtág, Thomas Adès and Wolfgang Rihm. He has also been broadcast on NPR, BBC, CBC, and on German, French, Swiss, Austrian, Dutch and Belgian national radio networks. Dov Scheindlin was raised in New York City, where he studied with Samuel Rhodes and William Lincer at the Juilliard School. He has taught viola and chamber music at Harvard, Wilfrid Laurier University and Tanglewood. He regularly participates in summer festivals such as Salzburg, Luzern, and Tanglewood, and has performed with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center and the Met Chamber Ensembles. His chamber music partners have included members of the Juilliard, Alban Berg, Tokyo, and Borodin String Quartets, as well as concertmasters of many major symphony orchestras. He plays a viola made by Francesco Bissolotti in 1975.

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.

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 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, 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 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 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 in cities 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, MA, as well as in Scottsdale, AZ. 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 10th year, the High Peaks Festival takes place in July-August at the Berkshire School in Sheffield, MA, 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. Each concert is framed by an introduction before the music, and is followed by an AFTERGLOW reception with an opportunity to meet the musicians. Venues include the landmark Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center and the newly renovated Saint James Place in Great Barrington. To complement the musical offerings, two guest speakers, Musician and Analyst, Melinda Haas and Neurological Researcher, Concetta Tomaino are featured in the current Conversations With…series at the Seven Hills Inn and Edith Wharton’s The Mount in Lenox, MA. 

Photographs of the Performing Artists

JANUARY 8, 2020

(Great Barrington…) Two enduring treasures of the chamber music canon lift us into the realm of the transcendent and channel the Viennese tradition: Schubert’s Trio in B flat Major and Brahms’ in B Major were both written or rewritten towards the end of the composers’ lives. Both display masterful sculpting of heavenly melodies coupled with passion and heady romanticism.  Brahms makes use of the piano to create a symphonic sweep, and is in the best of hands with pianist Max Levinson (“Brilliant…He uses his wide spectrum of pianistic mechanics for altogether poetic ends, touching the listener deeply and often”—Los Angeles Times), violinist Peter Zazofsky and cellist Yehuda Hanani (“The sonatas came bounding to life in vital interpretations rich in imaginative detail and virile strength….Rightly rewarded with cheers from the audience.”—New York Times).  Schubert’s trio, despite having been written in the difficult last year of his life, conveys triumph and tenderness.  

As Robert Schumann aptly wrote, “One glance at Schubert’s trio and the troubles of our existence vanish, the world takes on fresh luster.” 

“What unites the two trios, apart from celestial melodies, grandeur, joy, mystery and beauty, is that they are both at the heart of Romanticism and reflect the highest achievement of Schubert and Brahms,” says Artistic Director Yehuda Hanani. “To call them epic or transformative pieces is not an overstatement!”

Max Levinson, piano; Peter Zazofsky, violin; Yehuda Hanani, cello

In the Close Encounters With Music tradition, each performance is followed by an AFTERGLOW reception, with hors d’oeuvres and wine provided by local restaurants

TICKET INFORMATION
Tickets, $52 online or by phone 800-843-0778

ABOUT THE ARTISTS: 

Yehuda Hanani’s charismatic cello playing and profound interpretations bring him acclaim and re-engagements around 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, I Solisti Zagreb, and Taipei and Seoul symphonies, among others. He has been a guest at Aspen, Bowdoin, Chautauqua, Marlboro, Yale at Norfolk, Round Top (TX), Great Lakes, and Grand Canyon festivals, Finland Festival, Great Wall (China), Leicester (England), Ottawa, Prades (France), Oslo, and Australia Chamber Music festivals, and has collaborated in performances with preeminent fellow musicians, including Leon Fleisher, Aaron Copland, Christoph Eschenbach, David Robertson, Vladimir Fedoseyev, Itzhak Perlman, Julian Rachlin, Vadim Repin, Dawn Upshaw, Shlomo Mintz, Yefim Bronfman, Eliot Fisk, the Tokyo, Escher, Vermeer, Muir, Lark, Avalon and Manhattan quartets, as well as members of the Cleveland, Juilliard, Borromeo, and Emerson. In New York City, Yehuda Hanani has appeared as soloist at Carnegie Hall, the 92nd Street Y, Alice Tully, The Frick, and at the Metropolitan Museum’s Grace Rainey Rogers Auditorium. In addition to his pioneering recordings of Charles Valentin Alkan (for which he received a Grand Prix du Disque nomination), Nikolai Miaskovsky, Leo Ornstein, and Eduard Franck, he is one of the originators of thematic programming with commentary that engages and illuminates contemporary audiences. Professor of Cello at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory and past faculty member at the Peabody Conservatory, he will join the faculty at the Mannes School of Music in New York City in 2020.

“The sonatas came bounding to life in vital interpretations rich in imaginative detail and virile strength.  Mr. Hanani was rightly rewarded with cheers from the audience.” –The New York Times                

“Soulful, fiery performance.” –The New York Times     

Pianist Max Levinson’s career was launched when he won first prize at the Guardian Dublin International Piano Competition, the first American to achieve this distinction. He was awarded the prestigious Avery Fisher Career Grant and in 2005, the Andrew Wolf Award for his chamber music playing. The Boston Globe proclaimed: “The questioning, conviction, and feeling in his playing invariably remind us of the deep reasons why music is important to us, why we listen to it, why we care so much about it.” Levinson has performed as soloist with the San Francisco Symphony, St. Louis Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Detroit Symphony, Baltimore Symphony, New World Symphony, Indianapolis Symphony, Colorado Symphony, Oregon Symphony, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, Utah Symphony, Boston Pops, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, and National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland among others. He has worked with such conductors as Robert Spano, Neemi Järvi, Uriel Segal, Joseph Swensen, Jeffrey Kahane and Alasdair Neale. Artistic Director of the San Juan Chamber Music Festival (Ouray, Colorado), he has appeared at major music festivals including Mostly Mozart, Santa Fe, Marlboro, Tanglewood, La Jolla, Bravo/Vail, Seattle, Killington, Vancouver, Cartagena, and Switzerland’s Davos Festival. Max Levinson garnered international accolades for his two recordings. Max Levinson, his debut recording, traces the musical lineage between Brahms, Schumann, Schönberg and Kirchner. American Record Guide declared Levinson’s second disc, Out of Doors: Piano Music of Béla Bartók “an important recording and a great one. The disc blew me out of my chair….Hearing performances as riveting as these produces a rare frisson; indeed, this is the most brilliant and exciting Bartók piano disc I have heard. On the basis of only two recordings, Mr. Levinson has created the myth of a pianist with everything.” He has experimented with internet broadcast, served as Artist-in-Residence at Harvard University’s Lowell House for four years, and has been featured on NPR’s “Performance Today” and “A Note to You.” He has also taught master classes at the Royal Irish Academy of Music, Harvard, MIT, Brigham Young University, Rutgers, the University of Washington, UCLA, the Colburn School, and Boston University. Mr. Levinson is chair of the Piano department at the Boston Conservatory, and is also a faculty member at the New England Conservatory.

Violinist Peter Zazofsky has enjoyed a richly varied career as a soloist, chamber musician and educator that spans thirty years and thirty countries on five continents. He has performed with many of the great orchestras in the U.S. and Europe, including the Boston Symphony, Berlin Philharmonic, Amsterdam Concertgebouw, Philadelphia Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony, Atlanta, Minnsota, and Hong Kong, collaborating with maestros Tennstedt, Ozawa, Ormandy, Kurt Sanderling and Charles Dutoit. As a recitalist, Mr. Zazofsky has given innovative programs in Carnegie Hall, Sala Cecilia Meireles in Rio de Janeiro, Palais des Beaux Arts in Brussels and the Teatro Colon in Buenos Aires. He also tours the world’s music centers as first violinist of the Muir String Quartet, for which he has performed many complete cycles of the Beethoven quartets. A native of Boston, he first studied with Joseph Silverstein before entering the Curtis Institute, where he continued with Ivan Galamian, Dorothy Delay and Jaime Laredo. Graduating in 1976, Zazofsky went on to win top prizes in several international violin contests, including the 1979 Montreal Competition and 1980 Queen Elisabeth in Brussels. He is a frequent visitor to Israel, where he has given over forty performances of concerti, from Beethoven and Sibelius to Bach, Berg and Brahms. In recent years Peter Zazofsky added several new facets to his career. He has given premieres of new works written for him by composers in Holland, Belgium, Denmark and Spain, and he recorded concerti by Robert Chumbley and Frederick van Rossum in Belgium and Poland. He has also encouraged the creation of new works by American composers Joan Tower, Sheila Silver and Richard Danielpour. Long committed to teaching, Zazofsky holds the position of Associate Professor of Violin and Chamber Music at Boston University and serves as a jury member for the violin competitions in Montreal, Brussels and Odense, Denmark.

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.

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 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, 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 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 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 in cities 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, MA, as well as in Scottsdale, AZ. 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 10th year, the High Peaks Festival takes place in July-August at the Berkshire School in Sheffield, MA, 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. Each concert is framed by an introduction before the music, and is followed by an AFTERGLOW reception with an opportunity to meet the musicians. Venues include the landmark Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center and the newly renovated Saint James Place in Great Barrington. To complement the musical offerings, two guest speakers, Musician and Analyst, Melinda Haas and Neurological Researcher, Concetta Tomaino are featured in the current Conversations With…series at the Seven Hills Inn and Edith Wharton’s The Mount in Lenox, MA. 

Photograph of the Borromeo Quartet

NOVEMBER 20, 2019

(Great Barrington, MA…) Anton Arensky’s Quartet in A Minor for two cellos, a personal tribute to his beloved friend Tchaikovsky, is considered one of the finest Russian string quartets ever written, with the second movement being a set of variations on a Tchaikovsky theme.  Meanwhile, in conversations across time, melodies ricochet from Beethoven to Arensky (as well as Mussorgsky, Rachmaninoff and Stravinsky) as Arensky paraphrases a celebratory Russian folk song associated with the coronation of the Tsar—used by Beethoven in his Quartet Op. 59 No. 2, one of the famous works commissioned by Count Razumovsky.  The quartet will be played by the charismatic Borromeo, hailed for its “edge-of-the-seat performances” by the Boston GlobeThe program also features J.S. Bach’s Four Preludes and Fugues from The Well Tempered Clavier, arranged for string quartet. Yehuda Hanani joins in Arensky’s best known work to enhance the remarkably rich, deeper sonorities of Russian liturgical chant.

The Borromeo String Quartet: Nicolas Kitchen, violin; Kristopher Tong, violin; Mai Motobuchi, viola; Yeesun Kim, cello, with Yehuda Hanani, cello

In the Close Encounters With Music tradition, each performance is followed by an AFTERGLOW reception, with hors d’oeuvres and wine provided by local restaurants.

TICKET INFORMATION
Tickets, $52 (Orchestra and Mezzanine), $28 (Balcony) and $15 for students at the door, are available at The Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center box office, 413-528-0100, www.mahaiwe.org

ABOUT THE ARTISTS: 

Inspiring audiences for more than 25 years, The Borromeo String Quartet continues to be a pioneer in its use of technology, and has the distinction of being the first string quartet to utilize laptop computers on the concert stage. Reading music this way helps push artistic boundaries, allowing the artists to perform solely from 4-part scores and composers’ manuscripts, a revealing experience which they now teach to students around the world.  The BSQ has been ensemble-in-residence at the New England Conservatory and Taos School of Music, as well as at the Heifetz International Music Institute, where first violinist Nicholas Kitchen is Artistic Director. The quartet was also in residence at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum for more than two decades, where it continues to regularly appear, and has worked extensively as performers and educators with the Library of Congress (highlighting both its manuscripts and instrument collections) and the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. The ensemble joined the Emerson Quartet as the 2014-15 Hittman Ensembles in Residence at the Peabody Institute in Baltimore, and also recently was in residence at Colorado State University, Kansas University, and the San Francisco Conservatory. Their presentation of the cycle of Bartók String Quartets as well as its lecture “Bartok:  Paths Not Taken,” both of which give audiences a once-in-a-lifetime chance to hear a set of rediscovered alternate movements Béla Bartók drafted for his six Quartets, has received accolades. The Quartet has collaborated with some of this generation’s most important composers, including Gunther Schuller, John Cage, György Ligeti, Steve Reich, Aaron Jay Kernis, Osvaldo Golijov, Jennifer Higdon, Steve Mackey, John Harbison, Sebastian Currier, and Leon Kirchner, and has performed on major concert stages across the globe, including Carnegie Hall, the Berlin Philharmonie, Wigmore Hall, Suntory Hall (Tokyo), the Concertgebouw, Seoul Arts Center, Shanghai Oriental Arts Center, Prague Spring Festival, and the Haydn Festival in Eisenstadt. “Nothing less than masterful” (Cleveland.com), the Borromeo Quartet has received numerous awards, including Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Career Grant and Martin E. Segal Award, and Chamber Music America’s Cleveland Quartet Award

Yehuda Hanani’s charismatic cello playing and profound interpretations bring him acclaim and re-engagements around 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, I Solisti Zagreb, and Taipei and Seoul symphonies, among others. He has been a guest at Aspen, Bowdoin, Chautauqua, Marlboro, Yale at Norfolk, Round Top (TX), Great Lakes, and Grand Canyon festivals, Finland Festival, Great Wall (China), Leicester (England), Ottawa, Prades (France), Oslo, and Australia Chamber Music festivals, and has collaborated in performances with preeminent fellow musicians, including Leon Fleisher, Aaron Copland, Christoph Eschenbach, David Robertson, Vladimir Fedoseyev, Itzhak Perlman, Julian Rachlin, Vadim Repin, Dawn Upshaw, Shlomo Mintz, Yefim Bronfman, Eliot Fisk, the Tokyo, Escher, Vermeer, Muir, Lark, Avalon and Manhattan quartets, as well as members of the Cleveland, Juilliard, Borromeo, and Emerson. In New York City, Yehuda Hanani has appeared as soloist at Carnegie Hall, the 92nd Street Y, Alice Tully, The Frick, and at the Metropolitan Museum’s Grace Rainey Rogers Auditorium. In addition to his pioneering recordings of Charles Valentin Alkan (for which he received a Grand Prix du Disque nomination), Nikolai Miaskovsky, Leo Ornstein, and Eduard Franck, he is one of the originators of thematic programming with commentary that engages and illuminates contemporary audiences. Professor of Cello at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory and past faculty member at the Peabody Conservatory, he will join the faculty at the Mannes School of Music in New York City in 2020.

“The sonatas came bounding to life in vital interpretations rich in imaginative detail and virile strength.  Mr. Hanani was rightly rewarded with cheers from the audience.” –The New York Times                “Soulful, fiery performance.” –The New York Times                                                                      

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.

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 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, 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 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 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 in cities 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, MA, as well as in Scottsdale, AZ. 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 10th year, the High Peaks Festival takes place in July-August at the Berkshire School in Sheffield, MA, 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. Each concert is framed by an introduction before the music, and is followed by an AFTERGLOW reception with an opportunity to meet the musicians. Venues include the landmark Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center and the newly renovated Saint James Place in Great Barrington. To complement the musical offerings, two guest speakers, Musician and Analyst, Melinda Haas and Neurological Researcher, Concetta Tomaino are featured in the current Conversations With…series at the Seven Hills Inn and Edith Wharton’s The Mount in Lenox, MA. 

Photographs of the Performing Artists

SEPTEMBER 9, 2020

(Great Barrington, MA…) Embarking on its 28th year of presenting outstanding chamber music with lively commentary, the Berkshires’ premier chamber music organization Close Encounters With Music, launches 2019-20 with the much anticipated North American premiere of Kohelet (Ecclesiastes) for four cellos, narrated by star of film, stage and television Sam Waterston on Sunday, October 27 at 5 PM. 

“For every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.”  These famous words underscore some of the lessons of this sometimes perplexing and always intriguing volume of the Bible’s Wisdom Literature, which ushers us into the inner chambers of the author’s—traditionally said to be King Solomon—philosophical wrestlings with the deepest universal issues of life.  Certainly, it is a time for music, with Hajdu’s mesmerizing score that highlights the timelessness of the text, and with the autumnal season awakening reflections on the cycle of life and death. (The writer’s conclusion is that we must find the intrinsic value of the present!) Sam Waterston takes on the role of the philosopher king, traversing the proverbs, aphorisms and familiar passages that have entered our collective lexicon. A quartet of cellos accompany, challenge and serve as a sort of Greek chorus to the questions, observations and aphorisms of the narrator.

Ecclesiastes, Latin for the Hebrew “Kohelet,” is no less than an exploration of the meaning of life and mortality, as well as an affirmation of joy and wisdom. Attributed to King Solomon, the wisest of men, Kohelet/Ecclesiastes has consistently intrigued and challenged Jewish scholars. At the same time, its proverbs, aphorisms, and poetic imagery have permeated Western culture and literature throughout history. Figures as wide-ranging as Shakespeare, Abraham Lincoln, Ernest Hemingway, Ray Bradbury, Tom Wolfe, and Pete Seeger have incorporated the iconic passages in their work.

Born in Hungary, Andre Hajdu’s early musical education was molded in the modern Hungarian style of Bartók and Kodály, with whom he also explored ethnomusicology. He later studied in Paris with Milhaud and Messiaen and befriended the playwright Samuel Beckett, who had a strong influence on Hajdu’s worldview and artistic aesthetic. Moving to Israel in 1966, the composer became interested in Jewish topics including folklore, liturgy, philosophy, and history and often interpreted Jewish themes through his music. As a teacher, he nurtured some of Israel’s foremost contemporary composers and was awarded the Israel Prize for his music. Hajdu’s innovative work defies categorization much the same as the Biblical book KOHELET that he dramatizes in this production.

Andre Hajdu’s work integrates diverse musical and cultural idioms in a way that is innovative and thoroughly original. His KOHELET combines a text rooted in ancient Jewish tradition with a contemporary musical form performed by the unusual ensemble of cello quartet, who respond to the narrator-king. KOHELET has received performances in Germany, Holland, France and Israel—and now is heard in the U.S. for the first time.


A hallmark of CEWM’s programming is its mix of cultural influences and traditions. KOHELET is an ancient Jewish scriptural text yet it has a universal relevance and has influenced Christian and secular art, literature and thought for centuries. This dramatic presentation by actor Sam Waterston will make the work accessible to a wide audience, and reveal the universalism, power and poetry of the Bible to the uninitiated as well as those familiar with the text. The translation read by Mr. Waterston will be the New Saint James.

Sam Waterston
, narrator

Yehuda Hanani
, Kivie Cahn-Lipman, Michael Nicolas, Do Yeon Kim, cello
In the Close Encounters With Music tradition, each performance is followed by an AFTERGLOW reception, with hors d’oeuvres and wine provided by local restaurants.

TICKET INFORMATION
Tickets, $62 (Orchestra and Mezzanine), $38 (Balcony) and $15 for students at the door, are available at The Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center box office, 413-528-0100, www.mahaiwe.org

ABOUT THE ARTISTS: 

Sam Waterston is an American actor, producer, and director. Among other roles, he is noted for his portrayal of Sydney Schanberg in The Killing Fields (1984), for which he received an Academy Award nomination, and his starring role as Jack McCoy on the NBC television series Law & Order (1994–2010), which brought him Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild Awards. He has been nominated for multiple Golden Globe, Screen Actors Guild, BAFTA, and Emmy awards, having starred in over eighty film and television productions during his fifty-year career.  He has also starred in numerous stage productions. AllMovie historian Hal Erickson characterized Waterston as having “cultivated a loyal following with his quietly charismatic, unfailingly solid performances.” Waterston received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2010 and was inducted into the American Theatre Hall of Fame in 2012.

Yehuda Hanani’s charismatic cello playing and profound interpretations bring him acclaim and re-engagements around 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, I Solisti Zagreb, and Taipei and Seoul symphonies, among others. He has been a guest at Aspen, Bowdoin, Chautauqua, Marlboro, Yale at Norfolk, Round Top (TX), Great Lakes, and Grand Canyon festivals, Finland Festival, Great Wall (China), Leicester (England), Ottawa, Prades (France), Oslo, and Australia Chamber Music festivals, and has collaborated in performances with preeminent fellow musicians, including Leon Fleisher, Aaron Copland, Christoph Eschenbach, David Robertson, Vladimir Fedoseyev, Itzhak Perlman, Julian Rachlin, Vadim Repin, Dawn Upshaw, Shlomo Mintz, Yefim Bronfman, the Tokyo, Vermeer, Muir, Lark, Avalon and Manhattan quartets, as well as members of the Cleveland, Juilliard, Borromeo, and Emerson. In New York City, Yehuda Hanani has appeared as soloist at Carnegie Hall, the 92nd Street Y, Alice Tully, The Frick, and at the Metropolitan Museum’s Grace Rainey Rogers Auditorium. In addition to his pioneering recordings of Charles Valentin Alkan (for which he received a Grand Prix du Disque nomination), Nikolai Miaskovsky, Leo Ornstein, and Eduard Franck, he is one of the originators of thematic programming with commentary that engages and illuminates contemporary audiences. Professor of Cello at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory and past faculty member at the Peabody Conservatory, he will join the faculty at the Mannes School of Music in New York City in 2020.

“The sonatas came bounding to life in vital interpretations rich in imaginative detail and virile strength.  Mr. Hanani was rightly rewarded with cheers from the audience.” –The New York Times            

“Soulful, fiery performance.” –The New York Times                                                                      

Dr. Kivie Cahn-Lipman holds degrees from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, The Juilliard School, and the University of Cincinnati. He is the founding cellist of the International Contemporary Ensemble—with which he performs regularly to international critical acclaim—as well as founder, lironist, and director of the baroque string band ACRONYM and gambist with the viol consort LeStrange. Kivie appears on more than forty recordings on labels including Nonesuch, Naxos, New Focus, New Amsterdam, New World, Tzadik, ArsPublica, Kairos, Mode, Tundra, Starkland, Olde Focus, Canteloupe, Stradivarius, and ECM, and his recording of the complete Cello Suites of J.S. Bach was praised for its “eloquent performances,” “fresh thinking,” and “energy and zeal” (The Strad). As a chamber musician, he has performed frequently in Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, and other major venues on four continents, as well as live on WNYC 93.9 in New York and WFMT 98.7 in Chicago. Kivie taught cello at Smith and Mount Holyoke Colleges from 2005-2012 and at The College of New Jersey from 2015-2017, and he has been on the faculty of the Cortona Sessions for New Music each summer since 2012. He joined the faculty of the Dana School of Music in 2017.

A “long-admired figure on the New York scene” (New Yorker), cellist Michael Nicolas enjoys a diverse career as a chamber musician, soloist, recording artist, and improviser. His eclectic tastes and adventurous spirit have led him to forge a musical path of uncommon breadth, where his activities range from performing the masterpieces of the past in the world’s most prestigious concert halls, to freely improvising in downtown New York’s experimental venues, to working with contemporary composers of all styles, pushing the boundaries of musical expression and meaning. He is the cellist of the intrepid and genre-defying string quartet Brooklyn Rider, which has drawn praise from classical, world music, and rock critics alike. As a member of the acclaimed International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), he has worked with countless composers from around the world, premiering and recording dozens of new works. Michael helped found the group Third Sound, which made its debut with a historic residency at the 2015 Havana Contemporary Music Festival, in Cuba. As a soloist, Michael performs recitals and concertos across the globe. His album Transitions, available on the Sono Luminus label, was named Q2 Music Album of the Week at WQXR upon release and it has since garnered critical acclaim throughout North America. His chamber music playing can also be found on the Naxos, Tzadik and Universal Korea labels. Of mixed French-Canadian and Taiwanese heritage, Michael was born in Canada and currently resides in New York City. He is a graduate of the Juilliard School.

A native of South Korea, cellist DoYeon Kim has won first prize in the Adrian Boyer Competition, the 34th Music Education Journal Competition and the Grand Rapids Federation of Musicians Madura Scholarship Competition. She has performed as a soloist with the Bayview Music Festival Orchestra and Acronym Baroque and has been a guest performer with the chamber series Close Encounters With Music in Great Barrington. International summer festivals have included The Quartet Program, Bowdoin and Aspen. Kim completed her Bachelor’s degree in Cello Performance at the University of Cincinnati in the studio of Yehuda Hanani, a Master of Music degree in Cello Performance at the Eastman School of Music in the studio of Alan Harris and is now completing a Doctor of Musical Arts degree at the University of Cincinnati as a teaching assistant. An avid chamber musician, she has worked with members of the Ying, American, Shanghai, Ariel, and Cavani quartets, and is a member of the Dante Deo Trio which was founded at the Eastman School of Music in 2012 and Miclot Production chamber society based in New York City.  Her trio was invited to play in the Lock Heaven Chamber Music series in 2016 and she played in open house concerts and annual Miclot productions in the Marjorie S.Deane Theater in New York City in 2014 and 2015. She made her New York debut at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall as first prize winner of the 2016 American Protégé International Strings and Piano Competition. She has been a scholarship fellow and music coordinator of Berkshirel High Peaks Music Festival since 2014 and now joins the faculty.

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 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, 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 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 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, MA, 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 10th year, the Berkshire High Peaks Festival takes place each July at the Berkshire School in Sheffield, MA, 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 traditional boundaries of traditional chamber music through thematic programming that embraces a range of musical idioms, styles, cultural influences, and eras. CEWM, now in its 28th 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 the newly renovated Saint James Place in Great Barrington. To complement the musical offerings, two guest speakers, Haydn scholar Caryl Clark, and composer Tamar Muskal are featured in the current Conversations With…. series. 

Photograph of Tamar Muskal

APRIL 15, 2019

(Hillsdale, NY) Undaunted by new forms or new frontiers, Tamar Muskal has written everything from pop songs to symphonies to her new opera-in-progress, set in the world of high fashion, that tells the story of Diana Vreeland and Andre Leon Talley and examines the constant rises and falls of the industry.  Her score for the historic, silent, film about the Mexican revolution, a song cycle commissioned by ASCAP and music for a documentary film about finding a cure for blindness (narrated by Robert Redford), exemplify the diverse material and platforms she uses. Her work “The Yellow Wind,” based on the novel by Israeli author David Grossman, was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. Ms. Muskal has been the recipient of many other awards from institutions such as ASCAP, Meet-the-Composer, American Music Center and the Fromm Music Foundation at Harvard University and a Guggenheim Foundation fellowship, with commissions from the 92nd Street Y and the Library of Congress as well as from orchestras and ensembles—including Close Encounters With Music!

“Conversations With…” has presented such notable cultural personages as writer, editor and Bob Dylan biographer Seth Rogovoy; composer, National Endowment grantee and Guggenheim Fellow composer Judith Zaimont; baritone and actor Benjamin Luxon; Emmy Award-winning animator, illustrator, cartoonist and children’s book author R.O. Blechman; astrophysicist and inventor Edgar Choueiri, art restorer David Bull; Academy Award nominee Daniel Anker and Directors Guild of America Award winner Peter Rosen; scholar, performer and multimedia artist Robert Winter; former Yankee, author and sportscaster Jim Bouton; Metropolitan Opera costume designer Charles Caine, and  author Mitchell Cohen, whose book The Politics of Opera has received accolades from the New York Review of Books and Foreign Affairs.

TICKETS for this event are $20 and are available on the Close Encounters website www.cewm.org, by calling 800-843-0778, or for purchase at the door. Complementary light refreshments will follow the presentation.

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 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, 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 includes: pianists, Roman Rabinovich, Soyeon Kate Lee, Walter Ponce and Jeffrey Swann; violinists,Shmuel Ashkenasi, Vadim Gluzman, Julian Rachlin, Peter Zazofsky, Itamar Zorman and Erin Keefe; 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 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 in cities 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, MA, as well as in Scottsdale, AZ. Summer performances have taken place at the Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, MA. This year, the High Peaks Festival moved to the Berkshires to the Berkshire School in Sheffield, MA, where it has continued 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. Each concert is framed by an introduction before the music, and is followed by an AFTERGLOW reception with an opportunity to meet the musicians. Venues include the landmark Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center and the newly renovated Saint James Place in Great Barrington. To complement the musical offerings, two guest speakers, Haydn scholar Caryl Clark, and composer Tamar Muskal are featured in the Conversations With…. series at the West Stockbridge Historical Society and Casana T-House in Hillsdale, NY.

Photograph of the Escher String Quartet

APRIL 15, 2019

(Great Barrington, MA) Acclaimed for musical insights and rare tonal beauty, and championed by the Emerson String Quartet, the Escher has toured extensively throughout the U.S., Europe, Australia and Asia. They served as BBC New Generation Artists and gave debuts at the BBC Proms, are winners of the prestigious Avery Fisher Career Grant and perform as Artists of The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. For this program, they bring their special sheen to Mozart’s powerfully compelling String Quartet No. 23 in F major (third of the “Prussian Quartets”) and to Samuel Barber’s spellbinding Adagio for Strings. They are joined by Yehuda Hanani for the incomparable Schubert Quintet, regarded as one of the greatest compositions in all of chamber music, other-worldly in its beauty and miraculous melodies.

“Written as he lay dying, Schubert’s Quintet is a tremendous spiritual triumph and affirmation of hope and transcendence.  It moves from utter serenity to shattering tragedy and anguish,” says artistic director Yehuda Hanani, who has performed the work–which calls for the addition of a cellist–with many of the world’s preeminent string quartets.  “It really is a musical depiction of the human experience. I invite everyone to experience its power and profundity.”

“Clearly one of the finest quartets of their generation” —The Guardian
“Mr. Hanani was rightly rewarded with cheers from the audience.”   —The New York Times

The Escher String Quartet: Adam Barnett-Hart, violin; Danbi Um, violin; Pierre La Pointe, viola; Brook Speltz, cello, with Yehuda Hanani, cello

In the Close Encounters With Music tradition, each performance is followed by an AFTERGLOW reception, with hors d’oeuvres and wine provided by local restaurants. Audiences can savor the music and fun as well as the culinary connections with us at our thematic concerts and post-concert receptions this season!

TICKET INFORMATION
Tickets, $50 (Orchestra and Mezzanine), $27 (Balcony) and $15 for students, are available at The Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center box office, 413-528-0100, www.mahaiwe.org. Pro-rated subscriptions to the remaining concerts in the spring Close Encounters series, any of our summer Berkshire High Peaks festival events and next season’s subscriptions are available to purchase by contacting 800-843-0778 or [email protected].

ABOUT THE QUARTET:

The Escher String Quartet has received acclaim for its profound musical insight and rare tonal beauty. A former BBC New Generation Artist, the quartet has performed at the BBC Proms at Cadogan Hall and is a regular guest at Wigmore Hall. In its home town of New York, the ensemble serves as Artists of The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, recently presenting the complete Zemlinsky Quartets Cycle in a concert streamed live from the Rose Studio. In 2013, they became one of the very few chamber ensembles to be awarded the prestigious Avery Fisher Career Grant. Within months of its founding in 2005, the ensemble came to the attention of key musical figures worldwide. Championed by the Emerson Quartet, they were invited by both Pinchas Zukerman and Itzhak Perlman to be Quartet in Residence at each artist’s summer festival: the Young Artists Programme at Canada’s National Arts Centre; and the Perlman Chamber Music Programme on Shelter Island, NY. The quartet has since collaborated with artists including Leon Fleischer, Joshua Bell, Vilde Frang and David Shifrin. The Escher has played throughout Europe, in halls such as the Amsterdam Concertgebouw, Berlin Konzerthaus and for the Les Grands Interprètes series in Geneva. Last season also saw debuts at London’s Kings Place, Slovenian Philharmonic Hall in Ljubljana, and festival appearances at Dublin’s Great Music in Irish Houses and the Risør Chamber Music Festival in Norway. Alongside its growing European profile, the Escher continues to flourish in the U.S., performing at Alice Tully Hall in New York, Kennedy Center in Washington DC and the Ravinia and Caramoor festivals. The ensemble made its first Australian appearance at the Perth International Arts Festival in 2012, and last season made its debut at the Hong Kong International Chamber Music Festival. Return engagements took them to the Tel Aviv Museum of Art in Israel and the Campos do Jordão Music Festival in Brazil. Their set of the complete Mendelssohn quartets on the BIS label has been received with the highest critical acclaim; Volume II was hailed for its “sheer finesse” by Gramophone. The Escher Quartet takes its name from Dutch graphic artist M.C. Escher, inspired by Escher’s method of interplay between individual components working together to form a whole.

Yehuda Hanani’s charismatic playing and profound interpretations bring him acclaim and re-engagements 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, I Solisti Zagreb, and Taipei and Seoul symphonies, among others. He has been a guest at Aspen, Bowdoin, Chautauqua, Marlboro, Yale at Norfolk, Round Top (TX), Great Lakes, and Grand Canyon festivals, Finland Festival, Great Wall (China), Leicester (England), Ottawa, Prades (France), Oslo, and Australia Chamber Music festivals, and has collaborated in performances with preeminent fellow musicians, including Leon Fleisher, Aaron Copland, Christoph Eschenbach, David Robertson, Vladimir Fedoseyev, Itzhak Perlman, Julian Rachlin, Vadim Repin, Dawn Upshaw, Shlomo Mintz, Yefim Bronfman, the Tokyo, Vermeer, Muir, Lark, Avalon and Manhattan quartets, as well as members of the Cleveland, Juilliard, Borromeo, and Emerson. In New York City, Yehuda Hanani has appeared as soloist at Carnegie Hall, the 92nd Street Y, Alice Tully, The Frick, and at the Metropolitan Museum’s Grace Rainey Rogers Auditorium. In addition to his pioneering recordings of Charles Valentin Alkan (for which he received a Grand Prix du Disque nomination), Nikolai Miaskovsky, Leo Ornstein, and Eduard Franck, he is one of the originators of thematic programming with commentary that engages and illuminates contemporary audiences. Professor of Cello at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory and past faculty member at the Peabody Conservatory, he will join the faculty at the Mannes School of Music in New York City in 2020.


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 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, 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 includes: pianists, Roman Rabinovich, Soyeon Kate Lee, Walter Ponce and Jeffrey Swann; violinists,Shmuel Ashkenasi, Vadim Gluzman, Julian Rachlin, Peter Zazofsky, Itamar Zorman and Erin Keefe; 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 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 in cities 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, MA, as well as in Scottsdale, AZ. Summer performances have taken place at the Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, MA. This year, the High Peaks Festival moved to the Berkshires to the Berkshire School in Sheffield, MA, where it has continued 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. Each concert is framed by an introduction before the music, and is followed by an AFTERGLOW reception with an opportunity to meet the musicians. Venues include the landmark Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center and the newly renovated Saint James Place in Great Barrington. To complement the musical offerings, two guest speakers, Haydn scholar Caryl Clark, and composer Tamar Muskal are featured in the Conversations With…. series at the West Stockbridge Historical Society and Casana T-House in Hillsdale, NY.