Photograph of Performing Artist

APRIL 15, 2019

(Great Barrington, MA) Czech nationalist composer Antonin Dvořák rose to fame in Prague, paving the way for his favorite student and later son-in-law Josef Suk.  There was great closeness and spiritual kinship between them, and both were championed by Brahms (who confessed to envying Dvořák’s melodic gifts!)  Dvořák’s Rondo and Suk’s Balada and Pisen Lasky love song are rarely performed gems, and the more familiar Piano Quintet No. 2 in A Major by Dvořák is acknowledged as one of the masterpieces in the form, along with those of Schumann and Brahms.  In fact, Dvořák assimilated Brahms’ techniques and methods, while his exuberance, earthiness and the warmth of his melodies ennoble Bohemian folklore. This program will transport listeners to the cobbled streets of Old Prague and back to an era when music served as the voice of the Czech people.  An all-star ensemble of superb performers brings extraordinary virtuosity and musicianship to this joyous and heart-warming repertoire.

“The Piano Quintet offers a cornucopia of heavenly tunes.  It’s sheer beauty coupled with earthy sensuality–a perfect blend of popular and highbrow.  And my colleagues are not only among the great performers and interpreters of our time, but we have a winning chemistry and musical bond,” states artistic director Yehuda Hanani.

The composer Josef Suk was part of a great musical dynasty–his father was a violinist, as was his grandson, also Josef Suk, who founded the Suk Chamber Orchestra performed as a violin soloist under conductor George Solti. The elder Suk’s greatest influence was Dvořák himself, and the great tragedy of his life was that his wife–Dvořák’s daughter Ottilie–died after only a few years of marriage. Both Dvořák and Suk reveal through their music sentiments which have all but vanished from contemporary life–gentility, elegance, a sense of place. “We can’t wait to discover new depths and new joy as we dive into this program together” says Hanani.

Soyeon Kate Lee, piano; Irina Muresanu and Peter Zazofsky, violin; Michael Strauss, viola; Yehuda Hanani, cello
Our Preferred Patron’s Gala Package includes prime seating at the beautiful Mahaiwe for this incredible concert and dinner to follow in the elegant dining room of the Stockbridge Club in Stockbridge, MA. To purchase tickets, see below.

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. Preferred Patron’s Gala Package, which includes concert ticket & dinner at the Stockbridge Club is $125 and can be purchased by calling 800-843-0778, and at cewm.org.

Tickets to Close Encounters’ summer Berkshire High Peaks Festival events, July 23-August 2, and next season’s subscriptions are available to purchase by contacting 800-843-0778 or [email protected]

ABOUT THE ARTISTS:

Yehuda Hanani’s charismatic cello 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.

“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                     

Soyeon Kate Lee, the Korean-American pianist who won first-prize of the 2010 Naumburg International Piano Competition and the 2004 Concert Artist Guild International Competition, has been lauded by the New York Times as gifted with “a huge, richly varied sound, a lively imagination and a firm sense of style.” Lee has been guest soloist with the Cleveland Orchestra, the London Symphony Orchestra, the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra and the San Diego Symphony; the Daejeon Philharmonic Orchestra and Ulsan Symphony Orchestra (South Korea), Orquesta de Valencia (Spain) and Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional (Dominican Republic), including performances under the batons of Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos and Otto-Werner Mueller. He recent appearances include New York’s Zankel, Weill, Merkin and Alice Tully halls; Washington’s Kennedy Center, Cleveland’s Severance Hall, the Ravinia Festival’s “Rising Stars” series, Auditorio de Musica de Nacional in Madrid, and Finland’s Mänttä Music Festival. She frequently collaborates in festivals throughout the U.S., including Santa Fe and Music Mountain. At Lincoln Center Chamber Music Society Two, her performance of the Mozart Piano Trio was broadcast on PBS “Live from Lincoln Center.” A Naxos recording artist, her discography spans Scarlatti sonatas, Liszt opera transcriptions, and two volumes of Scriabin works, with upcoming releases of Clementi Sonatas.

“Soyeon Lee displayed a stunning command of the keyboard, from the beautifully gauged weighting of her finger strokes to the scrupulous calibration of inner voices and dynamics.” –The Washington Post

Praised by the Boston Globe as “not just a virtuoso, but an artist,” Romanian violinist Irina Muresanu has won the hearts of audiences and critics alike with her exciting, elegant and heartfelt performances of the classic, romantic and modern repertoire. She achieved early international acclaim as an outstanding young soloist, recitalist and chamber musician winning top prizes in several prestigious international violin competitions including the Montreal, Queen Elizabeth, Pro Musicis, Presser Music Award, and the Arthur Foote Award from the Harvard Musical Association. Recent solo engagements include appearances with the Boston Pops, Miami Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre de la Suisse Romande (Geneva), Syracuse Symphony, the Transvaal Philharmonic (Pretoria, S. Africa), Romanian National Orchestra, the Orchestre de la Radio Flamande (Brussels), and the Boston Philharmonic.  Her recent recording releases the complete William Bolcom Violin and Piano Sonatas on the Centaur label with pianist Michael Lewin. Festival appearances have included Bay Chambers and Bowdoin in Maine, Strings in the Mountains and San Juan Music Festival in Colorado, Maui Chamber Music Festival in Hawaii, and the Renncontres des Musiciennes Festival in France. She received an Artist Diploma degree and a Doctor in Musical Arts degree from the New England Conservatory.

“Muresanu’s performance was simply spectacular.”–Boston Musical Intelligencer

Known for his “rich tone and lyrical acumen” (Chicago Tribune), violist Michael Isaac Strauss has performed around the world as a soloist, recitalist, in chamber music, and in symphonic settings. His love for the intimate concert setting has led to performances on concert series, live radio broadcasts, and festival appearances across Europe, North America, and Asia. A former member of the distinguished Fine Arts Quartet, Strauss made several European and domestic tours with them, as well as a critically acclaimed recording of Mozart’s complete viola quintets on the Lyrinx label. He is a founding member of the new Indianapolis Quartet, in residence at the University of Indianapolis since 2016, where he also serves on the faculty. Strauss’ solo work is featured on several CDs—the debut recording of Jennifer Higdon’s Viola Sonata, David Finko’s Viola Concerto and Stamitz’s works for solo viola with orchestra (Centaur). He recently released Wordless Verses (Naxos)—trio works inspired by poetry for oboe, viola, and piano with the Jackson Trio. He was principal violist of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra for 20 years and has served on the faculty of several prominent schools including Oberlin Conservatory of Music, Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music, Philadelphia’s University of the Arts, and Swarthmore College. He is a graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music and performs on a viola attributed to Matteo Albani of Bolzano, Italy in 1704.

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, Minnesota, and Hong Kong, collaborating with maestros Tennstedt, Ozawa, Ormandy and Kurt Sanderling. 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 Aries. 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 and Dorothy Delay and went on to win top prizes at 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. In recent years Peter Zazofsky has given premieres of new works written for him by composers in Holland, Belgium, Denmark, Spain and Poland and has encouraged creation of new works by American composers Joan Tower, Sheila Silver and Richard Danielpour. Long committed to teaching, Zazofsky holds the position of 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.


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.

Photographs of Inna Faliks and Yehuda Hanani

FEBRUARY 22, 2019

(Great Barrington, MA) Ukrainian-born pianist Inna Faliks (“adventurous and passionate”— The New Yorker) and Yehuda Hanani present a program rich in Russian lore, Slavic emotionalism, Soviet-era sarcasm, and dazzling virtuosity: the cello/piano sonatas by Rachmaninoff, Prokofiev, and Scriabin’s Sonata No. 5, which pianist Sviatoslav Richter considered the most difficult piece in the entire piano repertory. Rachmaninoff’s sonata is passionate and emotionally torrential, a survivor from the 19th century. Prokofiev, on the other hand, dubbed “bad boy of Russian music” by the establishment for his earlier avant-garde style, has written here a work that is mellow and reflective. Faliks will evoke Scriabin the mystic who believed he was the musical Messiah. It is music of ecstasy and visions. Faliks, who has appeared with Keith Lockhart, Leonard Slatkin and many of the world’s greatest orchestras, has been praised as a “high priestess of the piano, pianist of the highest order, as dramatic and subtle as a great stage actor.” The concert is a journey in Russian landscapes and into the Russian soul.

Inna Faliks, 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. 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!

Tickets, $50 (Orchestra and Mezzanine), $27 (Balcony) and $15 for students, are available at The Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center box office, 413-528-0100, mahaiwe.org. Pro-rated subscriptions to the seven concert Close Encounters series are available to purchase on our website, cewm.org or by calling 800-843-0778.


ABOUT THE ARTISTS
Artistic Director 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, 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, and 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.

“Adventurous and passionate” (The New Yorker) Ukrainian-born American pianist Inna Faliks has established herself as one of the most exciting, communicative and poetic artists of her generation through her commanding performances of standard piano repertoire, as well as genre-bending, interdisciplinary projects. Following acclaimed teenage debuts at the Gilmore Festival and with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, she has performed on many of the world’s great stages, with numerous orchestras, in solo appearances, and with conductors such as Leonard Slatkin and Keith Lockhart. Her 2014 all-Beethoven CD release on MSR Classics drew rave reviews: the disc’s pre-viewer on WTT W Chicago called her “High priestess of the piano…as dramatic and subtle as a great stage actor.” Her MSR Classics CD Sound of Verse featured largely unknown music of Boris Pasternak and works of Rachmaninoff and Ravel. Ms. Faliks’ distinguished career has taken her to thousands of recitals and concerti engagements throughout the U.S, Asia, and Europe, performing at Carnegie’s Weill Hall, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Paris’ Salle Cortot, Moscow’s Tchaikovsky Hall and in the festivals of Verbier, Portland International, Music in the Mountains, Brevard, Taos and Chautauqua. Highlights of recent seasons include a 2016 tour of China, with appearances at the Beijing Center for Performing Arts, Shanghai Oriental Arts Theater and Tianjin Grand Theatre; in the Fazioli Series in Italy and Israel’s Tel Aviv Museum. Faliks is founder and curator of the of the Manhattan Arts Council award-winning poetry-music series “Music/Words,” creating performances in collaboration with distinguished poets. She recently co-starred with Downton Abbey star Lesley Nicol in “Admission—One Shilling,” a play for pianist and actor about the life of Dame Myra Hess, the great British pianist. She went on to create a one-woman show, performing at Baruch Performance Center’s “Solo in the City—Jewish Women, Jewish Stars” Festival in NYC, and at the Ebell of Los Angeles, where she gave the premiere of “Polonaise-Fantaisie, Story of a Pianist,” an autobiographical monologue for pianist and actress. A recent collaboration with WordTheatre features today’s leading screen actors in literary readings. Constantly in dialogue with today’s composers, she is the creator of the “Reimagine: Ravel and Beethoven” project, where composers such as Richard Danielpour, Timo Andres and Paola Prestini are writing works for her in response to Ravel’s Gaspard de la Nuit and Beethoven’s Bagatelles opus 126. Faliks is currently Professor of Piano and Head of Piano at UCLA


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.

Photographs of the Performing Artists

JANUARY 7, 2019

(Great Barrington, MA) What constitutes a musical—or any other kind of—joke? Humor explodes our expectations and takes us by surprise. Three Haydn string quartets, including his “Joke” Quartet, provide an evening of ambiguous beginnings and fake-out endings; mismatched dialogues between instruments, misunderstandings, musical pratfalls and pretend memory lapses and digressions. What about those embarrassing long pauses, that daring modulation, that unexpected excursion into strange tonalities….? It’s all intentional and part of the fun! From the composer of the “Surprise” Symphony who wrote a cat’s meow into another comes a slightly tipsy “high” as well as “low” program of subversive humor. The audiences of Haydn’s day loved the kinds of things he put into his music, and so will you. Artistic director Yehuda Hanani and colleagues will lead us through this night of musical comedy with their expert playing as well as comments. Call it a master class in musical humor.  

Humor and Gastronomy permeate Close Encounters’ current season.  Rossini named many works after foods among his hilarious onomatopoetic parodies (as demonstrated in the “Rossini Extravaganza” opening concert); Schubert created a mouthwatering feast for the ears with his “Trout” Quintet, enjoyed at our December 8 holiday concert; and Haydn could have been a stand-up comedian if he hadn’t been the musical genius he was, to be explored on February 23rd.

Audiences can savor the music and fun as well as the culinary connections with us at our thematic concerts and receptions this season!
Hagai Shaham and Xiao-Dong Wang violin: Dov Scheindlin, viola; Yehuda Hanani, cello

(For Calendar listing, see below.)

TICKET INFORMATION
Tickets, $38 general seating for our February concert and to inquire about pro-rated season subscriptions: www.cewm.org or 800-834-0778.

ABOUT THE ARTISTS
Artistic Director 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, 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, and 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.

Hagai Shaham is internationally recognized as one of the astonishing young violinists who have emerged from Israel in recent years. He began studying the violin at the age of six and was the last student of the renowned Professor Ilona Feher. He also studied with Elisha Kagan, Emanuel Borok, Arnold Steinhardt and the Guarneri Quartet. In addition to winning first prize at the ARD International Competition in Munich in the violin-piano duo category with his duo partner Arnon Erez, Shaham’s other awards include first prizes at the Ilona Kornhauser competition, the Israeli Broadcasting Authority Young Artist competition, The Tel-Aviv Rubin Academy competition, four Clairmont Awards, and annual scholarships from the American-Israel Cultural Foundation. As a soloist he has performed with many of the world’s major orchestras, including the English Chamber Orchestra, BBC Philharmonic, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, RTE National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland, Belgian National Orchestra and Orchestre Symphonique Francais; Taipei, Singapore and Shanghai Symphony Orchestras, SWF Baden-Baden Symphony Orchestra, Slovak and Belgrade Philharmonic, and the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra under Zubin Mehta. In 1985 he was invited to join Isaac Stern and Pinchas Zukerman in a gala concert at Carnegie Hall, following which, Zubin Mehta invited him to perform Brahms’ Double Concerto at Carnegie Hall. Hagai Shaham is a professor at the Buchmann-Mehta School of Music at Tel Aviv University, and his master classes in Europe and Israel attract a great many students. Together with his colleague, violinist Ittai Shapira, he is co-founder of The Ilona Feher Foundation.

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

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.


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.

Photographs of the Performing Artists

OCTOBER 19, 2018

Two great melodists, two young geniuses in one brilliant evening: Bubbly, like fine Champagne, Schubert’s “Trout” Quintet is one of the most joyous pieces ever written.  A landmark of classical music, it weaves a net of enchantment with its catchy melodies and fresh exuberance.  This piece has it all—elegance, beauty and irrepressible good humor; music from the pen of a 22 year old prodigy inspired by the tragic-comic death of a fish that captures the glories of Nature!  The program also features Mozart’s miraculous Piano Quartet in E-flat Major, a reminder that the unearthly beauties of Mozart defy explanation.  An all-star ensemble that joins artistic director Yehuda Hanani includes 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 Itamar Zorman (winner of the Tchaikovsky International Violin Competition); and David Grossman, double bass of the New York Philharmonic.

Max Levinson, piano; Itamar Zorman, violin; Karine Lethiec, viola; Yehuda Hanani, cello; David Grossman, double bass

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. Subscriptions are $250 ($225 for seniors) for the series of 7 concerts tickets are available for purchase at www.mahaiwe.org. Season subscriptions are available on our website, www.cewm.org.

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.
(For Calendar listing, see below.)

ABOUT THE ARTISTS

Artistic Director 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, 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, Vadim Repin, Dawn Upshaw, Shlomo Mintz, Yefim Bronfman, the Tokyo, Vermeer, Muir, Lark, Avalon and Manhattan quartets, and Cuarteto Latinoamericano, 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, and the Metropolitan Museum’s Grace Rainey Rogers Auditorium.

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, 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. Mr. Levinson is chair of the Piano department at the Boston Conservatory, and a faculty member at the New England Conservatory.

Hailed as a “poet of the violin,” Itamar Zorman is a committed chamber player and recipient of an Avery Fisher Career Grant and a Borletti-Buitoni Trust Award. Since his emergence with the top prize at the 2011 International Tchaikovsky Competition, he has appeared with major orchestras across the world, including the American Symphony Orchestra in Carnegie Hall, the Tokyo Symphony in Japan’s Suntory Hall, the Belgrade Philharmonic, Orchestre National de Capitole de Toulouse in France, the Israel Philharmonic, as well as the St. Petersburg Philharmonic and the Russsian State Symphony Orchestra “Novaya Rossiya.” As part of an ongoing exploration of the music of Paul Ben-Haim, he is recording a CD of the works for violin and orchestra with BBC National Orchestra of Wales for BIS Records. Zorman is a founding member of the Israeli Chamber Projects and a member of the Lysander Piano Trio, with which he won the 2012 Concert Artists Guild Competition, the Grand Prize in the 2011 Coleman Chamber Music Competition and a bronze medal in the 2010 Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition. Mr. Zorman began his studies at the age of six at the Israel Conservatory of Music in Tel Aviv and received his BM degree from the Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance as a student of Hagai Shaham, his MM from The Julliard School, and Artist Diplomas from the Manhattan School of Music and from Julliard in 2012. He is also an alumnus of the Kronberg Academy where he studied with Christian Tetzlaff. He plays on a Guarneri Del Jesu from 1734, from the collection of Yehuda Zisapel.

Karine Lethiec holds advanced diplomas from the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique of Paris as well as that of Lyon, the Conservatoire de Musique de Genève and the Berne Musikschule Konservatorium. She is an award winner of the Lionel Tertis International Viola Competition and teaches at the Conservatoire de la ville de Paris. With the Stradivari Quartett, she has recorded the complete Mozart quintets (Dynamic). Lethiec encourages new music by commissioning, programming and performing new works, with over 50 world premieres to her credit. Performances have taken her around the globe—to the Amsterdam Royal Concertgebouw, Vienna Konzerthaus, Ravinia Festival in Chicago, Théâtre des Champs-Elysées in Paris, Athens Festival at the Odeon of Herod Atticus, Berlin Festival at Tempelhof, Hermitage in Saint Petersburg and the Rudolfinum in Prague. An eclectic artist, she directs the Ensemble Calliopée, currently in residence at the Musée de la Grande Guerre des Pays de Meaux (Museum of the Great War) with programs that bring together the fields of music and history. Lethiec wrote the screenplay for the film H136 on the rediscovery of a score composed by Martinu, a member of the Janácek Movement in France. She created and played the soundtrack of Don Kent’s film Juste avant l’orage. With her friend the astrophysicist Hubert Reeves she conceives performances that intertwine the cosmos and music, one of the most notable of which is “Mozart et les étoiles” (Mozart and the Stars).

Double bassist and composer David Grossman enjoys a multifaceted musical career on both the East and West Coasts—as a bassist in the New York Philharmonic (having joined in spring 2000 as its youngest member) and as newly appointed principal bass of the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra. As a soloist and clinician, Mr. Grossman has given recitals and master classes at prestigious venues and music schools across the country, including the Boston Conservatory, Yale School of Music, Manhattan School of Music and The Hartt School. He has released two albums—one classical and one jazz—titled The Bass of Both Worlds. An ardent educator, he is a member of the double bass faculty of the Manhattan School of Music, and joined the Mannes School of Music in fall 2017. Also a passionate chamber musician, he performs in the New York Philharmonic Ensembles series at Merkin Concert Hall and has appeared at 92nd Street Y and with The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. In the field of jazz, Mr. Grossman was a member of the Marcus Roberts Trio and has performed with Wynton Marsalis. His compositions include Mood Swings for trombone and double bass, written for New York Philharmonic Principal Trombone Joseph Alessi; Fantasy on “Shall We Gather at the River?”; and two early compositions, Swing Quartet and String Quintet No. 1, which were premiered by The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center


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.

Image of Yahuda Hanani Playing the Cello

(Sheffield, MA – March, 2018) – Close Encounters With Music, an organization artistically headed up by internationally acclaimed cellist and educator Yehuda Hanani, is making history this summer by moving its High Peaks Festival to The Berkshire School campus in scenic Sheffield, Massachusetts, providing students and faculty from around the world a new setting to make music and share their talents with the region and beyond. Previous editions of the festival have taken place in the Catskill Mountains, most recently at the Carey Institute for Global Good in Rensselaerville, and in Hunter and Tannersville, New York. Now, the pull of the Berkshires, home of Close Encounters With Music, ultimately has drawn the festival back to home base where audiences and supporters have enjoyed 26 seasons of outstanding concerts and other events featuring today’s most brilliant musical performers.

The High Peaks Music Festival was created as a logical extension of the mission of the organization and it’s a natural for it to be located on CEWM’s home turf. “It has been our goal to make great music approachable and to relate it to other artistic disciplines so that it can receive the love and sense of wonder it merits. Music students today are often cut off from inner life and the artistry of the material as they focus on careers, on digital perfection, and on the more pragmatic aspects of the profession. The relaxed atmosphere of the countryside — away from pressures of the conservatory —makes for a perfect point of departure to explore the magic and mysteries that inhabit the works of the greatest composers,” says Hanani.

Marcie Setlow, who serves as president of the board of directors for Close Encounters With Music, loves that the organization provides a strong focus on education. During the ten-day festival, fifty students from around the globe will work with faculty members on music they will then perform for the community. “The magic ingredient, the ‘secret sauce,’ that makes Close Encounters such a success is the genius of our artistic director, Yehuda Hanani. Yehuda brings an infectious enthusiasm, a prodigious knowledge of the repertoire, a respect for his fellow musicians, a unique approach to programming and an amazing ability to bring people together. He has applied all these qualities to the development of the High Peaks Festival, which has grown into a lively and intimate event, bringing together young musicians from all over the world. He is a wonderful teacher and I love seeing him work with students,” says Setlow. “Our hope is that the festival will be discovered by young people in our own area. All our musicians will be young—many of them only teenagers. Those in the music world worry about where the next generation of music lovers will come from. We’d like that next generation to discover and learn to be comfortable with classical music by enjoying the energy and artistry of our amazing High Peaks residents in August.”

Each year’s Festival has a theme and this summer it’s “The French-Russian Connection.” “There was so much reciprocal import-export of ideas, important cultural figures and aesthetic ideals that we have a plethora of pieces to program and talks to schedule. The Czars imported French architects and the aristocracy didn’t drink vodka, they drank Champagne. French was the language of the educated Russian class. In the music and with our fabulous guest speakers, we’ll go back to the days when Paris was the nexus of global culture, throbbing with new ideas, exploding traditions, forging new paths,” explains Hanani.

“Our faculty includes baroque experts and we’ll begin with the French Baroque music, all the way up to Poulenc and Messiaen. It gives us a chance to present some of the most beloved and important of composers: Rachmaninoff, Prokofiev, Shostakovich, Stravinsky, Debussy, Poulenc and Fauré. We’ll also look at how cultural hubs are subject to political and economic winds,” he adds. Previous Festival themes have been “Classical Hollywood,” “The Grand Italian Tour,” “The Gilded Age: Bohemia in the Catskills,” and “Fanfare for the Uncommon Woman.”

While audience members enjoy the diverse themes from year to year, they also appreciate the top-tier musicians performing. “Our audiences should definitely get excited about the variety of high-level students from all over the world, as well as the superb faculty from institutions such as the Beijing Conservatory, Paris Conservatoire, Peabody Conservatory, Boston University, Oberlin and Cincinnati. Open to the public are master classes, talks, faculty performances and concerts that we call ‘Moonlight Sonatas’ that feature our stars of tomorrow in almost nightly showcases. The improvisatory, experimental and creative spirit of the festival means that not everything is predictable or pre-set. We all collectively contribute to and hone what is a festival-in-progress,” says Hanani.

One of this year’s returning residents is violinist Xiangyuan Huang, a native of China, completing her Master of Music degree at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. “It’s very important for me to participate in a festival that explores artistic and musical values, that gathers musicians from all over the world and helps broaden my horizons. I feel I’m learning from the best, and the fact that musicians come from different cultures, may carry the traditions of different teaching styles as well as varying approaches to understanding different nationalistic styles can be really fascinating and valuable for every Festival participant. The chamber music program is also a very important factor. During the academic year, it is difficult to have concentrated time to focus on chamber music, but in advance of the Festival, everybody is assigned to play in at least one chamber group. We get together with our ensembles, rehearse, have coachings and eventually perform together, which is heaven for someone who loves playing chamber as I do. And most importantly, the faculty includes world-class musicians and performers,” she adds.

The 2018 faculty includes: pianists Alexander Shtarkman (Peabody Conservatory) and Mikael Darmanie (SUNY Stony Brook); violinists Irina Muresanu (University of Maryland) and Peter Zazofsky (Boston University); violists Pierre-Henri Xuereb (Paris Conservatoire) Michael Strauss (Oberlin) and Su Zhen (Beijing Conservatory); cellists Yehuda Hanani (University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory), Chagit Glaser (Rubin Academy of Music, Tel Aviv University), as well as Baroque experts Paul Dwyer (cello, Acronym, Chicago Lyric Opera) and Adriane Post (violin, Apollo’s Fire, Handel and Haydn Society).

Hanani and the other faculty members are completely dedicated to the students. “Ultimately, what makes all of this worthwhile was beautifully illustrated this past season when a young violinist named Franz Felkl, who enrolled as a High Peaks student four summers ago, appeared on our Close Encounters With Music stage at the Mahaiwe as a member of the Amernet Quartet. To watch a student move into creative professional life is the most gratifying scenario for us. Our raison d’etre is to help our students find a life for themselves in music by promoting excellence, dedication, and joy in music-making.”

Faculty and student outreach performances have taken place in past years in prestigious locations: the Orpheum Theater in Tannersville, the post-industrial Basilica Hudson, in the orchard at Olana, the New York State Museum in Albany, Clermont State Historic Site, Catskill’s Bridge Street Theater and at the Norman Rockwell Museum. The key players involved hope members of the region and beyond who have not yet experienced this unique gem, will come to a performance at the Berkshire School’s state-of-the-art Allen Theater or drop in for a master class or talk this August. “Once there, a visitor will feel part of the creation of the music and will learn about the joy, persistence and occasional frustration that are all part of learning to play professionally. Berkshire High Peaks offers an unusual window into the process of making music and a behind-the-scenes peek into what can be a transformative experience for a young artist,” concludes Setlow.

Festival passes and tickets to individual concerts will be go sale in May. www.berkshirehighpeaksmusic.org

2018 Season: August 6 -16, 2018
Tuesday, August 7

2 PM (TALK/DEMONSTRATION)
The Musical Architecture of the French Baroque – Distinction, Practices, Style
Paul Dwyer and Adriane Post

Wednesday, August 8

2 PM (TALK/DEMONSTRATION)
The Russian School of Piano Playing—What Made It Great
Alexander Shtarkman

7:30 PM
Moonlight Sonatas (High Peaks Festival Residents Perform)

Thursday, August 9

2 PM (TALK/DEMONSTRATION)
A Tale of Two Traditions—French and Russian Violin Sound Production and Aesthetics
Irina Muresanu and Peter Zazofsky

4 PM (MASTERCLASS)
The Fearless Violist – Michael Strauss

7:30 PM
Moonlight Sonatas (High Peaks Festival Residents Perform)

Friday, August 10

2 PM (TALK/DEMONSTRATION)
The French Revolution—A New Path in Western Music and Painting
Yehuda Hanani

7:30 PM
Moonlight Sonatas (High Peaks Festival Residents Perform)

Saturday, August 11

4 PM (KEYNOTE TALK)
Bridges and Crossings—A Cultural Survey of the French-Russian Connection
Professor Timothy Sergay

8 PM (CONCERT)
“Between East and West—A Russian Journey”
Works by Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninoff, Prokofiev, Shostakovich, Cesar Cui (High Peaks Artist Faculty Perform)

Sunday, August 12

2 PM (MASTERCLASS)
The Art of Illusion – How to Make the Piano Sing
Mikael Darmanie and Alexander Shtarkman

4 PM (MASTERCLASS)
Viola Repertoire I – Su Zhen and Pierre Henri Xuereb

7:30 PM
Moonlight Sonatas (High Peaks Festival Residents Perform)

Monday, August 13

11 AM (MASTERCLASS)
The Art of the Quartet
Peter Zazofsky

7:30 PM
Moonlight Sonatas (High Peaks Festival Residents Perform)

Tuesday, August 14

2 PM (MASTERCLASS)
The Fearless Cellist
Chagit Glaser

4 PM (BUDDY DAY CONCERT)
A joint performance by High Peaks Festival Residents and local young musicians from CHIME Albany and Kids 4 Harmony Pittsfield

7:30 PM (CONCERT)
“That French Je ne sais quoi”
Works by Cesar Franck, Claude Debussy, Gabriel Faure, Lily Boulanger, Cecile Chaminade, Camille Saint-Saëns (High Peaks Artist Faculty Perform)

Wednesday, August 15
2 PM (MASTERCLASS)
Viola Repertoire
Su Zhen and Pierre Henri Xuereb

7:30 PM
Moonlight Sonatas (High Peaks Festival Residents Perform)

**Faculty concerts and Moonlight Sonatas Concerts take place in the Allen Theater at the Berkshire School, Sheffield, MA. Locations on the campus for talks and master classes will be posted.

Additional Information About the Festival:

For the ninth year, an international group of violinists, violists, cellists and pianists will converge for intensive instrumental study and chamber music coaching with distinguished faculty. At the base of Mount Everett, The Berkshire School’s 400-acre campus in Sheffield, Massachusetts offers a breathtaking setting and a destination for world-renowned arts and culture in the heart of the Berkshire Hills. The Berkshire High Peaks Residency (formerly Catskill High Peaks Festival) has evolved into a training program designed to imbue players with new ideas and approaches, inspiration, and tools for technical advancement. There is a robust schedule of private and instrumental lessons, coaching and master classes, led by eminent faculty members. Students prepare pre-selected chamber music works, with numerous opportunities to play in public performances. For recreation, one can take a guided hike on the Appalachian Trail, in the splendorous beauty and rich culture of the Berkshires. Rehearsals, master classes and concerts will be open to the public throughout the Festival.

About High Peaks Festival Artistic Director:
Yehuda Hanani has received acclaim across the globe for his charismatic playing and profound interpretations. An extraordinary recitalist, he is equally renowned for performances with orchestras such as the Chicago Symphony, Philadelphia Orchestra, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, Berlin Radio Orchestra, Israel Philharmonic, Buenos Aires Philharmonic, Belgrade Symphony, Irish National Symphony, Honolulu Symphony, Seoul Symphony, Chamber Orchestra Kremlin, and the BBC Welsh Symphony. His engaging chamber music with commentary series, “Close Encounters With Music,” has captivated audiences from Miami to Kansas City, Omaha, Calgary, Scottsdale, the Berkshires, and at the Frick Collection in New York City. He has been the subject of hundreds of articles and interviews in the media, and his weekly program on NPR affiliate station WAMC Northeast Radio, “Classical Music According to Yehuda,” attracts thousands of fans. A prolific recording artist, his pioneering recording of the monumental Alkan Cello Sonata received a Grand Prix du Disque nomination. He is Professor of Cello at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music and presents master classes internationally at conservatories and for orchestras, including the Juilliard School, University of Indiana at Bloomington, New England Conservatory, McGill University, Peabody Conservatory, Paris Conservatoire, Berlin Hochschule für Music, Royal Academy of Music in London, Tokyo National University, Jerusalem Academy of Music, Guildhall School in London, Central Conservatory of Shanghai and Central Conservatory of Beijing, and the New World Symphony in Miami. In recognition of his distinguished teaching, he was given the title of honorary professor of the Tianjin Conservatory, China.

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

“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
“In this era of the cello, Hanani is among the best. His Bach was
absorbing, imaginative, beautiful in all respects.” –San Francisco Chronicle

“It was (Joan Tower Concerto) superbly played by Yehuda Hanani.”
— Boston Globe

Photographs of the Grand Piano Trios

Sunday, April 29, 2018 at 3 PM
Grand Piano Trios — Felix Mendelssohn and Bedřich Smetana
Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center
Great Barrington, MA

The remarkably versatile composer-pianist-conductor-painter-gymnast Felix Mendelssohn personifies genius and musical prodigy and his second Piano Trio in C minor (1845) is a true expression of the exquisite sensibility of his life and art. Bedřich Smetana’s profoundly moving Piano Trio in G minor of 1855 was composed after the death of his daughter; its style is close to that of Robert Schumann, with hints of Liszt, Wagner and Berlioz. Two of today’s brightest young performers join cellist Yehuda Hanani for a juxtaposition of these passionate works, written in classic mid-19th-century style, full of beauty and riveting melodies. Winner of the Paganini Competition, Soovin Kim makes his area debut along with Uzbekistan-born Roman Rabinovich, first-prize winner in the Arthur Rubinstein International Competition in 2008.

“The first of the three-star constellation of Czech composers who put Bohemia and Moravia on the musical map, drawing on grass roots folkloric material (the patriotic Moldau) and countering the ‘official’ Viennese hegemony, Smetana led the way for Dvorak and Janáček,” says artistic director Yehuda Hanani.  “He was the pioneer. And being the first, he was still influenced by German musical traditions. Mendelssohn’s less-frequently performed C minor Trio has all the characteristic brilliance of his writing–singing melodies, a chorale, a nocturnal magical scherzo reminiscent of A Midsummer Night’s Dream–and demonstrates why Schumann called him the Mozart of the 19th century. It’s tremendously stirring and optimistic and I couldn’t ask for better colleagues to perform these masterful works.”

Roman Rabinovich, piano; Soovin Kim, violin; Yehuda Hanani, cello

TICKET INFORMATION

Tickets, $50 (Orchestra and Mezzanine), $27 (Balcony) and $15 for students, are available at The Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center box office, call 413-528-0100 or visit www.mahaiwe.org. Season subscriptions are $250 ($225 for seniors) Visit our website www.cewm.org for more information.

ABOUT THE ARTISTS

Praised by the New York Times for his “uncommon sensitivity and feeling,” the eloquent young pianist ROMAN RABINOVICH  is the winner of the 2008 Arthur Rubinstein International Piano Master Competition, the same year he replaced the eminent pianist Murray Perahia in a recital at the Mann Auditorium in Tel Aviv.   He has performed throughout the United States, Europe and Israel in such prestigious venues as Wigmore Hall in London, Leipzig’s Gewandhaus, Carnegie’s Zankel Hall, as well as the Great Hall of Moscow Conservatory, Cité de la Musique in Paris and the Millennium Stage of the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC.   Recital engagements include Vancouver Recital Society, Cincinnati Matinee Musical Series, Chopin Society in St. Paul, MN, Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully and Walter Reade Theatre, as well as the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama in Cardiff. Last season Mr. Rabinovich presented his “Haydn Project,” comprising the complete Haydn Piano Sonatas, at the Lammermuir Festival in Scotland and at the Tel Aviv Conservatory in Israel and made debut appearances with the Toulouse Capitole Orchestra and Calgary Philharmonic. In 2015, distinguished pianist András Schiff chose him for the “Building Bridges” series created to highlight young pianists of unusual promise.  Under this aegis, Mr. Rabinovich was presented in a series of recitals in Zurich’s Tonhalle, Berlin, Ruhr Piano Festival, and New York’s SubCulture. Mr. Rabinovich, “whose mature, self-assured playing belies his chronological age” (San Francisco Classical Voice), made his Israel Philharmonic debut under the baton of Zubin Mehta at age 10 and has been heard as soloist with all the Israeli orchestras, Orchestre de Chambre de Paris, KBS Orchestra, Buffalo Philharmonic, Prague Symphony, Dohnányi Orchestra and many others. To date, he has participated in such festivals as Marlboro, Lucerne, Davos, Menuhin Festival Gstaad, and Prague Spring, and was honored with the Classical Recording Foundation Artist of the Year award for his CD Ballets Russes.  Born in 1985 in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, his early piano studies were with his mother, Mira. In 1994, he and his parents immigrated to Israel where he studied with Arie Vardi at the Rubin Academy of Music in Tel Aviv. He is a graduate of The Curtis Institute of Music as a student of Seymour Lipkin and obtained his master’s degree at the Juilliard School. Mr. Rabinovich also excels as a gifted artist. He often combines his concerts with exhibitions of his paintings. Besides traditional painting, Mr. Rabinovich draws on his iPad.

“Playing with exceptional boldness and confidence — a blazing, larger-than-life performance that seemed to celebrate the triumph of the human spirit” (Washington Post)

Violinist SOOVIN KIM is an exciting player who has built on the early successes of his prize-winning years to emerge as a mature and communicative artist. Kim enjoys a broad musical career, performing repertoire such as Bach sonatas and Paganini caprices for solo violin and Mozart and Vivaldi concerti without conductor, as well as Romantic concerti, sonatas for violin and piano ranging from Beethoven to Ives, and world-premiere works almost every season. For two months each year, he performs as the first violinist of the Johannes String Quartet. Soovin Kim is the founder and artistic director of the Lake Champlain Chamber Music Festival (LCCMF) in Burlington, Vermont, and serves on the faculty of New England Conservatory. He has appeared as a soloist and chamber musician in some of the world’s most prominent venues—Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw, Queen Elizabeth Hall, Royce Hall, Herbst Theatre, Ravinia, the Freer Gallery, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Lincoln Center and Strathmore Hall among them; at the Bard and Marlboro festivals, and in programs combining new music with standard repertoire at chamber music festivals in Bridgehampton and Charlottesville. He toured with the legendary Guarneri Quartet, as part of their last season before the public; with Musicians from Marlboro, and in numerous recital appearances and collaborations with such partners as Mitsuko Uchida, Ignat Solzhenitsyn, Colin Carr, William Purvis, Gilbert Kalish, Martin Fröst, the Chiara Quartet and Jeremy Denk.  Mr. Kim has recorded for Azica Records the music of Fauré and Chausson, as well as Niccolò Paganini’s demanding 24 Caprices for solo violin, which zoomed to Billboard’s Classical Chart, and was named Classic FM magazine’s Instrumental Disc of the Month (“he emerges thrillingly triumphant…a thrilling debut disc.”). He is a member of the violin faculty at New England Conservatory.

“Soovin Kim was the highlight of the evening, a patrician virtuoso on the solo part of Tchaikovsky’s violin concerto…He drew a golden tone from his 1709 “ex-Kempner” Stradivarius” (Washington Post)

Artistic Director 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, 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, Vadim Repin, Dawn Upshaw, Shlomo Mintz, Yefim Bronfman, the Tokyo, Vermeer, Muir, Lark, Avalon, Amernet, and Manhattan quartets, and Cuarteto Latinoamericano, 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, and the Metropolitan Museum’s Grace Rainey Rogers Auditorium. His pioneering recording of the monumental Alkan Cello Sonata received a Grand Prix du Disque nomination, and his other discs have won wide recognition. On CD and in live performances, he has premiered works of Nicolai Miaskovsky, Lukas Foss, Leo Ornstein, Joan Tower, Paul Schoenfield, Osvaldo Golijov, Jorge Martín, and Bernard Rands, among other composers. Mr. Hanani has been committed to extending the range of the cello repertoire and to collaborating with performers in many artistic realms, including actors Jane Alexander, Richard Chamberlain and Sigourney Weaver. Professor of Cello at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, he presents masterclasses internationally at conservatories and for orchestras, including the Juilliard School, University of Indiana at Bloomington, New England Conservatory, McGill University, Peabody Conservatory, Paris Conservatoire, Berlin Hochschule für Music, Royal Academy of Music in London, Tokyo National University, Jerusalem Academy of Music, Guildhall School in London, Central Conservatory of Shanghai and Central Conservatory of Beijing, and the New World Symphony in Miami. His engaging chamber music with commentary series, Close Encounters With Music, has captivated audiences from Miami to Kansas City, Omaha, Calgary, Scottsdale, the Berkshires, and at the Frick Collection in New York City. A three-time recipient of the Martha Baird Rockefeller grant, 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…This is certainly a splendid release, and should by no means be passed up.” Aimed at outreach for classical music, his weekly program on NPR affiliate station WAMC Northeast Radio, “Classical Music According to Yehuda,” has gained thousands of fans for the direct broadcast and podcast. He directs the High Peaks Festival, a teaching and chamber music festival that takes place in 2018 on the campus of the Berkshire School in Sheffield, MA. Soloist, chamber musician, master teacher, essayist, and ambassador for the arts, Yehuda Hanani illuminates and enlightens audiences on the essence of music.

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, Robert Beaser, 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 Roman Rabinovich, Soyeon Kate Lee, Walter Ponce and Jeffrey Swann; violinists, Vadim Gluzman, Julian Rachlin, Peter Zazofsky, Itamar Zorman and Erin Keefe; clarinetists Alexander Fiterstein and Charles Neidich; vocalists Dawn Upshaw, Jennifer Rivera, and Kelley O’Connor; the Amernet, Muir, Manhattan, Avalon, and Dover 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.

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. Visit www.wamc.org.

Photograph of the Ariel String Quartet

Saturday, March 17, 2018 at 6 PM
The Ariel String Quartet–Schumann, Brahms, Janáček
Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center
Great Barrington, MA

Three “storied” string quartets share the theme of a love triangle. The first three years of Schumann’s marriage to his beloved Clara Wieck were an exceedingly productive period for the young composer, and the time when he focused on the genre of the string quartet, producing the String Quartet No. 2 in F Major, one of the most poignant and satisfying of his works. Brahms, Clara’s platonic and cherished confidante and friend, reportedly destroyed some twenty string quartets before allowing the two Op. 51 quartets to be published, the achingly beautiful A minor No. 2 being one of these. And from the heart of Central Europe in the first quarter of the twentieth century, comes the penetrating, challenging, occasionally disturbing and ever rewarding work by noted opera composer Leoš Janáček (Jenufa, Cunning Little Vixen, etc.), a musical recreation of Tolstoy’s short story “Kreutzer Sonata.” The Quartet No. 1, which in turn took its inspiration from Beethoven’s violin sonata of that name, was intended to protest the tyranny of men over women. In the novella, a wife seeks refuge from an unhappy marriage in the arms of an amoral seducer, and dies tragically after doing so, and the music reflects the plot. Czech polkas (Janáček), Hungarian folk dances (Brahms), movements by turn lyrical and propulsive—penetrating and amorous music adorn this program by the redoubtable Ariel Quartet, refashioned and re-titled “Love Triangles.”

“Playing with exceptional boldness and confidence — a blazing, larger-than-life performance that seemed to celebrate the triumph of the human spirit” (Washington Post)

The Ariel String Quartet: Gershon Gerchikov, violin; Alexandra Kazovsky, violin; Jan Grüning, viola; Amit Even-Tov, cello; with Yehuda Hanani, cello

TICKET INFORMATION

Tickets, $50 (Orchestra and Mezzanine), $27 (Balcony) and $15 for students, are available at The Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center box office, call 413-528-0100 or visit www.mahaiwe.org. Season subscriptions are $250 ($225 for seniors) Visit our website www.cewm.org for more information.

ABOUT THE ARTISTS

Characterized by its youth, brilliant playing, and soulful interpretations, the ARIEL STRING QUARTET has quickly earned a glowing international reputation. The Quartet was formed in Israel sixteen years ago when its members were students and they have been playing together ever since. Recently awarded the prestigious Cleveland Quartet Award, the Quartet serves as the Faculty Quartetin-Residence at the University of Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory of Music, where they direct the chamber music program and perform their own annual series of concerts. The Ariel recently made its debut at Carnegie Hall, presented music by three generations of Israeli composers at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., and toured South America. They also collaborated with pianist Orion Weiss in a program commemorating the 100th anniversary of World War One. The Quartet appears widely in Israel, Europe, and North America, and continues to astonish with its performances of complete works by memory. They toured with cellist Alisa Weilerstein during the 2013-14 season, and perform regularly with the legendary pianist Menahem Pressler. Additionally, they served as quartet-in-residence for the Steans Music Institute at the Ravinia Festival, the Yellow Barn Music Festival, and the Perlman Music Program, and were the Ernst Stiefel String Quartet-In-Residence at the Caramoor Festival. Formerly the resident ensemble in the New England Conservatory’s Professional String Quartet Training Program, the Ariel has won a number of international prizes including the Grand Prize at the 2006 Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition and first prize at the international competition “Franz Schubert and The Music of Modernity” in Graz, Austria, in 2003. After they won the Székely Prize for their performance of Bartók, as well as the overall third prize at the Banff International String Quartet Competition in 2007, the American Record Guide described them as “a consummate ensemble gifted with utter musicality and remarkable interpretive power” and called their performance of Beethoven’s Op. 132 “the pinnacle of the competition.” They spent a formative year in Basel, Switzerland, studying with Walter Levin, the founding first violinist of the LaSalle Quartet. The Quartet has received substantial scholarship support for the members’ studies in the United States from the America-Israel Cultural Foundation, Dov and Rachel Gottesman, and the Legacy Heritage Fund. Members of the Quartet are Gershon Gerchikov and Alexandra Kazovsky, violin; Jan Grüning viola; Amit Even-Tov, cello.

Artistic Director 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, 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, Vadim Repin, Dawn Upshaw, Shlomo Mintz, Yefim Bronfman, the Tokyo, Vermeer, Muir, Lark, Avalon, Amernet, and Manhattan quartets, and Cuarteto Latinoamericano, 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, and the Metropolitan Museum’s Grace Rainey Rogers Auditorium. His pioneering recording of the monumental Alkan Cello Sonata received a Grand Prix du Disque nomination, and his other discs have won wide recognition. On CD and in live performances, he has premiered works of Nicolai Miaskovsky, Lukas Foss, Leo Ornstein, Joan Tower, Paul Schoenfield, Osvaldo Golijov, Jorge Martín, and Bernard Rands, among other composers. Mr. Hanani has been committed to extending the range of the cello repertoire and to collaborating with performers in many artistic realms, including actors Jane Alexander, Richard Chamberlain and Sigourney Weaver. Professor of Cello at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, he presents masterclasses internationally at conservatories and for orchestras, including the Juilliard School, University of Indiana at Bloomington, New England Conservatory, McGill University, Peabody Conservatory, Paris Conservatoire, Berlin Hochschule für Music, Royal Academy of Music in London, Tokyo National University, Jerusalem Academy of Music, Guildhall School in London, Central Conservatory of Shanghai and Central Conservatory of Beijing, and the New World Symphony in Miami. His engaging chamber music with commentary series, Close Encounters With Music, has captivated audiences from Miami to Kansas City, Omaha, Calgary, Scottsdale, the Berkshires, and at the Frick Collection in New York City. A three-time recipient of the Martha Baird Rockefeller grant, 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…This is certainly a splendid release, and should by no means be passed up.” Aimed at outreach for classical music, his weekly program on NPR affiliate station WAMC Northeast Radio, “Classical Music According to Yehuda,” has gained thousands of fans for the direct broadcast and podcast. He directs the High Peaks Festival, a teaching and chamber music festival that takes place in 2018 on the campus of the Berkshire School in Sheffield, MA. Soloist, chamber musician, master teacher, essayist, and ambassador for the arts, Yehuda Hanani illuminates and enlightens audiences on the essence of music.

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, Robert Beaser, 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 Roman Rabinovich, Soyeon Kate Lee, Walter Ponce and Jeffrey Swann; violinists, Vadim Gluzman, Julian Rachlin, Peter Zazofsky, Itamar Zorman and Erin Keefe; clarinetists Alexander Fiterstein and Charles Neidich; vocalists Dawn Upshaw, Jennifer Rivera, and Kelley O’Connor; the Amernet, Muir, Manhattan, Avalon, and Dover 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.

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. Visit www.wamc.org.

Photograph of Aryeh Nussabaum Cohen

Mid-Winter Fireside Concert
Voice of the Baroque–A Close EnCountertenor!
Saturday, February 24, 6 PM
Saint James Place, Great Barrington, MA
$38 general seating, $15 for students

Three “storied” string quartets share the theme of a love triangle. The first three years of Schumann’s marriage to his beloved Clara Wieck were an exceedingly productive period for the young composer, and the time when he focused on the genre of the string quartet, producing the String Quartet No. 2 in F Major, one of the most poignant and satisfying of his works. Brahms, Clara’s platonic and cherished confidante and friend, reportedly destroyed some twenty string quartets before allowing the two Op. 51 quartets to be published, the achingly beautiful A minor No. 2 being one of these. Identified as one of opera’s most promising rising stars, in 2017 he received a Richard Tucker Music Foundation grant, made his European debut at the Theater an der Wien and was named a winner of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Audition.

“It happened once in the history of Western music that contradictions coexisted in such perfect balance–passion and discipline, structure and freedom, intellectual rigor and spiritual flight. To quote my teacher Pablo Casals, ‘Bach is a miracle’” says artistic director Yehuda Hanani. “He is of his time and timeless.” Joining him for the journey through the sonatas is his long-time musical partner Michele Levin, first prize winner of the Johann Sebastian Bach International Piano Competition in Washington, DC.

With this concert and Nussbaum Cohen’s Berkshire debut, CEWM further displays its aptness for discovering fresh talent (violinist Vadim Gluzman and composer Osvaldo Golijov are just two of the world-class musicians who made their debuts with CEWM before being recognized by a wider public). The New York Times wrote recently of him, “There was only one complete artist. At just 23, Cohen, a baby-faced countertenor from Brooklyn, already possesses a remarkable gift for intimate communication….Expressive yet dignified, his phrasing confident and his ornamentation stylishly discreet, he brought tears to my eyes.”

TICKET INFORMATION
Tickets are $38 general admission, $15 for students. Order by calling 800-843-07788 or visiting www.cewm.org. Subscriptions for the remaining season’s concerts are also available for purchase through Close Encounters With Music by phone, at www.cewm.org or at the concert.

ABOUT THE ARTISTS

23-year-old American countertenor Aryeh Nussbaum Cohen has quickly been identified as one of opera’s most promising rising stars. In his breakout 2016-17 season, he was named a winner of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, recipient of a Sara Tucker Study Grant from the Richard Tucker Music Foundation, First Prize Winner in the Houston Grand Opera Eleanor McCollum Competition, and winner of an award from the George London Foundation. Recent performances have included the world premiere of Kenneth Fuchs’ Poems of Life with the Virginia Symphony, which he records with the London Symphony Orchestra for release in 2018 (Naxos). In the summer of 2016, he participated in the Merola Opera Program at San Francisco Opera, and in the summer of 2017, he joined Wolf Trap Opera as a Studio Artist. In 2017-18, he joins the Houston Grand Opera Studio as the first countertenor in the Studio’s history, where sings Nireno in Handel’s Giulio Cesare and Maid in Strauss’ Elektra. He also joins American Bach Soloists for their 20th annual performances of Handel’s Messiah in San Francisco’s Grace Cathedral, and Ars Lyrica Houston for two concert programs. On the recital stage, Nussbaum Cohen presents a recital in San Francisco, under the auspices of the Merola Opera Program, and he sings recitals in Houston, Great Barrington, MA and additional cities. In the summer of 2018, he makes his role debut as Ottone in Monteverdi’s L’incoronazione di Poppea with Cincinnati Opera. He made his European debut at the Theater an der Wien in Vienna, singing the primo uomo role of Timante in Gluck’s Demofonte with baroque ensemble Il Complesso Barocco. Nussbaum Cohen has significant experience in the world of sacred music. Highlights include serving as the alto soloist in the Bach Magnificat with the Leipzig Barockorchester in the Thomaskirche in Leipzig, Germany. During his senior year at Princeton University, he became the first singer in a decade to win the Princeton University Concerto Competition. Nussbaum Cohen received his BA in 2015 from Princeton, where he majored in History (with a concentration in Intellectual and Cultural History) and received certificates in Vocal Performance and Judaic Studies. Upon graduating, he was awarded Princeton’s Isidore and Helen Sacks Memorial Prize for extraordinary achievement in the arts, granted each year to the student of greatest promise in the performance of classical music.

Artistic Director 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, 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, Vadim Repin, Dawn Upshaw, Shlomo Mintz, Yefim Bronfman, the Tokyo, Vermeer, Muir, Lark, Avalon, Amernet, and Manhattan quartets, and Cuarteto Latinoamericano, 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, and the Metropolitan Museum’s Grace Rainey Rogers Auditorium. His pioneering recording of the monumental Alkan Cello Sonata received a Grand Prix du Disque nomination, and his other discs have won wide recognition. On CD and in live performances, he has premiered works of Nicolai Miaskovsky, Lukas Foss, Leo Ornstein, Joan Tower, Paul Schoenfield, Osvaldo Golijov, Jorge Martín, and Bernard Rands, among other composers. Mr. Hanani has been committed to extending the range of the cello repertoire and to collaborating with performers in many artistic realms, including actors Jane Alexander, Richard Chamberlain and Sigourney Weaver. Professor of Cello at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, he presents masterclasses internationally at conservatories and for orchestras, including the Juilliard School, University of Indiana at Bloomington, New England Conservatory, McGill University, Peabody Conservatory, Paris Conservatoire, Berlin Hochschule für Music, Royal Academy of Music in London, Tokyo National University, Jerusalem Academy of Music, Guildhall School in London, Central Conservatory of Shanghai and Central Conservatory of Beijing, and the New World Symphony in Miami. His engaging chamber music with commentary series, Close Encounters With Music, has captivated audiences from Miami to Kansas City, Omaha, Calgary, Scottsdale, the Berkshires, and at the Frick Collection in New York City. A three-time recipient of the Martha Baird Rockefeller grant, 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…This is certainly a splendid release, and should by no means be passed up.” Aimed at outreach for classical music, his weekly program on NPR affiliate station WAMC Northeast Radio, “Classical Music According to Yehuda,” has gained thousands of fans for the direct broadcast and podcast. He directs the High Peaks Festival, a teaching and chamber music festival that takes place in 2018 on the campus of the Berkshire School in Sheffield, MA. Soloist, chamber musician, master teacher, essayist, and ambassador for the arts, Yehuda Hanani illuminates and enlightens audiences on the essence of music.

Audiences and critics have acclaimed Michele Levin, pianist and composer, as a multi-faceted musician of extraordinary sensitivity, virtuosity, and dedication to the art of making music. Ms. Levin is a graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music with a double major in piano and composition. She began her studies there at the age of eleven and is the first woman to receive a Curtis Master’s Degree in Composition. The Johann Sebastian Bach International Piano Competition in Washington, DC awarded her first prize in competition with pianists from fourteen countries. Ms. Levin has performed as a soloist with the Philadelphia Orchestra, Boston Pops, Florida Philharmonic, Miami Chamber Symphony, Sinfonia Virtuosi, New World Symphony, Albany Symphony, and Virginia Symphony. She has also given solo and chamber music recitals in major cities throughout the US, Canada, Europe, Asia, and Central and South America. In demand as a chamber musician, she has toured the world with violinists Peter Zazofsky, Joseph Silverstein, Ruggerio Ricci, Nina Beilina, Daniel Phillips, Donald Weilerstein, Sydney Harth, Ik-Hwan Bae, Maria Bachman, Arve Tellefson, Lin Chang, and Yehonaton Berick; with violists Rivka Golani, Paul Neubauer, Atar Arad, Rainer Moog, and Jessie Levine; and with cellists Yehuda Hanani, Ronald Thomas, and Wolfgang Boettcher. She has performed with clarinetists Mitchell Lurie, Alexander Fiterstein, Eli Eban, and Charles Neidich; with harpist Heidi Lehwalder; and with flutists Thomas Wolf and Carol Wincenc. Ms. Levin tours regularly with the Muir String Quartet and as a guest artist with the Miami String Quartet. In 2007, the Muir Quartet premiered her String Quartet No. 1, which she dedicated to the quartet. Her repertoire extends into the realm of vocal music, having given recitals with Metropolitan Opera vocalists Gwendolyn Bradley, Marvis Martin, Martina Arroyo, D’Anna Fortunato, Carol Farley, Lucy Shelton, and William Sharp. Ms. Levin records for Koch International, EcoClassics, Altarus, and the Canadian Broadcasting Companies.

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, Robert Beaser, 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 Roman Rabinovich, Soyeon Kate Lee, Walter Ponce and Jeffrey Swann; violinists, Vadim Gluzman, Julian Rachlin, Peter Zazofsky, Itamar Zorman and Erin Keefe; clarinetists Alexander Fiterstein and Charles Neidich; vocalists Dawn Upshaw, Jennifer Rivera, and Kelley O’Connor; the Amernet, Muir, Manhattan, Avalon, and Dover 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.

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. Visit www.wamc.org.

ABOUT SAINT JAMES PLACE

Saint James Place opened in January 2017 as a home for small and mid-size Berkshire County arts groups in need of quality performance space. Saint James Place is a state-of the-art cultural center, where residents can enjoy music, theater, dance and other performances along with lectures, classes and meetings year-round in the heart of downtown Great Barrington.

Photograph of the Amernet String Quartet

The Italian fixation that runs deep in the collective artistic psyche is on musical display Saturday, December 9, 6PM. It was de rigueur for 19th century painters, musicians and literary types—Byron, Tchaikovsky, Mendelssohn—to make the Grand Tour to Rome and Florence, imbibe the classicism, passion, bel canto, and expressivity that are hallmarks of Italian art, and bring them home to their studios where memories of the sunshine sustained them in chilly northern Europe. The centerpiece of the program is Tchaikovsky’s Souvenir de Florence, written as he recovered from a disastrous marriage and developed an infatuation with the city that spawned the Renaissance. Florence worked its magic on Tchaikovsky, and the result is one of the most delightful and charming pieces in the repertory for string sextet. This Italian showcase includes Chrysanthemums, the only chamber music Puccini ever wrote; works by the Venetian Vivaldi; Hugo Wolf’s Italian Serenade; and a Verdi string quartet. Bellissimo!

“The drama, exuberance and emotion of Italian opera make an appearance in the distilled format of chamber music and the synthesis is irresistable,” says Artistic Director Yehuda Hanani, who joins the Amernet for the Tchaikovsky Souvenir, along with violist Xia-Dong Wang. “The Grand Tour of Italy was a rite of passage in the 19th Century, and we will be presenting a Grand Tour in sound.”

The Amernet joins a long line of quartets who perform regularly for CEWM: the Dover, Escher, Manhattan, Muir, Vermeer, and Avalon, and this year, making their debut, the Ariel. Praised for its “intelligence” and “immensely satisfying” playing by the New York Times, the AMERNET STRING QUARTET has garnered recognition as one of today’s exceptional string quartets and holds the position of Ensemble-in-Residence at Florida International University in Miami. Their concert schedule has taken them across the Americas and to Asia, Europe, and the Middle East, performing in the U.S. at the Kennedy Center, Tilles Center, Caramoor, the Great Lakes Festival, Newport, Friends of Chamber Music in Arizona and Friends of Chamber Music in Syracuse, Music on the Edge in Pittsburgh, the University of Maine-Collins Center and in orchestral appearances as quartet soloists with the Cincinnati Symphony under Alan Gilbert. The Amernet secured its position in the chamber music world when it won the gold medal at the Tokyo International Music Competition and was awarded first prize at the prestigious Banff International String Quartet Competition. Committed to the music of our time, they have commissioned works from many of today’s leading composers, working closely with John Corigliano, Orlando Garcia, John Harbison, Toshi Ichiyanagi, Bernard Rands, Gerhard Samuel and Chinary Ung. Recordings include the Concerto for Clarinet, Oboe, String Quartet and Bass, by John Harbison with Sara Lambert Bloom and Charles Neidich as soloists; and The Butterflies Began to Sing, a work for string quartet, bass, MIDI keyboard and computer by Morton Subotnick. The Amernet actively advocates for neglected works of the past and aims to enliven the concert experience through its innovative programming Members of the Amernet are: Misha Vitenson and Franz Felkl, violins; Michael Klotz, viola, Jason Calloway, cello.


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, Robert Beaser, 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 Adam Neiman, Roman Rabinovich, Walter Ponce and Jeffrey Swann; violinists Yehonatan Berick, Vadim Gluzman, Itamar Zorman and Erin Keefe; clarinetists Alexander Fiterstein and Charles Neidich; vocalists Dawn Upshaw, Jennifer Rivera, Kelley O’Connor, and Lucille Beer; the Amernet, Muir, Manhattan, Avalon, and Dover 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 MAHAIWE PERFORMING ARTS CENTER

Through programs of the highest quality in dance, music, theatre and opera, the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center ensures a diversity of talent on the stage and screen of our beautifully restored historic theater. Our goal is to present a variety of programs that appeal to all ages and interests, at ticket prices affordable to our community.

Politics of Opera Press Release

To what extent do operas express the political and cultural ideas of their age? How do story lines, harmonies and musical motifs reflect the composer’s view of the changing relations among art, politics, and society? Mitchell Cohen, who combines his academic expertise in political science and lifelong interest in the spectacle of opera in his new book (The Politics of Opera—A History from Monteverdi to Mozart, Princeton Press), will underscore the political dimensions of libretti and ideological elements of opera, which absorbs and mirrors currents of the day in dramatic dress-up. Professor of political science at Baruch College and the Graduate School of CUNY, he has written for The New York Times Book Review, The Los Angeles Times Book Review, The Times Literary Supplement (London), Les Temps Modernes (Paris), and edited Princeton Readings in Political Thought (1995) and Rebels and Reactionaries: An Anthology of Great Political Stories (1992). Your next night at the opera won’t be the same!

“The Politics of Opera” is part of a series of intimate and stimulating conversations about music and ideas, an intrinsic part of the Close Encounters With Music season. “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; 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 award-winning poet Charles Coe.

Tickets for this event are $20 and are available on the Close Encounters website – www.cewm.org, at 800-843-0778, or at the door. Light refreshments, following the presentation, are included.

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, Robert Beaser, 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 Adam Neiman, Roman Rabinovich, Walter Ponce and Jeffrey Swann; violinists Yehonatan Berick, Vadim Gluzman, Itamar Zorman and Erin Keefe; clarinetists Alexander Fiterstein and Charles Neidich; vocalists Dawn Upshaw, Jennifer Rivera, Kelley O’Connor, and Lucille Beer; the Amernet, Muir, Manhattan, Avalon, and Dover 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 SAINT JAMES PLACE
CEWM is delighted to return to the legendary acoustics of the newly “converted” Saint James Place, its earliest home. Saint James Place is a state-of the-art cultural center, where residents can enjoy music, theater, dance and other performances along with lectures, classes and meetings year-round in the heart of downtown Great Barrington. “The acoustics are old world, ideal for Baroque music. It’s a rich, intimate and warm sound with a radiance, a halo. The surroundings become an extension of the instruments being played and respond to their vibrations. Saint James Place is located at 352 Main Street in Great Barrington.