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.

26th Season of Close Encounters with Music Press Release

(Great Barrington, MA…) Embarking on its 26th year of presenting outstanding chamber music with lively commentary, the Berkshires’ premier chamber music organization Close Encounters With Music moves into its second quarter-century with a new season of commemorations and discoveries, world-renowned musicians and extraordinary new faces, and continued expansion of original programming of classical, contemporary and cutting-edge music.

Close Encounters returns with its customary artistic vigor, crystalline focus and fresh look at our great musical heritage, old and new. 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 enlighten the concert experience. “We have created a rare cultural zone we call Close Encounters With Music, with innovative concerts, outstanding colleagues, and a sumptuous menu of the best music of our classical canon.”  Yehuda Hanani invites all music appreciators to become a part of the community of CEWM, which fills the calendar during the Berkshire “off-season” each month October 21 through June 9.  Each concert is framed by an introduction before the music, and is followed by an AFTERGLOW reception with an informal “talk-back” and opportunity to meet the musicians. Venues include the landmark Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center, the newly renovated Saint James Place in Great Barrington and Edith Wharton’s The Mount in Lenox.

Season highlights include: a musical chronicle of the darkness and depth of modern Russian history by the Ariel String Quartet (Tchaikovsky, Arensky, Shostakovitch); an Italian holiday showcase with the Amernet Quartet performing festive works by Puccini, Vivaldi and Hugo Wolf; the extraordinary countertenor Aryeh Nussbaum Cohen, winner of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions (“A remarkable gift for intimate communication…he brought tears to my eyes.”—New York Times); andthe Berkshires debut of violin virtuoso Soovin Kim. Pianists Roman Rabinovich, Michael Chertock and Soyeon Kate Lee return as does the dynamic ACRONYM String Band, shining a spotlight on forgotten Baroque masterpieces in an intriguing program titled “The Faux and the Fabulous.”  Closing the calendar (“Lenny at 100—Feel the BERNstein!”) is a gala celebration of the genius of Leonard Bernstein, who taught and performed for fifty years at Tanglewood. And Close Encounters With Music continues its talk series, Conversations With… stimulating afternoons of music, literature and exchanges of ideas with notable performers, critics, authors, and cultural personages.  Author and scholar Mitchell Cohen explores the “The Politics of Opera” (the title of his new book, just published by Princeton University Press), and Russian expert Timothy Sergay takes us on a survey of Russian film music.  From October through June, it’s a season NOT TO BE MISSED!

For Calendar listings, see below.

2017-2018 SEASON

The Titans:  Schumann and Brahms Piano Quintets
Saturday, October 21, 6 PM
Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center, Great Barrington, MA
Tickets: $50 (Orchestra and Mezzanine) and $27 (Balcony), Students $15

The season opens Saturday, October 21, at 6 PM with two works that take us to the pinnacle of chamber music in a pairing of Brahms’s Piano Quintet in F minor, Op. 34 with that of his champion, and originator of the new genre, Robert Schumann’s breakthrough Piano Quintet. Combining the piano and the string quartet had never been tried, but in the space of only a few weeks in 1842, Schumann wrote the legendary piece that influenced countless followers. Both quintets are on the short list of masterworks—symphonic in scale, potent, flashy, and bursting with harmonic and melodic opulence and rhythmic variety. Other common denominators: A sense of inspiration is embedded in each, as is a sense of the ever-present Clara, to whom Schumann’s work is dedicated. These genre-bending works alternate between quasi-symphonic and more properly chamber-like elements to keep you captivated from start to finish…as will the all-star cast of performers. 
Soyeon Kate Lee, piano; Irina Muresanu and Peter Zazofsky, violin; Michael Strauss, viola; Yehuda Hanani,cello

Souvenir de Florence—An Italian Holiday Celebration
Saturday, December 9, 6 PM
Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center, Great Barrington, MA
Tickets: $50 (Orchestra and Mezzanine) and $27 (Balcony), Students $15

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 showcaseincludesChrysanthemums, the only chamber music Puccini ever wrote; works by the Venetian Vivaldi; Hugo Wolf’sItalian Serenade, and a Verdi string quartet. Bellissimo
The Amernet String Quartet: Misha Vitenson,violin; Franz Felkl, violin; Michael Klotz, viola; Jason Calloway,cello; with Xiao-Dong Wang, viola; Yehuda Hanani, cello

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

Seldom has there been such a merging of intellectual rigor and emotion as in Johann Sebastian Bach’s Gamba Sonatas. The slow movements reach remarkable spiritual height and the outer movements are bursting with joy. Yehuda Hanani’s legendary musicianship and artistic probing will enrich these challenging sonatas. We also introduce American countertenor Aryeh Nussbaum Cohen in selections of English song from Dowland, Purcell and Handel. Identified as one of opera’s most promising rising stars, in 2017 he received a Richard Tucker MusicFoundation grant, made his European debut at the Theater an derWien and was named a winner of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Audition. “…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.”—The New York Times
CEWM is delighted to return Saturday, February 24 at 6 PM to the legendary acoustics of the newly “converted” Saint James Place, its earliest home.
Aryeh Nussbaum Cohen,countertenor; Michele Levin, piano; Yehuda Hanani, cello

The Ariel String Quartet–Tchaikovsky, Arensky, Shostakovich
Saturday, March 17, 6 PM
Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center, Great Barrington, MA
Tickets: $50 (Orchestra and Mezzanine) and $27 (Balcony), Students $15

Three 19th and 20th century Russian works create a trajectory through recent Russian history. Tchaikovsky’s String Quartet No. 1 is the first notable work of Russian chamber music, said to have moved Tolstoy to tears. Mystical, monastic, with two-cello richness that conjures a Russian Orthodox choir, Anton Arensky’s homage to Tchaikovsky, the Quartet Op. 35, stands between Tsarist pre-Revolution and post-Revolution dictatorships.  In Shostakovich’s Quartet No. 3, he is composing with Stalin looking over his shoulder and the movements have coded titles like “Blithe ignorance of the future cataclysm” and “The eternal question: Why? And for what?”  On Saturday, March 17, 6 PM, the Ariel Quartet presents a program rich in Russian lore, Slavic emotionalism, sparkling wit, Soviet-era sarcasm, and dazzling virtuosity.
“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; withYehuda Hanani, cello 

Grand Piano Trios–Felix Mendelssohn and Bedřich Smetana
Sunday, April 29, 3 PM
Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center, Great Barrington, MA
Tickets: $50 (Orchestra and Mezzanine) and $27 (Balcony), Students $15

The remarkably versatile composer-pianist-conductor-painter 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. The profoundly moving Piano Trio in G minor of 1855 was composed after the death of Smetana’s daughter; its style is close to that of Robert Schumann, with hints of Liszt, Wagner and Berlioz. Sunday, April 29, 3 PM, 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.
“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)
Roman Rabinovich, piano; Soovin Kim, violin; Yehuda Hanani, cello

The Faux and the Fabulous–ACRONYM BAROQUE
Saturday, May 12, 6PM
Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center, Great Barrington, MA
Tickets: $50 (Orchestra and Mezzanine) and $27 (Balcony), Students $15

Perhaps because it is so distant and its style so ingratiating and universally pleasing, the Baroque period inspired many imposters. Leaving the baby on the doorstep of a good family to give him a better chance in life, many composers attributed their works to a more famous composer. Fakes unveiled will include Frescobaldi’s Toccata (by Cassado), Couperin’s Five Concert Pieces (by Bazelere) and C.P.E. Bach’s Andante (by Cassadeseus). In addition to these gems (rhinestones), Saturday, May 12, 6PM, ACRONYM, the 12-member string band, will take us back further in time and introduce some authentic forgotten masterpieces of the pre-Baroque and Baroque eras, by Viennese and German composers. Much of their programming is devoted to modern premieres of works newly transcribed from manuscript, previously unpublished, unrecorded and unheard since the early 17th century.  Neo, quasi, retro, faux—never mind, this is the real thing!
ACRONYM Baroque String Band; Kivie Cahn-Lipman, director; Yehuda Hanani, cello 

Gala:  Lenny at 100—Feel the BERNstein!
Saturday, June 9, 6 PM
Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center, Great Barrington, MA
Tickets: $50 (Orchestra and Mezzanine) and $27 (Balcony), Students $15

Acknowledged as possibly the greatest conductor the U.S. has ever produced, Leonard Bernstein was dashing, brilliant and eloquent; a dazzling pianist, lecturer and cultural figure who redefined the word “charisma.” Equally at home on the concert stage and Broadway, when summer came, he headed to the Berkshires, where important friendships were forged with Aaron Copland, Marc Blitzstein, Lukas Foss, and other legendary musicians.  Celebrating the 100th anniversary of his birth, we present a musical portrait of a versatile career, with his vocal and piano music and that of composers he championed—Mahler (Bernstein held a Mahler Festival to mark the centenary of that composer’s birth!), Sondheim and Ives; selections from Kurt Weill’s Threepenny Opera, Foss’s cowboy piece Capriccio, and Copland’s El Salón México.  A delightful romp through the music scene circa 1950 as barriers began to come down among genres. Glitter and be gay and experience the Bernstein phenomenon Saturday, June 9, 6PM!
Michael Chertock,piano; Danielle Talamantes, soprano; Kerry Wilkerson, baritone; Rachel Lee Priday, violin; Yehuda Hanani, cello 

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

MORE THAN MUSIC:
Close Encounters With Music continues its listen and talk series, Conversations With… intimate and stimulating afternoons of music, literature and exchanges of ideas with notable performers, critics, authors, and cultural personages.

The Politics of Opera – Author and Scholar Mitchell Cohen
Sunday, November 12, 3 PM
Saint James Place, Great Barrington, MA
Tickets: $20 includes light refreshment

To what extent do operas express the political and cultural ideas of their age? How do storylines, 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 ReviewThe Los Angeles Times Book ReviewThe 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!

Russian and Soviet Film Music: A Tuneful Survey
Sunday, April 22, 3 PM
The Mount, Lenox, MA
Tickets: $20 includes light refreshment

In a lecture illustrated with film clips, Professor Timothy Sergay of SUNY Albany will present an overview of Russian and Soviet film music, focusing not only on the famous contributions of Sergei Prokofiev and Dmitri Shostakovich, but also on such lesser known masters as Georgi Sviridov, the Soviet adoption of the Hollywood musical genre in the 1930s, the cultural role of songs created for Soviet films, and the influence of Russian music on Hollywood film scores. The talk will conclude with a review of the conventions of Hollywood’s musical representation of Russia and the world beyond the Iron Curtain. Sergay is a scholar and translator of Russian with multiple MA degrees in Russian language and literature—from the University of Michigan, Middlebury College Russian School, the Pushkin Institute of Russian Language in Moscow, and Yale University. His Yale doctoral dissertation was on the Christian sensibility of the Russian novelist Boris Pasternak.

For further information and to make reservations: 800.843.0778 or [email protected].

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

ABOUT CLOSE ENCOUNTERS WITH MUSIC
Close Encounters With Music stands at the intersection of music, art and the vast richness of Western culture. Entertaining, erudite and lively commentary from founder and Artistic Director Yehuda Hanani puts the composers and their times in perspective to enrich and enlighten the concert experience. Since the inception of its Commissioning Project in 2001, CEWM has worked with the most distinguished composers of our time—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 James Tocco, Adam Neiman, Walter Ponce, Lydia Artymiw and Jeffrey Swann; violinists Shmuel Ashkenasi, Yehonatan Berick, Vadim Gluzman and Erin Keefe; clarinetists Alexander Fiterstein, Charles Neidich; vocalists Dawn Upshaw, Amy Burton, Jennifer Aylmer, Robert White, Lucille Beer and William Sharp; the Ariel, Vermeer, Amernet, Muir, Manahattan, Avalon, Hugo Wolf, 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 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 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; and the Catskill High Peaks Festival continued the educational mission of Close Encounters With Music with fifty international students in residence in the Great Northern Catskills at the Carey Center for Global Good in an immersive course of study and performance.

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 a series of 7 concerts. Visit our website at www.cewm.org.

2017-2018 CALENDAR

The Titans: Schumann/Brahms Piano Quintets
Saturday, October 21, 6PM
Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center, Great Barrington, MA

Souvenir de Florence–An Italian Holiday Celebration
Saturday, December 9, 6PM
Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center, Great Barrington, MA

Mid-Winter Fireside Concert–A Close EnCountertenor!
Saturday, February 24, 6 PM
Saint James Place, Great Barrington, MA

The Ariel String Quartet–Tchaikovsky, Arensky, Shostakovich
Saturday, March 17, 6PM
Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center, Great Barrington, MA

Grand Piano Trios–Mendelssohn and Smetana
Sunday, April 29, 3PM
Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center, Great Barrington, MA

The Faux and the Fabulous–ACRONYM Ensemble
Saturday, May 12, 6PM
Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center, Great Barrington, MA

Gala:  Lenny at 100—Feel the BERNstein!
Saturday, June 9, 6PM
Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center, Great Barrington, MA

The Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center is at 14 Castle Street, Great Barrington, MA. 
Saint James Place is at 352 Main Street, Great Barrington, MA.
A reception with light refreshments follows each concert October through May.  A Patrons Gala Reception follows the June concert.

Conversations With…

“The Politics of Opera—Author and Scholar Mitchell Cohen” at Saint James Place (Great Barrington) is on Sunday, November 12 at 3 PM. $20 per person includes light refreshments.

“Russian and Soviet Film Music: A Tuneful Survey” is at The Mount (Lenox, MA) on Sunday, April 22 at 3 PM. $20 per person includes light refreshments.

CEWM in quotes…

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

“The Berkshires are home to distinguished cultural events, but none so brilliant, perhaps, as the chamber music series Close Encounters With Music.” —Berkshire Record
“…A stunning, majestic resolution, a brilliant ending to an unforgettable encounter with music.  Bravi!” —The Berkshire Edge

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

Photograph of Musicians on Stage

RENSSELAERVILLE, New York — “Fanfare for the Uncommon Woman” is the theme of the eighth edition of the Catskill High Peaks Festival, hosted by the Carey Institute for Global Good, August 6-17. A joint presentation of the Carey Institute and Close Encounters With Music, the Berkshire-based chamber music organization, High Peaks this year features remarkable composers who stormed the barricades and helped revolutionize the place of women in the arts as it celebrates the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage in NY State.

The ten-day chamber music festival and teaching institute, directed by internationally acclaimed cellist Yehuda Hanani, offers a combination of concerts, lectures, film and master classes, open to the public—and featuring distinguished faculty artists sharing the stage with outstanding young musicians from around the world. Festival events will take place on the historic 100-acre estate of the Carey Institute for Global Good overlooking Lake Myosotis in Rensselaerville, New York. Throughout the festival and residency, historic, forgotten, and new works by women composers will be presented alongside major works by Bach, Schumann and Brahms in performances, master classes and special lectures. This year, the festival also expands into the mandolin repertoire, with French virtuoso mandolin player Vincent Beer-Demander.

Artistic director Yehuda Hanani observes, “The societal obstacles to acquiring the vote reflect the same barriers and cultural biases that women had to overcome to have their works published and performed and that kept them from careers as creators of new music. Since many of the key figures and pivotal events of the suffrage movement took place in or near our home region in the Hudson Valley, we believe this is a fitting time and place to bring attention to the creative achievements of women composers.”

Guest performers include: Peter Zazofsky, winner of the Queen Elizabeth of Belgium Competition, soloist with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Rotterdam Philharmonic, Vienna Symphony, first violinist of the Muir Quartet, winner of two Grand Prix du Disques and founding director of the String Quartet Institute at Tanglewood; violinist Irina Muresanu; violist Michael Strauss; and pianist and conductor Michael Chertock, frequent soloist with the Boston Pops, Cincinnati Pops, and BBC Symphony Orchestra. “We are committed to bringing the very best artists and leading pedagogues to continue this new musical tradition, here in the breathtaking environment that inspired the Hudson River School painters and generations of artists since,” says Hanani.  “The majestic setting of the Carey Institute for Global Good provides a backdrop for ten days of music-making and fellowship, bringing together fifty of the most talented young musicians from around the world to work with world the world-renowned faculty.”

The astonishing contribution of women composers to classical music will be manifest in the programming—two main Sunday evening concerts (August 6 and 13) featuring eminent guest soloists, chamber music ensembles mixing faculty and residents, and the High Peaks Festival Chamber Orchestra; a concert at Basilica Hudson (Friday, August 11) and at the New York State Museum in Albany (Saturday, August 12) as well as in talks such as “The Schumanns—Music, Muse and Marriage” at the Carey (Sunday, August 13).  Composers represented include Grazyna Bacewicz, Caroline Shaw, Lili Boulanger, Clara Schumann, Fanny Mendelssohn and Amy Beach.  At summer’s end master students and faculty will be encouraged to explore, research and perform women’s compositions back in their own conservatories—Juilliard, Curtis, Paris Conservatoire, Oberlin, Boston University, Tokyo, Korea, University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music and other leading schools.

Two Sunday Concerts in Rensselaerville

The festival opens with “Crazy Quilt—Schubert, Piazzolla, Locatelli, Clara Schumann, Caroline Shaw and more” Sunday, August 6, 7 PM at the Carey Institute’s Guggenheim Pavilion.  Tango, Baroque, Romantic, popularit’s all stitched together in an incredibly vibrant tapestry. With pianist Mikael Darmanie, violinist Peter Zazofsky, and cellist Yehuda Hanani.

The centerpieces of the second Sunday concert are Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 6, Vivaldi Concerto for Two Mandolins and Brahms Piano Quintet and Bacewicz Quartet for Four Violins, performed by faculty and young resident artists joining together for these chamber music favorites. This last of the Brandenburgs highlights the burnished lower tones of viola and viola da gamba.  Sunday, August 13, 7 PM at the Carey Institute’s Guggenheim Pavilion.

In Hudson

A performance is scheduled on Friday, August 11, 8 PM at Basilica Hudson, a former industrial building newly renovated and repurposed as an arts center.  Renowned faculty and international rising young artists from the festival fill the hall with an exuberant display of virtuosity and talent. Various chamber music combinations and crossover repertoire include cello chorus, violin and mandolin ensembles and the High Peaks Chamber orchestra in works by Vivaldi (with an all-ladies orchestra) and notable women composers, historic and current—Amy Beach, Lily Boulanger, Caroline Shaw and Grazyna Bacewicz.  A celebration of the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage in New York State with music from the demur and lyrical to the bold, propulsive and cosmic!  Performers include: Irina Muresanu and Peter Zazofsky, violin; Michael Strauss, viola; Yehuda Hanani, Paul Dwyer and DoYeon Kim, cello; Michael Chertock and Mikael Darmanie, piano; and the High Peaks Festival Chamber Orchestra. 

And more in Rensselaerville…

Throughout the festival, a series of performances by talented up-and-coming musicians participating in the residency will provide audiences with an opportunity to catch a glimpse of some of the classical music world’s future stars. This series of “Moonlight Sonatas” performances showcasing top-tier young artists at the Carey Institute is free and open to the public. This year’s program also features a “Buddy Day” on August 14, in which 25 students from Albany’s Empire State Youth Orchestra and Kids 4 Harmony in Pittsfield and CHIMES of Albany will participate in a day of interaction with the residents and masters, culminating with a performance at 4 PM.

The festival also offers a series of illuminating talks, free classes, and workshops offered each day. For a full schedule of events, visit www.catskillhighpeaksmusic.org
 
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Photographs of Musicians

(Great Barrington, MA) Anonymous may have been a woman composer. Clara Schumann, Fannie Mendelssohn, Maria Theresia von Paradis, Ethel Smyth, Lili Boulanger, Amy Beach, Marianna Martinez, and Augusta Holmes (a precursor to Edith Piaf with 120-some songs!) move from footnotes to forces in the annals of classical music as women gain the vote and their artistic voices. The June 10 gala “Fanfare for the Uncommon Woman” features remarkable composers who stormed the barricades and helped revolutionize the place of women in the arts—playing four-hand piano with Mozart, conducting their works from an English prison, and overcoming the taboo to write but not be heard, especially in public. As this extraordinary evening progresses, works will span the demur and lyrical, the bold, propulsive and cosmic.

In keeping with its mission to connect to the cultural richness of the Berkshire/Upstate New York region, Close Encounters With Music delves into the remarkable chapter of women’s suffrage, which largely originated with figures such as Massachusetts natives Susan B Anthony and Lucy Stone and upstate New Yorker Elizabeth Cady Stanton. With this event and others, CEWM is marking the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage in NY state with special programming highlighting women composers—and celebrating its own 25th season in the Berkshires!

The centerpiece of the concert is a newly commissioned “quilt” of miniatures by Thea Musgrave, Tamar Muskal, and Judith Zaimont, musical portraits of suffragettes and other ladies of valor—Ethel Smyth, Emma Lazarus, and Sojourner Truth—who advanced the causes of women and everyone else with their steadfastness, ingenuity and idealism. The Quilt—that quintessential feminine article that represents cooperation (think quilting bees) and resourcefulness, taking disparate scraps and weaving them together to form a thing of beauty—will receive its world premiere by the evening’s performers: violinist Peter Zazofsky; pianists Renana Gutman and Ieva Jokubaviciute; Metropolitan Opera soprano Danielle Talamantes and cellist and artistic director Yehuda Hanani. Additionally, Joan Tower’s Fanfare for the Uncommon Woman No. 6 and “Remember the Ladies” from Patricia Leonard’s opera My Dearest Friend, based on the correspondence between Abigail Adams and President John Adams, are stitched onto the quilt.

Says artistic director Yehuda Hanani, “The societal obstacles to acquiring the vote reflect the same barriers and cultural biases that women had to overcome to have their works published and performed and that kept them from careers as creators of new music. Since many of the key figures and pivotal events of the suffrage movement took place in or near our home region in the Hudson Valley, we believe this is a fitting time and place to bring attention to the creative achievements of women composers.”

Robert Schumann and Felix Mendelssohn make cameo appearances on the program, which is replete with revelations: songs and sonatas displaying the genius of Fannie, Clara, Amy and Augusta; von Paradis’ shimmering Sicilienne; Piano Sonata in G Major by Martinez, a study in beauty and classicism, plus the Mozart four-hand piano sonata she performed with Amadeus himself. The blending of young, established and historic composers will afford a quilt of its own. To add to the festivities, there will be a fanfare for the occasion of the 90th birthday of Thea Musgrave, one of classical music’s most uncommon women!

All in all, a thrilling, kinetic and illuminating evening, infused with a sense of historic immediacy.

Fanfare for the Uncommon Woman—Celebrating the 100th Anniversary of Women’s Suffrage
Saturday, June 10, 6 PM
Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center, Great Barrington, MA

Photograph of Linda Hirshman

Lawyer, best-selling author, and cultural historian Linda Hirshman has chronicled battles that have changed the social landscape of America in her books Get to work: A Manifesto For Women of the World, Hard Bargains: The Politics of Sex, and others. Her dual biography of Justices Sandra Day O’Connor and Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Sisters in Law reveals how these trailblazers shaped the legal framework of modern feminism, also situating their respective ascents to the Court within the broader women’s rights movement. A fitting way to celebrate Mother’s Day, with historic and current-day women of note-with the backdrop of Edith Wharton’s majestic and beloved Lenox property The Mount; a discussion resting on heroines of our legal system; and the brilliant author and thinker Linda Hirshman!

Hirshman has written for a variety of periodicals, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, Slate, and The Daily Beast, and participated herself in cases in the United States Supreme Court representing organized labor. She has also spent time in academia, teaching law, and philosophy and women’s studies at Brandeis University. A charismatic speaker, she will analyze the 14th and 19th Amendments in tandem as two paths to equality in the suffrage effort and as they affected private and public lives of women Hirshman compares Ginsburg to no less than Mozart and Jane Austen, with her observation that “Mozart had, by many accounts, five operatic masterpieces. Jane Austen’s reputation rests on five novels. . . . In five landmark cases over less than a decade, [Ginsburg] largely transformed the constitutional status of women in America.”

With this event and others, Close Encounters With Music is marking the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage in NY state with special programming highlighting women composers and other women of achievement. The June 10 gala (Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center, Great Barrington), “Fanfare for the Uncommon Woman” features remarkable composers who stormed the barricades and helped revolutionize the place of women in the arts—playing four-hand piano with Mozart, conducting their works from an English prison, and overcoming the taboo to write but not be heard, especially in public. These include the estimable Clara Schumann, Fannie Mendelssohn, Maria Theresia von Paradis, Ethel Smyth, Lili Boulanger, Amy Beach, Marianna Martinez and Augusta Holmes, as well as contemporary composers Thea Musgrave, Tamar Muskal, Joan Tower, Judith Zaimont and Patricia Leonard.

“Linda Hirshman and the Feminine Mystique” 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; 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 filmmaker Daniel Anker and Directors Guild of America Award winner Peter Rosen; former Yankee, author and sportscaster Jim Bouton; Metropolitan Opera costume designer Charles Caine, and Metropolitan Museum curator of historic instruments Ken Moore.

Tickets for this event are $15 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.

CLOSE  ENCOUNTERS ON THE RADIO/PODCAST
Close Encounters With Music concerts are broadcast on WMHT-FM, and audiences are encouraged to tune in to the new weekly broadcasts of “Classical Music According to Yehuda” on WAMC Northeast Radio or visit www.wamc.org.

ABOUT CLOSE ENCOUNTERS WITH MUSIC
Close Encounters With Music stands at the intersection of music, art and the vast richness of Western culture. Entertaining, erudite and lively commentary from founder and Artistic director Yehuda Hanani puts 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, and Thea Musgrave 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.

2016-2017 CALENDAR

Chamber Orchestra Kremlin—Tchaikovsky, Shostakovich, Haydn
Saturday, October 15, 6 PM
Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center, Great Barrington, MA

The Passion of Camille Saint-Saëns and César Franck—Cherchez la Femme!
Saturday, December 3, 6 PM
Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center, Great Barrington, MA

Mid-Winter Fireside Concert–The Intimate Bach
Saturday, February 18, 6PM
Saint James Place, Great Barrinton, MA

Beethoven Journey–Early, Middle and Late
Saturday, March 18, 6 PM
Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center, Great Barrington, MA

The Art of the String Quartet
Saturday, April 15, 6 PM
Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center, Great Barrington, MA

The Los Angeles Guitar Quartet
Saturday, May 6, 6 PM
Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center, Great Barrington, MA

Fanfare for the Uncommon Woman—Celebrating the 100th Anniversary of Women’s Suffrage
Saturday, June 10, 6 PM
Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center, Great Barrington, MA

The Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center is at 14 Castle Street, Great Barrington, MA.
Saint James Place is at 352 Main Street, Great Barrington, MA.
A reception with light refreshments follows each concert.


Conversations With…

“Shattering the Glass Ceiling” with Prize-Winning Composer Hannah Lash at the Hudson Opera House (Hudson, NY) is on Sunday, November 20 at 3 PM. $15 per person includes light refreshments.

“Author Linda Hirshman and The Feminine Mystique” is at The Mount (Lenox, MA) on Sunday, May 14 at 3 PM. $15 per person includes light refreshments.

~

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

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

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