Close Encounters with Music and Mahaiwe Present Virtual Recital

Photograph of Eliot Fisk and Yehuda Hanani Playing Music

JULY 27, 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Yehuda Hanani is renowned for performances with orchestras such as the Chicago Symphony, Philadelphia Orchestra, Baltimore Symphony, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, Berlin Radio Orchestra, Israel Philharmonic, BBC Welsh Symphony, Irish National Symphony, Buenos Aires Philharmonic, Jerusalem Symphony, Belgrade Philharmonic and Taipei and Seoul symphonies, among many others. His pioneering recording of the monumental Alkan Cello Sonata received a Grand Prix du Disque nomination, and his other discs have won wide recognition. His engaging chamber music with commentary series, Close Encounters With Music, has captivated audiences from Miami to Kansas City, Omaha, Calgary, Scottsdale, and the Berkshires.

Close Encounters on the Radio/Podcast

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


Close Encounters With Music stands at the intersection of music, art and the vast richness of Western culture. Entertaining, erudite and lively commentary from founder and Artistic Director Yehuda Hanani puts the composers and their times in perspective to enrich and enlighten the concert experience. Since the inception of its Commissioning Project in 2001, CEWM has worked with the most distinguished composers of our time—Joan Tower, Thea Musgrave, Lera Auerbach, Robert Beaser, Kenji Bunch, Osvaldo Golijov, John Musto, and Paul Schoenfield among others—to create important new works that have already taken their place in the chamber music canon and on CD. A core of brilliant performers includes: pianists, Roman Rabinovich, Soyeon Kate Lee, Max Levinson and Michael Chertock; violinists, Shmuel Ashkenasi, Vadim Gluzman, Julian Rachlin, Peter Zazofsky, Itamar Zorman and Hagai Shaham; clarinetists Alexander Fiterstein and Charles Neidich; vocalists Dawn Upshaw, Danielle Talamantes and Kelley O’Connor; the Muir, Manhattan, Ariel, Vermeer, Escher, Avalon, Hugo Wolf, Dover string quartets; and the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet and guitarist Eliot Fisk. Choreographer David Parsons and actors Richard Chamberlain, Sam Waterston, Jane Alexander and Sigourney Weaver have also appeared as guests, weaving narration and dance into the fabric of the programs. Close Encounters With Music programs have been presented across the U.S. and Canada—Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Omaha, Cincinnati, Calgary, Detroit, at the Frick Collection and Merkin Hall in New York City, at The Clark in Williamstown, at Tanglewood and in Great Barrington, MA, as well as the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts. Summer performances have taken place at the New York State Museum, Basilica Hudson, Orpheum Theatre in Tannersville, and in the orchard at Olana. In its 11th year, the Berkshire High Peaks Festival takes place virtually July 20-31 with over 20 free concerts, talks and masterclasses available to audiences everywhere: