CEWM Presents “Nocturne – Night and Dreams” on Sunday, December 5, 4 PM at the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center

Mozart’s “Eine Kleine Nachtmusik” and Beethoven’s “Moonlight” Sonata Take Center Stage

On Sunday, December 3 at 4 PM, Close Encounters With Music, the Berkshires’ premiere chamber music organization, presents Nocturne – Night and Dreams, a multi-faceted program that explores nuances and contradictions of the night. Release from the brightness of daylight, from consciousness into sleep and dreaminess, the night’s seductive, mysterious potion-like allure has fascinated artists throughout the ages. Lullabies celebrate repose, the restful charm; serenades celebrate love. Other works mark the fear of darkness, the unseen and what may lurk beneath the veil of the night.

Composers from Mozart and Schubert to Borodin and Bernstein have been transfixed, lulled, soothed, and aroused. Beethoven evokes the enchantment of the moon in his iconic “Moonlight” Sonata; Mozart’s Eine Kleine Nachtmusik is a perennial favorite and will be performed in its original scoring. Leider by Schumann, Debussy, Fauré, arias from Gounod’s Romeo and Juliet, and selections from favorite musicals (West Side Story and Man of La Mancha) demonstrate the universality of the theme. To paraphrase Walt Whitman, only the darkness of the night reveals all the stars—in the Heavens and on stage!

Italian pianist Fabio Bidini has appeared as soloist with orchestras worldwide—the London National Orchestra, Budapest Festival Orchestra, San Francisco, Dallas and Philharmonia Orchestra Prague among many others. Baritone John Viscardi, who takes on the vocal repertoire in the program, also serves as executive director of Berkshire Lyric Arts, a vocal summer program. Mr. Viscardi’s performances with orchestra and recital include Carmina Burana with Opera Philadelphia and appearances with the Philadelphia Orchestra at the Kimmel Center and Carnegie Hall.  Also joining artistic director and cellist Hanani will be violinists Kobe Malkin and Grace Park, violist Luke Fleming, and double bassist Lizzie Burns.

All audience members are invited to an “Afterglow” reception with canapés from Authentic Eats by Oleg following each concert to meet the performers and one another!

In addition to offering live in-person concerts, curated online performances will be available to accommodate geographically remote listeners and newly expanded virtual followers.


Tickets, $52 (Orchestra and Mezzanine), $28 (Balcony) and $15 for students, are available through the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center or by calling 413-528-0100. Subscriptions are $250 ($225 for seniors) for the series of 7 concerts (a 35% savings!). Season subscriptions are available at [email protected]. We also offer a virtual option. Tickets are $28 or $100 for the complete season.

“CEWM patrons have learned that sooner or later they’ll be blindsided by a performance so sublime it will defy explanation.” — The Berkshire Edge

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


Fabio Bidini, piano

Italian pianist Fabio Bidini is one of this generation’s top-flight pianists. His appearances have included performances with the London Symphony Orchestra at the Barbican, the Philharmonia Orchestra at the Royal Festival Hall, the San Francisco Symphony, New World Symphony, Dallas Symphony, St. Louis Symphony, Budapest Festival Orchestra, Fort Worth Symphony, Philharmonia Orchestra Prague at the Rudolphinum, and the Hungarian National Philharmonic Orchestra at Liszt Academy Hall. He has collaborated with conductors including Michael Tilson Thomas, Max Valdes, Dimitry Sitkovetsky, Ivan Fisher, Jesús López Cobos, JoAnn Falletta, Zoltan Kocsis, Michael Christie, and Gianandrea Noseda. Bidini’s schedule last season included orchestral appearances with the Buffalo Philharmonic, where he has performed close to a dozen times, and with the Fresno Philharmonic.  In great demand as a chamber music partner, he is the pianist of the highly acclaimed Los Angeles Piano Trio and has enjoyed artistic collaboration with many ensembles and artists including Trio Solisti, the Modigliani Quartet, American String Quartet, Janacek Quartet, Brodsky Quartet, Szymanowski Quartet, Zoltan Kocsis, and Dimitri Ashkenazy. In 2015 the Colburn Conservatory of Music in Los Angeles founded the Carol Colburn Grigor Piano Chair for him, and he currently serves on the faculty.

John Viscardi, tenor

John Viscardi has moved audiences around the world with his vocal beauty and dramatic intensity, having performed with Santa Fe Opera, Opera Philadelphia, New York City Opera, Michigan Opera Theatre, the Lyric Opera of Kansas City, Des Moines Metro Opera, and Opera Carolina. Viscardi is a winner of both the Gerda Lissner International Vocal Competition and the Concorso Internazionale F.P. Tosti. Last season’s engagements included his role début as Cavardossi in Opera Carolina’s Tosca, a production of Pelléas at Mélisande with Los Angeles Opera, Hardin’s Requiem at Carnegie Hall, and Eisenstein in Die Fledermaus with Opera San Luis Obispo. This season, Mr. Viscardi will join Opera Louisiane to sing Conrad in Hell’s Bells and Intermountain Opera Bozeman in Montana to sing Rodolfo in La Bohème. Mr. Viscardi attended the Academy of Vocal Arts in Philadelphia.

Kobi Malkin, violin

Israeli violinist Kobi Malkin, is making his mark as both as an exciting soloist and a perceptive chamber musician. He was praised by the New York Times for his “aptly traversed palette of emotions, from languid introspection to fevered intensity with gorgeous tone and an edge-of-seat intensity.”  As a soloist, Malkin has appeared with the Ashdod Chamber Orchestra, the Haifa Symphony Orchestra, the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra, the Jerusalem Music Academy Symphony Orchestra Haifa, New England Conservatory’s Philharmonia, Symphonette Ra’anana, the Ruse Philharmonic Orchestra, the Young Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra, and Orquesta de Camara de Bellas Artes, the Saint Louis Symphony and the Chicago Philharmonic under the batons of such conductors as Ze’ev Dorman, Stanley Sperber and Hugh Wolff. Malkin’s musicianship has been recognized by many awards, including the prestigious Ilona Kornhauser prize in the America-Israel Cultural Foundation’s Aviv Competitions, New England Conservatory’s Violin Competition, Haifa Symphony Orchestra’s Zvi Rotenberg Competition, the Canetti International Violin Competition, as well as scholarships from the America-Israel Cultural Foundation, and has performed at an array of venues such as New York’s Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center, Boston’s Jordan Hall, Vienna Konzerthaus, Ruse’s Philharmonic Hall, Mexico City’s Palacio de Bellas Artes, and the Tel Aviv Museum of Art. He holds a Master of Music degree from the Juilliard School, where he studied with Sylvia Rosenberg and Donald Weilerstein, and a Bachelor of Music degree from the New England Conservatory, where he worked under the guidance of Miriam Fried. 

Luke Fleming, violin

Praised by The Philadelphia Inquirer for his “glowing refinement,” violist Luke Fleming‘s performances have been described by The Strad as “confident and xpressive…playing with uncanny precision,” and lauded by Gramophone for their “superlative technical and artistic execution.”   Festival appearances include the Marlboro Music School and Festival, the Steans Institute at Ravinia, Perlman Music Program, the Norfolk and Great Lakes Chamber Music Festivals, the Melbourne Festival, Bravo!Vail, and Festival Mozaic. Formerly the violist of the internationally acclaimed Attacca Quartet, he has served as Artist-in-Residence for the Metropolitan Museum of Art and received the National Federation of Music Clubs Centennial Chamber Music Award.  He was awarded First Prize at the Osaka International Chamber Music Competition and top prizes at the Melbourne International Chamber Music Competition. In 2015, Mr. Fleming became the Founding Artistic Director of both the Manhattan Chamber Players, a New York-based chamber music collective, and the Crescent City Chamber Music Festival. He currently serves as Adjunct Professor of Viola at the University of New Orleans School of the Arts. Mr. Fleming holds the degrees of Doctor of Musical Arts, Artist Diploma, and Master of Music from the Juilliard School, a Postgraduate Diploma with Distinction from the Royal Academy of Music in London, and a Bachelor of Music summa cum laude from Louisiana State University.  


Named “one of the most polished performers of the post-Starker generation and a consistently expressive artist.” by The New York Times, Yehuda Hanani’s charismatic playing and profound interpretations bring him acclaim and reengagements across the globe. He has won wide international recognition as soloist, chamber musician and inspiring pedagogue. His concerto appearances have been with the Chicago Symphony, Philadelphia Orchestra, Baltimore Symphony, San Antonio, New Orleans, Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, Berlin Radio Symphony, Israel Philharmonic, BBC Welsh Symphony, Irish National Symphony, Buenos Aires Philharmonic, Jerusalem Symphony, Honolulu Symphony, Taipei and Seoul symphonies among many other orchestras, and he has toured with I Solisti de Zagreb, conducting from the cello. A frequent guest at Aspen, Bowdoin, Chautauqua, Yale at Norfolk, Great Lakes, Casals Prades, Finland Festival, Ottawa, Oslo, Round Top Institute, Manchester, and the Australia Chamber Music festivals, he has collaborated in performances with preeminent fellow musicians, including Leon Fleisher, Aaron Copland, Christoph Eschenbach, David Robertson, Vladimir Fedoseyev, Itzhak Perlman, Vadim Repin, Julian Rachlin, Dawn Upshaw, Yefim Bronfman, Eliot Fisk, the Tokyo, Vermeer, Muir, Escher, Ariel, Colorado, and Manhattan quartets. His recording of the monumental Alkan Cello Sonata received a Grand Prix du Disque nomination, and on CD and in live performances, he has given premières of works of Nikolai Miaskovsky, Lukas Foss, Leo Ornstein, Paul Schoenfield, Thea Musgrave, Joan Tower, Eduard Franck, Osvaldo Golijov, Lera Auerbach, Tamar Muskal, Virgil Thomson, William Perry and Pulitzer Prize winners Bernard Rands and Zhou Long. In New York City, he has appeared as soloist at Carnegie Hall, the 92nd Street Y, Alice Tully, and the Metropolitan Museum. Among the early designers and proponents of thematic programming, his engaging chamber music with commentary series, Close Encounters With Music, has captivated audiences from Miami to Kansas City, Omaha, Detroit, 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 Juilliard and with Pablo Casals. He has inspired scores of cellists as Professor of Cello at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, and previously served on the faculty of the Peabody Conservatory. Artistic director of Berkshire High Peaks Festival, he presents master classes internationally at conservatories and for orchestras, including the Juilliard School, University of Indiana at Bloomington, New England Conservatory, McGill University, Paris Conservatoire, Berlin Hochschule für Music, Royal Academy of Music and Guildhall School in London, Tokyo National University, Jerusalem Academy of Music, the Central Conservatories in Beijing, Shanghai and Tianjin, 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. His objective is to instill a sense of wonder and adventure in young musicians, to lead them to technical mastery and bridge tradition with innovation. He now is a member of the faculty of the Mannes College of Music in New York City.