Close Encounters with Music Brings All Star Line Up to “Grand Piano Trios”


GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass. — The engaging chamber music series Close Encounters With Music returns on April 20 to the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center, presenting two magnificent piano trios—a 20th century classic side by side with Schubert at the summit. Franz Schubert’s B-Flat Piano Trio opus 99 is juxtaposed with Paul Schoenfield’s Café Music, one of classical music’s most popular works. Often described as a post-Modern Gershwin, Paul Schoenfield combines ingredients of jazz, klezmer, and whimsy. Irresistible and full of energy, humor and nostalgia, as well as dazzling virtuosity, Café Music is caffeine-fuelled music at its most entertaining, instantly accessible despite its rich complexities. Schubert’s final year was staggeringly productive. The B-Flat Trio captures the meteoric luminosity of his inevitable death, as well as his inimitable melodic lyricism. Both composers utilize folklore and the point of departure for each is the easy charm of the institution of the Viennese café. Violinist Erin Keefe (hailed as “an impressive violin soloist” by The New York Times) and award-winning pianist Jeffery Swann join cellist and artistic director Yehuda Hanani for this evening of fascinating contrasts.

“Grand Piano Trios” will take place on Saturday April 20, 6 PM at the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center. 14 Castle Street, Great Barrington. Tickets are $32/42 and can be purchased by calling the box office at 413.528.0100, or by going online to For more information about this concert or others in our series visit


Yehuda Hanani’s charismatic playing and profound interpretations bring him acclaim and reengagements 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, Irish National Symphony, Buenos Aires Philharmonic, Honolulu Symphony, Orquestra Sinfonica del Estado de Mexico, Belgrade Philharmonic, Jerusalem Symphony, Lithuanian Chamber Orchestra, and Taipei and Seoul symphonies, among many others. He has been a guest at Aspen, Chautauqua, Marlboro, Yale at Norfolk, Round Top (TX), Blue Hill, Bowdoin, Great Lakes, and Grand Canyon festivals, Prades Festival (France), Finland Festival, Leicester (England), Ottawa, Oslo, and Australia Chamber Music festivals, and has collaborated in performances with preeminent fellow musicians, including Leon Fleisher, Aaron Copland, Christoph Eschenbach, David Robertson, Itzhak Perlman, Dawn Upshaw, Yefim Bronfman, the Tokyo, Vermeer, Muir, Lark, Avalon, Colorado, and Manhattan quartets, as well as members of the Cleveland, Juilliard, Borromeo, and Emerson. In New York City, Yehuda Hanani has appeared as soloist at Carnegie Hall, the 92nd Street Y, Alice Tully, and the Metropolitan Museum’s Grace Rainey Rodger 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. Mr. Hanani has been committed to extending the range of the cello repertoire and to collaborating with performers in many artistic realms, including actors Richard Chamberlain, Jane Alexander, and Sigourney Weaver. 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 is “one of the most polished performers of the post-Starker generation and a consistently expressive artist.”
— The New York Times

Winner of the 2006 Avery Fisher Career Grant, American violinist Erin Keefe is quickly establishing a reputation and earning praise as a compelling artist who combines exhilarating temperament and fierce integrity. A top prize winner of several international competitions, she took the Grand Prizes in the 2007 Torun International Violin Competition (Poland), the 2006 Schadt Competition and the Corpus Christi International String Competition, and was the Silver Medalist in the Carl Nielsen, Sendai (Japan) and Gyeongnam (Korea) International Violin Competitions. She has appeared with orchestras and in recital in the United States, Austria, Germany, Korea, Poland, Japan and Denmark and has collaborated with many leading artists of today including Edgar Meyer, Gary Graffman, Richard Goode, Colin Carr, Menahem Pressler, and Leon Fleisher. She appeared on a program with Michael Tilson Thomas premiering his own chamber music at Carnegie’s Zankel Hall. Her recording credits include Schoenberg’s Second String Quartet for the Naxos Label, recordings of the Dvorak Terzetto and the Dvorak Piano Quartet in E-flat for the CMS Studio Recording label and live performances of the Bartok Contrasts, Dvorak Piano Quintet, and Mozart E-flat Piano Quartet recorded for Deutsche Gramophone. Her festival appearances have included Marlboro, Music from Angel Fire, Ravinia, Seattle, OK Mozart, and Bridgehampton. As a member of Chamber Music Society Two she has appeared at Lincoln Center numerous times as well as on tour and was featured on Live From Lincoln Center. She holds a Master of Music Degree from The Juilliard School and a Bachelor of Music Degree from The Curtis Institute. Ms. Keefe holds the position of Concertmaster of the Minnesota Orchestra.

Jeffrey Swann enjoys an international performing career which has taken him throughout the United States, Europe, Latin America and Asia. He won first prize in the Dino Ciani Competition sponsored by La Scala in Milan, a gold medal at the Queen Elisabeth Competition in Brussels, and top honors at the Warsaw Chopin, Van Cliburn, Vianna da Motta and Montreal Competitions, as well as the Young Concert Artists auditions in New York City. His large and varied repertoire includes more than 60 concertos as well as solo works ranging from Bach to Boulez. In addition to presenting lecture/recitals worldwide, Mr. Swann has performed with the symphonies of Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, Seattle, Dallas, Saint Louis, Phoenix, Houston, Baltimore and Minneapolis; and in Europe with the orchestras of Rotterdam, The Hague, Belgian National, La Scala, Bayerischer Rundfunk, the Prague Philharmonic, and the London Philharmonia, among many others. The conductors with whom he has performed include Zdenek Macal, David Robertson, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Marek Janowski, Riccardo Chailly, Daniele Gatti and Leonard Slatkin. In addition, he continues to lecture regularly at the Wagner Festival in Bayreuth, Germany, and at Wagner Societies in the United States and Italy. Mr. Swann has also served as a judge at many competitions, most recently at the Utrecht International Liszt Competition. A native of northern Arizona, Jeffrey Swann studied with Alexander Uninsky at Southern Methodist University and with Beveridge Webster and Adele Marcus at The Juilliard School, where he received his B.M., M.M. and D.M.A. Degrees. His CD, “The Virtuoso Liszt” (Music & Arts) won the Liszt Society’s Grand Prix, and his first volume of the Complete Beethoven Sonatas (Agorá) was chosen one of the Best of the Year by Fanfare magazine. Since 2007 Jeffrey Swann has been Artistic Director of the Dino Ciani Festival & Academy in Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy.

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 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, Osvaldo Golijov, Lera Auerbach, Kenji Bunch, 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 James Tocco, Adam Neiman, Walter Ponce and Jeffrey Swann; violinists Shmuel Ashkenasi, Yehonatan Berick, Vadim Gluzman and Toby Appel; harpsichordist Lionel Party; clarinetists Alexander Fiterstein, Charles Neidich; vocalists Dawn Upshaw, Amy Burton, Jennifer Aylmer, Robert White, Lucille Beer and William Sharp; the Vermeer, Amernet, Muir, Manhattan, Avalon, Hugo Wolf quartets, and Cuarteto Latinoamericano; 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.

Tickets, $42 (orchestra and mezzanine) and $32 (balcony), are available at The Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center box office, 413.528.0100; through Close Encounters With Music at 800-843-0778; or by emailing [email protected]. Subscriptions are $185 ($160 for seniors) for a series of 7 concerts. Visit our website at Note: Tickets for June 8th concert at Tanglewood’s Ozawa Hall can be purchased through CEWM only.

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

Upcoming Close Encounters with Music Concerts
May 18 Grand Piano II: Mozart, Beethoven and Ravel
June 8 Nordic Lights: Grieg Revival

For more information about Close Encounters with Music and its 2012–2013 concert schedule, visit