Close Encounters with Music Celebrates 20th Anniversary Season with Imaginative Mix of Programs for 2011-2012- Plus New Extra-Musical Events

AUGUST 18, 2011

Also presenting second season of CEWM at the Frick Collection in New York City

(Great Barrington, MA…) Going into its 20th year of presenting outstanding chamber music with lively commentary, Close Encounters With Music continues to expand its original programming of classical, contemporary and cutting-edge music. For the 2011-2012 season, CEWM offers world-renowned musicians, brings back the outrageously virtuosic Chamber Orchestra Kremlin, introduces one of the foremost pipa players in the world, marks an important birthday for Franz Liszt and revisits one of the most evocative periods in cultural history—the Roaring Twenties.

(For Calendar listings, see below.)

The season opens at the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center on Sunday, October 30, 2 PM with the return of the audience favorite Chamber Orchestra Kremlin in a program of Dvorak’s sunny Serenade for Strings Op. 22 and Elgar’s Serenade in E minor, Shostakovich’s tragic Chamber Symphony Op. 110, and Bach’s radical Contrapunctus I from The Art of the Fugue. The “crème de la Kremlin” has carved out a singular niche, touring the US, Europe, Asia, and South America, and recording over 30 CDs with its signature supercharged brilliance (“The ensemble’s music director elicited warm, full-blooded and virtuosic playing with colorfully shaped, gleaming phrases” —The New York Times). Luigi Boccherini’s Cello Concerto features Yehuda Hanani as soloist.

Chamber Orchestra Kremlin, Misha Rachlevsky, conductor; Yehuda Hanani, cello

On Sunday, December 4 at 2 PM at The Mahaiwe, it’s Lisztomania! CEWM explores the cult of celebrity that had its roots with Franz Liszt, sex symbol and showman extraordinaire. Keyboard innovator and a powerful genius whose compositions blazed the way for Impressionism, Romanticism, and atonality, he is widely regarded as the greatest pianist of all time, mesmerizing audiences at his thousands of concert appearances. The program includes Liszt’s pictorial piano solo works; Saint-Saëns’ Rondo Capriccioso and Mendelssohn’s C minor Trio. Listeners will be rewarded with four recently published works for cello and piano, transcribed by Liszt himself, with acclaimed interpreter Jeffrey Swann (“His Liszt was a triumph of virtuosity” – Cincinnati Post).

“Lisztomania! A 200th Anniversary Celebration”
Jeffrey Swann, piano; Yehonatan Berick, violin; Yehuda Hanani, cello

The complex relationships between Robert Schumann, Johannes Brahms and the immortal Clara are examined through Grand Piano Quartets on Saturday, March 24, 6PM at The Mahaiwe. The Piano Quartets in E flat Major, Opus 44 (Schumann) and G minor, Opus 25 (Brahms) deliver an enthralling range of emotions—vigor, passion, power, and the timelessness of enduring masterpieces. Both were premiered by Clara Schumann, and the music evokes an auditory remembrance of things past, glimpses into a lost world of nobility and higher ideals.
“Grand Piano Quartets: Schumann and Brahms”
Lydia Artymiw, piano; Arnaud Sussman, violin; Toby Appel, viola; Yehuda Hanani, cello

In Trade Winds—From China with Love, a musical dialogue between East and West fill the Mahaiwe Saturday, April 21, 6PM. China’s “Empress of Pipa,” soloist Liu Fang, performs traditional selections on the Chinese counterparts to the lute and zither, and is joined by Yehuda Hanani for a premiere by Pulitzer Prize winner Zhou Long. Bulgarian pianist Emma Tahmizian plays Mother Goose and Leo Ornstein’s remarkable A la Chinoise, and Israeli violinist Hagai Shaham offers Debussy’s pentatonic-inflected Sonata and Fritz Kreisler’s Tambourin Chinois.

“Trade Winds—From China with Love”
Liu Fang, pipa and guzheng; Emma Tahmizian, piano; Hagai Shaham, violin; Yehuda Hanani, cello

On Saturday, May 7 at 6PM, the “refined but passionate Dedaelus Quartet” (The New York Times) brings an intriguing all-Viennese program. Like Schubert’s Unfinished Symphony, his Quartettsatz is a piece brimming with ardor and ecstasy—but unfinished. Alban Berg’s groundbreaking Lyric Suite plays with cryptic messages and themes depicting the tragic love of Tristan and Isolde while it is in fact about his “unrequited passion for a friend’s wife,” a mystery revealed 20 years ago when the composer’s letter were released. Also on tap: Beethoven’s Opus 59 No. 1 in F Major, the majestic “Razumovsky.”

Dedaelus Quartet:
Min-Young Kim, violin; Ara Gregorian, violin; Jessica Thompson, viola; Raman Ramakrishnan, cello

The season finale, “The Roaring Twenties: Berlin, Paris, New York,” celebrates the golden age of jazz and cabaret, and a period exemplified by experimentalism and decadence, Saturday, June 2, 6PM at Tanglewood’s Ozawa Hall in Lenox. Brilliant, enduring songs by Kurt Weill, Hanns Eisler, Cole Porter and Gershwin; Erwin Shulhoff’s Jazz Suite; and Entartete composers whose “degenerate” music was banned just a few years later by the rising Nazis and whose careers and lives were interrupted by the cataclysmic events that followed. Hear the recovered voices. Come to the cabaret!

“The Roaring Twenties: Berlin, Paris, New York”
Jennifer Rivera, mezzo-soprano; Will Ferguson, tenor; James Tocco, piano; Yehuda Hanani, cello

For Subscribers Only: Fireside Subscriber Concert
An exclusive event for season subscribers on Saturday, February 25, 6 PM at Searle’s Castle in Great Barrington, the Midwinter Concert features the rising young piano trio, TROIKA.

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. On Saturday, November 12, 4PM, Close Encounters With Music and The Mount present “Picnic With Poets,” featuring Massachusetts poet Charles Coe and regional Berkshire poets reading their works at Edith Wharton’s majestic estate. Coe, winner of the Massachusetts Cultural Council Poetry Fellowship and author of the collection Picnic on the Moon, combines subjects as diverse as African-American history, myth, jazz and family. On Sunday, May 13, 4PM at The Lichtenstein Center for the Arts in Pittsfield, Close Encounters With Music hosts Young Berkshires Composers, introducing emerging Berkshire composers. Audience members will be among the first to hear their compositions and take part in the conversation on the how and why of their compositional process.

Close Encounters in New York City
Returning to the Frick Collection in New York City popular demand, Close Encounters With Music offers Fall and Spring concerts. On Tuesday, October 4 7:30PM, “Romanticism and Enlightenment: Mendelssohn and Eduard Franck” features the American premiere of the Eduard Franck Sonata for Cello and Piano. James Tocco, piano; Shmuel Ashkenasi and Nurit Pacht, violins; and Yehuda Hanani, cello, in rediscovered works of Eduard Franck, one of Mendelssohn’s only students, as well as pieces by Mendelssohn and Eduard Franck’s student, Mortiz Moszkowski. On Tuesday, March 27, 7:30PM, Eliot Fisk, guitar, and Yehuda Hanani, cello, will blend the sonorities of plucked and bowed strings in music by Schubert, Boccherini, Bach, Albeniz, Villa-Lobos and more.

Close Encounters On the Radio/Podcast
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

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, 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, Mnahattan, Avalon, Hugo Wolf 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.

Tickets, $38 (Orchestra and Mezzanine) and $28 (Balcony), are available at The Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center box office, 413.528.0100. Subscriptions are $175 ($150 for seniors) for a series of 6 concerts. Visit our website at

Note: Tickets for June 2nd concert at Tanglewood’s Ozawa Hall can be purchased through CEWM

2011-12 CALENDAR

Chamber Orchestra Kremlin, Sunday, October 30, 2PM
Lisztomania! A 200th Anniversary Celebration, Sunday, December 4, 2PM

Grand Piano Quartets: Schumann and Brahms, Saturday, March 24, 6PM

Trade Winds — From China With Love, Saturday, April 21, 6PM

The Dedaelus Quartet, Saturday, May 19, 6PM

These five performances are at the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center, Great Barrington, MA. A reception with light refreshments follows each concert.

Admission for “Picnic With Poets” on Saturday, November 12 is $15 per person which light refreshments. The Young Berkshire Composers event on Sunday, May 13 is free and open to the public.

The Roaring Twenties: Berlin, Paris, New York concert takes place Saturday, June 2, 6PM, at Ozawa Hall at Tanglewood, Lenox, MA. Tickets: $50 Orchestra and $40 Balconies.

For information and tickets for the Close Encounters With Music concerts at the Frick Museum in NYC, call 212.547.0696 or