Close Encounters With Music Launches Its Thirty- First Season With A Signature Mix Of Innovative Programs, International Soloists And Intriguing Themes In Great Barrington, Mass.

Season Opens on November 6 With The Long-Awaited World Premiere of One Earth, Continues With A Gallery Of Image-Conjuring Works in Pictures At An Exhibition, Copland’s Appalachian Spring, The Return Of Van Cliburn Gold Medalist Yekwon Sunwoo, And Much More

(Great Barrington, MA…) Embarking on its 31st year of presenting outstanding chamber music with lively commentary, Close Encounters With Music presents a season that sizzles and sparkles with the widest swath of genres, styles, composers and instruments—and of course, the great performers who share their brilliant artistry, including beatbox artist Christylez Bacon and tabla performer Avirodh Sharma; pianists Ieva Jokubaviciute, Max Levinson, Renana Gutman and Yekwon Sunwoo; violinists Giora Schmidt, Xiao-Dong Wang, Hye-Jin Kim and Helena Baillie; Metropolitan Opera soprano Danielle Talamantes, the Escher and Borromeo string quartets, the Manhattan Chamber Players, Mount Holyoke College Chamber Singers and more. 

Israeli-American composer Tamar Muskal’s “One Earth,” a new a work for string quintet, women’s chorus, rapper and Indian tabla player, receives its world premiere on Sunday, November 6, 4 PM at the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center after two years of Covid delays.  In the words of the composer, it “calls all people to positive action, to love, to beauty, and anything that protects the planet and humanity.” Muskal’s works are inherently theatrical, and she has been nominated for a Pulitzer Prize.  The opening concert also features Schubert’s transcendent String Quintet, one of the most beloved pieces in the chamber music repertoire.  Performers are the Borromeo String Quartet, hailed for its “edge of the seat performances” by the Boston Globe, which called it “simply the best.”  They are joined by internationally renowned cellist Yehuda Hanani.

Artistic director Yehuda Hanani is welcoming audience members new to the Berkshires as well as long-time residents to join for intimate programs with outsize talent, in the beautiful landmark Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center “to regain a sense of Community through the inspiring and healing effects of the best music ever penned. The great melodists Dvorak, Mendelssohn and Tchaikovsky touch us in the deepest recesses of our souls.  Copland helps restore our confidence in the success of the American experiment; Schubert opens the gates of Heaven; Beethoven reminds us what it is to be human; and our adorable rapper, Christylez Bacon, puts us in touch with the joyful, the playful and the light.”

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

Ticket Information

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] starting September 8.

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

—  The Berkshire Edge

Full Calendar Listings Here

CLOSE ENCOUNTERS WITH MUSIC stands at the intersection of music, art, and the vast richness of Western culture. Entertaining, erudite, lively commentary puts the composers and their times in perspective to enrich and enlighten your concert experience.  

Join our community of friends and patrons as we continue our tradition of bringing together sublime chamber music, distinguished performers and musical commentary, all in convivial settings. Share the excitement of world premiere performances and meet some of the most original and influential figures in contemporary classical music, as well as up-and coming stars of tomorrow.

And to accommodate our newly expanded virtual followers, we are also offering a virtual pass to a curated online selection of performances.

CLOSE ENCOUNTERS WITH MUSIC supports the renaissance of the Southern Berkshires by presenting six concerts this season at the landmark Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center. Situated in the heart of Great Barrington’s historic district, the Mahaiwe offers modern comfort in the nostalgic atmosphere of a 100-year-old theater. A seventh performance is held at the acoustically superb Saint James Place. Join the growing number of culture enthusiasts who converge from the Berkshires, Hudson Valley, Northwest Connecticut, New York City and Boston for each Close Encounters event! Contributing Patrons at all levels are invited to a special gala reception following the June concert (see Ticket Order form).

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 for over 250 podcasts. 

2022-2023 CALENDAR

Sunday, November 6, 2022 4 PM, The Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center


Sunday, December 11, 4 PM, The Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center


Saturday, February 18, 6 PM, Saint James Place
Sunday, March 26, 4 PM, Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center
Sunday, April 23, 4 PM, Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center

Sunday, May 21, 4 PM, Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center
Sunday, June 11, 4 PM, Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center

The Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center is at 14 Castle Street, Great Barrington, MA.

Saint James Place is at 352 Main Street, Great Barrington, MA.


“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 

“RESCUING NEGLECTED COMPOSERS: Mr. Hanani’s rich tone and thoughtful phrasing made a powerful case for it [Eduard Franck Sonata for Cello and Piano] in a performance that had a convincing subtext: The 19th-century cello repertoire is not so vast that cellists (or their admirers) should neglect works this opulently lyrical….Soulful, fiery performance of Mendelssohn Piano Trio No. 2.”—New York Times

“STUNNER CLOSES SEASON! Though Hanani, Stephen Prutsman and Dawn Upshaw all performed with that rare combination of mutual understanding and technical finesse which makes for the most satisfying chamber music, Hanani deserves special recognition for his astute program choices.”—Albany Times Union

“The program provided stellar performances…played with passion and pathos…”—Arizona Republic

“…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


Close Encounters With Music

Post Office Box 34

Great Barrington, MA 01230


e-mail: [email protected]  

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