Close Encounters with Music Presents Author Linda Hirshman and the Feminine Mystique Conversations with… Series Continues with Intimate and Stimulating Conversations About Music and Ideas

Photograph of Linda Hirshman

Lawyer, best-selling author, and cultural historian Linda Hirshman has chronicled battles that have changed the social landscape of America in her books Get to work: A Manifesto For Women of the World, Hard Bargains: The Politics of Sex, and others. Her dual biography of Justices Sandra Day O’Connor and Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Sisters in Law reveals how these trailblazers shaped the legal framework of modern feminism, also situating their respective ascents to the Court within the broader women’s rights movement. A fitting way to celebrate Mother’s Day, with historic and current-day women of note-with the backdrop of Edith Wharton’s majestic and beloved Lenox property The Mount; a discussion resting on heroines of our legal system; and the brilliant author and thinker Linda Hirshman!

Hirshman has written for a variety of periodicals, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, Slate, and The Daily Beast, and participated herself in cases in the United States Supreme Court representing organized labor. She has also spent time in academia, teaching law, and philosophy and women’s studies at Brandeis University. A charismatic speaker, she will analyze the 14th and 19th Amendments in tandem as two paths to equality in the suffrage effort and as they affected private and public lives of women Hirshman compares Ginsburg to no less than Mozart and Jane Austen, with her observation that “Mozart had, by many accounts, five operatic masterpieces. Jane Austen’s reputation rests on five novels. . . . In five landmark cases over less than a decade, [Ginsburg] largely transformed the constitutional status of women in America.”

With this event and others, Close Encounters With Music is marking the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage in NY state with special programming highlighting women composers and other women of achievement. The June 10 gala (Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center, Great Barrington), “Fanfare for the Uncommon Woman” features remarkable composers who stormed the barricades and helped revolutionize the place of women in the arts—playing four-hand piano with Mozart, conducting their works from an English prison, and overcoming the taboo to write but not be heard, especially in public. These include the estimable Clara Schumann, Fannie Mendelssohn, Maria Theresia von Paradis, Ethel Smyth, Lili Boulanger, Amy Beach, Marianna Martinez and Augusta Holmes, as well as contemporary composers Thea Musgrave, Tamar Muskal, Joan Tower, Judith Zaimont and Patricia Leonard.

“Linda Hirshman and the Feminine Mystique” is part of a series of intimate and stimulating conversations about music and ideas, an intrinsic part of the Close Encounters With Music season. “Conversations With…” has presented such notable cultural personages as writer, editor and Bob Dylan biographer Seth Rogovoy; baritone and actor Benjamin Luxon; Emmy Award-winning animator, illustrator, cartoonist and children’s book author R.O. Blechman; art restorer David Bull; Academy Award nominee filmmaker Daniel Anker and Directors Guild of America Award winner Peter Rosen; former Yankee, author and sportscaster Jim Bouton; Metropolitan Opera costume designer Charles Caine, and Metropolitan Museum curator of historic instruments Ken Moore.

Tickets for this event are $15 and are available on the Close Encounters website— , at 800-843-0778, or at the door. Light refreshments, following the presentation, are included.

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 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, Robert Beaser, Osvaldo Golijov, Lera Auerbach, Jorge Martin, John Musto, and Thea Musgrave 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 Adam Neiman, Roman Rabinovich, Walter Ponce and Jeffrey Swann; violinists Yehonatan Berick, Vadim Gluzman, Itamar Zorman and Erin Keefe; clarinetists Alexander Fiterstein and Charles Neidich; vocalists Dawn Upshaw, Jennifer Rivera, Kelley O’Connor, and Lucille Beer; the Amernet, Muir, Manhattan, Avalon, and Dover 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.

2016-2017 CALENDAR

Chamber Orchestra Kremlin—Tchaikovsky, Shostakovich, Haydn
Saturday, October 15, 6 PM
Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center, Great Barrington, MA

The Passion of Camille Saint-Saëns and César Franck—Cherchez la Femme!
Saturday, December 3, 6 PM
Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center, Great Barrington, MA

Mid-Winter Fireside Concert–The Intimate Bach
Saturday, February 18, 6PM
Saint James Place, Great Barrinton, MA

Beethoven Journey–Early, Middle and Late
Saturday, March 18, 6 PM
Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center, Great Barrington, MA

The Art of the String Quartet
Saturday, April 15, 6 PM
Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center, Great Barrington, MA

The Los Angeles Guitar Quartet
Saturday, May 6, 6 PM
Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center, Great Barrington, MA

Fanfare for the Uncommon Woman—Celebrating the 100th Anniversary of Women’s Suffrage
Saturday, June 10, 6 PM
Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center, Great Barrington, MA

The Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center is at 14 Castle Street, Great Barrington, MA.
Saint James Place is at 352 Main Street, Great Barrington, MA.
A reception with light refreshments follows each concert.

Conversations With…

“Shattering the Glass Ceiling” with Prize-Winning Composer Hannah Lash at the Hudson Opera House (Hudson, NY) is on Sunday, November 20 at 3 PM. $15 per person includes light refreshments.

“Author Linda Hirshman and The Feminine Mystique” is at The Mount (Lenox, MA) on Sunday, May 14 at 3 PM. $15 per person includes light refreshments.


“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

“…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….”