Close Encounters with Music Presents: Grand Piano Trios — Schubert and Brahms
JANUARY 8, 2020
(Great Barrington…) Two enduring treasures of the chamber music canon lift us into the realm of the transcendent and channel the Viennese tradition: Schubert’s Trio in B flat Major and Brahms’ in B Major were both written or rewritten towards the end of the composers’ lives. Both display masterful sculpting of heavenly melodies coupled with passion and heady romanticism. Brahms makes use of the piano to create a symphonic sweep, and is in the best of hands with pianist Max Levinson (“Brilliant…He uses his wide spectrum of pianistic mechanics for altogether poetic ends, touching the listener deeply and often”—Los Angeles Times), violinist Peter Zazofsky and cellist Yehuda Hanani (“The sonatas came bounding to life in vital interpretations rich in imaginative detail and virile strength….Rightly rewarded with cheers from the audience.”—New York Times). Schubert’s trio, despite having been written in the difficult last year of his life, conveys triumph and tenderness.
As Robert Schumann aptly wrote, “One glance at Schubert’s trio and the troubles of our existence vanish, the world takes on fresh luster.”
“What unites the two trios, apart from celestial melodies, grandeur, joy, mystery and beauty, is that they are both at the heart of Romanticism and reflect the highest achievement of Schubert and Brahms,” says Artistic Director Yehuda Hanani. “To call them epic or transformative pieces is not an overstatement!”
Max Levinson, piano; Peter Zazofsky, violin; Yehuda Hanani, cello
In the Close Encounters With Music tradition, each performance is followed by an AFTERGLOW reception, with hors d’oeuvres and wine provided by local restaurants
Tickets, $52 online or by phone 800-843-0778
ABOUT THE ARTISTS:
Yehuda Hanani’s charismatic cello playing and profound interpretations bring him acclaim and re-engagements around 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, Buenos Aires Philharmonic, Honolulu Symphony, Jerusalem Symphony, Lithuanian Chamber Orchestra, I Solisti Zagreb, and Taipei and Seoul symphonies, among others. He has been a guest at Aspen, Bowdoin, Chautauqua, Marlboro, Yale at Norfolk, Round Top (TX), Great Lakes, and Grand Canyon festivals, Finland Festival, Great Wall (China), Leicester (England), Ottawa, Prades (France), Oslo, and Australia Chamber Music festivals, and has collaborated in performances with preeminent fellow musicians, including Leon Fleisher, Aaron Copland, Christoph Eschenbach, David Robertson, Vladimir Fedoseyev, Itzhak Perlman, Julian Rachlin, Vadim Repin, Dawn Upshaw, Shlomo Mintz, Yefim Bronfman, Eliot Fisk, the Tokyo, Escher, Vermeer, Muir, Lark, Avalon 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, The Frick, and at the Metropolitan Museum’s Grace Rainey Rogers Auditorium. In addition to his pioneering recordings of Charles Valentin Alkan (for which he received a Grand Prix du Disque nomination), Nikolai Miaskovsky, Leo Ornstein, and Eduard Franck, he is one of the originators of thematic programming with commentary that engages and illuminates contemporary audiences. Professor of Cello at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory and past faculty member at the Peabody Conservatory, he will join the faculty at the Mannes School of Music in New York City in 2020.
“The sonatas came bounding to life in vital interpretations rich in imaginative detail and virile strength. Mr. Hanani was rightly rewarded with cheers from the audience.” –The New York Times
“Soulful, fiery performance.” –The New York Times
Pianist Max Levinson’s career was launched when he won first prize at the Guardian Dublin International Piano Competition, the first American to achieve this distinction. He was awarded the prestigious Avery Fisher Career Grant and in 2005, the Andrew Wolf Award for his chamber music playing. The Boston Globe proclaimed: “The questioning, conviction, and feeling in his playing invariably remind us of the deep reasons why music is important to us, why we listen to it, why we care so much about it.” Levinson has performed as soloist with the San Francisco Symphony, St. Louis Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Detroit Symphony, Baltimore Symphony, New World Symphony, Indianapolis Symphony, Colorado Symphony, Oregon Symphony, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, Utah Symphony, Boston Pops, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, and National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland among others. He has worked with such conductors as Robert Spano, Neemi Järvi, Uriel Segal, Joseph Swensen, Jeffrey Kahane and Alasdair Neale. Artistic Director of the San Juan Chamber Music Festival (Ouray, Colorado), he has appeared at major music festivals including Mostly Mozart, Santa Fe, Marlboro, Tanglewood, La Jolla, Bravo/Vail, Seattle, Killington, Vancouver, Cartagena, and Switzerland’s Davos Festival. Max Levinson garnered international accolades for his two recordings. Max Levinson, his debut recording, traces the musical lineage between Brahms, Schumann, Schönberg and Kirchner. American Record Guide declared Levinson’s second disc, Out of Doors: Piano Music of Béla Bartók “an important recording and a great one. The disc blew me out of my chair….Hearing performances as riveting as these produces a rare frisson; indeed, this is the most brilliant and exciting Bartók piano disc I have heard. On the basis of only two recordings, Mr. Levinson has created the myth of a pianist with everything.” He has experimented with internet broadcast, served as Artist-in-Residence at Harvard University’s Lowell House for four years, and has been featured on NPR’s “Performance Today” and “A Note to You.” He has also taught master classes at the Royal Irish Academy of Music, Harvard, MIT, Brigham Young University, Rutgers, the University of Washington, UCLA, the Colburn School, and Boston University. Mr. Levinson is chair of the Piano department at the Boston Conservatory, and is also a faculty member at the New England Conservatory.
Violinist Peter Zazofsky has enjoyed a richly varied career as a soloist, chamber musician and educator that spans thirty years and thirty countries on five continents. He has performed with many of the great orchestras in the U.S. and Europe, including the Boston Symphony, Berlin Philharmonic, Amsterdam Concertgebouw, Philadelphia Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony, Atlanta, Minnsota, and Hong Kong, collaborating with maestros Tennstedt, Ozawa, Ormandy, Kurt Sanderling and Charles Dutoit. As a recitalist, Mr. Zazofsky has given innovative programs in Carnegie Hall, Sala Cecilia Meireles in Rio de Janeiro, Palais des Beaux Arts in Brussels and the Teatro Colon in Buenos Aires. He also tours the world’s music centers as first violinist of the Muir String Quartet, for which he has performed many complete cycles of the Beethoven quartets. A native of Boston, he first studied with Joseph Silverstein before entering the Curtis Institute, where he continued with Ivan Galamian, Dorothy Delay and Jaime Laredo. Graduating in 1976, Zazofsky went on to win top prizes in several international violin contests, including the 1979 Montreal Competition and 1980 Queen Elisabeth in Brussels. He is a frequent visitor to Israel, where he has given over forty performances of concerti, from Beethoven and Sibelius to Bach, Berg and Brahms. In recent years Peter Zazofsky added several new facets to his career. He has given premieres of new works written for him by composers in Holland, Belgium, Denmark and Spain, and he recorded concerti by Robert Chumbley and Frederick van Rossum in Belgium and Poland. He has also encouraged the creation of new works by American composers Joan Tower, Sheila Silver and Richard Danielpour. Long committed to teaching, Zazofsky holds the position of Associate Professor of Violin and Chamber Music at Boston University and serves as a jury member for the violin competitions in Montreal, Brussels and Odense, Denmark.
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 www.wamc.org.
ABOUT CLOSE ENCOUNTERS WITH MUSIC
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 and enlighten the concert experience. Since the inception of its Commissioning Project in 2001, CEWM has worked with the most distinguished composers of our time—Joan Tower, Judith Zaimont, Lera Auerbach, Robert Beaser, Kenji Bunch, Osvaldo Golijov, John Musto, and Paul Schoenfield 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, Roman Rabinovich, Soyeon Kate Lee, Inna Faliks, Max Levinson and Michael Chertock; violinists,Shmuel Ashkenasi, Vadim Gluzman, Julian Rachlin, Peter Zazofsky, Itamar Zorman and Hagai Shaham; clarinetists Alexander Fiterstein and Charles Neidich; vocalists Dawn Upshaw, Jennifer Rivera, Danielle Talamantes and Kelley O’Connor; the Muir, Manhattan, Ariel, Vermeer, Escher, Avalon, Hugo Wolf, Dover string quartets; and the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet 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. Close Encounters With Music programs have been presented in cities across the U.S. and Canada—Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Omaha, Cincinnati, Calgary, Detroit, at the Frick Collection and Merkin Hall in New York City, at The Clark in Williamstown, at Tanglewood and in Great Barrington, MA, as well as in Scottsdale, AZ. Summer performances have taken place at the New York State Museum, Basilica Hudson, Orpheum Theatre in Tannersville, and in the orchard at Olana. In its 10th year, the High Peaks Festival takes place in July-August at the Berkshire School in Sheffield, MA, as the educational mission of Close Encounters With Music with fifty international students in residence for an immersive course of study and performance.
Artistic Director Yehuda Hanani has led the series since its founding, providing entertaining, erudite commentary that puts the composers and their times in perspective to enrich and amplify the concert experience. His charismatic playing and profound interpretations bring him acclaim and re-engagements across the globe. Each concert is framed by an introduction before the music, and is followed by an AFTERGLOW reception with an opportunity to meet the musicians. Venues include the landmark Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center and the newly renovated Saint James Place in Great Barrington. To complement the musical offerings, two guest speakers, Musician and Analyst, Melinda Haas and Neurological Researcher, Concetta Tomaino are featured in the current Conversations With…series at the Seven Hills Inn and Edith Wharton’s The Mount in Lenox, MA.