Close Encounters with Music Presents Grand Piano Trios

Photographs of the Grand Piano Trios

Sunday, April 29, 2018 at 3 PM
Grand Piano Trios — Felix Mendelssohn and Bedřich Smetana
Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center
Great Barrington, MA

The remarkably versatile composer-pianist-conductor-painter-gymnast Felix Mendelssohn personifies genius and musical prodigy and his second Piano Trio in C minor (1845) is a true expression of the exquisite sensibility of his life and art. Bedřich Smetana’s profoundly moving Piano Trio in G minor of 1855 was composed after the death of his daughter; its style is close to that of Robert Schumann, with hints of Liszt, Wagner and Berlioz. Two of today’s brightest young performers join cellist Yehuda Hanani for a juxtaposition of these passionate works, written in classic mid-19th-century style, full of beauty and riveting melodies. Winner of the Paganini Competition, Soovin Kim makes his area debut along with Uzbekistan-born Roman Rabinovich, first-prize winner in the Arthur Rubinstein International Competition in 2008.

“The first of the three-star constellation of Czech composers who put Bohemia and Moravia on the musical map, drawing on grass roots folkloric material (the patriotic Moldau) and countering the ‘official’ Viennese hegemony, Smetana led the way for Dvorak and Janáček,” says artistic director Yehuda Hanani.  “He was the pioneer. And being the first, he was still influenced by German musical traditions. Mendelssohn’s less-frequently performed C minor Trio has all the characteristic brilliance of his writing–singing melodies, a chorale, a nocturnal magical scherzo reminiscent of A Midsummer Night’s Dream–and demonstrates why Schumann called him the Mozart of the 19th century. It’s tremendously stirring and optimistic and I couldn’t ask for better colleagues to perform these masterful works.”

Roman Rabinovich, piano; Soovin Kim, violin; Yehuda Hanani, cello


Tickets, $50 (Orchestra and Mezzanine), $27 (Balcony) and $15 for students, are available at The Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center box office, call 413-528-0100 or visit Season subscriptions are $250 ($225 for seniors) Visit our website for more information.


Praised by the New York Times for his “uncommon sensitivity and feeling,” the eloquent young pianist ROMAN RABINOVICH  is the winner of the 2008 Arthur Rubinstein International Piano Master Competition, the same year he replaced the eminent pianist Murray Perahia in a recital at the Mann Auditorium in Tel Aviv.   He has performed throughout the United States, Europe and Israel in such prestigious venues as Wigmore Hall in London, Leipzig’s Gewandhaus, Carnegie’s Zankel Hall, as well as the Great Hall of Moscow Conservatory, Cité de la Musique in Paris and the Millennium Stage of the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC.   Recital engagements include Vancouver Recital Society, Cincinnati Matinee Musical Series, Chopin Society in St. Paul, MN, Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully and Walter Reade Theatre, as well as the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama in Cardiff. Last season Mr. Rabinovich presented his “Haydn Project,” comprising the complete Haydn Piano Sonatas, at the Lammermuir Festival in Scotland and at the Tel Aviv Conservatory in Israel and made debut appearances with the Toulouse Capitole Orchestra and Calgary Philharmonic. In 2015, distinguished pianist András Schiff chose him for the “Building Bridges” series created to highlight young pianists of unusual promise.  Under this aegis, Mr. Rabinovich was presented in a series of recitals in Zurich’s Tonhalle, Berlin, Ruhr Piano Festival, and New York’s SubCulture. Mr. Rabinovich, “whose mature, self-assured playing belies his chronological age” (San Francisco Classical Voice), made his Israel Philharmonic debut under the baton of Zubin Mehta at age 10 and has been heard as soloist with all the Israeli orchestras, Orchestre de Chambre de Paris, KBS Orchestra, Buffalo Philharmonic, Prague Symphony, Dohnányi Orchestra and many others. To date, he has participated in such festivals as Marlboro, Lucerne, Davos, Menuhin Festival Gstaad, and Prague Spring, and was honored with the Classical Recording Foundation Artist of the Year award for his CD Ballets Russes.  Born in 1985 in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, his early piano studies were with his mother, Mira. In 1994, he and his parents immigrated to Israel where he studied with Arie Vardi at the Rubin Academy of Music in Tel Aviv. He is a graduate of The Curtis Institute of Music as a student of Seymour Lipkin and obtained his master’s degree at the Juilliard School. Mr. Rabinovich also excels as a gifted artist. He often combines his concerts with exhibitions of his paintings. Besides traditional painting, Mr. Rabinovich draws on his iPad.

“Playing with exceptional boldness and confidence — a blazing, larger-than-life performance that seemed to celebrate the triumph of the human spirit” (Washington Post)

Violinist SOOVIN KIM is an exciting player who has built on the early successes of his prize-winning years to emerge as a mature and communicative artist. Kim enjoys a broad musical career, performing repertoire such as Bach sonatas and Paganini caprices for solo violin and Mozart and Vivaldi concerti without conductor, as well as Romantic concerti, sonatas for violin and piano ranging from Beethoven to Ives, and world-premiere works almost every season. For two months each year, he performs as the first violinist of the Johannes String Quartet. Soovin Kim is the founder and artistic director of the Lake Champlain Chamber Music Festival (LCCMF) in Burlington, Vermont, and serves on the faculty of New England Conservatory. He has appeared as a soloist and chamber musician in some of the world’s most prominent venues—Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw, Queen Elizabeth Hall, Royce Hall, Herbst Theatre, Ravinia, the Freer Gallery, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Lincoln Center and Strathmore Hall among them; at the Bard and Marlboro festivals, and in programs combining new music with standard repertoire at chamber music festivals in Bridgehampton and Charlottesville. He toured with the legendary Guarneri Quartet, as part of their last season before the public; with Musicians from Marlboro, and in numerous recital appearances and collaborations with such partners as Mitsuko Uchida, Ignat Solzhenitsyn, Colin Carr, William Purvis, Gilbert Kalish, Martin Fröst, the Chiara Quartet and Jeremy Denk.  Mr. Kim has recorded for Azica Records the music of Fauré and Chausson, as well as Niccolò Paganini’s demanding 24 Caprices for solo violin, which zoomed to Billboard’s Classical Chart, and was named Classic FM magazine’s Instrumental Disc of the Month (“he emerges thrillingly triumphant…a thrilling debut disc.”). He is a member of the violin faculty at New England Conservatory.

“Soovin Kim was the highlight of the evening, a patrician virtuoso on the solo part of Tchaikovsky’s violin concerto…He drew a golden tone from his 1709 “ex-Kempner” Stradivarius” (Washington Post)

Artistic Director Yehuda Hanani’s charismatic playing and profound interpretations bring him acclaim and re-engagements 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, Buenos Aires Philharmonic, Honolulu Symphony, Jerusalem Symphony, Lithuanian Chamber Orchestra, 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, Vadim Repin, Dawn Upshaw, Shlomo Mintz, Yefim Bronfman, the Tokyo, Vermeer, Muir, Lark, Avalon, Amernet, and Manhattan quartets, and Cuarteto Latinoamericano, 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 Rogers 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. On CD and in live performances, he has premiered works of Nicolai Miaskovsky, Lukas Foss, Leo Ornstein, Joan Tower, Paul Schoenfield, Osvaldo Golijov, Jorge Martín, and Bernard Rands, among other composers. Mr. Hanani has been committed to extending the range of the cello repertoire and to collaborating with performers in many artistic realms, including actors Jane Alexander, Richard Chamberlain and Sigourney Weaver. Professor of Cello at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, he presents masterclasses internationally at conservatories and for orchestras, including the Juilliard School, University of Indiana at Bloomington, New England Conservatory, McGill University, Peabody Conservatory, Paris Conservatoire, Berlin Hochschule für Music, Royal Academy of Music in London, Tokyo National University, Jerusalem Academy of Music, Guildhall School in London, Central Conservatory of Shanghai and Central Conservatory of Beijing, and the New World Symphony in Miami. 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. A three-time recipient of the Martha Baird Rockefeller grant, Mr. Hanani’s studies were with Leonard Rose at the Juilliard School and with Pablo Casals. His best-selling recording of the Unaccompanied Bach Suites has become a standard-setter, and of his recent Naxos CD with the National Symphony of Ireland Fanfare Magazine wrote: “Renowned cellist Yehuda Hanani, great virtuoso that he is, handles this with astounding aplomb…This is certainly a splendid release, and should by no means be passed up.” Aimed at outreach for classical music, his weekly program on NPR affiliate station WAMC Northeast Radio, “Classical Music According to Yehuda,” has gained thousands of fans for the direct broadcast and podcast. He directs the High Peaks Festival, a teaching and chamber music festival that takes place in 2018 on the campus of the Berkshire School in Sheffield, MA. Soloist, chamber musician, master teacher, essayist, and ambassador for the arts, Yehuda Hanani illuminates and enlightens audiences on the essence of 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 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, 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, Walter Ponce and Jeffrey Swann; violinists, Vadim Gluzman, Julian Rachlin, Peter Zazofsky, Itamar Zorman and Erin Keefe; clarinetists Alexander Fiterstein and Charles Neidich; vocalists Dawn Upshaw, Jennifer Rivera, and Kelley O’Connor; 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.

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. Visit