Close Encounters with Music Presents “Invitation to the Dance”

Photograph of People Dancing

From ritual to romance, from the pagan Fire Dance of Manuel de Falla to waltz and tango, music provides the pulse and sensuous gesture to the choreographic wonders of dance. Experience the inseparable connection as Close Encounters presents a gala that will have audience members levitating in their chairs: Chopin’s Heroic Polonaise, Bartok’s Romanian Dances, and Brahms’s Trio Opus 8 with its gentle waltz—a perfect backdrop for David Parsons Dancers. A 2001 Close Encounters With Music commission, choreography to accompany Piazzolla’s Grand Tango, receives an updated look.

Joining artistic director Yehuda Hanani for this gala performance and survey of the primal relationship between rhythm and body language are major prize winners Bella Hristova (“Jaw-dropping technical prowess”—Gramophone) and Georgian piano sensation David Aladashvili, who recently made his Carnegie and Lincoln Center debuts.

The music/dance connection is explored throughout the evening—from a charming Minuet and Variations in C Major by Franz Joseph Haydn all the way up to Milton Babbit’s Valse for Solo Piano, and much in between. The Parsons Dancers will respond extemporaneously to some of the works, with their participation culminating in a revised Grand Tango. “Between the time it was first commissioned and choreographed and the world premiere performance at Tanglewood’s Ozawa Hall, there was 9/11. The male dancer leaves his office carrying a briefcase, which he flings into a corner of the stage upon seeing his female counterpart. Remember how we were told to look out for abandoned packages and bags? We decided that all eyes in the audience would be on the briefcase, and so accommodations had to be made. We’ll see what happens in the 2015 edition,” says Hanani.

Hailed as a “sensitive virtuoso born for the stage,” DAVID ALADASHVILI is the laureate of many national and international competitions, including the International Competition for Young Pianists in Tbilisi (2001), the Vladimir Spikanov International Festival in Moscow (2005) and the Grand Prix at the Nikolai Rubenstein Piano Competition in Paris (2006). He has given recitals throughout Georgia, Russia, Germany, France, UK, Austria and the United States. In 2010, he gave his Carnegie Hall debut playing a recital at The Weill Recital Hall. That year he also participated in Lincoln Center’s “White Light Festival,” performing at Alice Tully Hall, and gave an all-Schumann recital at Juilliard’s Paul Hall celebrating the composer’s bicentennial. An enthusiast of new music, Mr. Aladashvili participated in the Focus! Festival under the direction of Joel Sachs, premiering works by contemporary Polish composers. He is founder of the charity foundation “Young for Young,” whose purpose is to bring together artists from around the world to perform for youth in need. He is currently pursuing his Master’s degree at the Juilliard School, where he received a Bachelor’s degree.

A recipient of the Young Concert Artists award, violinist BELLA HRISTOVA’s outstanding talent has been recognized with a prestigious 2013 Avery Fisher Career Grant. The Strad has raved, “Every sound she draws is superb,” and the Washington Post’s “Classical Beat” calls her “a player of impressive power and control.” Following engagements at music festivals including Mainly Mozart, Brevard, and Skaneateles, Ms. Hristova’s 2013-2014 season featured a mix of solo, recital and chamber music performance: she led and performed Vivaldi’s Four Seasons with the Colorado Springs Philharmonic; performed with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center; toured with Musicians from Marlboro; was featured soloist at a Carnegie Hall Christmas Eve performance with the New York String Orchestra; and gave the world premieres of two concertos written for her. Recent highlights include the release of her newest recording, Bella Unaccompanied; and performances with the Orchestra of St. Luke’s, City of London Sinfonia, Estonian National Symphony Orchestra, Canada’s National Arts Centre Orchestra, New Zealand’s Southern Sinfonia and Korea’s Cheongju Symphony Orchestra. Born in Pleven, Bulgaria to Russian and Bulgarian parents, Ms. Hristova began violin studies at the age of six. At twelve, she participated in master classes with Ruggiero Ricci at the Mozarteum in Salzburg. Studies followed at The Curtis Institute of Music, and she received her Artist Diploma at Indiana University. Ms. Hristova plays a 1655 Nicolò Amati violin, once owned by the violinist Louis Krasner.

YEHUDA HANANI’s charismatic playing and profound interpretations bring him acclaim and reengagements 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, Irish National Symphony, Buenos Aires Philharmonic, Honolulu Symphony, Jerusalem Symphony, Lithuanian Chamber Orchestra, Chamber Orchestra Kremlin, 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, Eliot Fisk, 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 Rodgers Auditorium and Frick Collection. Founder and artistic director of Close Encounters With Music and Professor of Cello at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, he is artistic director of the Catskill High Peaks Festival and a festival in Taipei, Taiwan and Shanghai, China.

THE DAVID PARSONS DANCERS are an internationally renowned contemporary dance company based in New York City. Under the artistic direction of David Parsons, the company presents uplifting contemporary dance to audiences around the world. Parsons Dance is a company of 8 full-time dancers and maintains a repertory of more than 70 works by David Parsons, as well as commissions by emerging choreographers and collaborations with some of the greatest artists of our time, including Steely Dan, Dave Matthews, Michael Gordon, Milton Nascimento, William Ivey Long, Annie Leibovitz, Donna Karan and Alex Katz, among many others. In addition to choreography and performance, Parsons Dance engages audiences of all ages through education and outreach programs. Parsons Dance was founded in 1985 and has performed in more than 350 cities, 30 countries and 5 continents for the most prestigious theaters, festivals and presenters worldwide, including the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Maison de la Danse, and Teatro La Fenice.

Tickets, $50 (Orchestra and Mezzanine) and $30 (Balcony), are available at The Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center box office, 413-528-0100.

Patron’s Preferred Package is $150 and includes Preferred Patron seating and a Patrons-only reception. To purchase the Patron’s Preferred Package or for more information visit our website at or call 800-843-0778.

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—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 James Tocco, Adam Neiman, Walter Ponce, Lydia Artymiw, Roman Rabinovich, and Jeffrey Swann; violinists Shmuel Ashkenasi, Yehonatan Berick, Vadim Gluzman, and Erin Keefe; clarinetists Alexander Fiterstein and Charles Neidich; vocalists Dawn Upshaw, Amy Burton, Robert White, Lucille Beer, and William Sharp; the Vermeer, Amernet, Muir, Manahattan, 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. 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 Tanglewood and in Great Barrington, MA, as well as in Scottsdale, AZ.  This summer, performances took place at the Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, MA; and the Catskill High Peaks Festival continued the educational mission of Close Encounters With Music with 50 international students in residence in the Great Northern Catskills in an immersive course of study and performance.


Invitation to the Dance – Saturday, June 13, 6PM

Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center
14 Castle Street, Great Barrington, MA.
A Patron’s Reception and Preferred Seating Package is available at 800-843-0778 or For Photos:  [email protected] or 800-843-0778