Close Encounters with Music Presents “Tamar Muskal – Composer, Songwriter, Fashionista” the Second Installment of its Conversations with… Series of Intimate and Stimulating Afternoons on Music and Ideas

Photograph of Tamar Muskal

APRIL 15, 2019

(Hillsdale, NY) Undaunted by new forms or new frontiers, Tamar Muskal has written everything from pop songs to symphonies to her new opera-in-progress, set in the world of high fashion, that tells the story of Diana Vreeland and Andre Leon Talley and examines the constant rises and falls of the industry.  Her score for the historic, silent, film about the Mexican revolution, a song cycle commissioned by ASCAP and music for a documentary film about finding a cure for blindness (narrated by Robert Redford), exemplify the diverse material and platforms she uses. Her work “The Yellow Wind,” based on the novel by Israeli author David Grossman, was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. Ms. Muskal has been the recipient of many other awards from institutions such as ASCAP, Meet-the-Composer, American Music Center and the Fromm Music Foundation at Harvard University and a Guggenheim Foundation fellowship, with commissions from the 92nd Street Y and the Library of Congress as well as from orchestras and ensembles—including Close Encounters With Music!

“Conversations With…” has presented such notable cultural personages as writer, editor and Bob Dylan biographer Seth Rogovoy; composer, National Endowment grantee and Guggenheim Fellow composer Judith Zaimont; baritone and actor Benjamin Luxon; Emmy Award-winning animator, illustrator, cartoonist and children’s book author R.O. Blechman; astrophysicist and inventor Edgar Choueiri, art restorer David Bull; Academy Award nominee Daniel Anker and Directors Guild of America Award winner Peter Rosen; scholar, performer and multimedia artist Robert Winter; former Yankee, author and sportscaster Jim Bouton; Metropolitan Opera costume designer Charles Caine, and  author Mitchell Cohen, whose book The Politics of Opera has received accolades from the New York Review of Books and Foreign Affairs.

TICKETS for this event are $20 and are available on the Close Encounters website, by calling 800-843-0778, or for purchase at the door. Complementary light refreshments will follow the presentation.


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, Walter Ponce and Jeffrey Swann; violinists,Shmuel Ashkenasi, Vadim Gluzman, Julian Rachlin, Peter Zazofsky, Itamar Zorman and Erin Keefe; 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 Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, MA. This year, the High Peaks Festival moved to the Berkshires to the Berkshire School in Sheffield, MA, where it has continued 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. 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, Haydn scholar Caryl Clark, and composer Tamar Muskal are featured in the Conversations With…. series at the West Stockbridge Historical Society and Casana T-House in Hillsdale, NY.