Close Encounters with Music to Present “The Intimate Back” Mid-Winter Fireside Concert at the Newly Renovated Saint James Place

Photograph of Kivie Cahn-Lipman

The wonders of Bach are inexhaustible, and after decades of intimate dialogue with the suites, artistic director Yehuda Hanani is “still awed by his mastery, his architectural strength and harmonic daring, the human truth reflected in his balancing tension and release.” Three of the sublime unaccompanied suites that have taken dances from the courts of Europe and lifted them to the most spiritual realm will be presented in contrasting modern and historical approaches on modern cello and its earlier cousin the Baroque cello. These are works that were conceived under uneven non-electric light, predating the metronome, paved roads, and assembly lines, with no two performances or performers alike—an unending realm of possibilities. CEWM is delighted to return to the legendary acoustics of the newly “converted” Saint James Place, its earliest home.

The Bach suites will be performed alternately by Yehuda Hanani, whose recordings, masterclasses and seemingly direct line to the Baroque master are acknowledged as definitive interpretations of the works, and Kivie Cahn-Lipman, founding cellist of the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE) and director of the period instrument ensemble ACRONYM. Equally at home between the two bookends of music history, he has served on the faculties of Smith College and Mount Holyoke, and has recorded on the Naxos, Bridge, Tzadik and Nonesuch labels. As a chamber musician, Mr. Cahn-Lipman has performed in Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall and Zankel Hall, Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall and Rose Theatre and other major venues on three continents. He holds a bachelor’s and master’s degree from Oberlin and Juilliard and received his doctorate from the University of Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music.

Hanani’s performances are acclaimed for their blend of intellectual rigor and intuition and spontaneity. Says Hanani, “The title ‘Unaccompanied’ attached to the suites is a misnomer. They are as unaccompanied as any of the numerous keyboard works in the sense that they are played by a single person. Musically, however, they are very much accompanied—by a bass line, above which two of three additional voices are spun. The challenge is to create an acoustic illusion of continuity. These suites are blueprints for cellists of all generations for the construction of temples of sound in time; and as long as time is, the task remains unfinished.”

Cellist and artistic director, Yehuda Hanani, who provides incisive commentary at each CEWM concert, is in demand as a soloist, chamber musician and lecturer around the globe. He has been guest soloist with orchestras such as the Chicago Symphony, Philadelphia Orchestra, Baltimore Symphony, Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, Berlin Radio Orchestra, Israel Philharmonic, BBC Welsh Symphony, Buenos Aires Philharmonic, Jerusalem Symphony, and Seoul Symphony as well as Columbus, Oklahoma City, San Antonio, New Orleans, Honolulu, Chattanooga, and many more in the US and on four continents.

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.

Tickets: $35
Yehuda Hanani, cello; Kivie Cahn-Lipman, Baroque cello
Mid-Winter Fireside Concert-The Intimate Bach
Saturday, February 18, 6PM
Saint James Place, Great Barrington, MA
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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….”