Composer-In-Residence Jorge Martin Speaks on his opera Before Night Falls

Photograph of Jorge Martin

“Conversations With…,” Close Encounters With Music’s intimate and stimulating series of talks with musicians, artists and scholars, presents this year’s composer in residence

In a talk illustrated musically and visually on Sunday, November 21, 3PM, Cuban-born Jorge Martín presents excerpts from his first full-length, large-scale opera, Before Night Falls, based on the autobiography of Reinaldo Arenas. The book by the same name, which chronicles the persecution of gays under Fidel Castro, will be familiar to movie aficionados from the film version by Julian Schnabel, starring Javier Bardem. This installment of “Conversations With…” takes place at the Hudson Opera House.

Martín, this year’s Close Encounters With Music’s Composer-in-Residence, has received awards from the Cintas Fellowship and the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Mr. Martín is the first CEWM Composer-in-Residence which follows a warm relationship that has yielded four commissioned works over the last several years, all of which are being recorded on Albany Records for release in 2011. Following the opera’s Fort Worth Opera Festival world premiere in 2010, critic Jay Nordlinger wrote: “Brave, both in its libretto and in its score.”

Built in 1855, the Hudson Opera House, located at 327 Warren Street, Hudson, NY, is one of the oldest surviving theaters in America. Hudson River painter Frederic Church showed his works here, Bret Harte read his poems, and Susan B. Anthony rallied support for women’s suffrage.

This series of intimate and stimulating conversations about music and ideas is an intrinsic part of the Close Encounters With Music season. “Conversations With…” has presented such notable speakers as writer, editor and Bob Dylan biographer Seth Rogovoy; composer, National Endowment grantee and Guggenheim fellow Judith Zaimont; pianist and author Walter Ponce; Emmy Award-winning animator, illustrator, cartoonist and children’s-book author R.O. Blechman; Academy Award nominee Daniel Anker; scholar/performer/multimedia artist Robert Winter; and former Yankee, author and sportscaster Jim Bouton.

Tickets for Before Night Falls are $15 and include light refreshments, provided by Verdigris. They can be ordered by emailing [email protected], calling 800-843-0778, or contacting the Hudson Opera House at 518-822-1438.

Close Encounters With Music concerts are broadcast on WMHT-FM, and audiences are encouraged to tune into 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 the 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, Osvaldo Golijov, Lera Auerbach, Kenji Bunch, 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 James Tocco, Adam Neiman, Walter Ponce and William Wolfram; violinists Shmuel Ashkenasi, Yehonatan Berick, Vadim Gluzman and Toby Appel; harpsichordist Lionel Party; clarinetists Alexander Fiterstein, Charles Neidich; vocalists Dawn Upshaw, Amy Burton, Jennifer Aylmer, Robert White, Lucille Beer and William Sharp; the Vermeer, Amernet, Muir, Manhattan, Avalon, Hugo Wolf quartets, and Cuarteto Latinoamericano; 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, $40 (orchestra and mezzanine) and $30 (balcony), are available at The Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center box office, 413.528.0100, or through Close Encounters With Music at 800-843-0778 or by emailing [email protected]. Subscriptions are $175 ($150 for seniors) for a series of 6 concerts. Visit our website at

Note: Tickets for June 4th concert at Tanglewood’s Ozawa Hall can be purchased through CEWM only.

2010-11 CALENDAR

Chamber Orchestra Kremlin, Saturday, October 16, 6PM
Baroque Pantheon: A Holiday Concert Saturday, December 4, 6PM
Thus Spake German Romanticism Saturday, March 12, 6PM
Viola Quintets: Dvorak and Mendelssohn Saturday, April 16, 6PM
The Avalon Quartet: Steve Reich, Osvaldo Golijov and Schubert Saturday, May 7, 6PM

These five performances at the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center, Great Barrington, MA. A reception with light refreshments follows each concert.

Tickets for Conversations with…. events on Sundays, November 21 and May 15, Hudson Opera House, Hudson NY, are $15 per person which includes refreshments.

Fiesta! A Latin Splash of Music and Dance takes place Saturday, June 4, 6PM, at Ozawa Hall at Tanglewood, Lenox, MA. Tickets: $50 Orchestra and Loges; $40 Balconies.

For information and tickets for the inaugural season of Close Encounters with Music at the Frick Museum in NYC call 212.547.0696 or

“A chamber music series on a par with anything heard at the height of the season. For this, we year-rounders are blessed.” —Rogovoy Report

“There’s a palpable mystique about these Close Encounters concerts.” —Berkshire Eagle

“STUNNER CLOSES SEASON! Though Hanani, Prutsman and Upshaw all performed with that rare combination of mutual understanding and technical finesse which makes for the most satisfying chamber music, Hanani deserves special recognition for his astute program choices.”

—Albany Times Union

“An all-star lineup…CEWM’s usual high caliber.” —Metroland