Great Piano Quintets—Dvořák and Brahms, Sunday, June 9, 4pm

Close Encounters With Music Presents Its Gala Concert “Great Piano Quintets” Sunday, June 9, 4 PM at the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center in Great Barrington

Two Masterpieces of the Chamber Music Repertoire End the CEWM Season on Mount Olympus with Brahms and Dvořák

Dvořák’s sublime Piano Quintet in A Major occupies a lofty place in the chamber music canon, at the same elevation as Brahms’s Piano Quintet in F minor, op. 34.  Simply put, both works are majestic, symphonic in scope, and invite the listener into a lost world of powerful beauty, profundity, and nobility of sentiments, peppered with folk tunes and polkas.

Dvořák admired Brahms, Brahms encouraged and mentored Dvořák. The combination of string quartet and piano lends the quintet a sonic grandeur as it joins two self-sufficient forces in an ideal partnership. On full display is Brahms’s fiery passion, his interest in Hungarian folk music and the turbulent mix of emotions that run through the quintet—from mysterious to stormy to heartbreakingly expressive.

“As for the Dvorak, a music writer once quipped that if there is someone who doesn’t like Dvorak’s Op. 81 piano quintet, I’m not sure I want to meet them,” says Artistic Director Yehuda Hanani. “These are two of the most glorious epic works in the entire chamber music repertoire—joyful, probing, densely rich, and good for the soul.”  Dvorak’s gift for melody and rhythmic genius are what combine to make him such a favorite with connoisseurs and casual listeners alike.

An all-star ensemble that shares the stage with Hanani includes Max Levinson (“a brilliant American pianist…who touches the listener deeply and often—Los Angeles Times) and violist Jordan Bak (“a bright commanding presence…a rising star”—Boston Musical Intelligencer) making his CEWM debut. Known for his thrilling performances and musical creativity, violinist/violist Ara Gregorian made his debut as soloist with the Boston Pops Orchestra in Symphony Hall. He has since established himself as one of the most sought-after musicians of his generation with performances at Carnegie Hall, Avery Fisher, Alice Tully, Kennedy Center and major venues throughout the world.  United with Gregorian in matrimony as well in music, violinist Hye-Jin Kim has forged a formidable path since her First Prize win at the Yehudi Menuhin International Violin Competition at the age of nineteen and a subsequent win at the Concert Artists Guild International Competition, performing as soloist with major orchestras including the Philadelphia, New Jersey Symphony, BBC Concert (UK), Seoul Philharmonic (Korea), Pan Asia Symphony (Hong Kong), and Hannover Chamber (Germany).

Read artist bios here.

So concludes Season 32 of Close Encounters—bookended by the most miraculous output of Johannes Brahms and with Dvořák’s folkloric genius, spontaneity, and vitality, in the hands of some of today’s most distinguished performers.  A gala Patron’s dinner follows the performance, available as a Patron Concert/Dinner Package.   

Max Levinson, piano; Ara Gregorian and Hye-Jin Kim, violin; Jordan Bak, viola; Yehuda Hanani, cello


Tickets, $52 for Orchestra and Mezzanine and $28 for Balcony seats, can be purchased at or by calling 413-528-0100. 

Gala Patron Package tickets are available for $175 and include Orchestra seats at the Mahaiwe and dinner following. Information and sign-up at

In addition to offering live in-person concerts, curated online performances are available to accommodate geographically remote listeners and newly expanded virtual followers. Tickets are $28 for individual programs, delivered to your email address!

“CEWM patrons have learned that sooner or later they’ll be blindsided by a performance so sublime it will defy explanation.”  – The Berkshire Edge