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FEBRUARY 4, 2021

Fresh, unpredictable and uninhibited—these are some hallmarks of the Baroque. For its next virtual presentation, Close Encounters With Music presents the acclaimed ensemble The Sebastians, lauded for their ability to connect with audiences through dynamic and vital performances of music of the baroque and classical eras. Known for their “energetic…youthful, vigorous performance style…” they have been called New York’s “leading young early-music ensemble” (The New York Times). The colorful, exuberant program will feature Telemann’s “Paris” Quartet, the glorious Fifth Brandenburg Concerto of Johann Sebastian Bach, and works by Vivaldi, CPE Bach, Handel and Porpora, with star roles for harpsichord and baroque flute (traverso).

The Sebastian musicians–Jeffrey Grossman, harpsichord; Daniel Lee and Nicholas DiEugenio, violins; Jessica Troy, viola; Nathaniel Chase, violone; and David Ross, traverso—are joined on Saturday, April 3, 7:30 PM, by CEWM artistic director Yehuda Hanani for a performance of Vivaldi’s Sonata No. 5, with its extravagant Venetian flair.

The seventh and final program of the Winter/Spring season, “Felix, Fanny and Frederic: Chopin and the Mendelssohns” will premiere on Sunday, April 25th at 7:30 EST. Again in partnership with the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center and Classical WMHT-FM, the two April programs begin with the same lively and illuminating insights from Yehuda Hanani that audiences have enjoyed for almost thirty years, and end with “Afterglow” chats with guest musicians that are especially poignant as they discuss their pandemic experiences and vision for the future of classical music.

CEWM’s online offerings were launched in July when the decision was made to present an entirely virtual Berkshire High Peaks Festival, with the participation of 46 international string, piano and vocal students, followed by an August live-streamed concert, “From Bach to Bachianas,” a guitar/cello recital featuring Eliot Fisk and Yehuda Hanani on stage in an empty Mahaiwe Theater. These and the October through December concerts that followed (“The French Connection,” A Night at the Opera,” Debussy and Brahms with the Escher Quartet, and “Forever Bach – the Cello Suites”) remain available for viewing on cewm.org, mahaiwe.org, and both organizations’ YouTube channels, and have collected thousands of views.

Now in its 29th year, Close Encounters With Music will present the 12th Berkshire High Peaks Festival for advanced piano, string and vocal participants virtually again this summer, with an expanded faculty and new jazz and improvisation offerings. An outdoor season starts on May 23 and June 13 at Edith Wharton’s The Mount in Lenox with two programs titled “Wine & Song,” featuring vocalists Emily Marvosh, Sonja Tengblad, pianist Joseph Turbessi and the a cappella jazz ensemble West Side Five. On September 18 Close Encounters presents the preeminent saxophone quartet, the Prism, at TurnPark Art Space in West Stockbridge, one of several programs being planned there.

“We are hopeful that we can begin a gradual return to concert presentation as we know it in November 2021—in person, and with a live audience at the Mahaiwe—with a rousing celebratory program postponed from June of 2020,” says Yehuda Hanani. “This will feature our long-awaited world premiere of Tamar Muskal’s work for tabla, rapper, two cellos, marimba and children’s chorus. We look forward to welcoming everyone to the Great Reopening!”

CEWM’s online offerings were launched in July when the decision was made to present an entirely virtual Berkshire High Peaks Festival, with the participation of 46 international string, piano and vocal students, followed by an August livestreamed concert, “From Bach to Bachianas,” a guitar/cello recital featuring Eliot Fisk and Yehuda Hanani on stage in an empty Mahaiwe Theater. These and the October through December concerts that followed, available on cewm.orgmahaiwe.org, both organizations’ YouTube channels, and the Mahaiwe’s Facebook, have collected thousands of views.

UPCOMING CONCERT IN THE WINTER/SPRING SERIES:

Felix, Fanny and Frederic: Chopin and the Mendelssohns
Sunday, April 25, 2021, 7:30 PM EST (mahaiwe.org and cewm.org)
NO CHARGE

A dazzling pianist, accomplished violinist, composer, conductor, a gifted painter and a gymnast, Felix Mendelssohn enraptured the royal courts and concert halls of Europe before dying at 38, shattered by the sudden death of his beloved sister and musical soul mate, Fanny Hensel.  Beyond extravagant, outsize talent and an early death, Frederic Chopin and Mendelssohn shared a warm friendship.  No one matched Chopin’s genius in the realm of the keyboard, and, as Schumann declared, hearing the incomparably tender and rousing Piano Trio in D minor, “Mendelssohn is the Mozart of the 19th century.”   Fanny’s works were largely consigned to the drawing rooms of fashionable Berlin, but more recently are receiving their due in concert halls and on CD’s, having been rediscovered as works belonging in the classical pantheon. Three faces of Romanticism!

Irina Muresanu, violin; Max Levinson, piano; Yehuda Hanani, cello

ABOUT CLOSE ENCOUNTERS WITH MUSIC
Close Encounters With Music is in its 29th year of presenting music and other programming to audiences in the Berkshires and beyond. 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, Tamar Muskal, Thea Musgrave, 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 who appear regularly with Close Encounters includes: pianists, Roman Rabinovich, Soyeon Kate Lee, Inna Faliks, Max Levinson and Michael Chertock; violinists, Shmuel Ashkenasi, Vadim Gluzman, Julian Rachlin, Peter Zazofsky, Itamar Zorman and Hagai Shaham; 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 Sam Waterston, 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 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, Mass., as well as the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts. Summer performances have taken place at the New York State Museum, Basilica Hudson, Orpheum Theatre in Tannersville, and in the orchard at Olana. In its 11th year, the Berkshire High Peaks Festival takes place each July at the Berkshire School in Sheffield, Mass., 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. His charismatic playing and profound interpretations bring him acclaim and re-engagements across the globe. Under Hanani’s leadership, CEWM pushes the boundaries of traditional chamber music through thematic programming that embraces a range of musical idioms, styles, cultural influences, and eras. CEWM, now in its 29th season in the Berkshires, regularly commissions new works (25 to date!) and concert programs often weave music together with theater, dance, and literature. Venues include the landmark Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center and Saint James Place in Great Barrington.

HOW TO REACH US
Close Encounters With Music
Post Office Box 34
Great Barrington, MA 01230
Mahaiwe Box Office: 413.528.0100 www.mahaiwe.org
CEWM: 800.843.0778
Web: www.cewm.org
CEWM e-mail: [email protected]