“Troika A La Russe” Presented by Close Encounters with Music

Photographs of Inna Faliks and Yehuda Hanani

FEBRUARY 22, 2019

(Great Barrington, MA) Ukrainian-born pianist Inna Faliks (“adventurous and passionate”— The New Yorker) and Yehuda Hanani present a program rich in Russian lore, Slavic emotionalism, Soviet-era sarcasm, and dazzling virtuosity: the cello/piano sonatas by Rachmaninoff, Prokofiev, and Scriabin’s Sonata No. 5, which pianist Sviatoslav Richter considered the most difficult piece in the entire piano repertory. Rachmaninoff’s sonata is passionate and emotionally torrential, a survivor from the 19th century. Prokofiev, on the other hand, dubbed “bad boy of Russian music” by the establishment for his earlier avant-garde style, has written here a work that is mellow and reflective. Faliks will evoke Scriabin the mystic who believed he was the musical Messiah. It is music of ecstasy and visions. Faliks, who has appeared with Keith Lockhart, Leonard Slatkin and many of the world’s greatest orchestras, has been praised as a “high priestess of the piano, pianist of the highest order, as dramatic and subtle as a great stage actor.” The concert is a journey in Russian landscapes and into the Russian soul.

Inna Faliks, piano; Yehuda Hanani, cello. In the Close Encounters With Music tradition, each performance is followed by an AFTERGLOW reception, with hors d’oeuvres and wine provided by local restaurants. Audiences can savor the music and fun as well as the culinary connections with us at our thematic concerts and post-concert receptions this season!

Tickets, $50 (Orchestra and Mezzanine), $27 (Balcony) and $15 for students, are available at The Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center box office, 413-528-0100, mahaiwe.org. Pro-rated subscriptions to the seven concert Close Encounters series are available to purchase on our website, cewm.org or by calling 800-843-0778.

Artistic Director Yehuda Hanani’s charismatic playing and profound interpretations bring him acclaim and re-engagements across the globe. An extraordinary recitalist, he is equally renowned for performances with orchestras such as the Chicago Symphony, Philadelphia Orchestra, Baltimore Symphony, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, Berlin Radio Orchestra, Israel Philharmonic, BBC Welsh Symphony, Buenos Aires Philharmonic, Honolulu Symphony, Jerusalem Symphony, Lithuanian Chamber Orchestra, I Solisti Zagreb, and Taipei and Seoul symphonies, among others. He has been a guest at Aspen, Bowdoin, Chautauqua, Marlboro, Yale at Norfolk, Round Top (TX), Great Lakes, and Grand Canyon festivals, Finland Festival, Great Wall (China), Leicester (England), Ottawa, Prades (France), Oslo, and Australia Chamber Music festivals, and has collaborated in performances with preeminent fellow musicians, including Leon Fleisher, Aaron Copland, Christoph Eschenbach, David Robertson, Vladimir Fedoseyev, Itzhak Perlman, Vadim Repin, Dawn Upshaw, Shlomo Mintz, Yefim Bronfman, the Tokyo, Vermeer, Muir, Lark, Avalon and Manhattan quartets, as well as members of the Cleveland, Juilliard, Borromeo, and Emerson. In New York City, Yehuda Hanani has appeared as soloist at Carnegie Hall, the 92nd Street Y, Alice Tully, and the Metropolitan Museum’s Grace Rainey Rogers Auditorium. In addition to his pioneering recordings of Charles Valentin Alkan (for which he received a Grand Prix du Disque nomination), Nikolai Miaskovsky, Leo Ornstein, and Eduard Franck, he is one of the originators of thematic programming with commentary that engages and illuminates contemporary audiences.

“Adventurous and passionate” (The New Yorker) Ukrainian-born American pianist Inna Faliks has established herself as one of the most exciting, communicative and poetic artists of her generation through her commanding performances of standard piano repertoire, as well as genre-bending, interdisciplinary projects. Following acclaimed teenage debuts at the Gilmore Festival and with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, she has performed on many of the world’s great stages, with numerous orchestras, in solo appearances, and with conductors such as Leonard Slatkin and Keith Lockhart. Her 2014 all-Beethoven CD release on MSR Classics drew rave reviews: the disc’s pre-viewer on WTT W Chicago called her “High priestess of the piano…as dramatic and subtle as a great stage actor.” Her MSR Classics CD Sound of Verse featured largely unknown music of Boris Pasternak and works of Rachmaninoff and Ravel. Ms. Faliks’ distinguished career has taken her to thousands of recitals and concerti engagements throughout the U.S, Asia, and Europe, performing at Carnegie’s Weill Hall, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Paris’ Salle Cortot, Moscow’s Tchaikovsky Hall and in the festivals of Verbier, Portland International, Music in the Mountains, Brevard, Taos and Chautauqua. Highlights of recent seasons include a 2016 tour of China, with appearances at the Beijing Center for Performing Arts, Shanghai Oriental Arts Theater and Tianjin Grand Theatre; in the Fazioli Series in Italy and Israel’s Tel Aviv Museum. Faliks is founder and curator of the of the Manhattan Arts Council award-winning poetry-music series “Music/Words,” creating performances in collaboration with distinguished poets. She recently co-starred with Downton Abbey star Lesley Nicol in “Admission—One Shilling,” a play for pianist and actor about the life of Dame Myra Hess, the great British pianist. She went on to create a one-woman show, performing at Baruch Performance Center’s “Solo in the City—Jewish Women, Jewish Stars” Festival in NYC, and at the Ebell of Los Angeles, where she gave the premiere of “Polonaise-Fantaisie, Story of a Pianist,” an autobiographical monologue for pianist and actress. A recent collaboration with WordTheatre features today’s leading screen actors in literary readings. Constantly in dialogue with today’s composers, she is the creator of the “Reimagine: Ravel and Beethoven” project, where composers such as Richard Danielpour, Timo Andres and Paola Prestini are writing works for her in response to Ravel’s Gaspard de la Nuit and Beethoven’s Bagatelles opus 126. Faliks is currently Professor of Piano and Head of Piano at UCLA


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.