WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. – Celebrating “White Nights” of the Russian tradition, two charismatic international performers—pianist Vassily Primakov and cellist Yehuda Hanani—join forces to present a program of Russian masters Rachmaninoff, Prokofiev, and Tchaikovsky, in the inaugural concert of Close Encounters With Music at the Clark Sunday, July 14 at 3 PM.
The epic cello/piano sonatas of Rachmaninoff and Prokofiev reflect the same aspects of the Russian character as seen in the great literature—melancholy, mysticism, whimsy, biting humor and torrential Romanticism—as well as the added richness of Western influence from their sojourns in Paris and New York. Tchaikovsky’s Seasons for solo piano offers the signature charm, power and grandeur, and, of course, the inexhaustible reservoir of melody that produced his Nutcracker and Sleeping Beauty. The program provides a sweeping view of late Russian Romanticism and Modernism through the prism of three pillars of the repertoire. “We are delighted to be part of the expansion and new vision of the Clark,” says artistic director Yehuda Hanani. “Being surrounded by the large and varied collection is bound to spark new revelations about the synchronicities between the “bow and the brush.”
Based in Great Barrington and in its 22nd year in the Berkshires, Close Encounters has enjoyed collaborations with museums across the country, including the Detroit Institute of Art, the Joslyn Art Museum in Omaha, the Phoenix Art Museum, the Center for Fine Arts in Miami, and the Frick Collection in New York City. Often centering programs around an art movement, or commonalities between the visual and the acoustic, CEWM’s thematic programming brings a heightened sense of discovery to 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 Jeffrey Swann; violinists Shmuel Ashkenasi, Yehonatan Berick, and Vadim Gluzman; 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, 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 for “White Nights” are $40 ($30 members). Visit clarkart.edu or call 413- 458-0524 for information or to order tickets.
ABOUT THE ARTISTS
Yehuda Hanani’s charismatic playing and profound interpretations bring him acclaim and reengagements 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, Irish National Symphony, Buenos Aires Philharmonic, Honolulu Symphony, Orquestra Sinfonica del Estado de Mexico, Belgrade Philharmonic, Jerusalem Symphony, Lithuanian Chamber Orchestra, and Taipei and Seoul symphonies, among many others. His pioneering recording of the monumental Alkan Cello Sonata received a Grand Prix du Disque nomination, and his other discs have won wide recognition. He has been the subject of hundreds of articles and interviews in the media, and his weekly program on NPR affiliate station WAMC Northeast Radio, “Classical Music According to Yehuda” attracts new audiences to classical music. He is Professor of Cello at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music and artistic director of Close Encounters With Music and the Catskill High Peaks Festival.
“One of the most polished performers of the post-Starker generation and a consistently expressive artist…The sonatas came bounding to life in vital interpretations rich in imaginative detail and virile strength. Mr. Hanani was rightly rewarded with cheers from the audience.” –The New York Times
“Native Israeli cellist Yehuda Hanani…studied with Leonard Rose at Juilliard and with Pablo Casals. It should come as no surprise then that he possesses Rose’s tonal amplitude and Casals’s intellectual discipline, breathtaking technique and limpid style….Commanding musicianship.” – Fanfare Magazine (January/February 2012)
In recent years, Vassily Primakov has been hailed as a pianist of world class importance. Born in Moscow in 1979, his initial piano studies were with his mother, Marina Primakova. He entered Moscow’s Central Special Music School at the age of eleven and at seventeen came to New York to pursue studies at the Juilliard School with the noted pianist, Jerome Lowenthal. At Juilliard Mr. Primakov won the William Petschek Piano Recital Award, which presented his debut recital at Alice Tully Hall, and while still at Juilliard, aided by a Susan W. Rose Career Grant, he won both the Silver Medal and the Audience Prize in the 2002 Gina Bachauer International Artists Piano Competition. He took First Prize in the 2002 Young Concert Artists International Auditions. In 2009, Primakov’s Chopin Mazurkas recording was named “Best of the Year” by National Public Radio and that same year he began recording the 27 Mozart piano concertos in Denmark. BBC Music Magazine praised the first volume of Primakov’s Mozart concertos: “The piano playing is of exceptional quality: refined, multi-coloured, elegant of phrase and immaculately balanced…..By almost every objective criterion, Vassily Primakov is a Mozartian to the manner born, fit to stand as a role model to a new generation.” His extensive discography includes Beethoven Sonatas, Chopin Concertos, and music of Tchaikovsky, Schumann, and Scriabin for Bridge Records.
Vassily Primakov: “The music soared with all the vibrancy and turbulence it possesses. We will be hearing much from this remarkable musician.” –Cleveland Plain Dealer
ABOUT CLOSE ENCOUNTERS WITH MUSIC
Berkshire-based 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, Jorge Martin, John Musto, and Robert Beaser—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, Lydia Arytmiw, and Walter Ponce; violinists Shmuel Ashkenasi, Yehonatan Berick, Vadim Gluzman and Erin Keefe; harpsichordist Lionel Party; clarinetists Alexander Fiterstein, Charles Neidich; vocalists Dawn Upshaw, Amy Burton, Jennifer Aylmer, Robert White, 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. 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 Tanglewood and in Great Barrington, MA, as well as in Scottsdale, AZ. This summer, CEWM performances begin at the Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, MA; and the Catskill High Peaks Festival continues the educational mission of Close Encounters With Music with 40 international students in residence in the Great Northern Catskills in an immersive course of study and performance.
ABOUT THE CLARK
Set amidst 140 acres in the Berkshires, the Clark is one of the few major art museums that also serves as a leading international center for research and scholarship. The Clark presents public and education programs and organizes groundbreaking exhibitions that advance new scholarship. The Clark’s research and academic programs include an international fellowship program and conferences. Together with Williams College, the Clark sponsors one of the nation’s leading master’s programs in art history. The Clark receives support from the Massachusetts Cultural Council.
The Clark is located at 225 South Street in Williamstown, Massachusetts. The galleries are open daily in July and August (open Tuesday through Sunday from September through June), 10 am to 5 pm.