Close Encounters With Music

SEPTEMBER 2, 2015
CLOSE ENCOUNTERS WITH MUSIC OPENS 24TH SEASON
WITH ITS SIGNATURE MIX OF INNOVATIVE PROGRAMS—OCTOBER 24 OPENING FEATURES WALTER PONCE PERFORMING EPIC BRAHMS AND DVOŘÁK; CELEBRITY TALKS, FIRESIDE CONCERT; COLLABORATIONS, CELEBRATIONS ALL SEASON

Celebration of Instrumental Virtuosos, Brilliant Vocalists, and Stars of the Chamber Music World in Concerts at the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center in Great Barrington Fall, Winter, Spring 2015-16

Curator Ken Moore Presents the Met’s 5,000 Piece Musical Instrument Collection Dating from 300 B.C. at The Mount in Lenox and Revolutionary, Lifelike 3D Audio Captured by Princeton Aerospace Engineering Professor Edgar Choueiri in “Conversations With….” Series

(Great Barrington, MA…) Going into its 24th year of presenting outstanding chamber music with lively commentary, the Berkshires’ premier chamber music organization, Close Encounters With Music, continues to expand its original programming of classical, contemporary and cutting-edge music. The 2015-2016 season will be one of celebration and discovery, featuring world-renowned musicians and extraordinary new faces. Walter Ponce (“Delectable playing with a crackle that Liszt himself would have applauded” – Chicago Tribune) returns after a hiatus, as well as consummate chamber musician Michele Levin and frequent Boston Pops soloist Michael Chertock; violinists Yehonatan Berick, Sarah McElravy and Ara Gregorian; and oboist James Austin Smith, already inducted into Lincoln Center’s Chamber Music Society (“virtuosic” and “brilliant performances—The New York Times—to which we can attest from his past performance!). The Dover Quartet, which has risen meteorically to the highest echelons of the string quartet firmament, makes its CEWM debut; and we introduce tenor Alex Richardson (“A charismatic Richardson triumphed!” – Huffington Post) and duo pianists Kate Soyeon Lee and Ran Dank, who together and apart garner raves (“Stunning command of the keyboard” –Washington Post). The Acronym Baroque Band brings its own brand of Baroque glitter to the Mahaiwe stage for the second consecutive year, and we are delighted to welcome Paul Green, an extraordinary clarinetist equally at home in classical, jazz and Klezmer music. From October through June, it’s a season not to be missed!

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 enlighten the concert experience. Each concert is framed by an introduction before the music, and is followed by an AFTERGLOW reception with an informal “talk-back” and an opportunity to meet the musicians.

(For Calendar listings, see below.)

Grand Piano Quartets—Brahms and Dvořák
Saturday, October 24, 6 PM
Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center
Tickets: $45 (Orchestra and Mezzanine) and $25 (Balcony)

The season opens at the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center on Saturday, October 24, at 6 PM with two epic works by Brahms and Dvořák, two giants whose lives intersected, both nurtured by the traditions of Central Europe. These pieces are symphonic in scope, with unbuttoned, folksy finales; four superb soloists convene to play some of the most vivacious and appealing music in the repertoire. The program features Brahms’ G minor Piano Quartet Op. 25, with its animated Hungarian idioms and whirlwind coda; and the Piano Quartet No. 2 in E-flat Major Op. 87, one of Dvořák’s most sublime works. The two composers, friends and fellow admirers during their lifetime, stand side by side with these powerful masterpieces that display the seemingly endless inventiveness of both in architecture, melody, instrumental interplay, and sheer sonic beauty.

Walter Ponce, piano; Ara Gregorian, violin; Xiao-Dong Wang, viola; Yehuda Hanani, cello

“Dually” Noted—Music for Four Hands
Saturday, December 12, 6 PM
Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center
Tickets: $45 (Orchestra and Mezzanine) and $25 (Balcony)

On Saturday, December 12 at 6 PM, CEWM presents “Dually” Noted—Music for Four Hands at the Mahaiwe. Doubling the sonorities and dazzle of the piano, and turning the solitary recital into an eloquent dialogue, this duo piano evening features the brilliant husband-wife team of Soyeon Kate Lee and Ran Dank in a panoply of styles together and separately. In the spirit of the holiday, the program includes Beethoven’s ever-popular “Moonlight Sonata” and a bravura arrangement of Tchaikovsky’s “Nutcracker Suite”—plus Debussy’s Preludes, Barber’s “Souvenirs,” Mozart’s Four Hand Variations in G Major K. 501, and Scriabin’s mystical Fantasy in B minor. The precise coordination of four hands is thrilling, the more so with a couple united in music and matrimony!

“Four Hands and Two Hearts Beating as One”—The New York Times

Soyeon Kate Lee and Ran Dank, piano

J.S. Bach & Sons--Legitimate and Otherwise
Saturday, March 19, 6 PM
Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center
Tickets: $45 (Orchestra and Mezzanine) and $25 (Balcony)

On Saturday, March 19 at 6 PM, the Mahaiwe stage sparkles with contrast and complement as the characters of the illustrious and multifarious Bach family tree resound. J.S. Bach & Sons--Legitimate and Otherwise showcases this cluster of great musicians who forged a pathway into the Classical style. Presented with reverence are the works of Johann Sebastian, the Oboe Concerto by Carl Philippe Emanuel, and the Cello Concerto by Johann Christian. Presented with mischievous irreverence is his “illegitimate” son, P.D.Q. Bach (a.k.a. Peter Schickele) in a concerto for “Four Handed Viola” that combines musicological scholarship, the conventions of Baroque, and slapstick comedy. The program concludes with the timeless Brandenburg Concerto No. 3. Acronynm is a 12-member string orchestra that is distinguished by an ambitious program to unearth and revive forgotten masterpieces of the Baroque era, often unheard since the 17th century.
“…The idiomatic performances and spacious recording by these young musicians are absolutely first-rate.” – Early Music America
Acronym Baroque String Band; James Austin Smith, oboe; Yehuda Hanani, cello

“Fiddler OFF the Roof”
Sunday, April 17, 3 PM
Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center
Tickets: $45 (Orchestra and Mezzanine) and $25 (Balcony)

On Sunday, April 17 at 3 PM the Mahaiwe stage is set for the fascinating phenomenon of Jewish music, spanning multitudes of cultures and centuries—its ancient roots, its meandering trails as it wends its way across continents, and its contribution to the American voice. Works by Gershwin, Bernstein, Mahler, Mendelssohn, Milhaud, Bloch, and Max Bruch, who adopted Jewish modes and themes. And of course, a touch of Klezmer, the toe-tapping Eastern European celebratory music imbued with spirituality. Medieval Iberian ballad repertoire meets German Enlightenment (Bruch’s Kol Nidre and Felix Mendelssohn’s Piano Trio in D minor) and a rendition by Maurice Ravel of the ancient Kaddish, which dates back to the 1st century. A kaleidoscopic exploration of diverse traditions and the symbiosis of East and West, as exemplified in the world premiere of Paul Schoenfield’s Evocation, an adaptive reshaping of liturgical material to concert hall spirit.

Michele Levin, piano; Paul Green, clarinet; Alex Richardson, tenor; Sarah McElravy, violin; Yehuda Hanani, cello

The Art of the String Quartet
Saturday, May 14, 6 PM
Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center
Tickets: $45 (Orchestra and Mezzanine) and $25 (Balcony)

On Saturday, May 14 at 6 PM, CEWM presents a rising quartet—the Dover— dubbed by The New Yorker “the young American string quartet of the moment” which catapulted to international stardom following a stunning sweep of the 2013 Banff International String Quartet Competition. The program’s triad of Beethoven, Dvořák and Alban Berg offers up the “American” Quartet, a triumph of Dvořák’s astonishing melodic vision, disarming immediacy, and attempt to capture the American spirit; Beethoven’s cosmic “Razumovsky” Quartet; and Alban Berg’s Second String Quartet Op. 3 (1908), written during a turbulent courtship with his wife-to-be Helene. It is the composer at a compositional as well as personal crossroads and, in spite of its rigor, is full of Viennese flavor—somewhat like eating a Sachertorte with cream. Three landmark works of chamber music delivered by the first quartet to be honored with a residency at the venerable Curtis Institute.
“The Dover Quartet won new fans for its sublime playing.” – The New York Times

The Dover String Quartet: Joel Link, violin; Bryan Lee, violin; Milena Pajaro-van de Stadt, viola; Camden Shaw, cello

“Music That Shook the World!”
Gala Event!
Saturday, June 11, 6 PM
Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center
Tickets: $50 (Orchestra and Mezzanine) and $30 (Balcony)

“Music That Shook the World!” vibrates the Mahaiwe stage Saturday, June 11 at 6 PM, bringing the season to a close. The 20th century saw a series of cultural earthquakes that shook the music establishment and scandalized audiences. Now that modernism has receded, we can view them in perspective and see how they entered the mainstream and vitalized our concert experience. Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring, Debussy’s breaking through the German hegemony with Impressionism; granting respectability to the Jazz concert hall; coupling music with film (from “Bad Boy of Music” George Antheil and Fernand Léger’s 1924 Ballet Mécanique); and the advent of Latin American vernacular—all radically transformed our notion of classical music. This program brings to the fore some of the direct predecessors of John Cage, Philip Glass and John Adams. Amplifying the music, passages from Igor Stravinsky’s and Antheil’s memoirs will be threaded through the program. In Paris of the 1920s, Antheil’s concerts regularly incited huge riots. Ballet Mécanique is scored for multiple pianos, percussion, electric buzzers and airplane propellers and we offer a segment of the film. (Bring your riot gear!)

Michael Chertock, piano; Yehonatan Berick, violin; Yehuda Hanani, cello; special guest narrator, TBA

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.

For Subscribers Only: Mid-Winter Fireside Concert
An exclusive event, the Midwinter Fireside Concert, for season subscribers, Saturday, February 20, 6 PM at Ventfort Hall in Lenox:
“Some Enchanted Evening” with baritone Mischa Bouvier and pianist Yegor Shevtsov.

MORE THAN MUSIC:

Close Encounters With Music continues its listen and talk series, Conversations With…intimate and stimulating afternoons of music, literature and exchanges of ideas with notable performers, critics, authors, and cultural personages.

Inside the Met’s Instrument Collection with Curator Ken Moore
Sunday, November 15, 2 PM
The Mount, Lenox, MA
Tickets: $15 per person includes light refreshments

On Sunday, November 15 at 2 PM Close Encounters With Music and Edith Wharton’s The Mount present Inside the Met’s Instrument Collection with Curator Ken Moore: The Metropolitan Museum's collection of musical instruments includes approximately 5,000 examples from six continents and the Pacific Islands, dating from 300 B.C. to the present, and illustrating the development of musical instruments from all cultures and eras. Ken Moore, the Frederick P. Rose Curator of Musical Instruments, will share information about this extraordinary collection and its storied history. Since 1990, he has advocated the application of contextual display methods of non-European instruments and developed educational performance programs that emphasize world music cultures. Outside the Metropolitan, he has made pioneering studies of the music of the Snake Handler cult in West Virginia. Woven into the talk is the story of how, at the end of the 19th century, a forward-thinking woman founded a comprehensive collection of musical instruments rivaling any in the world.

Making Waves - Sounds of the Future
Sunday, May 22, 2 PM
Basilica Hudson, Hudson, NY
Tickets: $15 includes light refreshment

On Sunday, May 22 at 2 PM at Basilica Hudson in Hudson, NY, CEWM presents Making Waves – Sounds of the Future, with Edgar Choueiri, a professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at Princeton University who heads the school’s 3D Audio and Applied Acoustics Lab. An avid audiophile and acoustician, over the last decade he has dedicated his time to the development, application, and refinement of a revolutionary, groundbreaking system of audio recording that captures lifelike 3D audio in picture-perfect fidelity. With his binaural audio set-up, he will demonstrate—in Basilica Hudson’s post-industrial raw and resonant space—how the brain is tricked into believing the performance being heard is actually live, and not recorded. Binaural recording systems are unique because they emulate the workings of the human head. Prepare to be fooled, says Choueiri: "You can hear a bird flying over your head. You’ll hear a whisper in one ear.”

Close Encounters on the Radio/Podcast

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 www.wamc.org.

ABOUT CLOSE ENCOUNTERS WITH MUSIC

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 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—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 James Tocco, Adam Neiman, Walter Ponce, Lydia Artymiw and Jeffrey Swann; violinists Shmuel Ashkenasi, Yehonatan Berick, Vadim Gluzman and Erin Keefe; clarinetists Alexander Fiterstein, Charles Neidich; vocalists Dawn Upshaw, Amy Burton, Jennifer Aylmer, Robert White, Lucille Beer and William Sharp; the Vermeer, Amernet, Muir, Manahattan, Avalon, Hugo Wolf, Dover quartets, and Cuarteto Latinamericano; 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. Summer performances have taken place at the Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, MA; and the Catskill High Peaks Festival continued the educational mission of Close Encounters With Music with 50 international students in residence in the Great Northern Catskills at the Carey Center for Global Good in an immersive course of study and performance.

TICKET INFORMATION

Tickets, $45 (Orchestra and Mezzanine) and $25 (Balcony), are available at The Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center box office, 413.528.0100. Subscriptions are $225 ($195 for seniors) for a series of 6 series concerts PLUS one subscriber-only concert. Visit our website at www.cewm.org.

2015-16 CALENDAR AT THE MAHAIWE

Grand Piano Quartets—Brahms and Dvořák
Saturday, October 24, 6 PM

“Dually” Noted—Music for Four Hands
Saturday, December 12, 6 PM

J.S. Bach & Sons--Legitimate and Otherwise
Saturday, March 19, 6 PM

“Fiddler OFF the Roof”
Sunday, April 17, 3 PM

The Art of the String Quartet
Saturday, May 14, 6 PM

“Music That Shook the World!”
Saturday, June 11, 6 PM

These six performances are at the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center.
14 Castle Street, Great Barrington, MA.
A reception with light refreshments follows each concert.

Conversations With…

“Inside the Met’s Instrument Collection with Curator Ken Moore” at The Mount (Lenox, MA) is on Sunday, November 15 at 2 PM. $15 per person includes light refreshments.

“Making Waves – Sounds of the Future,” at Basilica Hudson (Hudson, NY) is on Sunday, May 22 at 2 PM. $15 per person includes light refreshments.

HOW TO REACH US

Close Encounters With Music
Post Office Box 34
Great Barrington, MA 01230
Mahaiwe Box Office: 413.528.0100
CEWM: 800.843.0778
Web: www.cewm.org
Email: cewmusic@aol.com

MEDIA CONTACT
For images, interviews, information:
Pamela Dreyfus Smith, Communications
Phone: 800.843.0778
Email: cewmusic@aol.com