Berkshire High Peaks Virtual Festival

Berkshire High Peaks Virtual Festival

Tuesday, Jul 27, 2021 from 10:00am to 6:30pm


Announcing the 2021 Berkshire High Peaks Festival for Outstanding Young Instrumentalists!

For the twelfth year, an international group of strings, pianists and vocalists will converge for intensive instrumental study with distinguished faculty and performances open to the public – this summer still virtually. Over 60 young artists of tomorrow from 12 countries – Italy, Switzerland, Korea, China, Israel, Argentina, Iceland, Romania, Cayman Islands, Mexico, and across the U.S. – will share their talent in open master classes and performances. Additionally, guest authors, composers, and performers will offer presentations on subjects ranging from music written during tragic world events of the past to the art of improvisations and ornamentation, to the embrace of world music by classical artists. For aspiring professionals, there will be sessions on recording and filming technology, maximizing your online presence, auditioning for orchestra positions, and collaborating successfully with contemporary composers.

Five “Moonlight Sonatas” evening concerts will showcase current participants, faculty and alumni during the two-week festival. High Peaks has added distinguished new faculty and a guitar department, led by famed guitarist Eliot Fisk. He joins faculty representing top conservatories and institutions, including Yale, New England Conservatory, Mannes School of Music, University of Southern California, Kang-Nam University (Korea), Peabody Conservatory, the Buenos Aires Philharmonic, Duke, and The Metropolitan Opera.

Over 17 talks, master classes and workshops have been scheduled. Tune in for an enlightening session with Jay Lesenger, former General and Artistic Director of Chautauqua Opera Company, and watch him transform vocalists into singing actors on Tuesday, July 27 at 5 PM. Or listen to cellist and author Marc Moskovitz contextualize our current situation with historical evets in the July 26, 2 PM talk “Crises, Cries and Covid: Music in Times of Urgency.” Other guest presenters include composer Tamar Muskal; harpsichordist Jeffrey Grossman; cellists Yehuda Hanani, Colin Carr, Eric Anderson and Diego Fainguersch; pianists Alexander Shtarkman, Ieva Jokubaviciute and Antoinette Perry; violinists Irina Muresanu and Peter Zazofsky; and violists Daniel Panner and Michael Strauss.

A full calendar can be found HERE (

“Music Undefeated!” has been the manifesto of this virtual adaptation of our traditional festival, and it underscores the festival’s resolve to imbue participants with skills, confidence, and optimism for the future.


The Berkshire High Peaks Festival, the educational initiative of Close Encounters with Music, is a performing and teaching summer institute bringing together renowned musicians, pedagogues and exceptionally gifted international students, held in the cultural hub of the southern Berkshires. The intimate scale and highest level of talent make possible an invigorating ten days of discovery, exploration, bonding and growth. The festival has an all-inclusive atmosphere, fostering camaraderie and cross-cultural exchange and understanding. The faculty is similarly international. In past summers, in addition to the classical canon, the music has focused on traditions ranging from Latin American tango to Japanese ceremonial drums to the heritage of Jazz and improvisation in addition to the classical canon. Central to the festival’s mission are performance opportunities for young artists on the cusp of their careers. Faculty and guest performers have included the most respected classical musicians and teachers of our time: guitarist Eliot Fisk; violinists Shmuel Ashkenasi, Elmar Oliveira, Peter Zazofsky, and Stefan Milenkovich; violists Pierre-Henri Xuereb and Michael Strauss; pianists James Tocco, Michael Chertock, and Vassily Primakov and cellists Thomas Landschoot, Sae Rom Kwon and Yehuda Hanani. Berkshire High Peaks concerts have taken place at the New York State Museum in Albany, NY; the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge,MA; Bridge Street Theatre in Catskill, NY; Orpheum Theater in Tannersville, NY; in the orchard at Olana, at Claremont Historical Site and at the Carey Center for Global Good in Rensselaerville, NY.

Berkshire High Peaks Festival Artistic Director YEHUDA HANANI has received acclaim across the globe for his charismatic playing and profound interpretations. An extraordinary recitalist, he is equally renowned for performances with orchestras such as the Chicago Symphony, Philadelphia Orchestra, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, Berlin Radio Orchestra, Israel Philharmonic, Buenos Aires Philharmonic, Irish National Symphony, Honolulu Symphony, Seoul Symphony, and BBC Welsh Symphony. His engaging chamber music with commentary series, Close Encounters With Music, has captivated audiences from Miami to Kansas City, Omaha, Calgary, Scottsdale, the Berkshires, and at the Frick Collection in New York City. 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” attracted thousands of fans. A prolific recording artist, he served as Professor of Cello at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, on the faculties of the Peabody Conservatory and Rutgers Mason Gross School of the Arts, and joined the faculty of Mannes School in NYC in 2020.



10:00 am - 11:30 am

Violin Master Class

Violin master class with Peter Zazofsky of Boston University.
Click this link to register for this event:

5:00 pm - 6:30 pm

Vocalist Master Class

Master class – Vocalists – The Acting Singer with Jay Lesenger former General and Artistic Director of Chautauqua Opera Company.
Click this link to register for this event:

Click Here for High Peaks Application

Click Here For Ticket Information

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