Close Encounters With Music


History:

Close Encounters With Music has also been a commissioning organization and has worked with some of the most outstanding composers of our day: Osvaldo Golijov's (whose Pasion was declared by the Boston Globe to be the "first masterpiece of the 21st century") How Slow The Wind, composed for soprano Dawn Upshaw and string quartet and presented during 2001, is already firmly established in the repertoire. In 2002, CEWM collaborated with the David Parsons Dance Company on a new work for musicians and dancers (including Chicago star Desmond Richardson) that received its world premiere at Ozawa Hall, Tanglewood and its New York City premiere at the Joyce Theater. Close Encounters also commissioned two-time Grammy-award winner John Musto to write River Songs, a cycle for baritone, cello and piano on a range of texts connecting humans to nature and to its waterways. In addition to a full performance schedule, CEWM has presented master classes and concerts for children. Monkey, a new theater piece for kids by Matthew Guerrieri and based on a 15th-century Buddhist tale, received its world premiere in 2005.

In 2000, a Close Encounters CD label was launched. Its 2002 release, Dazzle & Nostalgia, was hailed by Strad Magazine for its "élan and panache...elegant and sparkling." In 2003, Sigourney Weaver participated in the Ozawa Hall performance "Measure for Measure: Shakespeare in Music" reading texts of the Bard and performing in the world premiere of a work by Kenji Bunch. In 2004, Jorge Martin's Hollywood Variations, written as an homage to composer Leonard Rosenman—based on his original love theme from the James Dean film East of Eden—was premiered on both coasts. Also in the 2004 season, Russian composer Lera Auerbach's Last Letter received its world premiere in the opening season of the newly restored vaudeville-era Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center in Great Barrington, MA.

Celebrating the rich cultural history of the Berkshires, CEWM has developed stimulating chamber music programs highlighting the Gilded Age, Edith Wharton and Edna St. Vincent Millay. In 2006, CEWM presented the world premiere of American composer Paul Schoenfield's trio for clarinet, cello and piano, included in an all-Schoenfield CD recorded for Naxos. Other new commissions have looked to Cuban influences (Jorge Martin’s jazz–inflected piece for accordion, percussion and cello), Klezmer roots (Stephen Dankner’s Klezmer Quintet) and Song of Songs (Lior Navok’s Spring Calls). In 2009, CEWM helped rectify the historical neglect of Mendelssohn’s student and colleague Eduard Franck with performances at Merkin Hall in New York City, Detroit and Cincinnati as well as the Berkshires, performing some of his superb works for the first time in 150 years.

In 2010, Close Encounters With Music returned to the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts and brought its original programming to the Frick Collection in New York City. A CD of Jorge Martin’s cello works in various combinations—solo, with piano, accordion and percussion—was released in July 2011 by Albany Records. Naxos released a recording of Eduard Franck chamber music in 2012 with artistic director Yehuda Hanani, pianist James Tocco, and violinist Shmuel Ashkenasi.The newest recording project is a CD of original guitar and cello arrangements with Eliot Fisk and Yehuda Hanani, due to be released by Albany Records. In 2012 and 2013, CEWM commissioned new works by Robert Beaser and Paul Schoenfield. Close Encounters With Music is particularly proud of its innovative educational programs—Conversations With, a series of talks with notable writers, artists, and thinkers—and the Catskill High Peaks Music Festival, a teaching and performance summer festival in the Northern Catskills, as well as its community outreach efforts, audience enrichment activities, and artist development initiatives.

Upcoming Events at Close Encounters With Music

American Premiere of Andre Hajdu's Masterpiece 'Kohelet'

Sunday, Oct 27, 2019 at 5:00pm
Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center
Great Barrington, MA
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Three Gentlemen of Vienna - Beethoven, Schubert and Mahler

Sunday, Nov 10, 2019 at 3:00pm
The Seven Hills Inn
Lenox, MA
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Great Strings - The Borromeo Quartet

Saturday, Dec 14, 2019 at 6:00pm
Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center
Great Barrington, MA
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Grand Piano Trios - Schubert and Brahms

Saturday, Feb 22, 2020 at 6:00pm
Saint James Place
Great Barrington, MA
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The French Connection: Saint-Saëns, Debussy, Fauré

Saturday, Mar 21, 2020 at 6:00pm
Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center
Great Barrington, MA
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Concetta Tomaino - Music and Medicine!

Sunday, Mar 29, 2020 at 3:00pm
The Mount
Lenox, MA
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SKYLARK: A Cappella Vocalists: Hidden Symbols, Secret Codes

Saturday, Apr 25, 2020 at 6:00pm
Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center
Great Barrington, MA
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Beethoven at 250! Celebration of an Immortal Genius

Saturday, May 23, 2020 at 6:00pm
Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center
Great Barrington, MA
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Café Music - Jazz, Rap and World Premiere!

Saturday, Jun 13, 2020 at 6:00pm
Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center
Great Barrington, MA
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Recent News

Close Encounters with Music Presents The American Premiere of Andre Hajdu's Masterwork 'Kohelet' Featuring Sam Waterston as Narrator at the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center

Great Barrington, MA -- Embarking on its 28th year of presenting outstanding chamber music with lively commentary, the Berkshires’ premier chamber music organization Close Encounters With Music, launches 2019-20 with the much anticipated North…

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Close Encounters with Music Launches 28th Season with Its Signature Mix of Innovative Programs

THE EXCITING AMERICAN PREMIERE OF ‘KOHELET' FEATURING SAM WATERSTON AS NARRATOR ON OCTOBER 27; BEETHOVEN @250; A DA VINCI CODE ADVENTURE THROUGH SECRET SYMBOLS BURIED IN ANCIENT MANUSCRIPTS WITH GRAMMY-NOMINATED A CAPPELLA SKYLARK SINGERS;…

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Close Encounters With Music Presents Its Season Finale Gala: Like Father-In-Law, Like Son-In-Law--Antonin Dvorak And Josef Suk

With Patron’s Dinner To Follow At The Stockbridge Club​Great Barrington, MA - Czech nationalist composer Antonin DvoÅ™ák rose to fame in Prague, paving the way for his favorite student and later son-in-law Josef Suk. There was great…

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Close Encounters with Music Presents 'The Art of the Quartet – The Escher String Quartet'

Acclaimed for musical insights and rare tonal beauty, and championed by the Emerson String Quartet, the Escher has toured extensively throughout the U.S., Europe, Australia and Asia. They served as BBC New Generation Artists and gave debuts at the…

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Close Encounters With Music Presents: “Tamar Muskal—Composer, Songwriter, Fashionista”

The Second Installment of Its Conversations With….Series of Intimate and Stimulating Afternoons on Music and Ideas Sunday, April 28, 3:00 p.m. at The Casana T. House, Hillsdale, NY Undaunted by new forms or new frontiers, Tamar Muskal has…

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Close Encounters With Music Brings to the Stage Prestige Performance: The American Brass Quintet

The American Brass Quintet is peerless among brass ensembles, sculpting new repertoire and setting the artistic standards for the modern classical brass ensemble. With over sixty recordings and tours around the world many times over, they’ve…

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Close Encounters With Music Presents Three Russian Giants: Rachmaninoff, Prokofiev, Scriabin onMarch 23rd

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…

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Haydn Seek: An Evening of Classical Humor with Close Encounters with Music

“Humor in The String Quartets of Papa Haydn” Presented by Close Encounters With Music on Saturday, February 23, 2019, 6:00 p.m. at Saint James Place What constitutes a musical—or any other kind of—joke? Humor explodes our…

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Close Encounters with Music Presents a Holiday Concert "Marzipan and the Trout" on December 8

A feast for the ears, just in time for the holidays...  Two great melodists, two young geniuses in one brilliant evening: Bubbly, like fine Champagne, Schubert’s “Trout” Quintet is one of the most joyous pieces ever written.…

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Close Encounters with Music Presents Conversations with Caryl Clark "Reconsidering The Legacy of Haydn”

The First Installment of The Conversations With…. Series Intimate and Stimulating Afternoons With Music And Ideas When: Sunday, November 11, 3:00 p.m., Where: West Stockbridge Historical Society Old Town Hall  Is…

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Close Encounters with Music Announces its Exciting 27th Season in The Berkshires!

Close Encounters With Music launches season twenty-seven with its signature mix of innovative programs— a rossini extravaganza on october 13 commemorating the 150th anniversary of his death; mozart and schubert (“marzipan and the…

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Close Encounters with Music's High Peaks Festival Comes to the Berkshires on Aug 6-16

Close encounters with music moves its illustrious high peaks festival to the cultural Berkshires! 2018 theme “The French-Russian Connection” explores influences, links and legendary collaborations across music, literature and art:…

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Close Encounters with Music Puts on a Party on June 24!

As summer unfolds over our valleys and hills with a joyful riot of color, Close Encounters With Music provides an opportunity to interact with nature and sculpture and enjoy music and dance performances, beautiful vistas, a sumptuous cocktail…

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Close Encounters with Music its Gala Performance, Feel the BERNstein!

Acknowledged as possibly the greatest conductor the U.S. has ever produced, Leonard Bernstein was dashing, brilliant and eloquent; a dazzling pianist, lecturer and cultural figure who redefined the word “charisma.” Equally at home on the…

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Close Encounters With Music Presents The Faux And The Fabulous

Saturday, May 12, 2018, 6 PM The Faux and the Fabulous-- ACRONYM Ensemble Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center  Great Barrington, MAPerhaps because it is so distant and its style so ingratiating and universally pleasing, the Baroque period…

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Close Encounters with Music Presents Grand Pianos Trios

The remarkably versatile composer-pianist-conductor-painter-gymnast Felix Mendelssohn personifies genius and musical prodigy and his second Piano Trio in C minor (1845) is a true expression of the exquisite sensibility of his life and art. BedÅ™ich…

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Russian and Soviet Film Music: A Tuneful Survey

The Conversations with... Series continues with its intimate and stimulating afternoons on music and ideas - Sunday, April 22, 3 p.m. at The Mount in Lenox, MA In a lecture illustrated with film clips, Professor Timothy Sergay of UAlbany will…

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Cewm Concert: The Ariel String Quartet To Perform "Love Triangles"

Three “storied” string quartets share the theme of a love triangle. The first three years of Schumann’s marriage to his beloved Clara Wieck were an exceedingly productive period for the young composer, and the time when he focused…

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Meet the extraordinary 2017 Met Audition Winner Aryeh Nussembaum Cohen at "A Close Encountertenor" February 24th

Mid-Winter Fireside Concert Voice of the Baroque--A Close EnCountertenor! Saturday, February 24, 6 PM Saint James Place, Great Barrington, MA $38 general seating, $15 for students Seldom has there been such a merging of…

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Souvenir De Florence - An Italian Holiday Celebration, December 9, 2017

The Italian fixation that runs deep in the collective artistic psyche is on musical display Saturday, December 9, 6PM. It was de rigueur for 19th century painters, musicians and literary types—Byron, Tchaikovsky, Mendelssohn—to make the…

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