If the robin is a harbinger of Spring, then the sounds of our resident Berkshire classical music companies are surely the fanfare that sound prior to the arrival of the Boston Symphony Orchestra and the Tanglewood season. The BSO does not have its first concert until the July 4th holiday has passed, but prior to that there is plenty of good music to be had.
Berkshire Bach Society
On Saturday, June 4, 2016 the Berkshire Bach Society Celebrates its 25th Anniversary by presenting a Spring Choral Concert with James Bagwell Conducting. Vivaldi’s vibrant setting of Gloria combines both choral and solo vocal sections and remains one of the staples of the choral repertoire and has long been an audience favorite. The Gloria will be paired with Mozart’s great instrumental masterpiece, the Sinfonia Concertante for Violin, Viola, and Orchestra. Violinist Helena Baillie and violist Marka Gustavsson will be joining the Bard Baroque Orchestra (Alexander Bonus, director) for this performance. The popularity of this work has extended into the world of film, being featured prominently in Sophie’s Choice, and of course, Amadeus. Rounding out the program will be two shorter choral works by Mozart, a hidden gem, the Magnificat by Zelenka, and a delicious Bach piece. The program which takes place at First Congregational Church, 251 Main Street, Great Barrington will be conducted by James Bagwell. For more information go to berkshirebach.org
James Bagwell maintains an active international schedule as a conductor of choral, operatic, and orchestral music. He was most recently named associate conductor of The Orchestra Now (TON) and in 2009 was appointed principal guest conductor of the American Symphony Orchestra, leading them in concerts at both Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center. From 2009-2015 he served as music director of The Collegiate Chorale, and has maintained a long-time relationship with the Berkshire Bach Society.
Music from Salem
There will be a concert featuring talented cellists playing music from Baroque to Postmodern on Sunday, June 5, 2016 at 4:00pm. Performing will be Music from Salem’s Cello Seminar participants and faculty. The concert takes place at Hubbard Hall located at 25 E. Main Street, Cambridge, NY.
The Cello Seminar is an intensive weeklong class for young professionally-bound cellists, led by Music from Salem consulting director Rhonda Rider with guest cellist David Russell and pianist Judith Gordon. The wide range of repertoire, from classics to cutting edge, will include works for solo cello and cello ensemble that will be performed at the end of the week in Hubbard Hall, a beautifully restored 19th-Century Vaudeville Hall in Cambridge, New York. It could be called a cello-bration concert.
$15 is the suggested ticket price, but Pay What You Can is in effect – all are welcome! Ticket reservations: www.hubbardhall.org.
Close Encounters With Music
On Saturday, June 11, 2016 at the Mahaiwe in Great Barrington, the theme is music that shook the world.
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 Jazz concert hall respectability; 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. Amplifying the music, passages from Igor Stravinsky’s and Antheil’s memoirs will be threaded through the program and read by brilliant comedienne Alison Larkin.
As Paris was the nexus of all the art forms and isms of the early part of the 20th century, the first half of the program includes Claude Debussy’s Sonata for Cello and Piano; Olivier Messiaen’s “Louange a l’Éernité de Jésu” from his transcendent Quartet for the End of Time; as well as (Paris adopted son) Igor Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring in its piano version. Perhaps no one composer shook the musical establishment and revolutionized what followed so much as Beethoven. His magnificent final violin sonata, No. 10 in G Major Opus 26 receives a performance along with the effervescent and irreverent Café Music by Paul Schoenfield. Schoenfield’s music attracts listeners with its combination of exuberance and seriousness, originality, lightness and depth, often with sly twists in the spirit of the French musical iconoclasts.
This program brings to the fore some of the direct predecessors of John Cage, Philip Glass and John Adams. Performers are pianist Michael Chertock, violinist Yehonatan Berick, cellist Yehuda Hanani, and comedienne Alison Larkin.
Tickets are available at The Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center box office, 413.528.0100. Or visit the Close Encounters website at www.cewm.org.
Music Mountain begins with classical and jazz
On June 11 and 12, 2016, Music Mountain, America’s oldest continuing summer chamber music festival, continues its 87th Anniversary Season with the acclaimed Borromeo String Quartet. Appearing on Sunday, June 12th (3PM) they will perform a program of Bach, Ravel, and Beethoven. This weekend also marks the start of the popular Saturday Evening Twilight Series (6:30pm). Connecticut’s favorite jazz band, The Galvanized Jazz Band opens the series. For fifteen weekends, through September11 you can see why the New Yorker called Music Mountain “The Summer Shrine of the String Quartet.”
The weekend begins as the band launches the Saturday Evening Twilight Series which is devoted to the energetic performance of hot Dixieland, New Orleans jazz, blues, rags, stomps, struts, spirituals, swing, and classic popular songs from the past century. The 5-piece Galvanized Jazz band performs at Jazz Festivals from Maine to New Orleans and throughout Europe. Recognized by Connecticut Magazine as the “Best Jazz Band in the State!”
The music continues on Sunday afternoon with Borromeo String Quartet performing Bach: Selections from the Well-Tempered Klavier, BWV 846-853; Ravel: String Quartet in F; and Beethoven: String Quartet in E Flat Major, Opus 127.
The award-winning Borromeo String Quartet has garnered its reputation as one of the most important ensembles of our time. The ensemble has been hailed for its “edge-of-the-seat performances,” by the Boston Globe, which called it “simply the best there is.” Now celebrating its 25th anniversary, the Borromeo continues to be a pioneer in its use of technology, and has the trailblazing distinction of being the first string quartet to utilize laptop computers on the concert stage. Passionate educators, the Borromeos encourage audiences of all ages to explore and listen to both traditional and contemporary repertoire in new ways.
Music Mountain is located in Falls Village, Connecticut on Music Mountain Road, where a short scenic drive will bring you to Gordon Hall atop Music Mountain. Free parking and picnic facilities are available. Food, locally baked cookies and brownies, coffee, tea, lemonade, and spring water are available for purchase. For a complete summer schedule, special ticket prices, and to download a ticket order form visit www.musicmountain.org or call 860-824-7126. Music Mountain is located at 225 Music Mountain Road, Falls Village, CT 06031
Music Mountain follows with Penderecki String Quartet
with Maurycy Banaszek, Viola
plus The New York Gilbert & Sullivan Players June 18 & 19
Music Mountain,continues with the remarkable Penderecki String Quartet with guest artist Maurycy Banaszek, viola on Sunday, June 19th (3PM) performing Haydn: String Quartet in D Major, Opus20 #4; Mendelssohn: String Quartet in A Major, Opus13 (“Ist Es Wehr?”); and Mozart, Viola Quintet in C Major, K., 515. Saturday, June 18th(6:30pm) marks the return of The New York Gilbert & Sullivan Players offering their uproarious quintet production of Trial by Jury. Pre-Concert Dinner at 5PM. Chamber Music Concerts are $35 at the door/$30 in advance. Twilight Series Concerts are $30 at the door/$27 in advance. Pre-Concert Dinner is $70 and includes admission to Saturday evening concert. Children ages 5-18 are admitted FREE for ALL CONCERTS when accompanied by a ticket holder. Visit www.musicmountain.org or call 860-824-7126.
Cassatt String Quartet performs at Music Mountain
with Colin Carr, Cello on June 25 & 26
plus New Black Eagle Jazz Band
The inspiring Cassatt String Quartet with guest artist, Colin Carr, cello is featured on Sunday, June 26th (3PM) performing Tchaikowsky: String Quartet in D Major, Opus 11; and Schubert: Cello Quintet in C Major, D 956, Opus 163. The New Black Eagle Jazz Band returns to Music Mountain on Saturday, June 25th (6:30pm) playing the best of traditional New Orleans jazz plus blues and rags. Chamber Music Concerts are $35 at the door/$30 in advance. Twilight Series Concerts are $30 at the door/$27 in advance. Children ages 5-18 are admitted FREE for ALL CONCERTS when accompanied by a ticket holder. Visit www.musicmountain.org or call 860-824-7126.