Classical music and dance thrives in the Berkshires off-season, too

In the Berkshires, we glimpse the joys of classical music and dance from the top of the lush Berkshire mountains. Bathed in the glorious summer sun, Tanglewood and Jacob’s Pillow inspire us with the best performances the world has to offer. But as glorious as our summers are, when October arrives, the sun dims and the leaves have to come down. In our other three seasons, our classical life is lived in the valleys. It’s where our farms and gardens and orchards are, and where those of us who live here tend our cultural interests. That’s where we find the same glorious sights and sounds we earlier celebrated from the peaks.

The focus of music moves from Lenox to West Stockbridge and Great Barrington (alas, Mass MoCA in North Adams eschews the classics for the contempory, and Pittsfield’s Colonial books more tribute bands than chamber music ensembles). Other than a couple of performances of Nutcracker from Albany Berkshire Ballet, and a visiting dance company or two at the Hunter Center of Mass MoCA, our resident dance ensembles depend on the Albany and Troy audiences for their short seasons.

Herewith, the upcoming treats to kick off our off-season thirst for great music and hunger for nourishing new dance.

Close Encounters with Music – Chamber Orchestra Kremlin
—Tchaikovsky, Shostakovich, Haydn
Saturday, October 15, 6 PM
Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center, Gt. Barrington, MA

The season opens with the return of audience favorite Chamber Orchestra Kremlin in a panoramic program of Haydn, Tchaikovsky, and Shostakovich with Chamber Orchestra Kremlin—Misha Rachlevsky, conductor; Yehuda Hanani, cello. $25 balcony/$45 orchestra/$15 students More information:

Ellen Sinopoli and SleepWalks
Multimedia Dance Performance
Chapel and Cultural Center in Troy, NY
October 21 & 22 at 8 PM

SleepWalks: The Body of Dreams: The recalled collective dreams and strong dreamworld themes shared by the overnight SleepWalks participants are the source material for these one-hour dance performances. The music for these performances also comes from those overnight SleepWalks soundscapes by Lee Pembleton and Andrea Williams. Ellen Sinopoli Dance Company dancers transform themselves into the dreamer bodies as they are immersed in Andrea Williams’ video projection environments. Reality blurs with the dreamworld as the dancers move back and forth between the reality of sleep and the revelation of our dreams.

The overnight SleepWalks component explored the effect of sound on dreaming, especially on collective dreaming. Utilizing the timestamps of the EEG headband readers worn by participants and provided by scientist Todd Anderson and the sound sample timestamps by Pembleton and Williams, there is evidence that sounds can, and indeed do, shape the dreamworld of participating dreamers. The long-term goal of SleepWalks is to create soundwalks for sleeping dreamers. Previous overnight SleepWalks venues include Issue Project Room, NYC; Soundwave Festival at Intersection for the Arts, San Francisco; Diapason Gallery, NYC; Parsons Hall Gallery, MA; and Mills College, Oakland, CA as part of Deep Listening/ Ione’s Dream Festival.
More info can be found at:

Music from Salem -duos and string trios
at the Grove at Neumann in Saratoga, NY
Sunday, October 23 at 4:00 p.m.

Music from Salem’s Fall concert, a program of string trios, will take place on Sunday, October 23 at 4:00 p.m. for the first time in Saratoga Springs at The Grove at Neumann, 233 Lake Ave., Saratoga Springs, NY. Featured are Violinist Markus Placci, a winner of many international awards. Also Music from Salem Artistic Director and former Boston Symphony Orchestra violist, Lila Brown, and Rhonda Rider, cellist of the Triple Helix Trio, just coming out with her CD of the Fauré cello sonatas with Judith Gordon.

The program include an appetizer by Boccherini, a lilting American folk duo by Mark O’Connor; Brave Wolfe, an exciting duo for violin and cello by Martinu, and Beethoven’s dark and demonic trio in C minor. The performance takes place in a replica of an historic chapel in this fabled spa city. The suggested ticket price is $25, but Music from Salem (MfS) welcomes all under its “pay what you can” policy. Tickets are available at the door only. For information contact or 518-232-2347 or visit their website

West Stockbridge Chamber Players
Sunday October 23, 2016 at 2:00 PM
1854 Town Hall, 9 Main Street, West Stockbridge, MA

This world-class ensemble of Berkshire-based musicians who regularly perform with the Boston Symphony and other prestigious orchestras give benefit concerts for the West Stockbridge Historical Society several times a year since the start of the Campaign to Restore the 1854 Town Hall. The Sunday afternoon program will feature six outstanding musicians: Sheila Fiekowsky on violin, Catherine Hudgins on clarinet, Katherine Matasy on accordion, Elizabeth Morse on harp, William Rounds on cello, and Linda Toote on flute.

The concert will feature several rarely heard pieces: Astor Piazzolla’s Two Tango-Études for violin, Jacques Ibert’s Entr’acte for violin and harp, Carlos Salzedo’s Chanson dans la nuit, Osvaldo Golijov’s Omaramor, and Heitor Villa-Lobos’ The Jet Whistle, Camille Saint-Saëns’ Fantasy Op. 124 and Astor Piazzolla’s Three Tangos, in this case written for clarinet, cello, harp, and — for the first time in a concert by the West Stockbridge Chamber Players — accordion.

Tickets $35, available at downtown West Stockbridge businesses with a “Blue Note” in their window, or online at or call 413-232-4270.

Israel’s Vertigo Dance Company at UAlbany PAC

October 26 at 7:30

The UAlbany Performing Arts Center, operating under the auspices of the College of Arts and Sciences and with support from the University at Albany Foundation and University Auxiliary Services, is pleased to present Israel’sVertigo Dance Company on Wednesday, October 26, 2016 at 7:30pm.  The company will perform Vertigo 20, a program which weaves together twenty years of the company’s creations from its inception. The performance is the second offering in the Dance in Albany series, a joint series sponsored by The Egg, UAlbany Performing Arts Center and Massry Center at St. Rose.  It will be performed In the Raw, a format conceived and implemented two seasons ago.

A very limited number of tickets are still available for the performance on October 26.  Advance tickets are $15 for the general public and $10 for students, seniors and UAlbany faculty-staff.  Tickets purchased on the day of the show (pending availability) are $20 for the general public and $15 for students, seniors and UAlbany faculty-staff.  For reservations and further information, contact the Box Office at (518) 442-3997 or visit the Performing Arts Center website at

Mozart and Shubert trios
Spencertown Academy Arts Center
Saturday, November 5 at 7:30

Dan Shulman, Kaori Washiyama, and Nathaniel Parke bring chamber music to the region on Saturday, November 5 at 7:30pm. The trio will perform works by Mozart and Schubert for piano, violin, and cello, and also music by Tartini, Prokofiev, and Schumann. General admission tickets ($20/$10 for students) may be purchased in advance via and will be available at the door. Founded in 1972, Spencertown Academy Arts Center is a cultural center and community resource serving Columbia County, the Berkshires, and the Capital region. Housed in a landmark 1847 Greek Revival schoolhouse, the Academy is located at 790 State Route 203 in Spencertown, New York. For more information, please see or call 518-392-3693.

Close Encounters with Music
The Passion of Camille Saint-Saëns and César Franck—Cherchez la Femme
Saturday, December 3, 6 PM
Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center, Gt. Barrington, MA

The tie that binds the brilliantly virtuosic Saint-Saëns Violin Sonata No. 1 and the smoldering Franck Piano Quintet is the composers’ shared unrequited love of Augusta Holmès. With Roman Rabinovich, piano; Diana Cohen and Sarah McElravy, violin; Julian Rachlin, viola; Yehuda Hanani, cello. $25 balcony/$45 orchestra/$15 students

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