Weekend Preview Mar 11-13



Songs about lotus flowers and pagodas, chamber music by German Romantic composer Richard Strauss, and the Berkshire debut of opera star Jennifer Rivera highlight the Close Encounters With Music concert “Thus Spake German Romanticism” on Saturday, March 12, at 6 at the Mahaiwe in Great Barrington, Mass. Also scheduled is the world premiere of this season’s composer-in residence Jorge Martin’s Four Noble Truths, inspired by Buddhist wisdom and following in the footsteps of late nineteenth century German Romantics. 

“Radiant…ravishing mezzo soprano bloom from top to bottom” is how Opera News recently described Jennifer Rivera’s opulent voice. Rivera is a superb lyric mezzo soprano who was invited to join the roster of the New York City Opera while still a student at Juilliard. She recently debuted as Sesto in La Clemenza di Tito with the Teatro Regio di Torino and will make her debut this season with the Berlin Staatsoper as Rosina in Il Barbiere di Siviglia

Rivera has been praised repeatedly by the New York Times for her “radiant mezzo soprano,” her “warm dark tone,” and “fresh ready singing.” Rivera created the starring role of Sharon Falconer in the critically acclaimed 2007 Nashville Opera world premiere of Robert Aldridge’s Elmer Gantry and sings this season with the Portland Opera as well as the Innsbruck Early Music Festival. She has recorded for Harmonia Mundi.

Tickets are available at the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center box office, , or through Close Encounters With Music at .


Eccentric music icon Robyn Hitchcock will appear at MASS MoCA alongside music producer and writer Joe Boyd in a unique performance on their Chinese White Bicycles U.S. tour, on Saturday, March 12, at 8 at MASS MoCA’s Hunter Center. Boyd will read from his music-business memoir, White Bicycles, as Hitchcock responds with acoustic renditions of the songs that highlighted his career.

White Bicycles offers the real story of what it was like to be a part of the sixties. Boyd has a long list of bragging rights with an impressive resume that includes stints as tour manager for Muddy Waters, owner of the popular UFO nightclub in England and supervision of Bob Dylan's notorious electric debut performance. His role in the British underground scene as a listener was crucial in launching the careers of some of England's most enduring musical talent. All of these tales, along with production accounts with Pink Floyd, Nick Drake, The Incredible String Band, Fairport Convention, among others, can be found in the pages of this recent memoir. Fellow music producer Brian Eno praises White Bicycles as "The best book about music I've read in years."
Hitchcock, who was only a teenager during the White Bicycles time frame, is a pioneer of psychedelic/folk himself. As a founding member of the neo-psychedelic band The Soft Boys, followed by an impressive solo career spanning 17 formal records along with an array of compilations and live cuts, Hitchcock is a perfect complement to Boyd's readings. For this performance he will be challenged to recreate the densely layered sounds on tracks like Pink Floyd’s “Bike” using only an acoustic guitar and his voice. Directly affected by Boyd's roster of psychedelic sounds and surrealist lyricism, the opportunity to watch Hitchcock perform for Boyd, as a fan, is surreal itself. The audience will be privileged to watch Hitchcock play back, respond with geeky music trivia, and simply listen to Boyd's compelling stories.

Tickets are available through the MASS MoCA Box Office located on Marshall Street in North Adams, open from 11 to 5 every day but Tuesday. Tickets can also be charged by phone by calling during Box Office hours or online at  any time.


Claverack Landing, the inventive classical collaboration between Columbia Festival Orchestra and Club Helsinki in Hudson, N.Y., continues on Sunday, March 13, at 4, with the Chimeng Quartet, the finest string ensemble from the Bard College Conservatory of Music. Sunday’s program includes works by Mozart, Janacek, and Brahms.

Jia Cao, Luosha Fang, Yang Li, and Shuangshuang Liu were all born and raised in China and schooled at the youngest ages through high school at the Shanghai Conservatory and the Central Conservatory in Beijing. All Bard Conservatory class of 2011, they study with violinists Ida Kavafian, Arnold Steinhardt, and Laurie Smukler; violists Ira Weller, Steven Tenebom and Michael Tree; and cellists Peter Wiley and Sophie Shao.


Having worked and performed with members of the Guarneri, Tokyo, Orion, Keller, Shanghai, Ying, and Mendelssohn Quartets, the Chimeng Quartet has been featured at the 2010 World Expo, the US Embassy in Beijing, and at the Aspen, Norfolk and Bard Music Festivals. In 2009, they made their orchestral debut with the Albany Symphony.


On Sunday, March 13, at 4, artist Rebecca Weinman will give a free talk about the sources and influences on her work in the current exhibition, You Weren’t Supposed to See This, at Pittsfield Contemporary at 305 North St., Pittsfield, Mass. Weinman is an emerging artist based out of Pittsfield, known for her simultaneously humorous and discomfiting self-portraits and figurative works on paper and in oil. You Weren’t Supposed to See This is her first public showing of her works in oil and her first solo exhibition since 2008.

In the works comprising You Weren’t Supposed to See This, the influence in technique and content of a range of British Figurative painters include Cecily Brown, Lucian Freud, and Paula Rego. “I always struggle with the simultaneous desire to focus on the representational aspects of a work – recreating a moment verbatim, and the desire to paint from the gut, viscerally, “ says Weinman. “And with this new series, I am getting closer to that balance between chaos and control.”

Weinman is a Berkshire native. In 2007, she graduated Cum Laude with her BFA in Painting from the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. During her undergraduate work Rebecca studied at the Pon-Aven School of Contemporary Art in the Northwest region of France.

You Weren’t Supposed to See This runs through Friday, March 18. Pittsfieldcontemporary.com @ 305 North is open Sat. & Sun 12-5 and by appointment or chance.

PittsfieldContemporary.com is a not-for-profit gallery, art space, idea incubator and online promotional tool serving the creative community of Pittsfield, Mass. It provides innovative exhibits, events, workshops, activities, as well as web and marketing aid for artists on an ongoing basis.


In honor of St. Patrick's Day, Pittsfield, Mass., author Kevin O' Hara will read from his works about Ireland at the Berkshire Theatre Festival’s Unicorn Stage in Stockbridge, Mass., on Sunday, March 13 at 4. O’Hara’s Last of the Donkey Pilgrims chronicles his eight-month, 1,700 mile journey along the coast of Ireland with a donkey in 1979, and A Lucky Irish Lad explores the ties that bound his close-knit family even during times of adversity, while capturing the small-town charms of New England life during the cultural explosions of the 1950s and ’60s.

A $10 donation is suggested. Reservations can be made by contacting the BTF Box Office at x33.



Members of two of the cutting-edge bands of the 1990s, Mike Doughty, formerly of Soul Coughing, and Melissa Auf der Maur (MAdM), formerly of Hole, perform separate shows at Club Helsinki this weekend. Doughty takes the stage on Friday, March 11, at 9, and der Maur plays a rare gig on Saturday, March 12. Incidentally, both artists have local connections: Doughty was a student at Simon’s Rock College, and der Maur now calls Hudson home.

Mike Doughty has seen it all. He first he led the acclaimed band Soul Coughing through the 1990s, pumping out some unforgettable indie-pop anthems, “Super Bon Bon” and “Circles.” He then reinvented himself as a successful solo artist playing places like Bonnaroo and for big audiences with folks like Dave Matthews at Madison Square Garden. He made a music video with famed director/photographer Danny Clinch, and appeared on The Late Show with David Letterman and now has five full length solo records under his belt, best known for songs hopelessly catchy tunes like, “Looking at the World from the Bottom of a Well” and “I Hear the Bells.”


Doughty now considers himself a singer/songwriter who lives in Brooklyn with a very full muti-talented life. Always into trying new ways of getting his music out there, last July, Doughty debuted 14 songs at the Rubin Museum of Art in NYC. Doughty is an active blogger, commenting on pop culture, musician life and his fans, and his photography is also included in his other numerous travels. He’s currently writing a memoir, recording an electronic album entitled Dubious Luxury, and working on a photo book about Eritrea’s capital city of Asmara, for Yeti Books. He also recently published a play, Ray Slape is Dead, in 24 by 24: The 24 Hour Plays Anthology, alongside Terrence McNally and Theresa Rebeck.

MAdM created a unique live show for her Guest of Honor performance for her hometown Montreal's "Voice of the Americas" Festival 2011 Edition, in celebration of the Spoken Word, Poetry and Performance Festival's 10-year anniversary. She decided to take this opportunity to bring the show 4 hours south of the border, to her new hometown of Hudson, N.Y. The show will range from full rock band to a more minimalist approach stripped down to only her voice and bass. She will be playing songs of her own, as well as paying tribute to the influential works of others. 


Melissa Auf der Maur (MAdM) was born and raised in Montreal, with a fine arts education focusing on music and photography. From 1994-1999 she was a member, songwriter and bass player of the international rock band Hole, culminating in the Billboard and Grammy nominated album Celebrity Skin released in 1998. In 2000 she joined Smashing Pumpkins for their farewell world tour. In 2004 Auf der Maur, her first solo album, was released by Capitol Records/ EMI worldwide. The album featured guest appearances by members of Queens of the Stone Age, NIN and A Perfect Circle. She has toured and collaborated with bands and members of QOTSA, Marilyn Manson, The Cure, Indochine, NIN, Muse, Ric Ocasek and more. She has exhibited her photography in New York, Montreal and Tokyo and her photos have been published in magazines such as Spin, Nylon, American Photo and Harper's Bazaar.

Club Helsinki Hudson
405 Columbia St.
Hudson, N.Y.

Eight-time Grammy nominee and Kentucky-born singer-songwriter Joan Osborne performs at the Mahaiwe in Great Barrington, Mass., on Friday, March 11 at 8. Osborne was introduced to mainstream audiences with the smash hit single, “One of Us,” from her major label debut, Relish, in 1995. Then came a featured slot in the 1997 Lilith Fair tour, and performances with such notables as Taj Mahal, Luciano Pavarotti, Spearhead, The Dead, The Dixie Chicks, Stevie Wonder, Melissa Etheridge, and Bob Dylan.Keith Cotton will accompany Osborne on piano at the Mahaiwe, as she performs old hits and songs off her most recent recording, Little Wild One.
Tickets are available at the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center box office .






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