Weekend Preview April 14-16



Rarely heard string quintets by Romanticists Felix Mendelssohn and Antonín Dvořák, with viola doubled, are featured on the program of the Close Encounters With Music on Saturday, April 16, at 6, in “Viola Quintets: Dvořák and Mendelssohn,” at the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center in Great Barrington, Mass.  The concert features violist Toby Appel, violinist Yehonatan Berick, violist Anthony DeVroye, violinist Renee Jolles, and Close Encounters artistic director Yehuda Hanani on cello.

Seeking a richer string sonority in these works, the composers went one step beyond the string quartet and produced a sound world distinct from the more common piano quintet. Mendelssohn’s Op. 87 characteristically sparkles with wit and elegance, and Dvořák’s supremely tuneful Op. 97 captures Bohemian idiom with American inspiration. Both works abound with some of the most exquisite combinations of string sounds ever conceived, and both realize fully the textural richness and variety that this quintet format can offer in the hands of composers with unsurpassed melodic gifts.

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


Stew & The Negro Problem
, a unique Afro-Baroque cabaret duo co-led by the Tony Award-winning artist known as Stew and Heidi Rodewald -- the team behind the Broadway musical Passing Strange that was later adapted by filmmaker Spike Lee – is at Club Helsinki Hudson on Friday, April 15, at 9.
Compared in the same breath with Kurt Weill, Burt Bacharach and Jackie Gleason, Stew's concert performances are coveted for their literate precision, sly humor, and deep emotional resonance, hovering between the divergent worlds of rock and theater - a collage of song, text, and video tracing their unlikely careers from dive-rock clubs to the Great White Way.
This is a cabaret rock band with a front man who oozes more repartee and wordplay than seasoned comedians, leaving audiences grooving at times and crying tears of laughter at others.
Stew’s Broadway show, Passing Strange, received the 2008 Tony Award for Best Book of a Musical. Stew wrote lyrics and co-composed the music. As well as gaining a devoted cult and strong critical following - two of Stew's solo recordings were named album of the year by Entertainment Weekly. Spike Lee got the essence of Passing Strange and made an exuberant movie reproduction of the avant-garde rock concert/book musical hybrid that shook up Broadway, earning seven Tony nominations and winning the Drama Desk’s Outstanding Musical award.

Stewart cites historical references as inspirations for the name “Stew and the Negro Problem.” The phrase "the Negro problem" became popular in the late 19th / early 20th century, due to the ongoing debate between Booker T. Washington and W.E.B Du Bois over how blacks should best integrate themselves into white mainstream society. The phrase was even used by Lyndon Johnson in the 1960s when he talked about blacks being disenfranchised.
"I think the name is especially fitting right now, given all of the problems my favorite Negro is now having to deal with," cracks Stew, referring to President Obama.
Also at Helsinki this weekend on Saturday, April 16 at 9, are Professor Louie & The Crowmatix, the Woodstock roots-rock band led by Aaron “Professor Louie” Hurwitz, who frequently worked with the post-“Last Waltz” lineup of The Band. Partial proceeds from this show will benefit Habitat for Humanity.
Club Helsinki Hudson
405 Columbia St.
Hudson, N.Y.


Bruce Williamson, Art Lande (Williams ‘69) and Paul McCandless, all virtuosos and masters of improvisation, will join forces on Tuesday, April 19, at 4:15 p.m. in Brooks Rogers Recital Hall at Williams College in Williamstown, Mass., for a free jazz concert featuring a unique instrumental palette drawn from oboe, clarinet, bass clarinet, flutes, saxophones, piano and percussion. Well-versed in classical, jazz, world music and pure improvisation, the three musicians are an innovative trio beyond description.
As a founding member of the group Oregon, Paul McCandless has collaborated with guitarist Ralph Towner for the last 40 years, proving himself to be both an accomplished composer and an extraordinary jazz performer on oboe, sax and bass clarinet.
As a pianist, Art Lande has recorded some fifty-plus albums for ECM, Arch, Elektra and Windham Hill Records, appearing with Gary Peacock, Eliot Zigmund, Jan Garbarek, Steve Swallow, Mark Isham, Paul McCandless, Ron Miles, Mark Johnson and Peter Erskine. He has also performed with such musical greats as Chet Baker, Charlie Haden, Joe Henderson, Bobby Hutcherson, Ernie Watts, Jon Hendricks and Sheila Jordan.  Bruce Williamson has lived in New York since 1983 and has performed over the years with jazz artists such as Toshiko Akiyoshi , Dave Douglas, Benny Green, Tom Harell, Fred Hersch, Mark Isham, Art Lande, Mark Levine, Jack McDuff, Dave Stryker, Gary Peacock and Jack Walrath.
Williams concert hotline:

Blues legend John Hammond and quirky American roots musician Dan Hicks and the Hot Licks will appear on a double-bill at the Colonial in Pittsfield, Mass., on Saturday, April 16, at 8.  

Since his 1962 recording debut, Grammy Award-winner John Hammond Jr. has produced an unparalleled canon of music and recordings, racked up countless awards and gathered a dedicated following for his rich style of music. His collaborators over the years include Jimi Hendrix (who was discovered while playing in John's band), Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton, Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf, Duane Allman, Mike Bloomfield, JJ Cale, Tom Waits, The Band, John Lee Hooker, Dr. John and many more.

Beginning as a drummer in the seminal 1960s San Francisco rock band The Charlatans and continuing with his unique work with his band the Hot Licks, Dan Hicks is widely acknowledged as one of the defining figures in American roots music. Throughout the 1960s and ‘70s there was no one who sounded at all like Dan Hicks and the Hot Licks, and nearly forty years later there still isn't. The king of hipster-chic, Hicks has collaborated with the likes of Bette Midler, Elvis Costello, Tom Waits, Rickie Lee Jones and Brian Setzer, recorded ten studio albums that have become "must haves" for any music connoisseur and continues to tour relentlessly.

Tickets may be purchased at the Colonial Ticket Office at reet or by calling or online at the Colonial.

The Berkshire Symphony concludes its performing season with the annual concert featuring the winners of the Student Soloist Competition on Friday, April 15 at 8 in Chapin Hall on the Williams College campus. A pre-concert talk with conductor Ronald Feldman and the soloists takes place in Brooks-Rogers Recital Hall at 7:15 on the same evening. These free events are open to the public.
The student performers are chosen in a concerto competition judged by a panel of master musicians earlier in the semester. This year offers a bumper crop of talent. Soprano Holly Fisher '13 performs the beautiful Mozart aria Voi avete un cor fedele, K. 217. Flautist Jingyi Liu '14 plays the Concerto in D Minor for Violin and Orchestra by Armenian composer Aram Khachaturian. A transcription of the much celebrated violin concerto, Khachaturian encouraged the legendary flute soloist Jean Pierre Rampal to add this work to the repertoire of twentieth century flute music.

A popular piece by the great French romantic, Camille Saint-Saëns, the Concerto No. 2 in G Minor, opus 22 for piano is performed by Madura Watanagase '12. Finally, a young man with a violist’s velvet touch, Noah Fields '11, presents a fascinating piece by Paul Hindemith, Trauermusik (Music of Mourning), written in a few short hours one night as the composer traveled to England. The event of the death of King George V overtook his previously planned program requiring a more somber piece. Hindemith, thus inspired, was moved to produce this beautiful solo work for viola during the journey.

Performers are not the only featured artists, as composer Jacob Walls '11 presents his work Passionate Armistice and Noah Fields '11 takes the podium to conduct Beethoven’s Coriolan Overture, the composer’s 1807 musical rendering of the tragedy of Coriolanus.
The Berkshire Symphony will also perform the Romeo & Juliet Overture-Fantasy by Tchaikovsky, one of the composer’s best known and best loved concert pieces.
Williams concert hotline:




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