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Music

Music, and a Gorgeous Setting, too

The Music Scene

Bossy Lady, my GPS, sent me down a bumpy dirt back road through a dark forest somewhere in Katonah, Westchester County.
Maybe she was trying to make a point.
Then we were back on the highway, passing vast, gated estates, until at last we reached the winding, woodsy driveway to our destination: Caramoor, home of a 66-year-old international summer music festival.

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Mozart to Martin, It’s All Here

The Music Scene

The next few weekends bring an embarrassment of musical riches to our region.
The Aston Magna summer music festival — the oldest summer period-instrument festival in America is performing a concert of “Diversions: Mozart and Hummel,” featuring a nine-piece ensemble led by artistic director and violinist Daniel Stepner.

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Celebrating an Original

The Music Scene

Like someone’s eccentric uncle, Charles Ives (1874-1954) has been largely stashed in the attic of music history, along with most of his compositions.
Concertgoers who have heard the handful of Ives pieces in regular rotation tend to get a one-dimensional view of him as a borrower of small-town parade music and other Americana.
But this Danbury native, an insurance clerk by day, was more of a visionary than just a novelty, and more of a seminal figure in modern 20th-century music than merely an iconoclast. His music deserves greater exposure and appreciation.

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Music Mountain Season Opens With Pianist Misha Dichter

The Music Scene

“How come I’ve never made it to Music Mountain?” asks Misha Dichter, somewhat ruefully — and entirely rhetorically.
Never mind the reason. The stars have aligned at last, because a week from Sunday, the legendary American pianist and the Harlem Quartet (a youthful and diverse ensemble from New York City) kick off Music Mountain’s 82nd season with a program of favorites.

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Sizzling for Summer

The Music Scene

The weather is not the only thing turning hot. The summer music season is heating up with a sizzling variety of concerts.
Close Encounters with Music celebrates its 20th anniversary with Fiesta! A Latin Splash of Music and Dance. Based in Great Barrington, CEWM has become a much-beloved local institution for fascinating excursions into classical and contemporary repertoire, fused with art and culture. Cellist and artistic director Yehuda Hanani is a mainstay of the Berkshires’ cultural scene.

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Young Talents at Music Mountain

The Music Scene
This week we’re going to leapfrog ahead to the fantastic music month of June. Music Mountain in Falls Village will kick off the first weekend of that month with the third annual “Music on the Mountain” recital and fundraiser for the Housatonic Youth Services Bureau. The concert will feature an assortment of classical, jazz and contemporary music, in a variety of formats — solo, duet and combo.

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Of Music and Messages

The Music Scene

Berkshire Bach is presenting for its spring choral concert the great oratorio “Judas Maccabaeus” by George Frideric Handel. Giving it added meaning, the performance is dedicated “to promoting tolerance and understanding” through the piece, “which over the centuries has come to represent the struggles of a people to find their place within the community and live in peace,” says the group’s press release.

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The Mahaiwe Celebrates the Arts

Music Scene

Days after the debut of the great American soprano Deborah Voigt as Brünnhilde in Wagner’s “Die Walküre” at the Met, New York Times critic Anthony Tommasini wrote, “I have seldom heard the role sung with such rhythmic accuracy and verbal clarity. From the start, with those go-for-broke cries of ‘Hojotoho,’ she sang every note honestly. She invested energy, feeling and character in every phrase.”

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Ukuleles for Everybody

The Music Scene

When a press release with the name “Ladies Auxiliary Ukulele Orchestra” crosses your desk, you have to investigate. After all, it’s not often ukuleles are heard in the Northwest Corner, let alone a whole orchestra of them.
Bernice Lewis, cofounder of the “LAUO,” along with Catherine Schane-Lydon and Amy Rose, says there’s been a “huge renaissance” of interest in the petite instrument. She points to a recent Time magazine article about how the ukulele seems to thrive in depression periods.

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Fifty Years And Counting

The Music Scene

I can personally attest to the importance and influence of the community symphony orchestra. We were fortunate to have one in the town where I grew up, led by a short and energetic conductor who needed several extra platforms to be seen by his players. 

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