This week’s cultural highlights include a restaging of Orson Welles’s landmark radio broadcast based on H.G. Wells’s War of the Worlds at Shakespeare & Company; chamber concerts at Music & More and Tannery Pond; new age saxophonist Paul Winter at Hancock Shaker Village; and world renowned klezmer violinist Alicia Svigals in Albany, N.Y.
Orson Welles’s legendary radio dramatization of H.G. Wells’s War of the Worlds that caused panic among listeners who mistook the fictionalized program about an alien invasion for an authentic news bulletin when first broadcast on Halloween in 1938 has now been wrought for the stage and is being presented by Shakespeare & Company in Lenox, Mass., through November 6. Adapted by Howard Koch and drawing ample inspiration from Welles’s radio stunt, this War of the Worlds, produced in the Elayne P. Bernstein Theatre and directed by artistic director Tony Simotes, goes behind the scenes of that fateful broadcast and stars company favorites Elizabeth Aspenlieder, Jonathan Croy, David Joseph, Josh Aaron McCabe, Dana Harrison, and Scott Renzoni.
In a time before televisions and iPhone apps, Americans relied on their radios for entertainment, and more importantly, their news. On Sunday, October 30, 1938, Orson Welles and the Mercury Theatre shocked the wireless listening audience with their broadcast of War of the Worlds, a tale based on H.G. Wells’s classic novel of the same name. This special Halloween transmission reported about Martians landing on Earth and destroying everything that lay in their path. By presenting this fictional alien yarn realistically, Welles allegedly sparked a nationwide panic among the program’s nearly six million listeners.
The Center for Peace through Culture and Hancock Shaker Village will co-present Pathways to Peaceful Living: Tools and Explorations, a one-day peace conference and concurrent festival on Saturday, September 17, 2011, from 9 to 5:30 at Hancock Shaker Village, with a concert by Grammy-winning composer Paul Winter titled “A Celebration of the Earth” that evening at 7:30.
Paul Winter’s unique music and wildlife odyssey has taken him, over the past three decades, to 48 countries on six continents. He has recorded 40 albums, six of which have won Grammy awards. His performance in Hancock Shaker Village’s Round Stone Barn will feature his soprano sax, along with the voices of wolf, whale, bull elk, whooping crane, woodthrush, and other members of what he calls “the greater symphony of the Earth.” The concert will be interwoven with stories of his adventures making music in the wilderness. Winter’s playing and singing, and the voices of the creatures, will be accompanied by the recorded sounds of his “two-legged musician colleagues” of the Paul Winter Consort. The program will also feature music from his 2007 album, Crestone, which includes the recording of Apache singer/drummer John-Carlos Perea.
The Apollo Trio will perform works by Beethoven, Shostakovich and Dvorák on Saturday, September 17 at 4:30 p.m. in the Music & More series at the Meeting House in New Marlborough, Mass.. Comprised of violinist Curtis Macomber, cellist Michael Kannen, and pianist Marija Stroke, the trio has been performing a wide range of standard and new repertoire for nearly 15 years. The trio will perform Beethoven’s Piano Trio in E flat Major, Opus 44, Shostakovich’s Piano Trip in E Minor, Opus 67, and Dvorák’s Piano Trio No. 4 in E Minor (“Dumky”).
Violinist Alicia Svigals, the world’s foremost klezmer fiddler and a founder of the Klezmatics, will present a program of ecstatic Jewish melodies at the UAlbany Performing Arts Center on the uptown campus on Thursday, September 15, 2011 at 7:30 p.m. Svigals will be accompanied by Patrick Farrell on accordion and Brian Glassman on bass. Svigals has taught and toured with violinist Itzhak Perlman, who recorded her compositions as duets with Svigals accompanied by the Klezmatics, and she was awarded first prize at the Safed, Israel international klezmer festival competition. In addition to performing, Svigals leads lectures and workshops on Jewish music for adults and children, directs klezmer string orchestras, and has published literature on Jewish music and culture.
The Harlem Quartet will be joined by pianist Misha Dichter and cellist Dane Johansen on Saturday, September 16, at 6pm, for the 7th and final concert of the 2011 season of Concerts at Tannery Pond, located in the barn at Darrow School in New Lebanon, N.Y. The season finale will feature works by Mozart, Schubert, and Schumann. The Harlem Quartet is currently the resident ensemble in the New England Conservatory of Music’s Professional String Quartet Program. Its mission is to advance diversity in classical music while engaging young and new audiences through the discovery and presentation of varied repertoire, highlighting works by minority composers.