(GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass.) – The New York Woodwind Quintet will play a diverse program including works by Renaissance composer Monteverdi, Beethoven, Anton Reicha, and Jean Francaix at the Mahaiwe on Saturday, April 18, 2015, at 6pm, as part of the Close Encounters With Music chamber series. An ensemble-in-residence at the Juilliard School in New York City, the group includes flutist Carol Wincenc, oboist Stephen Taylor, clarinetist Charles Neidich, bassoonist Marc Goldberg, and French horn player William Purvis.
In chamber music tradition, the wind ensemble is the counterpoint to the string quartet, covering the same range and thriving on colorful hues and timbres. Unique among woodwind quintets touring today, the New York Woodwinds are five virtuosos dedicated to chamber music yet who are individually known as top soloists. The “Surveying the Centuries” program at the Mahaiwe is a survey of the best of wind repertoire — from Renaissance composer Monteverdi’s madrigals and continuing with Beethoven, Anton Reicha, and on to Jean Francaix’s witty and sparkling music.
Hailed by the New York Times for their “Splendid…truly distinguished” performances and by the Los Angeles Times (“We have never heard better”!), the Quintet has commissioned and premiered numerous compositions, some of which have become classics of the woodwind repertoire. They include Samuel Barber’s Summer Music, and quintets by Gunther Schuller, Ezra Laderman, William Bergsma, Alec Wilder, Wallingford Riegger, and Yehudi Wyner. The Quintet has also featured many of these works in recordings for such labels as Boston Skyline, Bridge, New World and Nonesuch.
Close Encounters With Music stands at the intersection of music, art and the vast richness of Western culture. Entertaining, erudite and lively commentary from founder and Artistic Director Yehuda Hanani puts composers and their times in perspective to enrich the concert experience. Since the inception of its Commissioning Project in 2001, CEWM has worked with the most distinguished composers of our time—Lera Auerbach, Robert Beaser, Kenji Bunch, Osvaldo Golijov, John Musto, and Paul Schoenfield among others—to create important new works that have already taken their place in the chamber music canon and on CD. A core of brilliant performers includes pianists James Tocco, Adam Neiman, Walter Ponce, Lydia Artymiw, Roman Rabinovich, and Jeffrey Swann; violinists Shmuel Ashkenasi, Yehonatan Berick, Vadim Gluzman, and Erin Keefe; clarinetists Alexander Fiterstein, Charles Neidich; vocalists Dawn Upshaw, Amy Burton, Robert White, Lucille Beer and William Sharp; the Vermeer, Amernet, Muir, Manahattan, Avalon, Hugo Wolf quartets, and Cuarteto Latinamericano; and guitarist Eliot Fisk. Choreographer David Parsons and actors Richard Chamberlain, Jane Alexander and Sigourney Weaver have also appeared as guests, weaving narration and dance into the fabric of the programs. Close Encounters With Music programs have been presented in cities across the U.S. and Canada—Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Omaha, Cincinnati, Calgary, Detroit, at the Frick Collection and Merkin Hall in New York City, at Tanglewood and in Great Barrington, MA, as well as in Scottsdale, AZ. This summer, performances took place at the Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, MA; and the Catskill High Peaks Festival continued the educational mission of Close Encounters With Music with 50 international students in residence in the Great Northern Catskills in an immersive course of study and performance.