A selective, curatorial view of the cultural highlights of the upcoming weekend in the greater Berkshire region.
(NORTH ADAMS, Mass.) – “The Lure of the Dark: Contemporary Painters Conjure the Night,” a new exhibition featuring paintings — including new commissions — by a diverse group of over a dozen contemporary artists, is on view at MASS MoCA, with a members opening reception on Saturday, March 24, at 5:30pm. Artists represented in the exhibit include Patrick Bermingham, William Binnie, Cynthia Daignault, Noah Davis, TM Davy, Jeronimo Elespe, Cy Gavin, Josephine Halvorson, Shara Hughes, Sam McKinniss, Wilhelm Neusser, Dana Powell, Kenny Rivero, and Alexandria Smith.
(GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass.) – Rachel Kadish will discuss her 2017 novel “The Weight of Ink,” which won a National Jewish Book Award for best book club offering, at Hevreh of Southern Berkshire on Friday, March 23, at 10:45am, as part of the Knosh & Knowledge series. Kadish will talk about the path she took in researching and writing her acclaimed historical novel that shifts back and forth from 1660s England to the present day. Just last month, the novel won the Association of Jewish Libraries’ first-ever Jewish Fiction Award. Kadish is also the author of “From a Sealed Room” and “Tolstoy Lied: a Love Story,” as well as the novella “I Was Here.” Her work has appeared on NPR and in the New York Times, Ploughshares, and Tin House, and has been anthologized in the Pushcart Prize Anthology and elsewhere. (Q&A and booksigning follows.)
NORAH JONES SONGWRITER JESSE HARRIS to PERFORM at EGREMONT BARN
(SOUTH EGREMONT, Mass.) – Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter Jesse Harris – best known for penning Norah Jones’s breakthrough hit, “Don’t Know Why,” performs with his band at the Barn at the Egremont Village Inn on Saturday, March 24, at 8pm. Originally from New York City, Jesse Harris is a singer, songwriter, guitarist and producer of artists from all over the world. He has been making records since the mid-1990s, when he started in the group Once Blue on EMI Records. It was his first experience writing for another singer, lead vocalist Rebecca Martin. Combining folk, jazz and pop, the group defined a direction for Harris that would see its greatest succeed in his subsequent work with Norah Jones.
(HUDSON, N.Y.) – A vocal recital will pay tribute to composer and conductor Leonard Bernstein, marking his centennial year, at Hudson Hall on Saturday, March 24, at 7pm. Soprano Arianna Zukerman, baritone Bob McDonald, tenor Vale Rideout, and pianist Joy Schreier will perform works by Bernstein complemented by works by lyricist, collaborator, and friend Stephen Sondheim, as well as a selection of classical vocal works by the likes of Mozart, Handel, Rossini, Bellini, and Bizet. In a special addition to the program, Classics on Hudson artistic director and flutist Eugenia Zukerman will perform Sir Edward Elgar’s “Salut D’Amour.”
(TROY, N.Y.) — Grammy Award-winning choir The Crossing will perform Bang on a Can cofounder and composer Michael Gordon’s new choral work, “Anonymous Man,” at the Curtis R. Priem Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center (EMPAC) at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) on Thursday, March 22, at 7:30pm. Commissioned by the 24-voice choral group, the hour-long piece expands on Gordon’s architectural approach to composition, layering minimalistic swirls of vocal sounds on top of one another to create a hypnotic group incantation. A meditation on community, history, and a connection to place, “Anonymous Man” is a memoir of Gordon’s nearly three decades living in Lower Manhattan.
“When I moved into my loft on Desbrosses,” Gordon says, “the streets were empty, since few people lived there. But both then and now, there were the homeless. Over time the neighborhood changed from an industrial warehouse district to a residential area. ‘Anonymous Man’ is a memoir about my block. The piece is built around my memories of moving in, meeting my future wife for the first time there, and conversations I have had with two homeless men who made their home on the loading dock across the street.”
In the time that Gordon lived on Debrosses, he has become one of the most celebrated living American composers, blending “the fury of punk rock, the nervous brilliance of free jazz, and the intransigence of classical modernism,” in the words of New Yorker critic Alex Ross. He is co-founder and co-artistic director of New York’s legendary music collective Bang on a Can.
(POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y.) – Grammy Award-winner Peter Schickele, aka PDQ Bach, mixes things up with Beethoven, Mozart, and his original music, joining the Hudson Valley Philharmonic at the Bardavon on Saturday, March 24 at 2pm. The concert will include PDQ Bach’s Grand Serenade for an Awful Lot of Winds and Percussion. Also on tap is Mozart’s Ein Musikalischer Spass, K.522 (A Musical Joke).
(WEST STOCKBRIDGE, Mass.) – “30under30:2,” a multimedia exhibition featuring works by 30 young artists hailing from or currently living in or around the Berkshires, is on view at No. Six Depot Gallery now through April 20. Artists represented include Isabella Tobiason, Dana Piazza, Fiona McTeigue, Wes Elliot, Erin Potter, Fiona Wood, Olivia Wade, Lee Blackmer, Rebecca van der Meulen, Sam Backhaus, Ruslan Sprague, and Molly Ann Almeida. The exhibition is curated by Mika Mintz.
(HUDSON, N.Y.) – The world-renowned Merlin and Polina Shepherd Klezmer Duo brings its innovative blend of world music, jazz, classical, Islamic, Russian, Yiddish, and klezmer sounds to Club Helsinki Hudson on Sunday, April 8, at 7pm, as part of the Rogovoy Salon, the music and literary series curated and hosted by cultural journalist and music critic Seth Rogovoy.
This concert by the UK-based, international virtuosos caps a day-long celebration of a milestone in host Seth Rogovoy’s life and will likely include appearances by surprise special-guest artists. Come out and help celebrate with Seth and the assembled crowd of family, friends, and music lovers.