Memorial Day Weekend is one of several unofficial kickoffs to the Berkshire summer cultural season, and this weekend is no exception, with a plethora of classical music concerts, dance performances, pop, rock, country, and folk concerts, and art openings, including Paul Taylor Dance at the Mahaiwe, Rosanne Cash at MASS MoCA, the Amerigo Trio at Tannery Pond Concerts, and Todd and Caroline Mack in a dual father-daughter CD release concert at Dewey Hall in Sheffield, Mass.
PAUL TAYLOR DANCE COMPANY at MAHAIWE“]Paul Taylor Dance Company returns to the Mahaiwe over Memorial Day weekend to kick off summer with three performances on Saturday, May 28 at 8 and Sunday, May 29, at 3 and 7. Taylor, 80, is one of the last living legends of the modern dance pantheon. This engagement will feature the New England premieres of his newest work, Three Dubious Memories with music by Lenox-based composer Peter Elyakim Taussig, and Promethean Fire (2002), which is set to three keyboard works by Bach as richly orchestrated by Stokowski and examining a kaleidoscope of emotional colors in the human condition. Other works to be performed include Company B (1991), in which Taylor recalls the turbulent 1940s through the hit songs of the Andrews Sisters, Black Tuesday (2001), a bittersweet tribute to valiant souls of the Great Depression, and Polaris (1976), a comedic experiment in focus and texture.
The Saturday, May 28 at performance will include Company B, Three Dubious Memories, and Promethean Fire (a dance that celebrates the triumph of the human spirit following a cataclysmic event, which many viewers have related to the events of September 11); the Sunday, May 29 matinee will include Company B, Three Dubious Memories, and Promethean Fire; and the Sunday, May 29 evening performance will feature Black Tuesday, Polaris (which shows how music, lighting, and individual interpretations influence the perception of a dance), and Promethean Fire.
Tickets are $22 to $72 (including a reception with the dancers); discounts are available when purchasing two or more performances in one order. By attending both Sunday performances, patrons will save while seeing five different Taylor masterworks. The Mahaiwe Box Office is located at 14 Castle Street in Great Barrington, Mass. Box Office Hours: Wednesday through Saturday from noon to 6pm and three hours before show times. For tickets and information, visit the Mahaiwe or call 413.528.0100.
TANNERY POND SEASON OPENER with the AMERIGO TRIO
Tannery Pond Concerts, held in the 1834 Shaker Tannery on the grounds of the Darrow School in New Lebanon, N.Y., kicks off its 21st season on Saturday, May 28, with the Amerigo Trio – featuring cellist Inbal Segev, violinist Glenn Dicterow and violist Karen Dreyfus – with pianist Alon Goldstein, in a program of works by Ernst von Dohnányi, Claude Debussy, and Johannes Brahms.
The Amerigo Trio was formed in 2009 by New York Philharmonic Concertmaster Glenn Dicterow, with violist (and wife), Karen Dreyfus, and cellist Inbal Segev, after their successful collaboration at the Bowdoin International Chamber Music Festival. They have played at some of the most prestigious concert series in the United States, including Lorin Maazel;s Castleton Festival in Virginia, amongst others. The Strad magazine has praised the trio?s “personality, purpose and captivating energy.”
Inbal Segev has established herself as one of the most respected young cellists today. Following debuts with the Israel Philharmonic and the Berlin Philharmonic, both under the direction of Zubin Mehta, Ms. Segev has played with leading symphonies and chamber music artists as well as in recital worldwide. Segev’s cello was made by Francesco Rugeri in 1673.
Violinist Glenn Dicterow is one of the most prominent American concert artists of his generation. At age 11 he made his solo debut in Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto with the Los Angeles Philharmonic. At age 18 (1967) he appeared as soloist with the New York Philharmonic under the baton of Andre Kostelanetz. Mr. Dicterow is on the faculty of The Juilliard School, and is a founding member (along with his wife, Karen Dreyfus) of The Lyric Piano Quartet. Recently, he was named Chairman of the Orchestral Performance Program at Manhattan School of Music.“]Karen Dreyfus, viola, has received many prizes both in this country and abroad including the Naumburg Viola Competition (1982). Ms. Dreyfus has played with many renowned orchestras and chamber groups worldwide and has collaborated with artists such as Yehudi Menuhin, Rudolf Serkin, Alexander Schneider, Leon Fleisher, Chick Corea, and Glenn Dicterow. She is now on the faculty of the Juilliard School and the Manhattan School of Music.
Alon Goldstein, whose performance the New York Times calls “an irresistible powerhouse,” is a young pianist with an exceptional gift for communication. Born in Israel, he made his orchestral debut at the age of 18 with the Israel Philharmonic under Zubin Mehta. As a favorite performer at the Tannery, he is admired for his musical intelligence and warmth of personality. Alon’s artistic vision and innovative programming have brought him to the forefront of his generation.
GALLERY CRAWL in GREAT BARRINGTON
On Saturday, May 28, art galleries in Great Barrington and Housatonic, Mass., will host three separate, coordinated opening receptions for exhibitions featuring works by eight artists ranging from the figure to skyscapes to abstraction. The figure, the Figure, the Figure, and the Figure, an examination of contemporary figurative painting through the works of four local painters — Richard Brittell, Kris Galli, Jeanet Ingalls, and Rebecca Weinman — opens at 4 at Lauren Clark Fine Art at 402 Park Street (Route 183), in Housatonic. At 5, Childs Studio Arts introduces Sky Paintings, a solo exhibition of Diane Firtell’s new lush, large scale oil sky-scapes at Childs Studio Arts, followed at 5:30 by Traction featuring drawings and paintings by three abstract painters: Sean Greene of Northampton, and Gary Petersen and Vince Contarino of New York City, at the Geoffrey Young Gallery. Both the Childs and Geoffrey Young galleries are located at 40 Railroad Street, 2nd Floor, in Great Barrington..
Lauren Clark Fine Art features fine art and contemporary craft by regional and internationally recognized artists in all media. The Figure, the Figure, the Figure, and the Figure features the work of Richard Britell, Kris Galli, Jeanet Ingalls, and Rebecca Weinman. The exhibition will run May 28-July 4, 2011, with a reception on May 28, 2011, 4-7 pm. The gallery is located at 402 Park Street (Route 183), Housatonic, MA and is open Monday and Thursday, 11-4:30pm, Friday-Saturday, 11-5:30 pm, and Sunday 12-4:00 pm. For more information, please visit Lauren Clark Fine Art or contact the gallery directly at 413-274-1432 .
Childs Studio Arts features contemporary studio glass, ceramic sculpture, painting, photography, and bespoke furniture by makers and artists from the Berkshires and beyond. Sky Paintings features new lush, large scale oils on canvas by Diane Firtell. These new breathtaking large-scale skyscapes in oils, with touches of charcoal, are bold and full of color and movement, bringing new dimension to her already vibrant style. The exhibition will run May 20-June 20, 2011, with a reception on May 28, 2011, 5-8 pm. The gallery is located at 40 Railroad Street Great Barrington, 2nd Floor and is open Friday-Saturday, 12-7 pm and Sunday 11-3 pm. For more information, please visit childsstudioarts.com or contact the gallery directly at 413.429.1945.
Traction features drawings and paintings by three abstract painters Sean Greene, Gary Petersen, and Vince Contarino. The exhibition will run May 28-June 23, 2011, with a reception May 28, 2011 5:30–7:30 pm. The Geoffrey Young Gallery is located at 40 Railroad St., Great Barrington, MA and is open Thursday-Saturday, 11-5 pm. For more information, please call 413.528.6210.
ABOUT THE ARTISTS:
Richard Britell, a career painter, studied at Pratt Institute with Philip Pearlstein and Walter Erlebacher. His first show in NYC at Staempfli Gallery was sold out, and reviewed in the New York Times. The artist currently lives in Pittsfield, Mass.
Vince Contarino is a New York City-based abstract painter whose work is concerned with exploring the possibilities of abstraction through drawing, collage, and painting.
Diane Firtell is a Pittsfield-based artist, teacher and co-founder Alchemy Initiative, well known for her landscape “collages.” Her new breathtaking large-scale skyscapes in oils, with touches of charcoal, are bold and full of color and movement, bringing new dimension to her already vibrant style. Diane is well known for her landscape “collages”, in which she combines multiple photographs of familiar New England landmarks with impressionistic painting. She has also created a number of art postcards for local businesses including the Red Lion Inn, Chez Nous, the Shaker Mill Inn, Fuel Coffee Shop, Canyon Ranch of the Berkshires and Kripalu/center for yoga and health, to name a few.
Kris Galli is a Lenox based, self-taught figurative painter who has been practicing her craft for over twenty years, whose work is characterized by an airy, hint of the surreal, and dreamy.
Sean Greene is an abstract painter residing in Florence, Mass. His work is driven by an interest in color interactions, and the sensations that result from visually absorbing them.
Jeanet Ingalls is a Lenox and Pittsfield based artist and filmmaker known for her portrait and figurative paintings and collages which explore expressions of the inner transformations and self-discovery born of hardship and struggles manifested through outward contortions of the human form.
Gary Petersen is an abstract painter based in New York City interested in geometric abstraction that reflects our vulnerability and uncertainty in the world.
Rebecca Weinman is an emerging artist known for her humorous and discomfiting self-portraits and figurative works on paper and in oil that were highlighted earlier this year in her highly successful second solo exhibition, You Weren’t Supposed to See This.
BERKSHIRE BACH PRESENTS HANDEL ORATORIO
On Sunday, May 29, at 7:30 p.m., the Berkshire Bach Society will present a performance of George Frederick Handel’s oratorio Judas Maccabaeus at the Colonial Theatre in Pittsfield, Mass. The production features over twenty instrumentalists, soloists, and the voices of the Berkshire Bach Singers under the baton of choral director Frank Nemhauser. Soloists are Katharine Dain, Soprano, as the Israelitish Woman; Mary Gerbi, Mezzo Soprano, as the Israelitish Man and Israelitish Priest; Daniel Molkentin, Tenor, as Judas Maccabaeus; and Charles Wesley Evans, Baritone, as Simon.
This oratorio is being offered in the wake of the recent defacing of a Pittsfield synagogue, followed by the violent rampage and fatal shootings in Arizona, and the social unrest and uprisings in the Middle East. Many powerful works of music have been created in response to acts of intolerance, hate and repression. One such example is Handel’s Judas Maccabaeus, which has evolved over time to represent the struggles of a people to find their place within the greater community and to live in peace.
Berkshire Bach dedicates this concert to the universal quest for freedom of expression, the pursuit of understanding of other cultures, and the upholding of religious tolerance.
Carl Shuster, President of the Berkshire Bach Society, observed recently that Berkshire Bach has been looking for a way to summon the glories of baroque music to the Berkshires audience as a means of spiritual rejuvenation in these troubled times. “The soaring music of Judas Maccabaeus provides an ideal vehicle by which to contemplate the universal pursuit of freedom and peace, and at the same time acknowledge the fearful means and ways that have been summoned throughout history in that effort.”
There will be a free pre-concert conversation with musicologist Jeremy Yudkin at 6:30 pm.
The Colonial Theatre
111 South Street
PORCELAIN DREAMS at FERRIN GALLERY
On Saturday, May 28, from 4 to 6, Ferrin Gallery in downtown Pittsfield, Mass., hosts an opening reception for The Pursuit of Porcelain, an installation of ceramic sculpture, photography, and works on paper presented as a staged version of a European 18th-century porcelain room filled with a collection of figurines, plates and objects. The installation, conceived by sculptor Chris Antemann, includes her own sculpture and photography and interpretations of the concept by other invited artists who share her passion for porcelain and its history. The exhibition runs through July 24 and features contributions by dozens of artists.
Using plates, drawings, painting, and photography, five sculptors created composed installations to present their sculpture. Based on a formal porcelain room or decorative arts museum case, artists Chris Antemann, Molly Hatch, Sergei Isupov, Mara Superior, Jason Walker interpreted the concept and present their sculpture on 4 x 8’ painted panels.
Portrait photographer, Bill Wright exhibits a series of individual and group portraits featuring nine artists participating in The Pursuit of Porcelain. Wright staged the shoot in a formal New York City dining room to evoke a Victorian era family portrait taken in a formal dining room in New York City. Other photography and video projects feature imagery inspired by the concepts of collecting porcelain, Barnaby Barford, embellishment and decoration Sean Capone and female beauty, Lucy Feller. Photography drawn from details of Chris Antemann’s figural sculpture offers intimate views into the relationships between her characters presented in large format through photography with Kendrick Moholt.
Design, studio pottery and tableware in porcelain by Molly Hatch, Giselle Hicks, Frances Palmer, Klein Reid Porcelain, and Gwendolyn Yoppolo is presented. Each artist explores traditions of design styles and decoration from the history of porcelain from contemporary perspectives.
Chris Antemann – porcelain sculpture and photography
Christa Assad – porcelain sculptural objects
Barnaby Barford – video
Sean Capone – video
Lucy Feller – photography
*Molly Hatch – porcelain flasks in frames
*Sergei Isupov – porcelain figures and portrait plates
Garth Johson – porcleain teapots and plates made in China
James Klein – David Reid – porcelain vases and tableware
Steve Lee – porcelain vases
Frances Palmer – porcelain tabelware”]Kelly Garrett Rathbone – porcelain
Vipoo Srivlasa – porcelain sculptural objects made in China
*Mara Superior – porcelain objects
Jason Walker – porcelain sculpture, tiles and plates
Kurt Weiser – porcelain objects
Red Weldon Sandlin – porcelain and works on paper
*Bill Wright – portrait photography
Gwendolyn Yoppolo – porcelain objects and tableware
* artists from Massachusetts
”]For The Pursuit of Porcelain, Christa Assad and Jessica Hess have collaborated on a new body of painted ceramic objects and related canvases, “STREET WISE” to be shown in a staged setting inspired by the historic 18th century tradition of the porcelain room. For this installation, sculptor/designer Christa Assad created a series of twenty five porcelain spray cans painted by Jessica Hess with imagery drawn from graffiti culture.
Assad explains “Growing up in Pittsburgh, PA, I was strongly influenced by the Steel City’s dying industry and the grit of these oft-abandoned sites. Tagged with graffiti and other remnants of trespassers and squatters, the physical remains of these sites serve as archaeological artifacts in the study of human behavior and societal evolution.”
First trained as a studio potter, Assad currently uses the wheel to quickly generate “blanks” of identifiable objects from the urban landscape. Collaborating with other artists using the exquisite corpse concept, in which one artist responds in a call and response to the other, her porcelain blanks are the beginnings of lively visual dialogues and social commentary. Glamorizing an ordinary object, the spray can, led her to collaborate with San Francisco-based painter, Jessica Hess. “Our shared vision is to recreate urban street scenes in trompe l’oeil realism, involving faux found objects of ceramic and painted surfaces, stenciled “sidewalks”, and “tagged” gallery walls. I create the objects and Hess paints their surfaces. As visual documentarians, we are working to bring street art indoors to archive and make permanent these otherwise transitory public works.”
Working independently in the Bay Area, Assad in Berkeley and Hess in downtown San Francisco, each artist is firmly established in their respective careers with work in numerous private and public collections. Assad received her MFA in ceramics from Indiana University in 2000 and has taught throughout the US and internationally while maintaining an active showing schedule from her home base. Hess received her BFA in illustration from Rhode Island School of Design in 2003. She recently moved to San Francisco from Boston to exhibit and participate in the west coast art scene that combines street art with fine art based in illustration. Hess is currently represented by White Walls, the leading gallery in San Francisco in the urban art movement that stems from street art and graffiti art.
Ferrin Gallery, established 1979, is nationally known as a contemporary gallery specializing in figural sculpture and studio ceramics. The gallery works closely with private collectors, institutions and the media as a source for works by both established and emerging artists. Located in the Berkshires of Massachusetts, it is equidistant from New York City and Boston.
GALLERY HOURS: By Appointment through May 25, Thurs – Saturday, 11-5:00 through June, Open Daily July – August.
437 North St.
ROCK, SOUL and GOSPEL at CLUB HELSINKI
The Memorial Day Weekend at Club Helsinki Hudson includes an animal-themed, multi-media performance art event called Xmalia by Hudson artist Ryder Cooley on Thursday, May 26, at 8; the old-time rock ‘n’ roll sounds of Big Sandy and His Fly-Rite Boys on Friday, May 27; and the rockin’ gospel-soul of Naomi Shelton & The Gospel Queens on Saturday, May 28.
Ryder Cooley brings her newest muti-media event to the stage with Xmalia. Xmalia features recorded music, archival film, video projections and aerial movement. This is the second performance in an ongoing series call Animalia, Stories of Collapse and Calamity, songs about extinction with Trapeze and Taxidermy. Xmalia pays entertaining elegiac tribute to extinct animals such as the Tasmanian Tiger, the Pyrenean Ibex and the Xerces Butterfly. Ryder’s special guests for the evening include Lady Moon, Rob Caldwell, Yukari Roja, Gideon Crevoshay and Jeremy Thal.
Since forming in 1988, Big Sandy & His Fly-Rite Boys have emerged as one of the world’s most respected practitioners of American roots music, western swing, rockabilly, and traditional country — playing it like they invented it. “I think of us as just a rock and roll band, a rock and roll band that’s letting the roots show,” says bandleader Big Sandy. Whether they’re playing the Grand Ole Opry, Late Night With Conan O’Brien, or simply climbing out of a bus after rolling into your town, these guys are bringing us some great old-time rock and roll.
Naomi Shelton is no ordinary gospel singer. Though she grew up singing with her sisters in their Alabama church and spent much of her life in the soul clubs around New York, her singles, “41st St. Breakdown” and “Wind Your Clock” have long been revered and prized by funk DJs around the globe. Now, with her first official full-length release coming this May, it’s clear that her singing is equally influenced by both facets of her life. This is soul music – informed by the church, perhaps, but soul music nonetheless, relatable to all. Which means her new LP, What Have You Done, My Brother?, an uplifting record that conveys Naomi’s energy and her love of music, is no ordinary album.
Cliff Driver is the musical director of the group, and leads the band with his inimitable honky-tonk piano style. Jimmy Hill, the organist on the record, leads his own blues and R&B band and has a pedigree rivaling Driver himself, including a stint in the late sixties backing Wilson Pickett. The record also features guitarist Tommy “TNT” Brenneck and Bosco Mann, both of Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings, and each a producer in their own right.
But despite Naomi’s place in the forefront, the record is very much a group effort. Dap-Kings’ guitarist Tommy “TNT” Brenneck, bassist Bosco Mann, and drummer Homer Steinweiss all lend their talents, while the Queens, Cynthia Langston, Edna Johnson, and Bobbie Gant, remain a constant and essential presence, responding to Naomi’s inquiries (“If they take my son, they ship him out to Iraq/Am I asking too much to know when he’s coming back?” she asks, and the Queens assure her, “That ain’t asking too much”), humming along with knowing disapproval as Naomi denounces hypocrisy.
This is an extraordinary band, fronted by a woman who sings directly from her soul, whose experience cannot be duplicated, whose authenticity cannot be disputed. Her hopeful message is necessary now more than ever.
Club Helsinki Hudson
405 Columbia Street
Berkshire Museum kicks off its new series of digital, high definition broadcasts of exceptional opera and ballet performances with Mozart’s Così fan tutte, as performed at London’s Royal Opera House, on Sunday, May 29 at 2, and again on Tuesday, May 31 at 7:30 pm. This witty tale of deception and fiancé-swapping, paired with Mozart’s radiant score, has made audiences laugh and sigh for centuries. Director Jonathan Miller’s highly acclaimed production updates the 18th century to today — for while fashions and technology have changed since Mozart’s time, love is as complicated as ever.
This great, edgy comedy fuses a classic score by Mozart with a witty story of deception and trust tested to its limit. Can two seemingly faithful couples have their affections altered by some apparently harmless deception? Director Jonathan Miller’s modern-dress adaptation of this gem was immediately declared “a classic” by The Times of London. Royal Opera favorite Thomas Allen returns in a strong cast of singers under acclaimed German conductor Thomas Hengelbrock. The title (roughly, “such is the way they are”) may suggest that it is the natural way of women to behave as they do in this story, but the men are hardly without blame. In this most sophisticated of operas with the most sublime of scores, no one escapes unscathed.
Tickets are $25 each ($20 for museum members). The running time is 190 minutes, plus one intermission and is sung in Italian with English subtitles. Little Cinema shows independent films, plus opera and ballet performances, year-round. Berkshire Museum is located at 39 South Street (Rt. 7) in downtown Pittsfield. For more info, call 413.443.7171 or visit Berkshire Museum.
Upcoming high definition, digital broadcasts of opera at Little Cinema include The Magic Flute (from Teatro alla Scala in Milan) on 6/12 at 2 p.m. and 6/14 at 7:30 p.m. and The Barber of Seville (from Teatro Regio di Parma in Parma, Italy) on 6/26 at 2 p.m. and 6/28 at 7:30 p.m.
FATHER-DAUGHTER CD RELEASE CONCERT
Local singer-songwriter and producer Todd Mack and his 13-year-old daughter Caroline Mack will each release new CDs on Friday May 27, with a CD Release Concert at Dewey Hall in Sheffield, Mass., at 7. Caroline Mack’s debut CD, Because of You, introduces a precocious, soulful, funky and hard-rocking singer-songwriter in the vein of such neo-soul singers as Adele and Amy Winehouse. She also demonstrates her stylistic range by covering numbers by Leonard Cohen and Dolly Parton. Mack’s new full-length CD, The Thirteenth Step, is a poignant and heartfelt song-cycle about the travails and triumphs of overcoming addiction.
According to her parents, Caroline Mack has been singing since the moment she entered this world. At the tender age of five, upon receiving a boombox karaoke player as a gift, she began putting words and melody lines together and there has been no turning back since. Her debut 5-song CD includes three originals that display an unexpected sophistication for such a young songster. While the hard rocking title track, “Because of You”, employs a lyrical direction that might otherwise be perceived as lighter fare were it not for the in your face guitar riffs and hi-octane vocals, “Goodbye” and “Too Late”, two songs about heartbreak, reveal a razor-sharp insightfulness well beyond that of a thirteen year old. But what jumps out most when listening to the younger Mack’s CD is her voice. Simply put, Caroline Mack sounds like somebody at least twice her age with her rich, full, and soulful voice. Perhaps the best example is the hypnotic cover of Leonard Cohen’s 1984 classic “Hallelujah”. No mere emulation of the inimitable Jeff Buckley version, Caroline makes this song her own with vocals that at once lilt and haunt.
If the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, the Mack father-daughter duo may just be the proof in the pudding. For more than 30 years, Todd Mack has been writing, recording, and performing songs that are uniquely his own. His latest effort, The Thirteenth Step, is a theme album of sorts that takes an in-depth probe into the perils of addiction, the first of its kind for Mack and his seventh release overall. “This is the most personal and introspective album I’ve ever written and recorded,” says Mack. “I’ve never felt this exposed on a recording and in a lot of ways this was the hardest album I’ve ever had to make.” The Thirteenth Step employs Mack’s trademark lush production style with swirling guitars, driving rhythms, and thick sonic layers.
Todd Mack is no stranger to the local music scene in the tri-state area and over the past 12 years he has earned a reputation as an avid supporter of other artists as well as for his own music projects. He has produced dozens of CDs by local, regional, and national independent artists at his Off the Beat-n-Track recording studio in Sheffield, Mass., and for the past 10 years has given a voice to indie artists throughout the world on his two nationally syndicated programs, the Off the Beat-n-Track Radio Show and the FODcast.
In 2005, Mack started FODfest, an informal backyard jam which has since grown into an internationally touring non-profit organization whose mission is to strengthen, empower, and educate communities through the universal language of music by producing free community concerts, school programs, and multimedia productions that support its community-building mission. To date, FODfest has performed in more than 75 communities across the U.S., Far East, and Middle East and operates multiple programs locally, nationally, an internationally. It was at a FODfest concert in 2007 at Off the Beat-n-Track that Mack’s daughter Caroline gave her first solo performance at the young age of 10.
Combining the core of the two bands that recorded on their respective CDs, the Macks have been working on a live set for appearances throughout the tri-state region and beyond which will kick off with their CD Release concert at Dewey Hall on May 27. In addition to Caroline on vocals and piano and Todd on vocals and guitar, the band features Rob Sanzone on guitar, Miles Lally on bass, and Jason Schultheis on drums. The father-daughter duo will take turns leading the band, helping out on each other’s songs.
Tickets for the concert are $7 for students, $10 for adults, and $25 for families and include a free CD with admission. Doors open at 6:30 for the 7PM show.