This week’s cultural highlights in the Berkshires include a concert by long-running indie-rockers They Might Be Giants; a jazz-fueled chamber concert featuring the music of Kurt Weill; a reception for an exhibition of gorgeous and technically virtuosic photography of birds in flight by Cassandra Sohn; a free lecture by Peter Schjeldahl, art critic for the New Yorker, at The Clark; and a community telecast of the New York Philharmonic performing Mahler’s Symphony No. 2, Resurrection at the Mahaiwe, in memory of 9/11.
The Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center will open its doors to the community for a free screening of the New York Philharmonic performing Mahler’s Symphony No. 2, Resurrection, led by Music Director Alan Gilbert, on the occasion of the tenth anniversary of 9/11. The “Concert for New York,” taped the previous night at a free concert in Avery Fisher Hall at New York’s Lincoln Center, is being produced by the New York City public TV program, Great Performances, and made available for broadcast by WMHT-TV, at 9 p.m. on Sunday, September 11, 2011 (doors open at 8:30 p.m.). The performance will feature soprano Dorothea Röschmann, mezzo-soprano Michelle DeYoung, and the New York Choral Artists.
Hilary Gardner and the West 73rd Quartet will pay tribute to legendary composer Kurt Weill from a jazz perspective, incorporating those musical and theatrical influences that have made his music compelling to listeners from all walks of life, with a concert at the historic Meeting House on the Village Green in New Marlborough, as part of the Music and More series, on Saturday, September 10, at 4:30 p.m. The concert will be followed by a wine tasting gala hosted by Domaney’s of Great Barrington. Praised as adventurous interpreters, West 73rd will mostly perform arrangements from its recording, A Song About Forever: The Kurt Weill Project, which was nominated for a MAC Award for Best Jazz Recording.
A public reception for Flight, a new exhibition of photographs capturing birds in flight over the Atlantic Ocean by Cassandra Sohn, takes place on Saturday, September 10, from 4 to 7, at the Sohn Fine Art Gallery, where the work will remain on view through October 10, 2011. Defying the laws of physics in stop-motion photography (as opposed to film or video), Sohn follows the birds with her camera’s lens, blurring the backgrounds and creating the sensation of motion while achieving the difficult technical feat of keeping her subjects sharp and identifiable. While working on this series, Sohn was moved by a profound sense of freedom. Her continued exploration of this emotional reaction produced several visceral images, each with an ethereal quality that reflects both the energy and peacefulness of her experiences. The movement in the images perpetuates the feeling of flying, pulling viewers into the journey.
Boston-based string band Joy Kills Sorrow returns to Helsinki Hudson on Friday, September 9, 2011, at 9 p.m., with its bold new brand of acoustic music that combines tradition and innovation. Joy Kills Sorrow brings a decidedly modern sensibility to an old-world sound, channeling the prodigious talents of its individual members into elegant arrangements and well-crafted songs. The group releases its sophomore album, This Unknown Science, on Tuesday, September 13. While the group pays due homage to its bluegrass roots – its name is taken from WJKS, a radio station that broadcasted the Monroe brothers’ show in the 1930s – the band truly excels in its rich and textured treatment of more contemporary material.
Peter Schjeldahl, art critic for the New Yorker, will present a free lecture entitled The Critic as Artist in 2011: Updating Oscar Wilde, at the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute on Sunday, September 11 at 3 pm. In this special lecture, Clark Prize winner Peter Schjeldahl will discuss whether dedicated art criticism is still relevant today, using as his starting point the great playwright and critic Oscar Wilde, who argued for criticism as an art in itself. The lecture will be followed by open discussion. Peter Schjeldahl has been a staff writer at the New Yorker since 1998 and is the magazine’s art critic. He came to the New Yorker from the Village Voice, where he was the art critic from 1980 to 1998. Previously, he had written for the New York Times’s Arts and Leisure section. His writing has also appeared in Artforum, Art in America, the New York Times Magazine, Vogue, and Vanity Fair. Schjeldahl has received the Frank Jewett Mather Award from the College Art Association for excellence in art criticism and a Guggenheim Fellowship. He is the author of numerous books, including The Hydrogen Jukebox: Selected Writings and Let’s See: Writings on Art from The New Yorker.
One of the original and longest-running alternative rock bands, They Might Be Giants – formed as a duo by John Flansburgh and John Linnell nearly 30 years ago in 1982 – will perform at the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center on Friday, September 9, at 8, in support of their new album, Join Us. Longtime college favorites due to the group’s witty songwriting celebrating nerdy subjects such as particle physics, American history, geography, grammar, philosophy, cultural criticism, and music itself, the creative core of the group, Flansburgh and Linnell, have been performing as a full band for over 20 years, along the way garnering popularity as Grammy Award-winners, TV and move theme composers, and for their children’s music albums.