Baroque Holiday Chamber Concert at the Mahaiwe


Mezzo-soprano Jennifer Rivera

Mezzo-soprano Jennifer Rivera

(GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass.) – Works by Vivaldi, Handel, Pergolesi, Monteverdi, Telemann and J. S. Bach will be performed by members of Baroque ensembles including the Diderot Quartet, Apollo’s Fire, the Handel and Haydn Society, Les Arts Florrisants, and New Utrecht Baroque in “A Holiday Celebration — Best of the Baroque,” the second in Close Encounters With Music’s 23rd season of concerts, at the Mahaiwe on Saturday, December 6, 2014, at 6pm.

Harpsichordist Assaf Sommer, theorbo performer Daniel Swenberg, violinists Adriane Post and Guillaume Pirard, violist Jessica Meyer, cellists Paul Dwyer and Do Yeon Kim, join mezzo-soprano Jennifer Rivera and baritone Mischa Bouvier and artistic director Yehuda Hanani in an entirely original program highlighting the various styles and forms that emerged in the Baroque period — the more cerebral and complex Northern next to the emotionally demonstrative Southern strands — opera, concertos and cantatas spanning 120 years, as well as nostalgic 19th century takes on Baroque composers.

A panoramic view of the Baroque era will be represented: From the sublime to the humorous (Telemann’s “Canary Cantata,” the tale of the cat that swallowed the canary” — in the spirit of opera buffa); as well as the passion and drama of Bach’s secular cantata Amore Traditore — Treacherous Love and Handel’s aria from Ode to St. Cecilia (“What passion cannot music raise and quell”). The program also includes a Vivaldi concerto for two cellos, and Couperin’s Five Concert Pieces introduces the elegance of the French court.

“Most holiday carols date back to the Baroque era.  Why do we return to the Baroque this time of year — in the music that’s piped in elevators, in malls, and what we program in concert halls, etc.?” asks Yehuda Hanani. “Most likely because it takes us back to a period when the world order provided structure, clarity and the certainty of faith.  This program will deliver the pageantry, exuberance and artistic flamboyance associated with the Baroque period in a magnificent foretaste of the holidays.”

Tickets, $45 (Orchestra and Mezzanine) and $25 (Balcony), are available at The Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center box office, 413.528.0100.

Violinist Adriane Post  (photo Geoffrey Silver Acis Productions)

Violinist Adriane Post (photo Geoffrey Silver Acis Productions)

Violinist Adriane Post has been described as one of North America’s “brightest and best” by Early Music America. She has appeared as concertmaster and soloist with Juilliard415 under the direction of Jordi Savall and Nicholas McGegan and leads New Trinity Baroque as co-concertmaster and soloist.  She performs with Apollo’s Fire, Handel and Haydn Society, Trinity Wall Street Baroque Orchestra, Washington National Cathedral Baroque Orchestra, and has worked with Musica Angelica, Clarion Society, the Knights and A Far Cry, among others. Touring in the US and abroad has brought her recently to Kennedy Center, Carnegie Hall, Alice Tully Hall, Severance Hall, Teatro Real in Madrid, and the Grand Théâtre de Bordeaux. She holds a BM from Oberlin Conservatory and an MM from Juilliard’s Historical Performance program.

Violist Jessica Meyer (photo Ana Pinto)

Violist Jessica Meyer (photo Ana Pinto)

Known for her “polish, focus, and excitement” and “expressive, luscious sound” (The New York Times), violist and composer Jessica Meyer is a versatile performer who has been featured as a soloist, chamber musician, and orchestral player throughout the world. Her workshops have been featured at the Juilliard School, the Curtis Institute, Manhattan School of Music, NYU, the Imani Winds Chamber Music Festival, and the Chamber Music America Conference.


Lutenist Daniel Swenberg concentrates on Renaissance and Baroque performance practices, especially the role of basso-continuo playing and the instruments central to its practice: the theorbo/chitaronne, renaissance and baroque lutes, early guitars, and the gallizona/callichon. He works regularly with a variety of ensembles, including ARTEK, REBEL, Visceral Reaction, The New York Collegium, The Metropolitan Opera, Canadian Opera Company, Staatstheater Stuttgart, New York City Opera, Mark Morris Dance Group, Stadtstheater Klagenfurt,Tafelmusik, Opera Atelier, Les Violons du Roy,  Spiritus Collective, Les Voix Baroques, Musica Pacifica, Sejong Soloists, Les Voix Baroques, Apollo’s Fire, and Lizzy and the Theorboys.  He was recently appointed to the Juilliard historical practice faculty.


Award winning Israeli pianist and harpsichordist Assaf Sommer has established himself as a versatile musician, performing repertoire ranging from the Renaissance to the 21st century on piano and harpsichord, and more recently on period pianos. Mr. Sommer received his Bachelor’s degree from the Rubin Academy of Music in Jerusalem and arrived in the United States in 2002 to study with American pianist Eugene Istomin for his Master’s degree at the Manhattan School of Music. As a winner of Artists International he was presented in a solo recital debut in Carnegie Hall in 2006.


Cellist Paul Dwyer brings to life everything from early music on baroque cello to brand new works by young composers.  He has been prize winner of numerous competitions and is the recipient of the Javits Fellowship and Presser Award.  He has appeared as soloist and chamber musician at Carnegie Hall, the Metropolitan Museum and the Museum of Modern Art, and has performed with pianist Menahem Pressler, principal players of Apollo’s Fire, and artist-faculty of the Juilliard School and Aspen Music Festival as well as in ensembles such as the Handel & Haydn Society Orchestra, the ACRONYM ensemble and Diderot String Quartet.  As a Fulbright Fellow, Mr. Dwyer studied privately with Anner Bylsma and Frances-Marie Uitti in Amsterdam.  He holds a BM degree from Oberlin Conservatory and a DMA from the University of Michigan and recently completed additional graduate studies in historical performance at Juilliard.


Jennifer Rivera is a lyric mezzo soprano with a growing career in the United States and abroad. She recently debuted as Sesto in La Clemenza di Tito with the Teatro Regio di Torino and with the Berlin Staatsoper as Rosina in Il Barbiere di Siviglia.  While still a student at Juilliard, Ms. Rivera was invited to join the roster of the New York City Opera, where she sang Cherubino in Le Nozze di Figaro, Rosina in Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Hansel in Hansel and Gretel, and, Nerone in Handel’s Agrippina. She has been praised repeatedly by the New York Times for her “radiant mezzo soprano,” her “warm dark tone,” and “fresh ready singing.”  Her concert work has included recitals with the Marilyn Horne Foundation, a performance with Ms. Horne at Carnegie Hall, appearances at Avery Fisher Hall with the American Symphony Orchestra, Mozart’s Mass in C and Bach’s B Minorr Mass with the Berkshire Choral Festival and The Mephisto Project with the L’Opera Français de New York.


Baritone Mischa Bouvier, winner of the 2010 Concert Artists Guild Competition, has performed with the BSO, in Kurt Weill’s The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny at Tanglewood, under the direction of James Levine. Called a “delight to encounter for the first time” by the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review and noted by The New York Times for his “rich timbre” and “fine sense of line,” he recently made a debut with The Knights, singing a newly commissioned orchestral piece, and gave his NYC recital debut at Carnegie Hall. A singer of tremendous versatility, Mr. Bouvier made his professional musical theater debut under the baton of Keith Lockhart in Carousel with the Boston Pops and has collaborated with Sting on Songs from the Labyrinth in Los Angeles. On stage, he has sung leading roles in Debussy’s Pelléas and Mélisande, Moore’s The Ballad of Baby Doe and in Philip Glass’s The Fall of the House of Usher.


Artistic Director

Yehuda Hanani’s charismatic playing and profound interpretations bring him acclaim and reengagements across the globe. An extraordinary recitalist, he is equally renowned for performances with orchestras such as the Chicago Symphony, Philadelphia Orchestra, Baltimore Symphony, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, Berlin Radio Orchestra, Israel Philharmonic, BBC Welsh Symphony, Irish National Symphony, Buenos Aires Philharmonic, Honolulu Symphony, Orquestra Sinfonica del Estado de Mexico, Belgrade Philharmonic, Jerusalem Symphony, Lithuanian Chamber Orchestra, Chamber Orchestra Kremlin, and Taipei and Seoul symphonies, among many others. He has been a guest at international festivals, including Aspen, Chautauqua, Prades (France), Finland Festival, Leicester (England), Ottawa, Oslo, and Australia Chamber Music festivals, and has collaborated in performances with preeminent fellow musicians, including Leon Fleisher, Aaron Copland, Christoph Eschenbach, David Robertson, Vladimir Fedoseyev, Itzhak Perlman, Vadim Repin, Dawn Upshaw, Yefim Bronfman, Eliot Fisk, the Tokyo, Vermeer, Muir, Lark, Avalon, Colorado, and Manhattan quartets, and Cuarteto Latinoamericano, as well as members of the Cleveland, Juilliard, Borromeo, and Emerson quartets. In New York City, Yehuda Hanani has appeared as soloist at Carnegie Hall, the 92nd Street Y, Alice Tully, The Frick, and the Metropolitan Museum’s Grace Rainey Rodger Auditorium. His pioneering recording of the monumental Alkan Cello Sonata received a Grand Prix du Disque nomination, and his other discs have won wide recognition.  He directed BachAnnalia, a festival dedicated to Johann Sebastian Bach, for ten years at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, where he is Professor of Cello.

Close Encounters With Music works to engage the imagination of diverse concert audiences, connect listeners to performers and composers, and foster a sense of excitement and community through live performance arts. 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, Jennifer Aylmer, Robert White, Lucille Beer and William Sharp; the Vermeer, Amernet, Harlem, Muir, Manahattan, and Avalon 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.


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