(PITTSFIELD, Mass.) – Acclaimed violinist Madalyn Parnas is among a host of alumni and faculty who will take part in a gala concert at the Colonial Theatre to celebrate the 75th anniversary of Berkshire Music School on Sunday, April 3, at 4pm. A free day-long student Performathon will also take place on Saturday, April 9, from 9am to 6pm, in the Taft Recital Hall at Berkshire Music School.
The gala concert at the Colonial featuring Parnas will be hosted by James Warwick, celebrated Broadway actor and stage director, and will include headline performances by BMS alumni Deborah Rentz-Moore, voice; Billy Keane, guitar and vocals; Kari Steinert, composer; and Ben Talmi, pianist/composer.
Other performances include BMS ensembles (of all ages), such as BMS Suzuki string groups, youth and adult chamber ensembles with their BMS teachers Bing Liu, Eileen Markland and Alice Spatz; Teen Voices and Cabaret to Go members with BMS faculty member Sherri James Buxton; current BMS Merit Scholarship winner pianist YeeJin Yuk, and returning Merit Scholarship winner pianist Paul Celebi, both students of BMS faculty Jean Stackhouse.
A silent and live auction will take place in the lobby area prior to and during the intermission of the concert, and video tributes from around the country will be screened.
The Performathon will feature a day-long marathon of music during which students will give individual performances, having signed up in five-minute increments and collected financial support from friends, family members, and neighbors toward their performance time.
BMS seeks prizes and gift certificates as incentives to encourage the students to either raise significant funds or find the most number of contributors. A bake sale and music shop will be offered, and audience members are invited to come and go as they please, or stay as long as they wish. This day is run and managed by parent volunteers. It takes place in the Taft Recital Hall, 30 Wendell Avenue, behind the school’s main building. Over the course of the day, over 100 students of all ages perform to a rotating audience of 30-400. This day is free and open to the public.
Tickets for the Gala Concert are priced at $28 for patrons; $45 for supporters; and $150 for benefactor tickets which include program listing; a post concert reception onstage and prime seating. Tickets can be purchased by calling the Colonial Theatre box office at 413-997-4444. All performers (graduates of BMS) are declining any compensation; all ticket sales, sponsorship, advertising, live and silent auction proceeds will go to BMS education programs.
Biographies of Gala Concert headline performers
Violinist Madalyn Parnas has performed with the London Philharmonic and in venues such as the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and San Francisco Academy. The New York Times raves that she plays with “assurance and vigor…and fleeting touches of humor.” Parnas is currently pursuing a Doctorate of Music Arts from the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music. Parnas holds a B.S. in Music Industry and French, and a M.A. from London’s Royal Academy of Music, where she studied as a 2012 Marshall Scholar. She performs on a 1715 Allessandro Gagliano violin and is the granddaughter of the legendary cellist Leslie Parnas.
Accompanying Parnas on piano is fellow Doctoral student at Jacobs School of Music Andreas Ioannides. His master’s degree was earned at the Eastman School of Music, under the tutelage of Natalya Antonova and Maxim Mogilevsky. He has performed in his native Cyprus, as well as in Germany, Switzerland, the Czech Republic, Massachusetts, England, Austria, Peru and Finland.
James Warwick, host, is an English actor and director, best known for roles in TV, the West End and Broadway, including Agatha Christie’s Partners in Crime (Tommy of Tommy and Tuppence). He is an award winning theatre director, appointed 2990 President of Theatre of Arts, a College for the Contemporary Actor in Hollywood. Warwick returned to the Berkshires in 2013 and directs plays at Chester Theatre Company and around the country. Warwick leads an acting workshop for nonfactors at the Berkshire Music School.
Deborah Rentz-Moore, mezzo soprano, is a soloist in early music, oratorio and contemporary works, and has performed with some of the most celebrated ensembles in North America, including Emmanuel Music, Aston Magna, the Boston Early Music Festival, the Handel & Haydn Society, The Boston Camerata, and New York Collegium.
Ben Talmi, composer, front man for orchestral pop band Art Decade, has composed orchestral arrangements for national touring acts such as Manchester Orchestra, and David Monks. Talmi has worked in film and TV with a short film premiering at the 2014 Tribeca Film Festival. His composition is currently being seen on the Microsoft 10 commercial campaign.
Kari Steinert, composer, was coached by Leonard Bernstein while at the Tanglewood Music Center and studied composition at Eastman School of Music. Steinert has composed, arranged and produced music for many genres including original compositions for many notable campaigns for Mastercard, Nike, Coke, Tylenol and Mercedes-Benz.
Billy Keane is a contemporary folk and blues singer/songwriter, infusing compelling story telling with solid, technical guitar styling. His performances are intimate and powerful. He has shared the stage with many other noted songwriters, including Jackie Greene, Catie Curtis, and James Taylor.
Berkshire Music School is a 501-c-3 nonprofit organization, founded in 1940 by Winnie Davis Long Crane. For more information about the Gala Concert and Performathon, call Tracy Wilson, BMS Executive Director, at 413-442-1411.