Works by Saint-Saëns and César Franck Featured in Chamber Concert at Mahaiwe

Julian Rachlin (photo Janine Guldener)

Julian Rachlin (photo Janine Guldener)

(GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass.) – Works by Saint-Saëns and César Franck and the object of their mutual love, Augusta Holmès, are on tap in “L’Amour Toujours,” a chamber concert at the Mahaiwe on Saturday, December 3, at 6pm, part of the Close Encounters With Music series. Featured musicians are pianist Roman Rabinovich, violinists Diana Cohen, Sarah McElravy, and Julian Rachlin, and Close Encounters artistic director, cellist Yehuda Hanani.

The tie that binds together the brilliantly virtuosic Saint-Saëns Violin Sonata No. 1 and the smoldering Franck Piano Quintet is the composers’ shared unrequited adoration of Augusta Holmès. Dubbed the “quintet of discontent,” it was dedicated to Saint-Saëns, who walked out of the first performance while Madame Franck quietly seethed at the transparency of this emotional exposé of passion. One of the masterpieces of the repertoire, it provides musical high drama and a glimpse into a fevered soul. Holmès’ own salute to love opens the performance.

A student at the Conservatoire, Augusta Holmès went on to become a pivotal figure in the artistic circles of fin-de-siècle Paris (her daughters were famously painted at the piano by Renoir).

Several songs by Augusta Holmès will be presented at the Close Encounters June 10 season finale, “Fanfare for the Uncommon Woman,” as the series celebrates women composers in conjunction with the 100th anniversary of the women attaining the right to vote in the United States — first granted in New York State in 1917 and then nationally in 1920.

Since many of the key figures and pivotal events of the suffrage movement took place in or near Western Massachusetts and New York’s Hudson Valley, this is a fitting time and place to bring attention to the creative achievements of women composers. The songs reveal Holmès as a precursor to Édith Piaf and will extend her presence in the season’s thematic design.

One of the most exciting and respected violinists of our time, Lithuanian-born Julian Rachlin has over the last 27 years captivated audiences around the world with his distinctively rich sound and superb musicianship. He is also a violist and conductor. He recently toured Europe and North America with the Orchestre National de France, opened the season of the La Scala Philharmonic with Riccardo Chailly, and performed at the Lucerne Festival with the Bayerischer Rundfunk Symphony Orchestra under Mariss Jansons. This season he leads the Dusseldorf Symphony, Nice Philharmonic, Moscow Virtuosi, Israel Philharmonic, Prague Philharmonia, and Slovenian Philharmonic and will be Artist in Residence with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic. He has appeared with the Philharmonia Orchestra and Vladimir Ashkenazy, the London Philharmonic and Andrey Boreyko, and the Boston Symphony Orchestra with Alan Gilbert. He records for Sony Classical, Warner Classics and Deutsche Grammophon.

Roman Rabinovich (photo Balazs Borocz)

Roman Rabinovich (photo Balazs Borocz)

Praised by the New York Times for his “uncommon sensitivity and feeling,” the eloquent young pianist Roman Rabinovich is the winner of the 2008 Arthur Rubinstein International Piano Master Competition and has performed throughout the world. Mr. Rabinovich, “whose mature, self assured playing belies his chronological age” (San Francisco Classical Voice) made his Israel Philharmonic debut under the baton of Zubin Mehta at age ten and has been heard as soloist with Orchestre de Chambre de Paris, KBS Orchestra, Buffalo Philharmonic, Prague Symphony, Dohnányi Orchestra and many others. He won the Classical Recording Foundation Artist of the Year award for his CD “Ballets Russes.” Also an accomplished painter, he is a graduate of The Curtis Institute of Music and obtained his master’s degree at the Juilliard School.

Diana Cohen

Diana Cohen

Violinist Diana Cohen has been concertmaster of the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra since 2012, and previously the Richmond and Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestras, the Charleston Symphony and The National Repertory Orchestra. As a chamber musician and soloist, she also has performed in concerts across the globe with the Grammy-winning Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, The International Sejong Soloists, has collaborated with members of the Guarneri, Juilliard, Cleveland, and Miro quartets, with pianists Garrick Ohlsson and Mitsuko Uchida and appeared at the Marlboro Music Festival, Perlman Chamber Music Program, Aspen, Giverny (France) and Piccolo Spoleto.



Sarah McElravy

Sarah McElravy

Canadian violinist and violist Sarah McElravy has performed worldwide as a chamber musician, orchestral musician, and solo artist. A founding member of the award-winning Linden String Quartet, hailed as “polished, radiant and incisive” by The Strad, she performed throughout the world in concert halls including Carnegie, the Kennedy Center, and Suntory Hall. Awards include gold medal and grand prize at the Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition and a management contract with Concert Artists Guild. Ms. McElravy is the founder and artistic director of Chamber Music Society México. She received her Bachelor and Master of Music degrees from the Cleveland Institute of Music, and completed a string-quartet-in-residence program at Yale University’s School of Music, mentored by the Tokyo String Quartet.

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 Aspen, Chautauqua, Marlboro, Yale at Norfolk, Round Top (TX), Blue Hill, Bowdoin, Great Lakes, and Grand Canyon festivals, Prades Festival (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, and the Tokyo, Vermeer, Muir, Lark, Avalon, Colorado, and Manhattan string quartets.


The Passion of Camille Saint-Saëns and César Franck—L’Amour Toujours

Saturday, December 3, 6 PM

Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center

Tickets: $45 (Orchestra and Mezzanine) and $25 (Balcony), Students $15

Roman Rabinovich, piano; Diana Cohen and Sarah McElravy, violin; Julian Rachlin, viola; Yehuda Hanani, cello

In the Close Encounters With Music tradition, each performance is followed by an AFTERGLOW reception, with hors d’oeuvres and wine provided by local restaurants.




Close Encounters With Music stands at the intersection of music, art and the vast richness of Western culture. Entertaining, erudite and lively commentary from founder and Artistic Director Yehuda Hanani puts the composers and their times in perspective to enrich and enlighten 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 and Jeffrey Swann; violinists Shmuel Ashkenasi, Yehonatan Berick, Vadim Gluzman and Erin Keefe; clarinetists Alexander Fiterstein, Charles Neidich; vocalists Dawn Upshaw, Amy Burton, Jennifer Aylmer, Robert White, Lucille Beer and William Sharp; the Vermeer, Amernet, Muir, Manahattan, Avalon, Hugo Wolf, Dover 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. Summer performances have taken 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 fifty international students in residence in the Great Northern Catskills at the Carey Center for Global Good in an immersive course of study and performance.



Tickets, $45 (Orchestra and Mezzanine), $25 (Balcony) and $15 for students, are available at The Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center box office, 413.528.0100. Subscriptions are $225 ($195 for seniors) for a series of 7 concerts. Visit Close Encounters With Music.






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