A Close Encounter with Beethoven at Mahaiwe

Michael Brown (photo Neda Navaee)

(GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass.) – Works spanning the illustrious career of composer Ludwig van Beethoven will be showcased in “Beethoven Journey — Early, Middle and Late” at the Mahaiwe on Saturday, March 18, at 6pm, as part of the Close Encounters with Music series. The program will feature works for strings and piano performed by pianist Michael Brown, violinist Rachel Lee Priday, and cellist Yehuda Hanani, artistic director of the Close Encounters with Music series.

The tripartite program, which makes a case for art as biography with representative works from his three periods, includes the early cello sonata No. 2 in G minor; a middle-period violin sonata No. 7 in C minor; and the “Archduke” Trio Opus 97.

“By the time we arrive at the majestic Archduke Trio, Beethoven is a changed person,” says artistic director and cellist Yehuda Hanani, who introduces each performance with guideposts for listening. “Gone are the rage, the self-pity and sentimentality of the earlier periods. It is a noble panoramic view from the mountain top.”

Winner of a 2015 Avery Fisher Career Grant, Michael Brown has been described by the New York Times as a “young piano visionary” and “one of the leading figures in the current renaissance of performer-composers.” Brown is equally committed as a pianist and composer; his unique artistry is reflected in a creative approach to programming that often interweaves the classics with contemporary works and his own compositions.

Selected by Sir András Schiff for his “Building Bridges” series in 2016-17, Brown will make debut solo recitals in Berlin, Frankfurt, Florence, Milan, Antwerp, Zurich, and New York’s 92nd Street Y.  Brown joined the roster of The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center’s CMS Two in 2015 and performs with the Society in Alice Tully Hall and on tour. Re-cent highlights include debuts with the Seattle, North Carolina, Flagstaff, and Maryland Sym-phony Orchestras and the New York Youth Symphony in Carnegie Hall’s Stern Auditorium. He regularly performs concerto and solo recitals; in a trio with violinist Elena Urioste and cellist Nicholas Canellakis, and frequently performs recitals with each of them.

The New York Times has called Brown “a confident young composer with a talent for precision” and described his work as “darkly alluring.” Recent works include a Piano Concerto for the Maryland Symphony Orchestra (with himself as the soloist) and four works for the Ca-nellakis-Duo duo including “Self-Portrait,” a cello/piano work with an original film written and directed by Canellakis. Brown has also received commissions from The Maryland Symphony, Bargemusic, Concert Artists Guild, The Stecher and Horowitz Foundation, Shriver Hall, The Norton Building Concerts, Pianofest in the Hamptons, and pianists Jerome Low-enthal, Roman Rabinovich, Adam Golka, David Kaplan, and Orion Weiss. Mr. Brown was awarded the 2011 Lili Boulanger Memorial Fund Award and the 2009 Palmer-Dixon Prize from The Juilliard School.

Brown has recorded several albums, including an all-George Perle CD for Bridge Records, a solo album/four-hands with pianist Jerome Lowenthal/cello-piano album with Nicholas Ca-nellakis on CAG Records, and a violin-piano album with Elena Urioste on BIS Records.

A native New Yorker, Brown earned dual bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Piano and Composition from The Juilliard School, where he studied with pianists Jerome Lowenthal and Robert McDonald and composers Samuel Adler and Robert Beaser. His early teachers were Herbert Rothgarber and Adam Kent, and he has worked with pianists Leon Fleisher and Richard Goode. He has appeared in Alice Tully Hall as winner of the 2012 Juilliard William Petschek Piano Debut Recital Award; Weill Recital Hall of Carnegie Hall; the Louvre; the Marlboro, Ravinia, Gilmore, Chamber Music Sedona; Moab festivals; and the Jupiter Symphony Chamber Players in New York City. His awards include First Prize in the 2010 Concert Artists Guild Victor Elmaleh Competition; and prizes in the Honens and New York International Piano com-petitions. Mr. Brown is a Steinway Artist.

In his spare time, he enjoys cooking kale, reading and obsessing over American History, memo-rizing obscure Woody Allen films, dreams of walking 50,000 steps in one day.


Rachel Lee Priday (photo Lisa-Marie Mazzucco)

Violinist Rachel Lee Priday, acclaimed for her beauty of tone, riveting stage presence, and “irresistible panache” (Chicago Tribune), has appeared as soloist with major international orchestras, including the Chicago, St. Louis, Houston, and Seattle Symphony orchestras, the Boston Pops, and the Berlin Staatskapelle.

Critics have praised her “dazzling, forceful technique,” “rich, mellifluous sound,” and “silvery fluidity.” Combining a fierce intelligence with an imaginative curiosity, her wide-ranging repertoire and eclectic programming reflect a deep fascination with literary and cultural narratives, as an artist who seeks contemporary resonances with the masterworks of the past.

Recent and upcoming highlights include concerto engagements with the Pacific Symphony, Buffalo Philharmonic, Stamford Symphony, Greenville Symphony, Grand Junction Symphony, Johannesburg Philharmonic, Kwazulu-Natal Philharmonic, and Cape Town Philharmonic. Conductors Rachel has worked with recently include JoAnn Falletta, Carl St. Clair, Michael Morgan, Daniel Boico, Bernhard Gueller, Arjan Tien, Eckart Preu, and Leon Botstein. Previous solo engagements have included, amongst others, appearances with the Colorado Symphony, Knoxville, Fairfax, Alabama, Delaware, Champaign-Urbana, Elgin, New Haven, Santa Rosa, Springfield (MA), Rockford, Annapolis, and Hartford Symphonies, the Rochester Philharmonic, Westchester Philharmonic, the New York Youth Symphony, and Aspen Sinfonia at the Aspen Music Festival.

Rachel’s frequent recital appearances have brought her to such distinguished venues as the Mostly Mozart Festival at Avery Fisher Hall, the Kansas City Harriman-Jewell Series, Ravinia’s “Rising Stars” Series, and UCSB Arts and Lectures. Recent highlights include a debut UK recital tour, recitals at the Sarasota Opera House, Lawrence University, the Dame Myra Hess Memorial Series in Chicago, shows at Joe’s Pub and SubCulture in NYC, and an 8-recital tour of South Africa with pianist Bryan Wallick. As a chamber musician, she has been invited to participate as a guest artist at the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra’s “Chamber Music Marathon” and the Moritzburg Festival in Germany.

Rachel made her European concerto debut in October 2006, performing the Sibelius Concerto with the Berlin Staatskapelle and Maestro Mikko Franck to an overwhelming response. In Europe and in Asia, engagements have further included recitals at the Musée du Louvre, the Verbier Festival, the Mecklenburg-Vorpommern Festival, and concerto appearances in Graz, Austria, Hong Kong, and Singapore. She has performed in Korea several times, including repeat engagements with the Seoul Philharmonic, the KBS Symphony under the direction of Dmitri Kitaenko, and a four-city tour of the country with the Russian State Symphony Orchestra and Valery Polyansky.

Last June, Rachel embarked on a three-city tour of China, where she combined outreach and performances at the Beijing Modern Music Festival, Tianjin May Festival, and Shenyang Conservatory. The tour marked the launch of a year-long association with the Asia/America New Music Institute, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting new music relationships and cultural exchange between Asia and the Americas. Further appearances with AANMI include concerts at the Asia-Europe New Music Festival in Hanoi, Vietnam, the Utah Arts Festival in Salt Lake City, and the USC Pacific Asia Museum in Pasadena, Calif.

Rachel takes a multidisciplinary approach to music that often lends itself to collaborative, interdisciplinary performances and new music commissions. Last season saw the world premiere, under the auspices of the MATA Festival, of Pulitzer Prize Finalist Christopher Cerrone’s Violin Sonata – a work which Rachel commissioned, alongside pianist David Kaplan, through a Harvard Fromm Music Foundation grant, and which she performs frequently in recital. As a Resident Artist with Metropolis Ensemble in NYC, she has also commissioned a forthcoming work by Scott Wollschleger for violin and chamber orchestra. In 2014, she performed the world premiere of Matthew Aucoin’s The Orphic Moment in an innovative staging that mixed poetry, drama, visuals, and music. Other recent highlights include extensive interdisciplinary collaborations with Ballet San Jose, Symphony Silicon Valley, and conductor George Daugherty, as well as a week-long run of the theatrical concert, Tchaikovsky: None But The Lonely Heart, with Ensemble for the Romantic Century at BAM.

Rachel has been profiled in the New Yorker, the Los Angeles Times, Family Circle Magazine, and The Strad Magazine. Her performances have been broadcast on major media outlets in the U.S., Germany, Korea, South Africa, and Brazil, including a televised concert in Rio de Janeiro, numerous radio appearances on 98.7 WFMT Chicago radio, and American Public Media’s Performance Today. Her television credits include appearances on the Disney Channel, “Fiddling for the Future” and “American Masters” on PBS, and the 2000 Grammy Awards ceremony in Los Angeles.

Rachel made her orchestral debut at the Aspen Music Festival in 1997 at the age of nine, and the following year performed at the 50th anniversary celebration of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights at the United Nations. A native of Chicago, Rachel began her violin studies at the age of four, and in 1996, moved to New York to study with the late pedagogue Dorothy DeLay. She continued her studies at the Juilliard School Pre-College Division with Itzhak Perlman. She holds a B.A. degree in English from Harvard University and an M.M. from the New England Conservatory, where she studied with Miriam Fried through its joint dual-degree program with Harvard College.

She performs on a Nicolo Gagliano violin (Naples, 1760), double-purfled with fleurs-de-lis, named Alejandro.

Beethoven Journey — Early, Middle and Late

Saturday, March 18, 6pm

Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center, Great Barrington, Mass.

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


Cellist and artistic director, Yehuda Hanani, who provides incisive commentary at each CEWM concert, is in demand as a soloist, chamber musician and lecturer around the globe. He has been guest soloist with orchestras such as the Chicago Symphony, Philadelphia Orchestra, Baltimore Symphony, Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, Berlin Radio Orchestra, Israel Philharmonic, BBC Welsh Symphony, Buenos Aires Philharmonic, Jerusalem Symphony, and Seoul Symphony as well as Columbus, Oklahoma City, San Antonio, New Orleans, Honolulu, Chattanooga, and many more in the US and on four continents.

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.



Tickets, $45 (Orchestra and Mezzanine), $25 (Balcony) and $15 for students, are available at The Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center box office, 413.528.0100, or at Close Encounter with Music.



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, Erin Keefe and Julian Rachlin; 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.




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