Mahaiwe Concert Celebrates Women’s Suffrage with Female Composers


Danielle Talamantes

(GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass.) – Newly commissioned works by Thea Musgrave, Tamar Muskal, and Judith Zaimont celebrating the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage in New York state will get their world premieres at the Mahaiwe on Saturday, June 10, at 6pm, as part of the Close Encounters With Music series, celebrating its own 25th season in the Berkshires with “Fanfare for the Uncommon Woman.”

In keeping with its mission to connect to the cultural richness of the Berkshire/Upstate New York region, Close Encounters With Music delves into the remarkable chapter of women’s suffrage, which largely originated with figures such as Massachusetts natives Susan B. Anthony and Lucy Stone and upstate New Yorker Elizabeth Cady Stanton.

The centerpiece of the concert is a newly commissioned “quilt” of miniatures by Thea Musgrave, Tamar Muskal, and Judith Zaimont, musical portraits of suffragettes and other ladies of valor — Ethel Smyth, Emma Lazarus, and Sojourner Truth — who advanced the causes of women and everyone else with their steadfastness, ingenuity and idealism. The Quilt — that quintessential feminine article that represents cooperation (think quilting bees) and resourcefulness, taking disparate scraps and weaving them together to form a thing of beauty—will receive its world premiere by the evening’s performers: violinist Peter Zazofsky; pianists Renana Gutman and Ieva Jokubaviciute; Metropolitan Opera soprano Danielle Talamantes and cellist and artistic director Yehuda Hanani.

Additionally, Joan Tower’s Fanfare for the Uncommon Woman No. 6 and “Remember the Ladies” from Patricia Leonard’s opera “My Dearest Friend,” based on the correspondence between Abigail Adams and President John Adams, are stitched onto the quilt.

Says artistic director Yehuda Hanani, “The societal obstacles to acquiring the vote reflect the same barriers and cultural biases that women had to overcome to have their works published and performed and that kept them from careers as creators of new music. Since many of the key figures and pivotal events of the suffrage movement took place in or near our home region in the Hudson Valley, we believe this is a fitting time and place to bring attention to the creative achievements of women composers.”

Robert Schumann and Felix Mendelssohn make cameo appearances on the program, which is replete with revelations: songs and sonatas displaying the genius of Clara Schumann, Fannie Mendelssohn, Amy Beach, and Augusta Holmes; Maria Theresia von Paradis’ shimmering Sicilienne; Piano Sonata in G Major by Marianna Martinez, a study in beauty and classicism, plus the Mozart four-hand piano sonata she performed with Amadeus himself.

The blending of young, established and historic composers will afford a quilt of its own.  To add to the festivities, there will be a fanfare for the occasion of the 90th birthday of Thea Musgrave.



Renana Gutman

Fanfare for the Uncommon Woman — Celebrating the 100th Anniversary of Women’s Suffrage

Saturday, June 10, 6 PM

Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center, Great Barrington, Mass.



Tickets, $50 (Orchestra and Mezzanine) and $30 (Balcony), are available at The Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center box office, 413.528.0100. Visit Close Encounters With Music.


Patron’s Preferred Package: $150 includes Preferred Patron seat and dinner reception. Available from Close Encounters With Music 800-843-0778 or at Close Encounters With Music.




Cellist Yehuda Hanani has performed 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 and many others. He has been a guest at Aspen, Chautauqua, Marlboro, Yale at Norfolk, Round Top (TX), Blue Hill, Bowdoin, Great Lakes, Ottawa Festival and Finland Festival, among many others, and has collaborated with fellow musicians including Leon Fleisher, Aaron Copland, Christoph Eschenbach, David Robertson, Itzhak Perlman, Dawn Upshaw, Yefim Bronfman, Eliot Fisk, and the American, Muir, Avalon, Amernet, Lark, Ariel and Tokyo 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. A prolific recording artist, his pioneering recording of the Alkan Cello Sonata received a Grand Prix du Disque nomination. As founder and artistic director of Close Encounters With Music, he has been at the forefront of presenting thematic concerts with commentary in cities across the U.S.  He is professor of cello at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music and artistic director of the Catskill High Peaks Festival. His broadcasts on Northwest Radio WAMC’s “Classical Music According to Yehuda” with Dr. Alan Chartock reach thousands of listeners weekly.


Praised by the New York Sun for playing “with great vigor and aplomb” and for the “true poetry in her phrasing,” pianist Renana Gutman has performed across three continents as an orchestral soloist, recitalist and collaborative artist. A top prize winner at the Los Angeles Liszt competition and International Keyboard Festival in NYC, she has performed with orchestras including the Jerusalem Symphony, St. Petersburg Philharmonic and the Belgian “I Fiamminghi.” She was one of four young pianists selected by Leon Fleisher to participate in his workshop on Beethoven piano sonatas hosted by Carnegie Hall and spent three summers at the Marlboro Music Festival where she collaborated with Richard Goode, Mitsuko Uchida, and members of the Guarneri and Mendelssohn string quartets. Closely affiliated with vocalists, she has performed with Lincoln Center soprano Susan Naruki and Metropolitan Opera mezzo soprano Tamara Mumford. Her piano trio Terzetto has won critical acclaim and was featured at the Banff Center, Canada. Recent appearances with her duo partner, violinist Dan Zhu, include Ravinia Rising Stars, Washington National Gallery, Stresa Music Festival, Italy, and a South African tour. A native of Israel, Ms. Gutman started piano lessons at the age of six and was soon recognized as a prodigy, garnering multiple awards and honors. Her most influential teachers were Richard Goode at Mannes College of Music, where she completed her Bachelor and Master of Music degrees, and mentors Andras Schiff and Vladimir Feltsman.


With a reputation for presenting masterful and insightful programs, Lithuanian pianist Ieva Jokubaviciute regularly gives recitals in major American and European cities—most recently in France, Chicago, NYC, Baltimore, Philadelphia, Vilnius, Lithuania, and at the Smithsonian Institution’s Freer Gallery in Washington DC where she performed a program in conjunction with an exhibit on 19th century American painter James McNeil Whistler. The Washington Post called her a “splendid colorist” and described her performance as “magical tonepainting.” She made her Chicago Symphony debut at the Ravinia Festival in 2005 under the baton of James Conlon and has performed with the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia, the Gratz University Orchestra, and the Lithuanian National Symphony. In 2009, her piano trio—Trio Cavatina—won the Naumburg International Chamber Music Competition and made a Carnegie Hall debut and San Francisco debut at Herbst Theater. The trio has become a prominent force within the chamber music culture in the US and tours extensively. As a chamber music collaborator, Ms. Jokubaviciute regularly appears at international music festivals including: Marlboro, Ravinia, Bard, Caramoor, Chesapeake Chamber Music and Prussia Cove, England. She has participated in the Schleswig- Holstein Festival in Lubeck, Germany; Aland Islands and Oulunsalo Chamber Music festivals in Finland; the Joaquin Turina Chamber Music Festival in Seville; Music in the Vineyards in the Napa Valley and the Lake Champlain Festival in Burlington, VT. Earning degrees from the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia and from Mannes College of Music in NYC, her principal teachers have been Seymour Lipkin and Richard Goode. The Philadelphia Inquirer has remarked:“However impressive Jokubaviciute’s fingers were in the music’s execution, it is her brain that is most entrancing.”


Soprano Danielle Talamantes made her Carnegie Hall debut in a sold out solo recital in 2007. She has since sung as soprano soloist with the National Symphony Orchestra, Baltimore Symphony, Hochschule für Musik Hanns Eisler in Berlin, Nashville Symphony, National Philharmonic Chorale & Orchestra, Oratorio Society of Virginia, Seoul Philharmonic, Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris, Trujillo Symphony Orchestra of Peru, and The US Army Chorus. She has been Soprano in Residence and featured guest soloist at the Marlboro Music Festival. Ms. Talamantes made an exciting stage debut in the 2014-15 season as Frasquita in Carmen in a return to The Metropolitan Opera, as well as a return to the National Philharmonic for both Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony and Mozart’s Requiem and Exsultate Jubilate. Other engagements included Donna Anna in Don Giovanni at Cedar Rapids Opera and a début at Spoleto Festival USA. She returns to The Metropolitan Opera this season to reprise her role of Frasquita as well as debut as Anna in Verdi’s Nabucco. In 2015-16, Talamantes sang the soprano solo in Haydn’s Creation with Cathedral Choral Society, Händel’s Messiah with the Phoenix Symphony, Haydn’s Lord Nelson Mass at the National Philharmonic and Violetta in La Traviata at Cedar Rapids Opera. Her debut album, Canciones españolas, was recently released on the MSR Classics label and her album Heaven and Earth, A Duke Ellington Songbook has followed, to critical acclaim. Talamantes first earned a spot on the Metropolitan Opera roster in 2011, covering the role of Najade in Ariadne auf Naxos. She was subsequently reengaged to cover the role of the Flower Maiden in Wagner’s Parsifal, the soprano in the quartet of lovers in the Baroque pastiche The Enchanted Island, and most recently to perform in Strauss’ Die Frau ohne Schatten. Ms. Talamantes has been awarded first prize in several prestigious opera and vocal competitions, including the International Lotte Lehman Cybersing, Vocal Arts Society Discovery Series, the National Opera Association, Liederkranz Foundation, Licia Albanese-Puccini Foundation, Gerda Lissner Foundation, Plácido Domingo’s Operalia and Thomas Quasthoff’s Das Lied.


Violinist Peter Zazofsky enjoys a richly varied career that includes performances with many of the great orchestras in America and Europe, recitals in major music centers, and recordings and tours as first violinist of the Muir String Quartet. A native of Boston, he studied with Joseph Silverstein and Dorothy Delay, before entering the Curtis Institute, where he studied with Ivan Galamian and Jaime Laredo. Graduating in 1976, Zazofsky went on to win top prizes in several international violin contests, including the 1979 Montreal Competition and 1980 Queen Elisabeth in Brussels. Since then he has performed repeatedly with the Boston Symphony, Berlin Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra, Minnesota Orchestra, Rotterdam Philharmonic among many others, as well as the San Francisco Symphony, who also featured him on tour in Hong Kong and Taiwan. Long committed to teaching, Zazofsky holds the position of Professor of Violin and Chamber Music at Boston University.


Don’t Forget the Ladies!  Heritage Trail Extends the Celebration at Catskill High Peaks Festival in August


This year, CEWM’s annual summer educational institute for international master students, the Catskills High Peaks Festival (August 2017 6-17 at the Carey Institute for Global Good in Rensselaerville, NY), will focus on women composers, including Rebecca Clarke, Grazyna Bacewitz and recent Pulitzer-Prize winner Carolyn Shaw. Performances are scheduled for Basilica, Hudson; the New York State Museum in Albany; at The Carey and in Tannersville, NY in a veritable heritage trail that tracks the suffragists’ activism map.  The importance of this initiative is underscored by the words of a young conservatory piano student who just discovered a late 19th century Croatian woman composer and will perform some of her works in August:  “I am extremely excited and honored to have this opportunity to be a voice for one of the many female composers who seem to have been left behind by the musical canon—even at our music schools.”


Close Encounters on the Radio/Podcast


Close Encounters With Music concerts are broadcast on WMHT-FM, and audiences are encouraged to tune in to the new weekly broadcasts of “Classical Music According to Yehuda” on WAMC Northeast Radio or visit




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.





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