Close Encounters program surveys Jewish musical influences on American voice


GREAT BARRINGTON — Jewish music and its contribution to the American voice occupies center stage Sunday at the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center when Close Encounters With Music presents "Fiddler Off the Roof: Jewish Music Spanning a Multitude of Cultures and Centuries."

The concert begins at 3 p.m.

Works by Gershwin, Bernstein, Mahler, Mendelssohn, Milhaud, Bloch, and Max Bruch, (non-Jewish, but who adopted Jewish modes and themes), will be performed, along with a some klezmer selections.

The program will include the world premiere of "Zemer" for cello and piano by American composer Paul Schoenfield. The piece is an adaptive reshaping of liturgical material to concert hall spirit, based on a melody by local composer Cantor Max Roth.

Joining artistic director cellist Yehuda Hanani and tenor Alex Richardson are clarinetist Paul Green, pianist Michele Levin and violinist Sarah McElravy.

As co-director of "A Summer Celebration of Jewish Music" and director of the Jewish Jazz Project, Green presents a wide variety of Jewish music throughout the Berkshires. Festival appearances have included Colorado Music Festival, Kneisel Hall Festival, Manchester Music Festival and the Festival at Sandpoint. He is a faculty member of Bard College at Simon's Rock, Berkshire Music School, and The Hotchkiss School. In Florida, he is the director of Klezmer East, a founding member of the Miami Jazz Coop, and principal clarinetist of the Atlantic Classical Orchestra.

Levin is a graduate of Philadelphia's Curtis Institute of Music as a double major in piano and composition. She began her studies there at the age of 11 and is the first woman ever to receive their Master's Degree in Composition. She has performed as soloist with the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Boston Pops, the Florida Philharmonic, the Miami Chamber Symphony, the Sinfonia Virtuosi, the New World Symphony, the Albany Symphony and the Virginia Symphony. She has also given solo and chamber music recitals in major cities throughout the United States, Canada, Europe, Asia, Central and South America. Levin appears regularly with the Muir String Quartet and as guest artist with the Miami String Quartet. In 2007, the Muir Quartet gave the world premiere of her String Quartet No. 1, which was dedicated to them.

McElravy is a founding member of the Linden String Quartet. She has toured extensively throughout Canada, Europe, and the United States, and is the founder and artistic director of Chamber Music Society México.

Richardson joined the roster of singers at The Metropolitan Opera this year. He has performed with the Boston Symphony, at Long Beach Opera, and with the Los Angeles Philharmonic at Disney Concert Hall. His numerous opera company credits include St. Petersburg Opera, Winter Opera Saint Louis, New York City Opera, and Washington National Opera. Richardson has been a frequent soloist at Tanglewood, most recently in the 75th Anniversary Gala Concert.

Ticket information is available through the Mahaiwe box office in person; online at; or by phone at (413) 528-0100


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