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Announcing the 2018 Berkshire High Peaks Festival for outstanding young instrumentalists
at our new Berkshire location! Event Tickets ON SALE Now !

2018 Theme “The French-Russian Connection”
Explores Influences, Links and Legendary Collaborations across Music, Literature and Art: Stravinsky, Debussy, Rachmanino
ff, Diaghilev, Prokofiev, Fauré and César Franck READ >>

Berkshire High Peaks Festival Preview
Thursday, May 31, 2018

August 6-16, 2018: THE BERKSHIRE SCHOOL
Applications now being accepted Scholarships Available


For the ninth year, an international group of violinists, violists, cellists and pianists will converge for intensive instrumental study and chamber music coaching with distinguished faculty. At the base of Mount Everett, The Berkshire School’s 400-acre campus in Sheffield, Massachusetts offers a breathtaking setting and a destination for world renowned arts and culture in the heart of the Berkshire Hills. The Berkshire High Peaks Residency (formerly Catskill High Peaks Festival) has evolved into a training program designed to imbue players with new ideas and approaches, inspiration, and tools for technical advancement. There is a robust schedule of private and instrumental lessons, coachings and master classes, led by eminent faculty members. Students prepare pre-selected chamber music works, with numerous opportunities to play in public performances. For recreation, you can take a guided hike on the Appalachian Trail, in the splendorous beauty and rich culture of the Berkshires.

The Berkshire School
has outstanding facilities and resources for the arts in this mountain setting. Participants are housed in lovely accommodations, share three meals a day at the Benson Commons and have access to seminar rooms and the high occupancy Allen Theater. The 2018 faculty includes pianists Alexander Shtarkman (Peabody Conservatory) and Mikael Darmanie (SUNY  Stony Brook); violinists Irina Muresanu (University of Maryland) and Peter Zazofsky (Boston University); violists Pierre-Henri Xuereb (Paris Conservatoire) Michael Strauss (Oberlin) and Su Zhen (Beijing Conservatory); cellists Yehuda Hanani (University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory), Chagit Glaser (Rubin Academy of Music, Tel Aviv University), as well as Baroque experts Paul Dwyer (cello, Acronym, Chicago Lyric Opera) and Adriane Post (violin, Apollo’s Fire, Handel and Haydn Society). “Music with Altitude” is the leitmotif weaving through the festival spirit and activities—cross-cultural events that provide a natural high on music, nature and the arts for students, faculty and audiences.

The intimate scale but highest level of presentations and participants give us all a chance to explore the wonders of music anew!


Application | Instructor Bios


"Great news!  If you missed out applying last week there is still time.  We have extended our deadline to April 20th or until every spot is taken."
Apply NOW

Students Comment on Their High Peaks Experience:
"It would be impossible to appraise the value of the time I spent there. The artist faculty provided direct access to centuries of the pinnacle of musical knowledge, which had allowed me to broaden my expressive range and artistic comprehension. Having so many opportunities to play publicly has dramatically shaped my understanding of performance, and has shaped me into a more engaging artist. And as if the wealth of knowledge provided by the faculty weren’t enough, the campus itself provided an atmosphere that lent itself to artistic fruition. I honestly believe that music is best studied in a beautiful environment; it does half the work for us. There is something in it that instructs us, a force that constructs a melody right before your eyes.
-- Jameel Martin, Candidate for MA, Viola,
The Juilliard School; Recipient of the
2016 Jerome Wright Scholarship
I don't want to miss the opportunity to express how grateful I am for the experience I had at High Peaks. I had many takeaways from the festival. The lessons and coachings were fantastic. It was a thrill to play the Brahms Piano Quintet and also be able to watch the faculty rehearse and perform it. What a full experience and a wonderful opportunity to learn by example. I appreciated how high the talent was at High Peaks, and how supportive and encouraging an atmosphere it was. I also loved that we did outreach concerts to connect with the outside community. Another revelation was the Baroque workshop. Afterwards, I had a lesson with Adriane Post, where I got to try a Baroque bow for the first time -- this was exciting for me and helped me realize I would like to explore it more as a genre. Finally, I enjoyed that the summer had a theme, and that the theme was women composers. How cool and deserved! I am eager to know what next year's theme will be. Thank you all for an amazing experience!
--Amalia Zeitlin, violin

"We are pleased to announce that the Catskill High Peaks Festival has relocated to the heart of the Berkshires in Western Massachusetts, one of the world's top tourist destinations and an area renowned for its arts and culture, natural beauty and outdoor adventure. We will continue to uphold high peaks of artistic achievement amidst the gentle hills that surround us in our new home--the spacious and inviting campus of the Berkshire School. I and our stellar faculty look forward to welcoming our 2018 participants to the Berkshire experience!"

For information contact: Pamela Dreyfus Smith at 800-843-0778.
“As an educational institution, our mission is to infuse students over a relatively short period with love and enthusiasm for their chosen vocation and with an appreciation of past traditions and a spirit of adventure and discovery.”

Yehuda Hanani, Artistic Director
Catskill High Peaks Festival

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Berkshire High Peaks Festival   PO Box 34  Great Barrington, MA  01230 
Toll-free 800-843-0778 / email:

Donations are made through Close Encounters With Music a non-profit organization.  
Your contributions are tax exempt to the amount permitted by law.

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