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2019 Season: July 23 - August 2, 2019

THE GRAND ITALIAN TOUR --Historically, the Grand Tour was an educational rite of passage for many young men and women from the 17th through 19th centuries. The value of the tour was to bring exposure to the cultural legacy of classical antiquity and was often the only possibility to view specific works of art and hear certain music. Grand Tourists would return with crates of art, books, pictures, sculpture, and cultural artifacts which would be displayed in libraries, gardens and drawing rooms. It became a symbol of wealth and freedom. Berkshire High Peaks Festival’s Grand Italian Tour is an opportunity for 21st century audiences in NY, CT and MA communities to experience the revitalization of the musical aspect of this historically famous tradition.

Saturday, July 27 - 4 PM
High Peaks Fun-raiser Barn Party! Gallatin, NY
($75 minimum donation) Call for information

Pond Lily is a 500-acre estate located in one of the most beautiful natural settings in all of New York, just 35 minutes from Great Barrington, 15 minutes from Rhinebeck, and easily accessible from the Taconic Parkway. Delight in the amazing acoustics of the 19th century barn and expansive splendor of the property as you hear glorious performances by High Peaks guest artists and participants, followed by a reception on the patio. The ultimate way to enjoy a summer afternoon and support the Festival. You will be enchanted and bewitched.

Sunday, July 28 - 5 PM Concert
“Souvenir de Florence"
works by Tchaikovsky, Vivaldi, Rossini, Salvatore Sciarrino
Saint James Place, Great Barrington

Souvenir de Florence is Tchaikovsky’s own musical souvenir of his visit to Italy as he recovered from a disastrous marriage and developed an infatuation with the city that spawned the Renaissance. Florence worked its magic on Tchaikovsky, and the result is one of the most delightful and charming pieces in the repertory, for string sextet.  Violinist Miranda Cuckson performs Salvatore Sciarrino’s technique-stretching Caprices that inject Niccolo Paganini’s demonically difficult violin caprices (1819) with a 20th century vocabulary, timbral palette and startling aural innovations. Soprano Danielle Talamantes and baritone Kerry Wilkerson spin magic with operatic arias and art songs.  And no Italian showcase would be complete without Vivaldi’s Double Concerto for two violins, which features Peter Zazofsky and the High Peaks Festival Chamber Orchestra.

Wednesday, July 31 - 4:30 PM Buddy Day Concert
A joint performance by High Peaks Festival residents and Kids 4 Harmony Pittsfield

Thursday, August 1 - 7 PM Concert
High Peaks Artist Faculty perform: “Years of Pilgrimage"
works by Scarlatti, Paganini, Verdi, Puccini, Rossini, Liszt,
Mendelssohn, Menotti

The Allen Theatre, Berkshire School

“Years of Pilgrimage,” traverses two centuries of Italian brilliance and demonstrates how it inspired its famous tourists (Mendelssohn, Byron, etc.) and residents. This concert showcases selections from the mercurial keyboard music of Baroque-era Domenico Scarlatti, to the humor and exuberance of Rossini, the virtuosity of Paganini, and the genius of Verdi.  Liszt’s Années de pèlerinage and Gian Carlo Menotti’s Suite for two cellos and piano are among the featured works. Soprano Danielle Talamantes sings favorite coloratura arias that typify the bravura of Italian vocal tradition. Also being performed are Chrysanthemums, a string quartet in one movement and the only chamber music work from Puccini, and Gian Carlo Menotti’s two cellos and piano work.

Thank you! Your support is appreciated.

Wednesday, July 24 - 2 PM Master Class
Italian Arias and Art Songs, Danielle Talamantes, Kerry Wilkerson

Wednesday, July 24 - 4 PM Presentation
“Marketing Yourself: What’s Your Brand?” with former American Express Executive Susan Hillel

Thursday, July 25 - 4 PM Presentation
“The Mystique of Cremona,” Luthier Francis Morris

Friday, July 26 - 2 PM Lecture
"Harold in Italy—Viola as Hero" Michael Strauss

Friday, July 26 - 4 PM Workshop
“The Acting Singer—Putting the ‘Bel’ into ‘Bel Canto’!” Jay Lesenger, Opera Director/Conductor
Saturday, July 27 - 10 AM Master Class
“Vocalizing the Keyboard” Alexander Shtarkman
Tuesday, July 30 - 2 PM Lecture
"Contemporary Italian Repertoire—There’s Life After Vivaldi!" Miranda Cuckson
Wednesday, July 31 - 2 PM Master Class
"Venice and Leipzig—Vivaldi and J. S. Bach" Yehuda Hanani
Thank you! Your support is appreciated.

Wednesday, July 24 - 7:30 PM Moonlight Sonatas
(High Peaks Festival Residents Perform)

Thursday, July 25 - 7:30 PM Moonlight Sonatas
(High Peaks Festival Residents Perform)

Friday, July 26 - 7:30 PM Moonlight Sonatas
(High Peaks Festival Residents Perform)

Tuesday, July 30 - 7:30 PM Moonlight Sonatas
(High Peaks Festival Residents Perform)

Wednesday, July 31 7:30 PM Moonlight Sonatas
(High Peaks Festival Residents Perform)

Faculty concert on July 31st and all Moonlight Sonatas Concerts take place in the Allen Theater at the Berkshire School, Sheffield, MA. Locations on the campus for talks and master classes will be posted. Admission by voluntary contribution to Resident "Moonlight Sonatas" performances and master classes.

Additional Information About the Festival:

For the tenth 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, coaching 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, one can take a guided hike on the Appalachian Trail, in the splendorous beauty and rich culture of the Berkshires. Rehearsals, master classes and concerts will be open to the public throughout the Festival.

About High Peaks Festival Artistic Director: 
Yehuda Hanani has received acclaim across the globe for his charismatic playing and profound interpretations. An extraordinary recitalist, he is equally renowned for performances with orchestras such as the Chicago Symphony, Philadelphia Orchestra, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, Berlin Radio Orchestra, Israel Philharmonic, Buenos Aires Philharmonic, Belgrade Symphony, Irish National Symphony, Honolulu Symphony, Seoul Symphony, Chamber Orchestra Kremlin, and the BBC Welsh Symphony. His engaging chamber music with commentary series, “Close Encounters With Music,” has captivated audiences from Miami to Kansas City, Omaha, Calgary, Scottsdale, the Berkshires, and at the Frick Collection in New York City. He has been the subject of hundreds of articles and interviews in the media, and his weekly program on NPR affiliate station WAMC Northeast Radio, “Classical Music According to Yehuda,” attracts thousands of fans. A prolific recording artist, his pioneering recording of the monumental Alkan Cello Sonata received a Grand Prix du Disque nomination. He is Professor of Cello at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music and presents master classes internationally at conservatories and for orchestras, including the Juilliard School, University of Indiana at Bloomington, New England Conservatory, McGill University, Peabody Conservatory, Paris Conservatoire, Berlin Hochschule für Music, Royal Academy of Music in London, Tokyo National University, Jerusalem Academy of Music, Guildhall School in London, Central Conservatory of Shanghai and Central Conservatory of Beijing, and the New World Symphony in Miami. In recognition of his distinguished teaching, he was given the title of honorary professor of the Tianjin Conservatory, China. He joins the faculty of the Mannes School of Music in 2020.


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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