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Two concerts devoted to Italy as the mother lode of musical culture

An Italian fixation runs deep in the collective musical—and artistic—psyche. The language of music is Italian: dolce, espressivo, furioso, allegro, adagio, fortissimo. Germans Handel and Mozart spoke fluent Italian; the native language of opera is undeniably Italian. It was de rigeur for 19th century painters, musicians and literary types—Byron, Tchaikovsky, Mendelssohn—to make the Grand Tour to Rome and Florence, imbibe the classicism, passion, bel canto, and expressivity that are hallmarks of Italian art, and bring them home to their studios where memories of the sunshine sustained them in chilly Berlin, London, and Moscow.

Sunday, August 10, 2014 - 2 PM
Doctorow Center for the Arts
7971 Main Street, Hunter, NY

From the mercurial keyboard music of Baroque-era Domenico Scarlatti, to Luigi Boccherini’s luscious string works, the humor and exuberance of Rossini, the virtuosity of Paganini, and the genius of Verdi, this concert traverses two centuries of Italian brilliance and demonstrates how it inspired its famous tourists. Stirred deeply by what he experienced in the course of his travels, Franz Liszt’s Années de pèlerinage (with titles like”Gondolier’s Song”) is a musical travel diary—a tribute in sound to “different settings and places consecrated by history and poetry.” Metropolitan Opera mezzo-soprano Lucille Beer sings favorite coloratura arias that typify the bravura of Italian vocal tradition.

Lucille Beer, mezzo-soprano; Michael Chertock, piano; Yehuda Hanani, cello

Friday, August 15, 2014 - 6 PM
Olana's Orchards/Barn Complex
5720 Route 9G
Hudson, NY

Renowned faculty and international rising young artists perform in Olana's orchard in an exuberant display of virtuosity and talent. Various chamber music combinations include cello chorus, solo and duo piano, quartets, sextets, and the High Peaks Festival Orchestra in Vivaldi's Double Violin Concerto, Gershwin, and more. This rare opportunity to see a grand piano performance in the orchards at Olana is something that you do not want to miss! Wine and cheese reception near the orchard at Olana will follow the performance.

Wine and cheese reception follows the performance.

Sunday, August 17, 2014 - 2 PM
The Catskill Mountain Foundation's Orpheum Film and Performing Arts Center
6050 Main St, Route 23A, Tannersville, NY 12485
This event is made possible in part by Friends of the Orpheum (FOTO)

The centerpiece of the program is Tchaikovsky’s Souvenir de Florence, written for a St. Petersburg chamber music society as a 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. Stravinsky was similarly stricken, and wrote his quasi-baroque Suite Italienne for Diaghilev and the Ballet Russe. The Valentini cello sonata offers a high quotient of virtuosic verve, and the Boccherini Quintet holds familiar moments from the cinema. No Italian showcase would be complete without Vivaldi’s Double Concerto for two violins, which features eminent guests Elmar Oliveira and Axel Strauss as well as the High Peaks Festival Chamber Orchestra.

Michael Chertock, piano; Elmar Oliveira and Axel Strauss, violin;Amadi Azikiwe, viola; Yehuda Hanani and Thomas Landschoot, cello; Festival Chamber Orchestra

Monday, August 18, 2014 - 5:30 PM
The Norman Rockwell Museum
9 Route 183
Stockbridge, MA

Renowned faculty and international young artists will perform chamber music, and the High Peaks Festival Orchestra will present Grieg’s Holberg Suite in an exuberant display of virtuosity and talent, plus selections from Arvo Pärt, Brahms, Vivaldi.

This concert will be free with museum admission or museum membership. Reception follows the performance.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014 - 4:30 PM
The Doctorow Center for the Performing Arts

7971 Main Street, Hunter, NY

Woodstock luthier David Wiebe ponders the miracle of Cremona. Why, of all geographic locations, did the great violinmakers arise and flourish in Italy, with a statistically improbable concentration of great makers in this one town? He is joined by bowmaker Sue Lipkins to explain a parallel mystery of all the notable bowmakers being French.
Free and open to the public.

Friday, August 15, 2014 - 1:30 PM
Doctorow Center for the Arts
Screen 2 Movie Theater

7971 Main Street, Hunter, NY

A lifelong opera-lover, author, architect and film-maker, August Ventura has written extensively on Giuseppe Verdi for Il Giornalino de Parma Lirica and Opera News, focusing on the relationship Verdi’s hometown of Parma maintains with the maestro’s legacy. For the past several years, Ventura has been producing and directing an independent, feature-length documentary on this subject entitled “27,” in which Parma’s legendary Teatro Regio and the Club of 27 (representing Verdi’s twenty-seven operas!) figure prominently. Marking the recent Verdi bicentennial, the talk and film sequences capture his political and cultural relevance, shedding light on how the operas promoted the notion of a unified Italy and helped define her national character.

Saturday, August 16, 2014 - 2 PM
Piano Performance Museum
Doctorow Center for the Arts

7971 Main Street, Hunter, NY

Tracing Beethoven’s pathway from disciple of Haydn, from whom he inherited his audacity and humor, to prophet and hero of the Romantic movement. His music stands as a glorious bridge between two eras—classical and romantic—and selected examples will be played (live with Yehuda Hanani and Michael Chertock, and from recorded performances) to cover a good distance of this journey.

With Yehuda Hanani, cello, and Michael Chertock, piano

High Peaks Festival Master Classes
Doctorow Center for the Arts
7971 Main Street, Hunter, NY

Come experience and understand the inner workings of the festival and artistic goals of our young performers as they interact with guest faculty.  You'll hear works in progress and understand what transforms a merely good performance into a great one.  Free to the public.


4-5:15 pm: Elmar Oliveira
Violin Master Class

4-5:15: Michael Chertock
Piano Master Class

7:15-8:30 pm: Yehuda Hanani
Wall to Wall Bach

4-5:15 pm: Axel Strauss
Violin Master Class

4-5:15 pm: Tom Landschoot
Cello Master Class

8:30 pm: Moonlight Sonatas

2-3:15 pm: Michael Chertock
Piano Technique

8:30 pm: Moonlight Sonatas

4-5:15 pm: Yehuda Hanani
Cello Master Class

7:15-8:15 pm: Axel Strauss
Violin Master Class

8:30 pm: Moonlight Sonatas

4 pm: Elmar Oliveira
Violin Master Class

4 pm: Michael Chertock
Piano Master Class

4 pm: Tom Landschoot
Cello Master Class

8:30 pm: Moonlight Sonatas

Catskill High Peaks Festival   PO Box 34  Great Barrington, MA  01230 
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