Clark Hosts 'Close Encounters with Music'

For Immediate Release

June 10, 2013

"White Nights" Program Highlights Russian Melodic Mastery of Prokofiev, Rachmaninoff, and Tchaikovsky

WILLIAMSTOWN, MA—Celebrating “White Nights” of the Russian tradition, two charismatic international performers—pianist Vassily Primakov and cellist Yehuda Hanani—join forces to present a program of Russian masters Rachmaninoff, Prokofiev, and Tchaikovsky in the inaugural concert of Close Encounters with Music at the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute on Sunday, July 14 at 3 pm. Tickets are $40 ($30 members). Visit clarkart.edu or call 413 458 0524 for information or to order tickets.

The epic cello/piano sonatas of Rachmaninoff and Prokofiev reflect the same aspects of character as seen in great Russian literature—melancholy, mysticism, whimsy, biting humor, and torrential Romanticism—as well as the added richness of Western influence from their sojourns in Paris and New York. Tchaikovsky’s Seasons for solo piano offers the composer’s signature charm, power, grandeur, and melody that produced his Nutcracker and Sleeping Beauty. The program provides a sweeping view of late Russian Romanticism and Modernism through the prism of three pillars of the repertoire. 

“We are delighted to be part of the expansion and new vision of the Clark,” says artistic director Yehuda Hanani. “It is bound to spark new revelations about the synchronicities between the bow and the brush.”

Based in Great Barrington and in its twenty-second year in the Berkshires, Close Encounters has enjoyed collaborations with museums across the country, including the Detroit Institute of Art, the Joslyn Art Museum in Omaha, the Phoenix Art Museum, the Center for Fine Arts in Miami, and The Frick Collection in New York. Often centering programs around an art movement, or commonalities between the visual and the acoustic, CEWM’s thematic programming brings a heightened sense of discovery to the concert experience. 

Since the inception of its Commissioning Project in 2001, CEWM has worked with the most distinguished composers of our time—Paul Schoenfield, Osvaldo Golijov, Lera Auerbach, Kenji Bunch, and John Musto, 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, and Jeffrey Swann; violinists Shmuel Ashkenasi, Yehonatan Berick, and Vadim Gluzman; harpsichordist Lionel Party; clarinetists Alexander Fiterstein and Charles Neidich; vocalists Dawn Upshaw, Amy Burton, Jennifer Aylmer, Robert White, Lucille Beer, and William Sharp; quartets Vermeer, Amernet, Manhattan, Avalon, Hugo Wolf, and Cuarteto Latinoamericano; 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.

About the artists

Yehuda Hanani's charismatic playing and profound interpretations bring him acclaim and reengagements across the globe. His pioneering recording of the monumental Alkan Cello Sonata received a Grand Prix du Disque nomination, and his other discs have won wide recognition. 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 new audiences to classical music. Hanani is professor of cello at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music and artistic director of Close Encounters With Music and the Catskill High Peaks Festival.

In recent years, Vassily Primakov has been hailed as a pianist of world class importance. Born in Moscow in 1979, he entered Moscow’s Central Special Music School at the age of eleven and at seventeen came to New York to pursue studies at the Juilliard School with the noted pianist Jerome Lowenthal. At Juilliard Primakov won both the Silver Medal and the Audience Prize in the 2002 Gina Bachauer International Artists Piano Competition. In 2009, Primakov’s Chopin Mazurkas recording was named “Best of the Year” by National Public Radio, and that same year he began recording the 27 Mozart piano concertos in Denmark. His extensive discography includes Beethoven Sonatas, Chopin Concertos, and music of Tchaikovsky, Schumann, and Scriabin for Bridge Records.

About the Clark


Set amidst 140 acres in the Berkshires, the Clark is one of the few major art museums that also serves as a leading international center for research and scholarship. The Clark presents public and education programs and organizes groundbreaking exhibitions that advance new scholarship. The Clark’s research and academic programs include an international fellowship program and conferences. Together with Williams College, the Clark sponsors one of the nation’s leading master’s programs in art history. The Clark receives support from the Massachusetts Cultural Council.

The Clark is located at 225 South Street in Williamstown, Massachusetts. The galleries are open daily in July and August (open Tuesday through Sunday from September through June), 10 am to 5 pm.

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Press contact:

Amanda Powers

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