Music and More at New Marlborough

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New Marlborough Meeting House
New Marlborough Meeting House

The village of New Marlborough lies on Route 57 about fifteen minutes east of Great Barrington. Its principal feature is the village green, where the well-known Inn on the Green stands next to the historic Meeting House. The latter is the home of New Marlborough’s enterprising “Music and More” series, directed by Harold F. Lewin, which is now in its twenty-third year and aims to bring “a diverse and distinguished group of authors, actors, musicians, artists and films to the Berkshires.” Having attended many concerts and other events at the Meeting House, I can certify that its intimate setting provides a generous but clear acoustic and a warm, friendly atmosphere, and that Mr. Lewin has fully justified the stated intention. 

In recent years there have been notable appearances by the Manhattan, Daedalus and Shanghai String Quartets, and the Apollo Trio, and this year’s program continues the tradition. One of last year’s highlights was the performance of the three Brahms Violin Sonatas by Daniel Stepner and Robert Levin, and Mr. Stepner will be back this year as leader of the Lydian String Quartet, winners of the Naumburg Award for chamber music.

Daniel Stepner | Photo © Susan Wilson
Daniel Stepner | Photo © Susan Wilson

Among other distinguished performers, visitors can expect to meet the internationally acclaimed flutist Carol Wincenc and Karen Akers, one of America’s premiere concert and cabaret stars. I use the word “meet” advisedly, since each event is followed by a reception where audience members can mingle with the artists and sample refreshments provided by neighboring Gedney Farm.

Seven events are scheduled for the 2014 season, all on Saturday afternoons at 4:30: on August 30th and September 20th there will be pre-concert talks at 3:30.

August 9th: the highly praised Boston Duo in a recital of violin sonatas by Prokofiev, Schumann and Beethoven (the Kreutzer.)

August 23rd: Dancers from Berkshire Pulse, with pianist Doris Stevenson, present “A Program for All Ages” with music from Satie to Gershwin.

August 30th: Musicians of Aston Magna present a rich sampler of baroque vocal and instrumental music, ranging from the depths of unrequited love as portrayed by Monteverdi, via Rameau’s masterful setting of the Orpheus myth to the heights of J. S. Bach’s Chaconne for unaccompanied violin.

September 6th: Carol Wincenc and the Escher String Quartet perform music by Mozart, Haydn and Debussy, and close their recital with a Berkshire premiere, Misericordia for Flute and String Quartet, composed for Ms. Wincenc in 2013 by Yoko Uebayashi.

September 13th: Karen Akers is accompanied by Don Rebic in a program of music from Lincoln Center’s “American Songbook” series, in which Ms. Akers appeared in 2013.

September 20th: The Lydian String Quartet will perform quartets by Schubert, Ravel and Shostakovich.

September 27th: Award Winning Authors, hosted by Mitchel Levitas, with Roy Blount Jr., Paul Auster, Siri Hustvedt and documentary filmmaker Ellen Weissbrod.

The acoustic is not the only thing that is generous; given the distinguished roster of artists, ticket prices are amazingly low, thanks to the sponsorship of the Massachusetts Cultural Council and the New Marlborough Village Association.

For more information or to buy tickets, go to www.newmarlborough.org.

About Keith Francis

Keith Francis was born in Bury St. Edmunds, England and educated at Cambridge University, where he specialized in atomic physics and was a cantor in his college chapel. He worked as an engineer at Bristol Aircraft before joining the faculty of the Crypt School, Gloucester, where he taught physics for six years. He came to this country in 1964 and was on the faculty of the Rudolf Steiner School in Manhattan for 31 years, starting as a teacher of science and mathematics, but soon taking on the responsibilities of Choral Director and teacher of music history. Since his retirement he has written several novels, a memoir, The Education of a Waldorf Teacher, and a history of atomic science, and has founded and led the Fifteenth Street Singers for the past eight years. His recent essays and lectures can be found at southerncrossreview.org.

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