High Peaks participant Hannah Sohn and artistic director Yehuda Hanani perform Jean Baptiste Barriere's Sonata for 2 cellos, August 2017. Photo courtesy Berkshire High Peaks Music Festival

11th annual High Peaks Festival goes virtual

Berkshire High Peaks Festival, a brainchild of cellist Yehuda Hanani and Close Encounters with Music, provides gifted young musicians an opportunity to learn from prominent performers, teachers, composers and other music industry professionals — not to mention other students — in an inclusive environment designed to help accomplished young musicians launch their professional careers.

Great Barrington — In years past, the Berkshire High Peaks Festival, a music performance and teaching summer institute affiliated with concert presenters Close Encounters with Music, has stood in the shadow of that other local music festival, the one up the road in Lenox. This year is a bit different. This year you can have your cake and consume it also: With both festivals conducting their events online, it is now possible to take in all the High Peaks offerings as well as Tanglewood’s. (It’s not binge watching — it’s immersion.)

Berkshire High Peaks Festival, a brainchild of cellist Yehuda Hanani and Close Encounters with Music, provides gifted young musicians an opportunity to learn from prominent performers, teachers, composers and other music industry professionals — not to mention other students — in an inclusive environment designed to help accomplished young musicians launch their professional careers. Guest faculty include violinist Peter Zazofsky, First Prize-winner of the Queen Elizabeth of Belgium Competition; Metropolitan Opera soprano Danielle Talamantes; and opera director and conductor Jay Lesenger, who directed John Corigliano’s “Ghosts of Versailles” last summer at Glimmerglass Opera in Cooperstown. More than 40 international students will participate in this summer’s virtual festival. The festival’s theme this year is “Encountering Beethoven.”

Here is the full schedule of this summer’s Berkshire High Peaks Festival:

Monday, July 20
11 a.m.: Alexander Shtarkman, “32 Piano Sonatas — Beethoven Journey”
7:30 p.m.: Francis Morris, “The Mystique of Cremona — and How to Care for Your String Instrument”

Tuesday, July 21
11 a.m.: Joan Tower, “Composing in the 21st Century — Where to Now? or “Beethoven @250 — Still Dead and Sending Us Messages from the Elysian Fields”
7:30 p.m.: Peter Zazofsky — Violin Masterclass

Wednesday, July 22
11 a.m.: Jay Lesenger — Masterclass for Vocalists, “The Acting Singer”
4 p.m.: Atar Arad — Viola Masterclass and “So You Want to Join a Quartet!”

Thursday, July 23
11 a.m.: Aleba Gartner and Phil Kline, “Trending Now!”
7:30 p.m.: Danielle Talamantes and Kerry Wilkerson — Masterclass for vocalists

Friday, July 24
11 a.m.: Eliot Fisk, “The Segovia Legacy — Five Centuries of the Guitar”
7:30 p.m.: Kivie Cahn-Lipman, “Going for Baroque — In Theory and Practice”

Saturday, July 25
7:30 p.m.: Concert — “Moonlight Sonatas” with faculty, students and alumni

Sunday, July 26
4 p.m.: Garen Tolkin, “Be a Star! Looking Your Best In the Limelight” Part I (with High Peaks participants)
7:30 p.m.: Concert — “Moonlight Sonatas” with faculty, students and alumni

Monday, July 27
11 a.m.: Yehuda Hanani — Cello Masterclass
7:30 p.m.: Walter Ponce, Book Talk, “The Tyranny of Traditions in Piano Teaching — A Critical History from Clementi to the Present”

Tuesday, July 28
4 p.m.: Leah Plave, “The Rediscovery of Dutch Composer Henriette Bosmans”
7:30 p.m.: Garen Tolkin, “Be a Star!  Looking Your Best in the Limelight” Part II (with High Peaks participants)

Wednesday, July 29
11 a.m.: Jeffrey Zeigler, “On the Road with the Kronos Quartet–Adventures in Repertoire” and Masterclass for cellists
7:30 p.m.: Irina Muresanu — Violin Masterclass

Thursday, July 30
11 a.m.: Yehuda Hanani, “Early Morning Thoughts on Bach”
7:30 p.m.: Concert — “Moonlight Sonatas” with faculty, students and alumni

Friday, July 31
11 a.m.: Masterclass for vocalists — Jay Lesenger, Danielle Talamantes, Kerry Wilkerson

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All events of the Berkshire High Peaks Festival are free and open to the public via Zoom or live streamed on YouTube.