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Walter H. Scott
Leonard Bernstein at Tanglewood in 1981.

Bits & Bytes: Bernstein piano recital; ‘Opera as Opera’; barbershop quartet concert

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By Thursday, Aug 2, 2018 Life In the Berkshires

Lenox Library to recreate Bernstein piano recital

Image courtesy Lenox Library

Lenox — On Friday, Aug. 3, at 2:30 p.m., the Lenox Library will recreate a concert given 75 years ago by a then-25-year-old Leonard Bernstein.

In the midst of World War II, the Berkshire Symphonic Festival at Tanglewood had been cancelled due to gas rationing. After consulting with Lenox Library head librarian Irene Poirier, Maestro Serge Koussevitzky organized a series of lectures and recitals in the library’s Sedgwick Hall. Among the musicians asked to perform was Leonard Bernstein, a 25-year-old protege of Koussevitzky.  Three years after his attendance in the inaugural class of the Berkshire Music Center, Bernstein had already gained acclaim as an accomplished pianist. This may have been his career path but, shortly after the series concluded in Lenox, he would be named assistant conductor of the New York Philharmonic.

Bernstein’s program of Bach, Copland, Chopin and Liszt will be recreated by three pianists: Anna Arazi and Haeshin Shin, who received doctoral degrees from Boston University in 2015 and 2018 respectively; and BU piano professor Boaz Sharon. Arazi will perform the Chromatic Fantasy and Fugue by J.S. Bach; the Four Mazurkas, Op. 24, and the Nocturne in F# minor by Frederic Chopin; and the Hungarian Rhapsody, No. 13 by Franz Liszt. Shin will perform the Piano Sonata by Aaron Copland. Though not listed in the original program, a review of the concert indicated that, for an encore, Bernstein played “a shot of boogie-woogie.” The honors for this section fall to Sharon, who is also the director of the Young Artists Piano Program at the Boston University Tanglewood Institute.

This concert is free and open to the public. For more information, contact the Lenox Library at (413) 637-0197.


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‘Opera as Opera: The State of the Art’ book reading and signing

Conrad L. Osborne. Photo: Ralph Hammann

Williamstown — The Williams College Bookstore will host author Conrad L. Osborne in a reading and book signing for his newest publication, “Opera as Opera: The State of the Art” Saturday, Aug. 4, at 6:30 p.m.

“Opera as Opera,” a comprehensive and provocative analysis of today’s opera scene, informs the public of opera’s current artistic predicament. The book draws on performances encountered over an 18-year period to first analyze styles and techniques of production, and then to trace the developments in the performing disciplines of conducting, singing and acting that have loosened the connection to the canon. In a central section, it also surveys the more general cultural background, in particular the influence of modern and postmodern philosophy and literary criticism and the turn away from the master narrative which, in the author’s view, was the principal generating force behind opera’s greatest era.

Osborne, the object of a loyal following among serious devotees of opera, started writing for Opera News as a young man, expanding his palette over the years to High Fidelity, Financial Times, Opus, New York Times, Metropolitan Opera guides to opera, Musical America and others. He is also the author of the novel “O Paradiso.” His current observations on today’s opera scene can be found at his blog, Osborne on Opera.

The event is open to the public. For more information, contact the Williams Bookstore at (413) 458-8071 or 0506mgr@follett.com.


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Schenectady County Community College’s Out of Time barbershop Quartet, back row, and Vintage Harmonics. Photo courtesy Camphill Ghent

Camphill Ghent to host barbershop quartet concert

Chatham, N.Y. — Camphill Ghent will host a concert with the award-winning Out of Time barbershop quartet, together with the Vintage Harmonics Saturday, Aug. 4, at 3 p.m.

Schenectady County Community College’s Out of Time barbershop quartet and Vintage Harmonics, a Bobby Pins vocal quartet, have been entertaining audiences in New York State’s Capital Region since 2017. Both groups have been invited to perform for college functions, and have given concerts at Caffe Lena in Saratoga Springs, the Glen Sanders Mansion in Scotia, the WGY studios, and churches and retirement centers in the community. In addition, after intensive rehearsals, musical sessions with a nationally recognized barbershop coach and participation in professional development activities, Out of Time performed for a capacity crowd at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., at the end of May, winning the 2018 VSA International Young Soloists Competition.

The concert is free and open to the public. For more information, contact Camphill Ghent at (518) 392-2760.


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