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PREVIEW: Close Encounters with Music celebrates the coffee houses of Vienna, the ‘City of Song,’ on May 19

The program will feature a cross-section of Viennese musical modes—from operetta to waltz to the café music of Fritz Kreisler.

Great Barrington — Mozart and Beethoven are known to have performed table music for dinner guests at the oldest coffeehouse in Vienna, Café Frauenhuber. A hundred years after that, Café Central became the preferred meeting place for Viennese intellectuals like Theodor Herzl, Leon Trotsky, and Sigmund Freud. Even Stalin and Hitler were patrons. And on Sunday, May 19, the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center will be the preferred meeting place for patrons of Close Encounters with Music (CEWM), as CEWM Artistic Director and cellist Yehuda Hanani, pianist Ieva Jokubaviciute, violinist Xiao-Dong Wang, and contralto Emily Marvosh perform a cross-section of Viennese music from Mozart, Schubert, Beethoven, Brahms, Strauss, Mahler, and Korngold, with a special focus on café music, in particular, that of Fritz Kreisler, “Caprice Viennois.”

Café Frauenhuber. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Known internationally for her ability to communicate the essential substance of a work, Lithuanian pianist Ieva Jokubaviciute has been a reliable CEWM collaborator since at least 2017. She appears regularly at such music festivals as Marlboro, Ravinia, Bard, Caramoor, Prussia Cove in England, and Festival de la musique de chambre at La Lointaine in France. Her performances have attracted critical recognition throughout North America and Europe, The Washington Post writing, “Jokubaviciute approaches the piano with attentive precision—every note, keyed or otherwise, placed within the instrument’s resonance for maximum clarity—combined with a provocative, febrile intelligence.”

The New York Times called her “an artist of commanding technique, refined temperament and persuasive insight.”

The Philadelphia Inquirer wrote: “However impressive Jokubaviciute’s fingers were in the music’s execution, it is her brain that is most entrancing.”

In 2006, she was honored as a recipient of a Borletti-Buitoni Trust Fellowship. Her 2010 debut recording on Labor Records brought recital bookings in New York; Chicago; Philadelphia; Baltimore; Washington, D.C.; Vilnius; and Toulouse. She formed Trio Cavatina with violinist Harumi Rhodes and cellist Priscilla Lee in 2005 at the Marlboro Music Festival in Vermont, and in 2009 the group won the 2009 Naumburg International Chamber Music Competition. In 2014, she released “Returning Paths,” an album of solo piano works by Janacek and Suk, and in 2021 she released “Northscapes.”

A member of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, violinist Xiao-Dong Wang began violin studies at age three with his father, concertmaster of the Shanghai Symphony. He entered the Shanghai Conservatory of Music at the age of 10 and won First Prize in the Menuhin International Violin Competition at age 13 and First Prize in the Wieniawski-Lipinski International Violin Competition at 15. A four-year scholarship at the Juilliard School followed, where he studied with Dorothy DeLay and Hyo Kang. Mr. Wang has performed with such orchestras as the Royal Philharmonic in London; the London Mozart Players; Adelaide, Perth, and Queensland Symphony Orchestras; and Sydney Opera Orchestra and was resident soloist of the Shanghai Symphony for the 2012–2013 Season. Playing both violin and viola, he has performed in chamber music concerts at Lincoln Center, Kennedy Center, Aspen, Ravinia, and at various festivals. As artistic director and founding member of the chamber music group Concertante, Mr. Wang has performed and recorded with many prominent chamber musicians. His recording credits include the Bartok Concerto No. 2 and Szymanowski Concerto No. 1 with the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra for Polygram Records.

Contralto Emily Marvosh will be known to many CEWM patrons as a member of the Lorelei Ensemble, with whom she has collaborated on projects with composers David Lang and Julia Wolfe; the Boston Modern Orchestra Project; A Far Cry; Duke Performances; and symphony orchestras in Boston, Chicago, Nashville, and San Francisco. As a soloist, Emily has appeared with the Handel and Haydn Society, Boston Symphony Orchestra, Rhode Island Philharmonic, Charlotte Symphony, Huntsville Symphony Orchestra, Tucson Symphony Orchestra, and John Davenant’s Macbeth with the Henry Purcell Society of Boston. Awards include the Adams Fellowship at the Carmel Bach Festival, the American Prize in the Oratorio and Art Song divisions, and second place in the New England Regional NATSAA competition. Emily would like to be known as a singing actress.

Cellist and CEWM Artistic Director Yehuda Hanani has performed with such orchestras as the Chicago Symphony, Philadelphia Orchestra, Baltimore Symphony, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, Berlin Radio Orchestra, and Israel Philharmonic. He has performed at Aspen, Chautauqua, Marlboro, and Grand Canyon festivals; Finland Festival; and Great Wall (China), Leicester (England), Ottawa, Prades (France), Oslo, and Australia Chamber Music festivals. He has collaborated with such renowned musicians as Leon Fleisher; Aaron Copland; Christoph Eschenbach; Itzhak Perlman; Dawn Upshaw; Shlomo Mintz; Jeremy Denk; Yefim Bronfman; Eliot Fisk; and the Tokyo, Vermeer, Muir, Escher, Dover, Avalon, and Manhattan quartets, as well as members of the Cleveland, Juilliard, Borromeo, and Emerson.

A reception on the Mahaiwe stage follows Sunday’s concert. You are invited to meet the musicians and enjoy a light repast from Authentic Eats by Ukrainian chef Oleg.

Hear pianist Ieva Jokubaviciute, violinist Xiao-Dong Wang, contralto Emily Marvosh, and cellist Yehuda Hanani performing a cross-section of Vienna-themed music on Sunday, May 19, 4 p.m., at the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center, 14 Castle Street, Great Barrington, MA. Tickets are available here or by calling (413) 528-0100.

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