two major classical-music turnoffs of the present age seem
to be the lack of relevance most of the music enjoys, and
the sterile environs in which it’s typically presented.
Cellist Matt Haimovitz, who won early acclaim as a prodigy,
eases into his 30s with an antidote to both of those problems:
Get it out of the stuffy concert hall and the music will
speak for itself.
On Wednesday, he begins his latest Listening Room Tour at
Great Barrington’s Club Helsinki, where his program features
the first three (of six) suites for solo cello by Bach.
Quite a switch for an artist whose previous Berkshires gigs
have been at Tanglewood.
Haimovitz studied with legendary cellist Leonard Rose, whom
he replaced at short notice to play the Schubert String
Quintet in C Major at Carnegie Hall (with no less a
contingent than Isaac Stern, Mstislav Rostropovich, Shlomo
Mintz, and Pinchas Zukerman)—and this was when Haimovitz
was 13! He has gone on to perform and record with the major
orchestras for the major labels, but always with a sense
of the grassroots nature of musical communication tugging
A champion of contemporary works, he has performed and recorded
much of the 20th-century cello literature. But the Bach
suites are a bulwark of cello literature, and Haimovitz
decided to champion not only the works themselves, but also
their accessibility, by distributing his indie-label recording
of them in unusual retail venues, and performing them in
places where you’d otherwise expect to hear blues and folk
and the like. (The recording has been nominated for an Indie
Award by the Association for Independent Music, and won
a Just Plain Folks Award for Best Classical Recording of
Not only is Haimovitz introducing the works to new audiences,
he’s also bringing his own audience into the comfort of
these venues. As the Boston Globe observed, it’s
“by all accounts the first time a classical musician of
stature has ventured outside the hallowed halls of conventional
concert venues on a national scale.”
The current tour will wind through the Midwest (he’ll share
a stage with Dar Williams in Madison, Wis.) before he hits
England next month; he continues in October to tour the
western United States before finishing back in Massachusetts.
Matt Haimovitz will perform at 8:30 PM Wednesday (Aug. 21)
at Club Helsinki, 284 Main St., Great Barrington, Mass.
Tickets are $18 in advance and $20 at the door, and may
be reserved by calling the club at (413) 528-3394.
as part of the Dionondehowa Wildlife Sanctuary and School’s
series of Outdoor Dances in Beautiful Places, choreographer
Joanna Brotman’s Rock/River/Snake, which will be
performed Sunday, celebrates the Battenkill River and, as
she explains it, “explores the metaphor for change inherent
in its flowing waters.” (The sanctuary’s land runs along
the Battenkill for nearly a mile.) Brotman is particularly
interested in “how the natural world offers a model for
acceptance, release and deepening of experience.”
The idea of this outdoor dance series is to present nature-oriented
choreography in context; in this case, the performance will
take place on sanctuary land with a view across the Battenkill
to the Taconic Mountain range. Along with Rock/River/Snake
on Sunday, choreographer Laura Gates Carlson will present
Water Dance, and Barbara Roan will offer Serpent
Song. The performers are a mix of 12 professional and
amateur dancers from the community.
will be performed on Sunday (Aug. 18) at 2 PM at the Dionondehowa
Wildlife Sanctuary and School, 148 Stanton Road, near Shushan.
The rain date is Wednesday (Aug. 21) at 6 PM. Bring blankets
and lawn chairs. Suggested donation $7. Call 677-7764 for
more information and directions.
upon a time, Lackawanna was a rough and tumble little factory
town just south of Buffalo, on the shores of Lake Erie.
Bethlehem Steel employed thousands of workers there and
belched smoke 24 hours a day. This grubby prosperity was
a magnet for all kinds of folks, including Southern blacks
looking for a better life. Some of those who didn’t find
that life were lucky enough to find themselves in one of
the boardinghouses run by Rachel Crosby, a woman of moral
strength and tender kindness. Both Crosby and her corner
of Lackawanna are brought to vivid life in Ruben Santiago-Hudson’s
one man play, Lackawanna Blues, opening this Wednesday
at the Williamstown Theatre Festival.
Taken in and raised by the woman he called “Nanny” Crosby
when his own family fell apart, Santiago- Hudson was one
of many who were watched over by her careful eye and helped
by her humanity and kindness. He portrays Crosby, and more
than 20 other characters, with a clarity and force that
has earned him comparisons with renowned monologist Anna
Deavere Smith (Twilight: Los Angeles 1992). With
sharp humor and deep empathy, he introduces us to the damaged
veterans, battered women, slick schemers and working people
that made up his childhood world. With blues guitarist Bill
Sims Jr. adding an atmospheric musical background, Santiago-Hudson
performs on a spare set (designed by Myung Hee Cho), using
Santiago-Hudson, who has won both Tony and OBIE awards for
his acting, has crafted a play critics have described as
free of ego and artifice; it can’t be a coincidence that
Lackawanna Blues has the honor of being the first
one-man show to be presented on the Williamstown Theatre
Festival’s main stage.
Blues will be staged Wednesday (Aug. 21) through Friday
(Aug. 23) at 8 PM in the Adams Memorial Theatre, Williams
College, Route 2, Williamstown, Mass. There will be a matinee
on Sunday (Aug. 25), at 2 PM. Tickets are $20-$45. For more
information or to reserve tickets, call (413) 597-3399,
or go to www.WTFestival.org.