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A Unique Opportunity to Hear Cellist Peter Wispelwey and Pianist Lois Shapiro Perform the Complete Beethoven Cello Sonatas

September 21, 2011

Contact: Alice Myers
Events Editor and Publicist
Bard College at Simon’s Rock

GREAT BARRINGTON, MA—On Sunday, October 2, 2011 at 3:00 p.m., the South Berkshire Concert Series will present the complete Beethoven Cello Sonatas, performed by cellist Pieter Wispelwey and pianist Lois Shapiro. This concert will take place in the McConnell Theater in the Daniel Arts Center, Bard College at Simon's Rock. A pre-concert conversation will take place at 1:45 p.m., and admission is a suggested donation of $10.

"Pieter Wispelwey is not only one of the world's great cellists," said Larry Wallach, Director of the South Berkshire Concert Series. "He is also the rare example of a musician whose reputation initially rested on thrilling performances based on historical performance information and historical instrument set-up which then expanded into mainstream repertory in equally thrilling performances with the world's leading ensembles." Mr. Wispelwey earned cheers and a standing ovation two years ago at the Boston Early Music Festival when he performed Beethoven with fortepianist Kristian Bezuidenhout using a cello set up in 18th century fashion.

At Simon's Rock College, he will be accompanied by a modern Hamburg Steinway played by a pianist who is also very conscious of historical performing style but is conversant with the entire keyboard literature: Lois Shapiro. Dr. Wallach explained, "The conjunction of these two remarkably versatile and knowledgeable performers should offer an unparalleled opportunity to experience Beethoven with all the benefits of both historical and modern performance driven by peerless musicianship and intelligence."

Mr. Wispelwey performed the complete Beethoven Cello Sonatas at the Lincoln Center in 2006 and at the Seoul Arts Center in 2008, to much critical acclaim. In describing the Lincoln Center performance, New York Times critic Anthony Tommasini noted that "Mr Wispelwey's playing was full of vivid contrasts. One moment he shaped plaintive lyrical lines with almost no vibrato; the next he dug into the strings, producing gritty sounds, incisive attacks and blurry outbursts of energy. Yet every gesture seemed driven by musical insight." Sung-Hyun Kim of the Chosun Daily called Mr. Wispelwey's concert in Seoul, a "heart-warming ‘cello marathon’ complete with the performer’s grasp over the score, a certain characteristic in playing a modern and Baroque instrument, and sincerity towards the audience and fans present at the concert."

Lois Shapiro has performed as a soloist and chamber musician throughout the United States and abroad. She is part of the trio Triple Helix, which has performed at Simon's Rock College three times. Her CD with cellist Rhonda Rider was chosen by the Boston Globe as “One of the Best Recordings of 1996.” Richard Dyer, of the Boston Globe, described Ms. Shapiro's unique artistic qualities in the following way: " She is a wonderful artist and a dangerous person to work with... What makes her dangerous is her imagination and her insight; these lead her directly into what is most interesting about the music. And her technical resources are such that she is able to do exactly what her imagination and insight intend... Shapiro has the great gift of making everything she does sound inevitable even when it is surprising."

The college's South Berkshire Concert Series has brought extraordinary musical experiences to the community for the past thirty-five years. For more information, call 413-528-7212.

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Bard College at Simon’s Rock ( has been a leader in the early college movement for more than 40 years and continues to distinguish itself as the only residential college in the country specifically designed to provide bright, highly motivated students with the opportunity to begin college immediately after the 10th or 11th grade. At Simon’s Rock, students experience a transformative education in the liberal arts and sciences in the company of smart, independent, creative peers who share their excitement about learning and their desire to be part of a vibrant intellectual community. Students who successfully complete the requirements receive the Associate in Arts (AA) degree after two years of study and the Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree after four.