Bard College at Simon’s Rock South Berkshire Concert Series has been a campus and regional musical mainstay. Organized by music faculty member Larry Wallach, the series brings musicians in a wide variety of musical genres—from classical and contemporary to jazz and music from around the world—to campus every year. While traditionally open to the public, this year the series moved forward with the decision to offer free performances with a suggested $10 donation. The series has always been well attended by year-round Berkshire residents who look to satisfy their musical appetites in the absence Tanglewood. But, Wallach hopes that the move will bring crowds of people that may not have otherwise been able to attend.
This year, the Simon’s Rock Piano Quartet—faculty members Ronald Gorevic, Anne Legêne, and Larry Wallach, plus Eric Martin—opened the 2008/2009 series with a performance that included: W. A. Mozart, Piano Quartet in E-flat, K. 493; Aaron Copland, Trio for violin, cello, and piano, "Vitebsk" (1929); and Gabriel Fauré, Piano Quartet in c minor, op. 15.
Performances will continue on Saturday, October 18, 2008 with a concert by internationally acclaimed and recording Pipa player and vocalist, Min Xiao-Fen, joined by faculty member John Myers on jazz guitar. Min—a soloist with the New York City Opera, the Brooklyn Philharmonic, the vocal ensemble Chanticleer, the San Diego Symphony and the Pacific Symphony Orchestra, among others—has given performances worldwide to critical acclaim. The LA Times wrote, she’s “a mesmerizing performer,” while the New York Times once declared that she “would have stopped the show even without the intermission that followed, with her wildly virtuosic 'Ambush on 10 Sides'.” Min has been featured on Shaolin Ulysses and The Port of Last Resort (both Tzadik), as well as two movie soundtracks composed by John Zorn.
The Lydian String Quartet will visit campus on Saturday, November 16, 2008. The Quartet has recorded twenty CDs of music from Schubert and Brahms through Hyla, Boykan, Ornstein, Wyner and Harbison. Their recording of John Harbison's String Quartet No. 3 and "The Rewaking" was chosen by both the New York Times and the Boston Globe as one of the best recordings of 2001. Their latest recording of the complete string quartets of Vincent Persichetti was the recipient of a Copland Fund grant and was released by Centaur in 2006. The Lydians have concertized extensively throughout the United States at venues such as Lincoln Center, Weill Recital Hall, Jordan Hall, the Library of Congress and the Kennedy Center. Internationally, they have performed in England, France, Italy, Canada, Germany, Switzerland and Russia.
On Saturday, March 28, 2009, the series will conclude with a performance by Frederic Chiu. Chiu has a long recording history with more than 20 CDs on the market. His repertoire includes the complete piano works of Prokofiev as well as popular classics of Chopin, Liszt and others, and lesser known masterpieces of Mendelssohn and Rossini, with a special place for the piano transcription. Many have been singled out, with honors like "Record of the Year" by Stereo Review, "Top 10 recordings" by The New Yorker, and raves from the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times.
For more information about the artists and the upcoming performances, visit www.southberkshireconcerts.org