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Rogovoy Report for May 1, 2015

The cultural highlights this weekend in the greater region include a string quartet, an English comedienne, an unprecedented art exhibition, and a concert by a hometown hero.

Do you think classical music is stuffy and only for old farts? Well, you're partially right. That's often the way it is presented. But Phil Kline is on hand to correct that misconception once and for all. Critically acclaimed new-music composer and all-around Renaissance man Phil Kline will survey the classical music scene from a composer’s viewpoint, looking at and listening to a wide variety of music written in the last few years, in “Unsilent Composer,” a presentation in The Stables at The Mount in Lenox, on Sunday, at 2pm, as part of the Close Encounters With Music “Conversations With…” series. Kline, also a post-punk guitarist, lyricist, performance artist and the inventor of crowd-performed boombox concerts, is perfectly positioned to take stock of the huge influx of very active young composers, and how all of this is affecting orchestras and music presenters in a kind of “composer’s field guide to the most defining works of the 20th and 21st centuries, answering what endures and what’s changing in classical music.

Speaking of classical music, the Larchmere String Quartet will perform works by Haydn, Brahms and Ligeti in Brooks-Rogers Recital Hall on the Williams College campus on Saturday, at 8pm, in a concert that is free and open to the public. The quartet presents a program from Classical, Modern, and Romantic eras. They open the program with the String Quartet in B flat Major op. 76 no. 4 "Sunrise" by Joseph Haydn, followed by string Quartet no. 1 "Métamorphoses nocturnes" by GyörgyLigeti, and finish with the string Quartet in C Minor op. 51 no. 1 by Johannes Brahms.

Comedienne and bestselling author Alison Larkin will perform a sneak preview of her new show, Alison Larkin LIVE!, at the Mahaiwe in Great Barrington on Saturday at 7pm. Amongst other things, Larkin – author of “The English American” - will talk about her adoption and reunion with her birth mother, England, America, life in the Berkshires, parenting and how to brew the perfect cup of tea.

The much-heralded exhibition “River Crossings: Contemporary Art Comes Home,” a landmark collaborative exhibition of contemporary art at the Thomas Cole National Historic Site in Catskill and Olana in Hudsonm highlighting the pivotal role that the two historic properties – and the artists who lived and worked there – played in shaping America’s culture of contemporary art, opens on Sunday, and runs through November 1. The artists whose work is included in the exhibition – curated by artist Stephen Hannock – include Chuck Close, Will Cotton, Gregory Crewdson, Lynn Davis, Don Gummer, Duncan Hannah, Stephen Hannock, Maya Lin, Frank Moore, Rashaad Newsome, Cindy Sherman, Sienna Shields, Kiki Smith, Letha Wilson, and Elyn Zimmerman, in addition to selected complementary work by Thomas Cole and Frederic Church from the permanent collections.

Sean Rowe, a Troy, N.Y. native and lifelong naturalist, brings his gritty style of singer-songwriter folk-rock to Club Helsinki Hudson tonight at 9pm. A throwback to 1970s-era soulful rock poets like Leonard Cohen, Bruce Springsteen and Van Morrison, with a hint of punk-rock energy, Rowe boasts an impossibly deep and rich baritone, a gift for melody, and a knack for the perfectly hewn image to get across his haunting, brooding, bluesy folk-rock anthems.

Seth Rogovoy is editor of Berkshire Daily and the Rogovoy Report, available online at rogovoyreport.com