The highlights of the cultural weekend in our region include cutting edge dance; 19th century music; early 20th century opera; new music; avant-garde music; Indian classical music … plus a whole lot more.
An unprecedented quartet of creative talents, including legendary dancer Wendy Whelan, world-renowned cutting-edge cellist Maya Beiser, Pulitzer Prize-winning composer David Lang, and groundbreaking postmodern dance artist Lucinda Childs team up for the highly-anticipated world premiere of THE DAY, a multidisciplinary work exploring memory, life’s journey, resilience, and survival of the soul through the shared language of music and dance, at Jacob’s Pillow in Becket, tonight through Sunday. THE DAY was conceived by Maya Beiser – an original member of Bang On a Can All-Stars -- as an extension of Bang on a Can cofounder David Lang’s compositions “the day” and “world to come,” which he created in response to the tragic events of September 11, 2001.
Speaking of Bang on a Can, the new-music collective ties up its annual summer residency at MASS MoCA in North Adams with its LOUD Weekend, running today through Sunday. The LOUD weekend is a veritable festival of new and experimental music, featuring performances by the superterrestrial Sun Ra Arkestra; Contact's performance of Brian Eno's seminal album “Discreet Music”; a live film screening and performance of Philip Glass' acclaimed score for the 1931 movie version of “Dracula”; a performance of Pauline Oliveros' sonic meditations; Horse Lords' crazy rhythmic glitches; Ben Frost’s visceral and maniacal Music for 6 Guitars featuring Daniel Reimer, Dither Guitar Quartet, and brass sextet; composer-singer Pamela Z’s unique blend of operatic bel canto and live digital looping; and Bang on a Can All-Stars performing “Field Recordings,” a major multi-media concert of endless ambient textures, film, and electro-acoustic forays into the future. In sum, a veritable weekend-long marathon of the avant-garde.
Speaking of the avant-garde, on Sunday evening at Tanglewood in Lenox, the brand-new Tanglewood Learning Institute plays host to “John Cage Film and Song Books Selections.” This unconventional, immersive evening of promenade music, theater, and film, focusing on experimental composer John Cage, is curated by soprano Tony Arnold and pianist Stephen Drury and features Tanglewood Music Center Fellows from a variety of disciplines. Cage’s Song Books are a collection of 90 solos for voice, voice with electronics, and theatrical action with and without electronics. Selected songs will be combined with film excerpts associated with Cage and his music.
If 19th century music is your thing, you are in luck. The Aston Magna music festival brings works by Schubert and Beethoven to the Hudson Area Library tonight at 7:30 and to St. James Place in Great Barrington tomorrow at 6. If early 20th century music is your thing, Bard SummerScape presents the American premiere of Erich Wolfgang Korngold's timely 1927 opera, “The Miracle of Heliane.” The story takes place in an unnamed totalitarian state, where an erotic triangle develops between a ruthless despot, his beautiful wife, Heliane, who does not love him; and a young, messianic Stranger.
Also this weekend, beloved folk-gospel a cappella quartet Sweet Honey in the Rock performs at the Mahaiwe in Great Barrington on Saturday at 8pm. Ephrat Asherie kicks off the Chatham Dance Festival at PS21 in Chatham, N.Y., tonight and tomorrow night at 8pm with its Brazilian-flavored program, “Odeon.” And attention all Ravi Shankar fans: Sitar virtuoso Ustad Shafaat Khan brings a selection of Indian Classical music to the Bridge Street Theatre in Catskill, N.Y., tonight at 7:30pm.
Seth Rogovoy is editor of Berkishire Daily and the Rogovoy Report, available at rogovoyreport.com