The highlights of the cultural weekend in our region include cutting-edge dance; 19th century music; American opera; new music; folk music, early music…plus a whole lot more.
For the last decade, choreographer and former Batsheva dancer Andrea Miller has been making some of the most intriguing, human, and humane dances, for a superstar lineup of modern dance companies, including Martha Graham and Kyle Abraham, as well as for her own Brooklyn-based dance ensemble, Gallim. Her program at Jacob’s Pillow this weekend – her first on the Ted Shawn mainstage – includes the world premiere of the Pillow-commissioned true, very, alongside other works, including the all-too-timely Boat, dedicated to immigrants and their perseverance in the face of oppression.
On Saturday at 8 p.m. in North Adams, Laurie Anderson brings Lou Reed Drones to MASS MoCA. Anderson’s drone-based sonic experiment, using guitars from her late husband Lou Reed‘s collection, is curated by Reed’s former guitar technician, Stewart Hurwood, who places the instruments in an arrangement against a group of amplifiers so that their tuned feedback creates an enveloping drone of harmonics that shifts and changes, depending on the audience location. A number of years back, when Lou Reed was still alive, I saw a similar live version of this experiment, featuring Reed, Laurie Anderson, and John Zorn playing a mind-blowing drone-fest at the Montreal International Jazz Festival, a concert I will never forget.
It’s a good bet that when most people think about Tanglewood, they either think about classical music performed by the Boston Symphony Orchestra or special pop concert events by the likes of James Taylor, Melissa Etheridge, Earth, Wind and Fire, Train, and Reba McEntire. There is another mini-festival within the Tanglewood music festival each summer, and that is the annual Festival of Contemporary Music, which runs tonight through Monday. This year’s festival features new and recent compositions by the likes of Michael Gandolfi, Thomas Ades, Erika Fox, Hilda Paredes, Andrew Hamilton, Richard Ayres, Zoe Martlew, and Steve Reich, performed by fellows from the Tanglewood Music Center.
It’s a busy weekend at the Mahaiwe in Great Barrington, Mass., starting tonight with humorist David Sedaris holding forth in his singular, quirky fashion. Saturday night, comedian John Mulaney will have the audience in stitches at the annual Mahaiwe gala concert, and Sunday evening, Tony Award-winning tap dancer and choreographer Savion Glover will present a new show created in collaboration with the percussion group OUT’KNiGHTz.
Jazz fans take heart – Sunday at 4 p.m. at Hudson Hall, pianist Armen Donelian and saxophonist Marc Mommaas’ immersive Hudson Jazz Workshop culminates with a concert featuring renowned saxophonist Billy Drewes, who with Donelian and Mommaas alongside an international lineup of workshop musicians will perform original new works created during the workshop process.
And folk fans are in luck. Singer-songwriter Martha Scanlan, accompanied by virtuosic guitarist Jon Neufeld, will perform at a special matinee in Phoenicia’s Flying Cat Music series at the United Methodist Church on Sunday at 3 p.m. With her distinctive soprano and cinematic lyrics, Scanlan is no stranger to Ulster County -- she recorded her acclaimed debut solo album, The West Was Burning, at Levon Helm’s Barn studio in Woodstock. Scanlan has toured the world and appeared on NPR’s World Café and Mountain Stage and also at Merlefest.
Seth Rogovoy is editor of Berkishire Daily and the Rogovoy Report, available at rogovoyreport.com