The cultural highlights in our region this weekend include a Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter, new and modern art, 19th century French music, a salute to 20th century composer Leonard Bernstein, and a whole lot more.
Everyone knows the song “Don’t Know Why.” It was the song that launched Norah Jones into the stratosphere. A huge hit that even won three Grammy Awards. But what a lot of people don’t know is that, while Norah Jones writes most of her songs, she didn’t write that one. “Don’t Know Why” was the work of another singer-songwriter named Jesse Harris. He’s written songs for a whole host of other artists, including Melody Gardot, Rebecca Martin, Madeleine Peyroux, Nikki Yanofsky, and Lizz Wright. But he also performs his own work, and he brings his band to the Barn at the Egremont Village Inn in South Egremont, Mass., on Saturday at 8pm.
There has long been a tradition of paintings at night – think of van Gogh’s “Starry Night,” Henri Rousseau's The Sleeping Gypsy, and Edward Hopper's “Nighthawks,” to name just three of the most famous. A new exhibition featuring contemporary paintings of night by a diverse group of over a dozen contemporary artists called “The Lure of the Dark: Contemporary Painters Conjure the Night” is on view at MASS MoCA in North Adams, with a member’s opening reception on Saturday, at 5:30pm.
Works by Lili Boulanger and Claude Debussy, plus Nadia Boulanger and Maurice Ravel, will be showcased in a concert of early 20th-century French music at Van Buren Hall in Kinderhook, N.Y., on Saturday, at 4pm, as part of the Concerts in the Village series. The exceptionally precocious Lili Boulanger, who at 19 became the first woman to win the prestigious Grand Prix de Rome, will be represented by eight works, including excerpts from her song cycle Clairières dans le ciel.
A vocal recital will pay tribute to composer and conductor Leonard Bernstein, marking his centennial year, at Hudson Hall in Hudson, N.Y., on Saturday at 7pm. Soprano Arianna Zukerman, baritone Bob McDonald, tenor Vale Rideout, and pianist Joy Schreier will perform works by Bernstein complemented by works by lyricist, collaborator, and friend Stephen Sondheim, as well as a selection of classical vocal works by the likes of Mozart, Handel, Rossini, Bellini, and Bizet. In a special addition to the program, Classics on Hudson artistic director and flutist Eugenia Zukerman will perform Sir Edward Elgar’s “Salut D’Amour.”
A selection of works from the Ellsworth Kelly and Jack Shear Shaker Collection plus iconic Ellsworth Kelly prints from the 1960s through the 1980s, goes on view at Jeff Bailey Gallery in Hudson on Saturday, with a reception from 6 to 8pm. The show, “Line and Curve,” co-presented by Shaker Museum | Mount Lebanon, remains on view through May 13, and features Kelly’s worktable, purchased in 1970 near his Columbia County home and used throughout his life. A rare oval box from his collection is reminiscent of shapes that can be found in Kelly’s prints, as are the simple lines of a three-drawer chest and the curved slats of a chair. This juxtaposition of the curved and the straight is a hallmark of Kelly’s work.
And finally, Grammy Award-winner Peter Schickele, aka PDQ Bach, mixes things up with Beethoven, Mozart, and his original music, joining the Hudson Valley Philharmonic at the Bardavon in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., on Saturday, at 2pm. The concert will include a rendition of PDQ Bach’s Grand Serenade for an Awful Lot of Winds and Percussion.
Seth Rogovoy is editor of Berkishire Daily and the Rogovoy Report, available online at rogovoyreport.com