This week the cultural highlights in the greater Berkshire region include two experimental dance performances; several classical music concerts emphasizing Eastern European sounds; jazz concerts incorporating Afro-Cuban and Armenian flavors; and a whole lot more.
Tonight, the Berkshire Symphony will feature student soloists from Williams College in a free concert of works by Enescu, Bernstein, Rachmaninoff and Dvořák in Chapin Hall at Williams College in Williamstown at 8 p.m.
On Saturday night, choreographer David Neumann will present an evening of solos in the Hunter Center at MASS MoCA in North Adams at 8 p.m. The retrospective evening spans Neumann’s career from his first choreographic endeavor, DOSE, to his current work-in-progress, I Understand Everything Better, which he has been working on while in residence at the cultural laboratory this past week. My sources in the dance world tell me that this is a show not to be missed.
On Sunday afternoon, works by Liszt, Brahms, and Bela Bartók will be featured in “MAGYAR!”, a program of Hungarian- and Gypsy-influenced music, at the Mahaiwe in Great Barrington at 3 p.m., as part of the Close Encounters With Music series of chamber concerts. Musicians will include Roma performer Cosmo Gorcsi, on cimbalom – which is a hammered dulcimer that is the national folk instrument of Hungary – and the concert, which also features clarinet, violin, piano, and cello, will also include traditional folk music of Hungary.
Right next door to the Mahaiwe, also on Sunday afternoon, the Armen Donelian Jazz Trio will play music from its brand-new, critically acclaimed recording, Sayat-Nova: Songs of My Ancestors, in a record release concert mixing jazz and Armenian music at Castle Street Café at 4 p.m. Joining pianist Donelian are bassist David Clark and drummer George Schuller. Donelian’s new album was just awarded an editor’s choice review in Downbeat magazine, the bible of modern jazz.
Tonight, Club Helsinki Hudson will take on the aspect of the Buena Vista Social Club when Afro-Cuban jazz pianist Omar Sosa launches a tour with his New AfroCubano Quartet at 9 p.m. Joining Sosa in the quartet are drummer Ernesto Simpson, bassist Childo Tomas, and saxophonist Leandro Saint-Hill, who also plays flute.
A collaboration between world-renowned choreographer Jonah Bokaer and visual artist Anthony McCall kicks off the 2014 performance season at Basilica Hudson tonight and tomorrow night at 7:30 p.m. Eclipse is a multidisciplinary performance that integrates choreography, light, visual design, and an audio-visual time score that draws the audience into new ways to observe performance.
Looking ahead to next weekend, folk-rock singer-songwriter Ani DiFranco – who along with Bruce Springsteen and David Byrne is one of the greatest entertainers of our time – will perform at the Mahaiwe in Great Barrington on Saturday, May 3, at 8 p.m.
I’m Seth Rogovoy and that’s the Rogovoy Report for this weekend.