music western mass

REVIEW: Tanglewood, Bach, Yo-Yo Ma

Imagine playing a musical instrument alone for two and a half hours straight without an intermission, in front of thousands of people. A feat of stamina -- physically, mentally, and emotionally. Who was up for this? Yo-Yo Ma of course. This night was a part of Ma’s “Bach Project,” performing Johann Sebastian Bach’s six suites for solo cello in one sitting in 36 locations around the world.

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REVIEW: Tanglewood, Beethoven, Yo-Yo Ma

The lawn filled up early on a mid-summer Tuesday evening at Seiji Ozawa Hall. The audience anticipated  Yo-Yo Ma in an all-Beethoven piano trio program. Guest artists included Ma, world re-known pianist Emanuel Ax, and a violinist with tremendous accolades, Leonidas Kavakos. A hush fell over the lawn when the three performers walked on stage. Ma, Ax, and Kavakos were surrounded by a full house, audience on all four sides including a balcony, the lawn completing the fourth side.

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REVIEW: Jacob’s Pillow, Paul Taylor Dance Company & Caleb Teigher & Co.

Every Sunday afternoon at Jacob’s Pillow, aficionados have the choice between two performances. This Sunday in late July, the Paul Taylor Dance Company performed in the Ted Shawn Theatre. This was part of the Paul Taylor Legacy Tour, in honor of his passing in August 2018. This tour includes a performance of all Taylor works, one of his earliest works, one of his latest works, and one of his greatest works.

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REVIEW: Aston Magna Music Festival: Pachelbel/Vivaldi/Bach/Villa Lobos

This beautiful July evening at Aston Magna showcased virtuosic soloists against a varying chamber baroque orchestra. The orchestra included a mix of period instruments that changed throughout the program -- violins, viola, bass, harpsichord, flute, and cello. Though it’s not common to hear Baroque music performed with unique period instruments, this has been Aston Magna’s specialty for decades. Saint James Place with its vaulted ceiling and cushioned pews provided an ideal intimate setting for this concert.

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REVIEW: Tanglewood, Boston Pops

The audience received a rare treat on this special afternoon at Tanglewood. Not only did they hear a full concert of John Williams’ most iconic pieces, but Williams himself conducted the second half of the concert.

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REVIEW: Jacob’s Pillow, Compagnie CNDC-Angers

In celebration of the centennial of birth of Merce Cunningham (d. 2009), Cunningham’s works will be performed around the world this summer, and Compagnie CNDC-Angers performed their Jacob’s Pillow debut. The artistic director, Robert Swinton, was a student at Jacob’s Pillow in 1971 and a dancer with the Merc Cunningham Company at its final performance at Jacob’s Pillow in 2009.

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REVIEW: Jacob’s Pillow, Ballet BC

On the opening week of Jacob’s Pillow’s 87th season, Ballet BC, an internationally acclaimed collaborative and creation-based contemporary ballet company, did not disappoint. Ballet BC danced three distinctive pieces all delivered with precision and grace.

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