New Marlborough’s Music & More
Even as hoards of the music enthusiasts descend on Tanglewood, elsewhere, in a quieter corner of Berkshire County, another series of concerts thrives. Over the past 17 years, pianist Harold Lewin, with his series Music & More, has made the historic Meeting House in New Marlborough a favorite destination for lovers of world-class music and lively literary chat.
“The first time I saw this intimate, historic setting, I envisioned concerts that would end before sunset, to allow people to stroll or eat at the adjacent Old Inn on the Green,” Lewin says. “The acoustics of The Meeting House, the beauty of the area, just seemed to lend themselves to something like this.” Lewin, a pianist, who at the time was a professor at the Manhattan School of Music, got the ball rolling with a benefit concert at the Meeting House in 1991. The following season, he launched Music & More, which has grown steadily ever since.
The 2008 Music & More season debuts this Saturday, at the inspired hour of 4:30 in the afternoon, with a traditionally spontaneous, not to say raucous, round-table discussion, moderated by poet and playwright Jon Swan. Swan’s guests include poet, lyricist, composer, recording artist and novelist Dory Previn; playwright Joan Ackermann of the Mixed Company Theater; Peter Kane Dufault, whose poems have appeared in The New Yorker, Harper’s, Atlantic Monthly and other magazines over the past 50 years; Helen Klein Ross, whose essays have appeared in The New York Times; physician and writer Charlie Parton, and artists Sanjiban Sellew and Samantha Twing. For a change of pace, next up, on August 23, is Lon Chaney’s classic silent film, Phantom of the Opera, with live accompaniment by Ben Model, the silent-film pianist for the Museum of Modern Art.
In September the music builds with a performance on the 13th by the acclaimed Shanghai String Quartet, playing Schubert, Zhou Long, Samuel Barber and Ravel. Later in the month, an ensemble of noted musicians joins forces with actors Eric Hill and Ariel Bock in a program that mixes the music of Schumann and Brahms with readings from letters that chronicle the dramatic relationship between the two composers and Schumann’s wife Clara. Then the Boston-based pianist Jung-Ja Kim comes to New Marlborough to perform Beethoven, Chopin, Brahms, Rachmaninov and Ravel,and so on, into October.
Scheduling discussions and concerts for an hour that permits those who attend to have dinner after at their usual time is both a stroke of genius and an act of mercy. That Harold Lewin has been rewarded by the restaurant next to his apparently heaven-sent venue becoming one of the finest in our region is just— to say nothing of a great stroke of luck for us all.
Music & More at The Meeting House
154 Hartsville-New Marlborough Road, New Marlborough; 413.229.2785
Film night $20; $15/members
Shanghai String Quartet $30; $25/members
All other events: $25; $20/members