Back to Home - Catskill High Peaks Festival Facebook Link Email

The Berkshire High Peaks Festival welcomes some of the most esteemed artists in the performance world today.

Yehuda Hanani
Yehuda Hanani
Cello and Artistic Director
Yehuda Hanani's charismatic playing and profound interpretations bring him acclaim and reengagements across the globe. An extraordinary recitalist, he is equally renowned for performances with orchestras such as the Chicago Symphony, Philadelphia Orchestra, Baltimore Symphony, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, Berlin Radio Orchestra, Israel Philharmonic, BBC Welsh Symphony, Buenos Aires Philharmonic, Honolulu Symphony, Jerusalem Symphony, Lithuanian Chamber Orchestra, Chamber Orchestra Kremlin, and Taipei and Seoul symphonies, among others. He has been a guest at Aspen, Bowdoin, Chautauqua, Marlboro, Yale at Norfolk, Round Top (TX), Great Lakes, and Grand Canyon festivals, Finland Festival, Great Wall (China), Leicester (England), Ottawa, Prades (France), Oslo, and Australia Chamber Music festivals, and has collaborated in performances with preeminent fellow musicians, including Leon Fleisher, Aaron Copland, Christoph Eschenbach, David Robertson, Vladimir Fedoseyev, Itzhak Perlman, Vadim Repin, Dawn Upshaw, Shlomo Mintz, Yefim Bronfman, the Tokyo, Vermeer, Muir, Lark, Avalon, Amernet, and Manhattan quartets, and Cuarteto Latinoamericano, as well as members of the Cleveland, Juilliard, Borromeo, and Emerson. In New York City, Yehuda Hanani has appeared as soloist at Carnegie Hall, the 92nd Street Y, Alice Tully, and the Metropolitan Museum’s Grace Rainey Rodgers Auditorium. His pioneering recording of the monumental Alkan Cello Sonata received a Grand Prix du Disque nomination, and his other discs have won wide recognition. On CD and in live performances, he has premiered works of Nicolai Miaskovsky, Lukas Foss, Leo Ornstein, Joan Tower, Paul Schoenfield, Osvaldo Golijov, Jorge Martín, and Bernard Rands, among other composers. Mr. Hanani has been committed to extending the range of the cello repertoire and to collaborating with performers in many artistic realms, including actors Jane Alexander, Richard Chamberlain and Sigourney Weaver. Professor of Cello at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, he presents masterclasses internationally at conservatories and for orchestras, including the Juilliard School, University of Indiana at Bloomington, New England Conservatory, McGill University, Peabody Conservatory, Paris Conservatoire, Berlin Hochschule für Music, Royal Academy of Music in London, Tokyo National University, Jerusalem Academy of Music, Guildhall School in London, Central Conservatory of Shanghai and Central Conservatory of Beijing, and the New World Symphony in Miami. His engaging chamber music with commentary series, Close Encounters With Music, has captivated audiences from Miami to Kansas City, Omaha, Calgary, Scottsdale, the Berkshires, and at the Frick Collection in New York City. A three-time recipient of the Martha Baird Rockefeller grant, Mr. Hanani’s studies were with Leonard Rose at the Juilliard School and with Pablo Casals. His best-selling recording of the Unaccompanied Bach Suites has become a standard-setter, and of his recent Naxos CD with the National Symphony of Ireland Fanfare Magazine wrote: “Renowned cellist Yehuda Hanani, great virtuoso that he is, handles this with astounding aplomb…This is certainly a splendid release, and should by no means be passed up.” Aimed at outreach for classical music, his weekly program on NPR affiliate station WAMC Northeast Radio, “Classical Music According to Yehuda,” has gained thousands of fans for the direct broadcast and podcast. A recent addition to his concert activities and educational mission is the founding of the High Peaks Festival, a teaching and chamber music festival in Rensselaerville, New York. Soloist, chamber musician, master teacher, essayist, and ambassador for the arts, Yehuda Hanani illuminates and enlightens audiences on the essence of music.

"One of the most polished performers of the post-Starker generation and a consistently expressive artist..."
-- The New York Times

Vincent Beer-Demander, mandolin

Mr. Demander
will be on leave
of absence in 2018

French mandolinist and composer Vincent Beer-Demander has carved out a remarkable career performing on one of the rarer instruments to be heard in concert halls. Born in 1982, he quickly accumulated diplomas and awards (more than ten first prizes) in European competitions. He is a regular collaborator of l'Orchestre National de France, l'Orchestre National de Lyon, l’Orchestre Philharmonique de Monte-Carlo, l’Orchestre National de Toulouse, the Israel Chamber Orchestra, l'Orchestre National de Montpellier, l'Orchestre National de Nice, l’Orchestre Royal de Chambre de Wallonie, l’Orchestre du CNSM de Paris, l'Orchestre Philarmonique de Marseille, l’Opéra de Toulon Provence Méditérranée, l'Opéra National de Paris–Bastille, Romania National Orchestra and Minsk Philharmonic. As a composer, he has produced a vast array of pieces, published by the Oz musical library (Canada), Mundoplectro (Spain) and Trekel (Germany); and his discography, filled with popular and contemporary works, reflects his musical eclecticism. With a degree in ancient instruments, he is a professor at the National Conservatory of Marseille in France and at the Royal Conservatory of Liège in Belgium. He frequently collaborates with such well-known musicians as Pierre Henri Xuereb, Philippe Muller, Patrick Gallois, Emmanuelle Bertrand, Dejan Bogdavovic, Hélène Dautry, Ricardo Sandoval, Fabrice Pierre, Yehuda Hanani and Nana Mouskouri. Composers Vladimir Cosma, Claude Bolling, Francis Lai , Jean Claude Petit, Richard Galliano, Hamilton de Holanda, François Rossé, and Félix Ibbarondo, have dedicated their mandolin concertos to him.

"… His creations reflect his musical versatility and virtuosity. Through a rich repertoire and a renewed vision of the mandolin, it helps to highlight this remarkable instrument."
–François Hollande, Président of the French Republic

"... The greatest mandolin player of the world, that is Vincent Beer-Demander!"
–Vladimir Cosma, composer

Mikael Darmanie
Mikael Darmanie, piano
Mikael Darmanie has performed throughout the United States, Europe, and the Caribbean. As a soloist, he has participated and won prizes in a number of regional and international competitions. Festival appearances have included Pianofest in the Hamptons, Art of Piano Festival, and L'Acadèmie de Musique de Sion (Switzerland). He recently performed in master classes for Leon Fleisher, Paul Schenly, Jean-Yves Thibaudet, Jerome Lowenthal, Joseph Kalichstein, and Menahem Pressler. As a member of the Transverse Trio, he won First Prize in the North Carolina MTNA Chamber Music Competition. He has appeared at the Apple Hill Center for Chamber Music as part of the Apple Hill Fellowship Trio, and on the Taft Museum of Art Chamber Music Series (Cincinnati) with members of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. Since his debut as a conductor with the Carolina Chamber Symphony in 2008, he has performed throughout the U.S., conducting various piano concerti from the keyboard and symphonic works by Bach, Brahms, Beethoven, Haydn and Liszt. An active composer, primarily for piano, he also performs his music. He is currently a doctoral student at SUNY Stony Brook under the guidance of Gilbert Kalish and teaches undergraduate piano and music history and coaches chamber music.

Cellist Paul Dwyer brings to life everything from early music on baroque cello to brand new works by young composers. He has been prize winner of numerous competitions and is the recipient of the Javits Fellowship and Presser Award. He has appeared as soloist and chamber musician at Carnegie Hall, the Metropolitan Museum and the Museum of Modern Art, and has performed with pianist Menahem Pressler, principal players of Apollo’s Fire, and artist-faculty of the Juilliard School and Aspen Music Festival as well as in ensembles such as the Handel & Haydn Society Orchestra, the ACRONYM ensemble and the DSQ. As a Fulbright Fellow, Mr. Dwyer studied privately with Anner Bylsma and Frances-Marie Uitti in Amsterdam. He holds a BM degree from Oberlin Conservatory and a DMA from the University of Michigan and recently completed additional graduate studies in historical performance at Juilliard. His explorations on the cello began as he was growing up in Vienna and Munich where, as a teenager, he co-founded a cello quartet dedicated to heavy metal music.  

Paul Dwyer
Paul Dwyer, cello

Israeli cellist Chagit Glaser made her solo debut at age 14, playing Tchaikovsky Rococo Variations with the Sinfonietta Beersheba. Isaac Stern, who invited her to join him on his 65th birthday gala concert at Carnegie Hall, recognized her talent early on, and she received awards from the America-Israel Cultural Foundation for 20 successive years. Glaser has performed as a soloist with orchestras such as the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra, the Frankfurt Academy of Music Orchestra in Germany and the Fontainebleau Orchestra in France. She has collaborated with artists such as Pinchas Zuckerman, Mark Neikrug, Shlomo Mintz, and Lukas Foss, and has participated in numerous festivals, including the Israel Baroque Festival, the Indian River Festival in Canada, and the Isaac Stern Project for Young Musicians in Israel (Mishkenot Sha'ananim). She has appeared in New York, Boston, Los Angeles, and on major stages around the world including the Kennedy Center, Alte Oper in Frankfurt, and St. Martin in the Fields in London. She was principal cellist and soloist for five years with the Jupiter Symphony Chamber Orchestra in New York under the baton of Jens Nygaard and is regularly called upon to play as a principal cellist in various orchestras. Ms. Glaser began her studies with Shmuel Magen in Jerusalem and Uzi Wiezel in Tel Aviv. At age 16 she came to the U.S. to study with Yehuda Hanani at the Peabody Conservatory. Recognized as a unique talent by the Israeli Army, she did her military service as a musician. After receiving her BM from the Rubin Academy of Music in Tel Aviv, Ms. Glaser moved to New York to pursue studies at the Juilliard School, earning a MM degree in the studios of Zara Nelsova and Harvey Shapiro and continuing post-graduate studies at Mannes. Glaser regularly tours Europe and gives master classes and concerts on Prince Edward Island, Canada; Cultural Crossroads, Cyprus; at the international Chamber Music Festival in Tzfat, Gergiev Festival in Eilat, Kfar Blum Festival, and Cello Festival in Mizra, Israel. She has released a CD of works by contemporary composer Stephen Perillo (Centaur Records) and is often invited to play in the Israel Philharmonic. A former faculty member of the Mannes School, Ms. Glaser is an instructor of cello and chamber music at the Rubin Academy of Music at Tel Aviv University.

Chagit Glaser
Chagit Glaser, cello

DeYeon Kim
DoYeon Kim, cello
A native of South Korea, cellist DoYeon Kim has won first prize in the Adrian Boyer Competition, the 34th Music Education Journal Competition and the Grand Rapids Federation of Musicians Madura Scholarship Competition.  She has performed as a soloist with the Bayview Music Festival Orchestra and Acronym Baroque and has been a guest performer with the chamber series Close Encounters With Music in Great Barrington. International summer festivals have included The Quartet Program, Bowdoin and Aspen. Kim completed her Bachelor’s degree in Cello Performance at the University of Cincinnati in the studio of Yehuda Hanani, a Master of Music degree in Cello Performance at the Eastman School of Music in the studio of Alan Harris and is now pursuing a Doctor of Musical Arts degree at the University of Cincinnati as a teaching assistant. An avid chamber musician, she has worked with members of the Ying, American, Shanghai, Ariel, and Cavani quartets, and is a member of the Dante Deo Trio which was founded at the Eastman School of Music in 2012 and Miclot Production chamber society based in New York City.  She recently made her New York debut at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall as first prize winner of the 2016 American Protege International Strings and Piano Competition.   She has been a scholarship fellow and music coordinator of Catskill High Peaks Music Festival since 2014 and now joins the faculty.
Praised by the Boston Globe as “not just a virtuoso, but an artist,” Romanian violinist Irina Muresanu has won the hearts of audiences and critics alike with her exciting, elegant and heartfelt performances of the classic, romantic and modern repertoire. She achieved early international acclaim as an outstanding young soloist, recitalist and chamber musician winning top prizes in several prestigious international violin competitions including the Montreal, Queen Elizabeth, Pro Musicis, Presser Music Award, and the Arthur Foote Award from the Harvard Musical Association. Recent solo engagements include appearances with the Boston Pops, Miami Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre de la Suisse Romande (Geneva), Syracuse Symphony, Metropolitan Orchestra (Montreal), the Transvaal Philharmonic (Pretoria, S. Africa), Romanian National Orchestra, the Orchestre de la Radio Flamande (Brussels), and the Boston Philharmonic. In 2013, Muresanu introduced her “Four Strings Around the World” project, a solo violin recital featuring works of composers inspired by various musical cultures around the world. In November 2015 she received a Creative and Performing Arts Award from the University of Maryland that will allow the commissioning of new works for this project. Her recent recording releases include the Thomas Oboe Lee’s Violin Concerto (dedicated to Ms. Muresanu) on the BMOP label and the complete William Bolcom Violin and Piano Sonatas on the Centaur label with pianist Michael Lewin. An active chamber musician and recitalist, Ms. Muresanu is a member of the Boston Trio. Festival appearances have included Bay Chambers and Bowdoin in Maine, Strings in the Mountains and San Juan Music Festival in Colorado, Maui Chamber Music Festival in Hawaii, Festival van de Leie in Belgium, and the Renncontres des Musiciennes Festival in France. Irina Muresanu currently serves on the faculty the University of Maryland and Boston Conservatory and has taught in the Harvard and MIT music departments. She received an Artist Diploma degree and a Doctor in Musical Arts degree from the New England Conservatory. She plays an 1849 Giuseppe Rocca violin and an Etienne Pajeot bow.

Irina Muresanu, violin

Adriane Post, violin, viola
Adriane Post, baroque violin and viola, became interested in Historical Performance during her studies at Oberlin, where she learned and subsequently and fell in love with the Baroque Violin. She received her Bachelor of Music degree from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, studying both modern and baroque violin under the tutelage of Marilyn McDonald, and a Master of Music degree from Juilliard, studying with Monica Huggett. As a member of New Trinity Baroque, Adriane toured the US, UK, Sweden, Finland and Serbia, appearing at festivals such as Piccolo Spoleto (USA), Sastamala Gregoriana (Finland) and the International Early Music Festival in Belgrade (Serbia). She has also played with other Baroque groups such as Apollo’s Fire, Publick Musick, Oberlin Baroque Orchestra, Handel and Haydn Society, Trinity Wall Street Baroque Orchestra, The Knights, Passamezzo Moderno, Burlington Chamber Orchestra, and Arcadia Players. Her diverse musical interests have led her to take part in contemporary music, baroque, and jazz; and she has played in a variety of different ensemble settings, including the Oberlin Contemporary Ensemble, and the Eliot String Quartet, of which she was a founding member. She studied in Boston with Nicolas Kitchen of New England Conservatory, and in France with Regis Pasquier of the Paris Conservatory, where she additionally pursued her interest in languages, studying music and French for a year abroad in Paris. A native of Burlington, Vermont, Adriane now resides in Brooklyn, New York.

Miki Sawada, collaborative pianist
Miki Sawada is a musician who is free-spirited in her pursuit of adventure while showing deep commitment to fully realize classical music's capacity to nurture and strengthen community bonds. In August 2017 she launched her "Gather Hear Alaska" tour, in which she traveled in Alaska with a piano in a van. Accompanied only by a filmmaker, she gave 25 performances in mostly rural community hubs such as cafes, bars, parks, schools. In the 2016-17 season, Miki presented a solo recital on the Dame Myra Hess concert series in Chicago, broadcast live on WFMT radio. Other season highlights include a debut recital with cello partner Lukas Stasevskij at Helsinki Music Centre, solo recitals in Japan, Belgium, and the U.S., and contemporary music performances in New York City at venues such as Spectrum NYC, Dimenna Center, and Roulette. Miki’s performances in the past have been featured at venues and occasions such as:  Weill Hall at Carnegie Hall, the Metropolitan Museum of Art,  Lincoln Center Stage on Holland America Line, the Oneppo Chamber Music Series at Yale, Toronto Summer Music Festival, Aurora Music Festival (Sweden), Music on Main (Vancouver), Chicago Symphony Center’s Macy’s Day of Music, the Banff Centre, and radio stations WQXR (NYC) and WFMT (Chicago). In the summers, she teaches and performs as a faculty member of Heifetz Institute and Point CounterPoint in addition to Berkshire High Peaks Festival. Miki holds degrees from Yale School of Music, Eastman School of Music, and Northwestern University.
Alexander Shtarkman’s debut recitals in Los Angeles, Chicago and New York City prompted strong words of praise from audiences and critics alike. Martin Bernheimer wrote in the Los Angeles Times: “Alexander Shtarkman. Remember the name… He plays the piano with all the strength, flash and eagerness that his age would suggest. He also plays with the sensitivity and mellow refinement one associates with certain grand old men of the keyboard, most of them Russian.” James Keller of The New Yorker staff wrote of Mr. Shtarkman’s 92nd Street Y appearance - “Shtarkman’s was a debut recital of importance. In fact, debuts just don’t come much better than this. Of the young pianists currently entering the international spotlight, Shtarkman is unquestionably among the most musicianly.” Recital appearances in the United States include the Ambassador Foundation, Tilles Center for the Performing Arts, Tisch Center for the Performing Arts, Ravinia Festival’s Rising Stars Series, San Francisco Performances, Regional Arts Foundation at the Kravis Center, The Peace Center and Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall. Orchestral appearances include the Dallas Symphony, Fort Worth Symphony, Fort Worth Chamber Orchestra, Chicago Sinfonietta at Orchestra Hall, Northwood Festival Orchestra, Marin Symphony and the Chamber Orchestra of Albuquerque In August 1995, Mr. Shtarkman was awarded the First Prize of the Busoni International Piano Competition in Bolzano, Italy. As a result of this prize, he was offered over sixty recitals and orchestral engagements in Europe within the following seasons. Shtarkman is a major prizewinner of the 1989 Van Cliburn International Piano Competition and the 1994 Tchaikovsky Piano Competition. He won the First Prize of the First Taipei International Piano Competition and was engaged for numerous concerts throughout Asia. Mr. Shtarkman performs extensively in Europe and Asia, South and North America, Russia and the former Republics of the USSR. He is a frequent guest performer at the prestigious Great and Small Halls of the Moscow Conservatory. Since 2002 Mr. Shtarkman has been on the Piano Faculty at the Peabody Conservatory of Music.

Pierre Henri Xuereb
Alexander Shtarkman, piano

Pierre Henri Xuereb
Michael Strauss, viola
Known for his “rich tone and lyrical acumen” (Chicago Tribune), violist MICHAEL ISAAC STRAUSS has performed around the world as a soloist, recitalist, in chamber music, and in symphonic settings. His love for the intimate concert setting has led to performances on concert series, live radio broadcasts, and festival appearances across Europe, North America, and Asia. A former member of the distinguished Fine Arts Quartet, Strauss made several European and domestic tours with them, as well as a critically acclaimed recording of Mozart’s complete viola quintets on the Lyrinx label. He is a founding member of the new Indianapolis Quartet, in residence at the University of Indianapolis since 2016, where he also serves on the faculty. Strauss has also taught at Youngstown State University’s Dana School of Music since 2016 and is the violist for the Dana Piano Quartet, in residence at Youngstown State University. Strauss’ solo work is featured on several CDs—the debut recording of Jennifer Higdon’s Viola Sonata, David Finko’s Viola Concerto, Stamitz’s works for solo viola with orchestra (Centaur), and the Suzuki Viola School CDs, Volumes 8 and 9. He has also recorded chamber works by living composers with the Philadelphia-based Orchestra 2001, the complete string quintets by Mozart with the Fine Arts Quartet, and he recently released Wordless Verses (Naxos)—trio works inspired by poetry for oboe, viola, and piano with the Jackson Trio. Strauss was principal violist of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra for 20 years and has served on the faculty of several prominent schools including Oberlin Conservatory of Music, Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music, Philadelphia’s University of the Arts, and Swarthmore College. He is a graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music and performs on a viola attributed to Matteo Albani of Bolzano, Italy in 1704.
Violist Pierre Henri Xuereb (Paris Conservatoire) has performed internationally as a soloist and chamber musician, appearing with musicians such as Natalia Gutman, Eugène Istomin, Christian Ivaldi, Oleg Kagan, Gary Karr, Vladimir Mendelssohn, Janos Starker, and Walter Trampler, among others. He has made regular appearances on TV and in radio broadcasts and has recorded works of Ernest Bloch, Erwin Schulhoff, Arthur Honegger and Toru Takemitsu for Harmonia Mundi, Calliope, and Deutsche Grammophon. Mr. Xuereb is professor of viola at the Paris Conservatoire and at the Ecole Nationale de Musique in Gennevilliers. He regularly performs and teaches at international summer academies and festivals, including Académie de Courchevel, Festival Pablo Casals (Prades), Hamptons Music Institute, the Flanders Academy, in Choggia, Italy, and at the Johannesen International School of the Arts in Victoria, British Columbia. From 1991 to 1998, Mr. Xuereb was artistic director of the Florence Gould Hall Chamber Players in New York City. He is a member of the Patrick Gallois Quintet and an enthusiastic promoter of contemporary music with the members of Ensemble Alternance and the Ensemble Intercontemporain in Paris. One of the last students of the great William Primrose, at the age of sixteen, he was awarded First Prize in Viola at the Paris Conservatoire, where he now teaches. His chamber music collaborations have been with many prestigious ensembles and orchestras—the Audubon, Enesco, Muir, Orlando, Parisii, Rosamonde and Talich quartets; Orchestre lyrique Région Alpes-Provence; Israel Sinfonietta, and Belgrade Chamber Orchestra.

Pierre Henri Xuereb
Pierre Henri Xuereb, viola
Violinist Peter Zazofsky (Boston University) enjoys a richly varied career that includes performances with many of the great orchestras in America and Europe, recitals in major music centers, and recordings and tours as first violinist of the Muir String Quartet. A native of Boston, he studied with Joseph Silverstein and Dorothy Delay, before entering the Curtis Institute, where he studied with Ivan Galamian and Jaime Laredo. Graduating in 1976, Zazofsky went on to win top prizes in several international violin contests, including the 1979 Montreal Competition and 1980 Queen Elisabeth in Brussels. Since then he has performed repeatedly with the Boston Symphony, Berlin Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra,  Minnesota Orchestra, Rotterdam Philharmonic among many others, as well as the San Francisco Symphony, who also featured him on tour in Hong Kong and Taiwan. Long committed to teaching, Zazofsky holds the position of Professor of Violin and Chamber Music at Boston University.
Peter Zazofsky
Peter Zazofsky, violin

Pierre Henri Xuereb
Su Zhen, violist
Violist Su Zhen is currently a professor at the Central Conservatory of Music (CCOM) in Beijing, where she is also supervisor of orchestral training and research. In addition, she is an instructor at the China Conservatory of Music in Beijing and a much sought-after consultant for the Asian Youth Orchestra and the Syndicate of Beijing Musicians Association. Su Zhen studied in the orchestral music department of CCOM, and immediately upon graduation was immediately appointed Assistant Principal viola in the China National Symphony Orchestra at the age of twenty-three. In 1996, she won a full scholarship to study at the Royal Academy of Music in London to pursue postgraduate studies with the distinguished professor John White, winning several viola awards at the school and was a prizewinner at the 1997 Lionel Tertis International Viola Competition. From 2000-2004, Su Zhen held the post of assistant principal viola of the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra. She has given solo and ensemble concerts all over the world, including international festivals in Edinburgh and Geneva, the International Arts Festival in Tokyo and the International Viola Arts Festival in the UK. In 2004, she was invited to return to CCOM in Beijing to become the youngest full professor of viola. In 2006, she was awarded the Huo Yingdong Outstanding Youth Teacher by the Ministry of Education of China. In demand internationally, her recent master classes have been at the Great Mountains International Music Festival in Korea, the Great Wall International Music Festival and at the Austria Academy of Music. Su Zhen was a jury member at the Lionel Tertis International Viola Competition in 2010 and the 2011 Beijing International Music Competition. She recently had the distinction of being a representative of the Tenth Chinese National Women’s Congress.
top ^

Berkshire High Peaks Festival   PO Box 34  Great Barrington, MA  01230 
Toll-free 800-843-0778 / email:

Donations are made through Close Encounters With Music a non-profit organization.  
Your contributions are tax exempt to the amount permitted by law.

Site designed and maintained by Shadoworks Web Design by Sharon

Facebook link