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July 23 - August 2, 2019:
Applications now being accepted Scholarships Available

For the tenth year, an international group of violinists, violists, cellists and pianists will converge for intensive instrumental study and chamber music coaching with distinguished faculty. A welcome addition this year is a program for singers. At the base of Mount Everett, The Berkshire School’s 400-acre campus in Sheffield, Massachusetts offers a breathtaking setting and a destination for world renowned arts and culture in the heart of the Berkshire Hills. The Berkshire High Peaks Residency (formerly Catskill High Peaks Festival) has evolved into a training program designed to imbue players with new ideas and approaches, inspiration, and tools for technical advancement. There is a robust schedule of private and instrumental lessons, coachings and master classes, led by eminent faculty members. Students prepare pre-selected chamber music works, with numerous opportunities to play in public performances. For recreation, you can take a guided hike on the Appalachian Trail, in the splendorous beauty and rich culture of the Berkshires.

The Berkshire School
has outstanding facilities and resources for the arts in this mountain setting. Participants are housed in lovely accommodations, share three meals a day at the Benson Commons and have access to seminar rooms and the high occupancy Allen Theater. The 2019 faculty includes violinist Miranda Cuckson (Mannes School of Music/New School University), Irina Muresanu (University of Maryland) and Peter Zazofsky (Boston University); violist Michael Strauss (Dana School of Music, Youngstown State University) pianists
Annie Brooks (Assistant Professor of Collaborative Piano at Wingate University), (Alexander Shtarkman (Peabody Conservatory) and Mikael Darmanie (SUNY Stony Brook); soprano Danielle Talamantes (Metropolitan Opera) and bass baritone Kerry Wilkerson (George Mason University); cellists Yehuda Hanani (University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory), DoYeon Kim, Sae Rom Kwon (Kang-Nam University, Korea) and Jiaze Ma. “Music with Altitude” is the leitmotif weaving through the festival spirit and activities—cross-cultural events that provide a natural high on music, nature and the arts for students, faculty and audiences.

The intimate scale but highest level of presentations and participants give us all a chance to explore the wonders of music anew!


Application | Instructor Bios



"Great news!  Applications are now open! 
If you've missed the deadline, please still apply by clicking the Apply Now button below. Applications received will be reviewed and considered depending on space constraints within your desired program.
Apply NOW

Students Comment on Their High Peaks Experience:
The festival was truly inspirational and supportive in every sense. The faculty was absolutely amazing. I have learned so much about so many different aspects of music, not only during the lessons or while talking to the faculty, but also while attending the various master classes and talks. All the participants were really friendly and supportive of eachother. "Moonlight Sonatas" at night where we played for each other was something I hadn't had so far, but I really like the idea of it and it's really helpful to play through repertory in front of a supportive audience.
-- Muriel Oberhofer, 2018, violin, Zurich Switzerland, a freshman at the Royal Academy of Music in London
I don't want to miss the opportunity to express how grateful I am for the experience I had at High Peaks. I had many takeaways from the festival. The lessons and coachings were fantastic. It was a thrill to play the Brahms Piano Quintet and also be able to watch the faculty rehearse and perform it. What a full experience and a wonderful opportunity to learn by example. I appreciated how high the talent was at High Peaks, and how supportive and encouraging an atmosphere it was. I also loved that we did outreach concerts to connect with the outside community. Another revelation was the Baroque workshop. Afterwards, I had a lesson with Adriane Post, where I got to try a Baroque bow for the first time -- this was exciting for me and helped me realize I would like to explore it more as a genre. Finally, I enjoyed that the summer had a theme, and that the theme was women composers. How cool and deserved! I am eager to know what next year's theme will be. Thank you all for an amazing experience!
--Amalia Zeitlin, violin

"We are pleased to announce that the High Peaks Festival has relocated to the heart of the Berkshires in Western Massachusetts, one of the world's top tourist destinations and an area renowned for its arts and culture, natural beauty and outdoor adventure. We will continue to uphold high peaks of artistic achievement amidst the gentle hills that surround us in our new home--the spacious and inviting campus of the Berkshire School. I and our stellar faculty look forward to welcoming our 2019 participants to the Berkshire experience!"

For information contact: Avital Louria at 800-843-0778.
“As an educational institution, our mission is to infuse students over a relatively short period with love and enthusiasm for their chosen vocation and with an appreciation of past traditions and a spirit of adventure and discovery.”

Yehuda Hanani, Artistic Director
Berkshire High Peaks Festival

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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.

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