Southern Berkshires

Brazilian piano meets hip hop in Ephrat Asherie’s Odeon

In the early 1900s in Brazil, Ernesto Nazareth composed music for solo piano. Ephrat Asherie remembers the first time she heard a classical melody jazzed up with samba. Her brother Ehud is a jazz pianist, and as he played she imagined the composer blending Brazilian with Chopin, a Baroque artist playing in the waiting rooms…

Ragamala performs Written on Water at Jacob’s Pillow

The game America knows as chutes and ladders goes back 1800 years. Painted snakes slither on historic boards, forming the slides, and the rungs reach up to flowering trees, plumed birds, suns and moons and rain shining like falling stars. The game descends from a second-century Indian tradition, and as Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival opens this…

Royal Danish Ballet returns to Jacob’s Pillow

In the summer of 1954, in the middle of his international dance festival, Ted Shawn was staying up nights and sending long-distance cables. Just before the curtain of his next performance, a key dancer had dropped out, and Shawn found himself reaching out to a woman and a company with a bare toehold on this side of…

Ellsworth Kelly leaves — Berkshire Botanical Garden

A line curves into a ripe pear, or a petal, or a stem. Walk through earth banks planted with larch, hawthorn and sporobolus grass. Pass the stone lip of fountain with a flame at the center. Enter a doorway in a living wall of cyclamen, maidenhair fern and ivy. And here, in a restored 19th-century house,…

James Van Der Zee photos comes home

He was born in a house on Hubbard Street when Hubbard Street was still a dirt road. He remembered early years in a large, warm family. Around him, people were always  sketching and drawing, singing and playing instruments. He played the piano and the violin, but the instrument that made his name known around the world…

Becket quarry — Ghosts in the machines

Berkshire naturalist Thom smith takes a walk into the industrial past of a Becket quarry. The Chester-Hudson Quarry operated for close to 100 years. It is a skeleton of its past now. When it closed in the 1960s, buildings, machinery and vehicles were abandoned as if the workers finished their shift and left for the…