A Conversation with William Sharp and Seth Knopp

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

In advance of their performance of Schubert's Schwanengesang ("Swan Song") this Thursday, July 18, baritone William Sharp and pianist Seth Knopp talk about their long running tradition of performing song cycles together at Yellow Barn.

Read William Sharp's program note for Schwanengesang

"It was music you could reach out and touch."

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

On July 5, 2019, Yellow Barn opened its 50th Anniversary season with the work Speak Music, a 50th birthday gift created by Seth Knopp with Julian McBrowne, comprised of voices of musicians and audience members, 1969-2019.

In celebration of its golden anniversary, Yellow Barn is collecting oral histories for its archives. The first 50 are incorporated into Speak Music, starting with our founders David and Janet Wells and continuing to the present day. We hope to collect many more over the course of the coming year! To contribute your memory, please call 802-387-3104 and leave a message of up to 90 seconds in link. State your name and your approximate year(s) at Yellow Barn. Once received we will turn your voicemail into an audio file. If you have any questions, send an email to

The Art of Program Note Writing

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Just as musicians take a printed score and bring it to life through performance, a program note has the power to animate a work and humanize a composer.  Yellow Barn cellist Annie Jacobs-Perkins has a penchant for program-note writing.  In this video, she discusses why she enjoys writing notes for Yellow Barn concerts, as well as her process.

Read some of the notes Annie has written thus far for the summer season:

Shostakovich: Seven Romances on Poems of Alexander Blok
Ysaÿe: Trio à cordes "Le chimay," Op. posth.
Brahms: Piano Trio in C Minor, Op. 101

Harvard's Avi Loeb to speak at Yellow Barn

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

On July 20, 1969, the first Yellow Barn musicians gathered to watch the first moon landing together. This summer, Yellow Barn will commemorate the 50th anniversary of the moon landing on Saturday, July 20, 2019 with a pre-concert discussion lead by Professor Avi Loeb, followed by a performance in The Big Barn of music inspired by the moon.

Loeb's pre-concert discussion will touch on the significance of the moon landing, cosmic modesty, and the search for interstellar life. The event will take place at the Putney Public Library at 6:45pm on July 20, and will end with a Q&A session moderated by Artistic Director Seth Knopp.

Loeb comes to Yellow Barn from Harvard University, where he is chair of the Department of Astronomy and founding director of Harvard's Black Hole Institute. He is also the director of the Institute for Theory and Computation at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. Loeb has authored nearly 700 research articles and four books which pioneered several new frontiers in astrophysics and cosmology.

In 2017 Scientific American published his essay entitled "The Case for Cosmic Modesty." In his essay, Loeb argues for the existence of primitive and intelligent forms of life in the universe. He writes:

Many people, however, still believe we might be at the center of the biological universe; namely, that life is rare or unique to Earth. In contrast, my working hypothesis [...] is that we are not special in general, not only in terms of our physical coordinates but also as a form of life. Adopting this perspective implies we are not alone. There should be life out there in both primitive and intelligent forms.

Loeb also spoke about these ideas at a TEDx event at Harvard College: 
Learn more about Loeb by watching this brief documentary from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics:

One word to describe YAP

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

At the conclusion of the 2019 Young Artists Program, we asked each YAP musician to describe their experience in one word. Here is what they said:

"Wonderful" - Haichun Wang
"Amazing" - Meng-Chieh (Jessie) Chiang
"Exquisite" - Jonah Kernis
"Remarkable" - Lydia Rhea
"Meaningful" - Matthew Pinder
"Innovative" - Anoush Pogossian
"Beautiful" - Benjamin Champion
"Rewarding" - Elise Arancio
"Undulating" - Graham Cohen
"Captivating" - Grant Houston
"Fant(YAP)stic" - Theodore Haber
"Illuminating" -Gabriel Crist
"Mind-opening" -Lucas Amory
"Inspiring" -Yi-Mei Templeman
"Energizing" -Hsi-yuan (Elisabeth) Chang
"Exhilirating" -Claire Thaler
"Unforgettable" -Da Young (Rachel) Lim
"Memorable" -Lindan Burns
"Transformative" -Phoebe Liu
"Growth" -Julian Snaige-Seney
"Intensive" -Kun Yan
"Intense" -Cheng Io Lo
"Motivating" -Shengyu Meng
"Motivating" -Jisoo Kim
"Motivating" -Colin Crandal
"Joyful" -Yu-Wen Lu
"Collaborative" -Hannah Ishizaki
"Love" -Haneul Park
"Wholesome" -Michelle Li
"Lovely" -Mingyu Son
"Welcoming" -Ian Maloney
"Family" -Dawn Kim

A New Yellow Barn Position

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Yellow Barn creates new Managing Director position, appoints Maria Basescu 

On the eve of its 50th Anniversary season, Yellow Barn has filled a new senior-level staff position. This coming September, Maria Basescu will assume the role of Managing Director, joining Executive Director Catherine Stephan and Artistic Director Seth Knopp in positioning Yellow Barn for its next 50 years.

As a creative partner, Ms. Basescu will have an essential position at one of the most highly regarded chamber music centers in the world. Seth Knopp, appointed by founders David and Janet Wells in 1997, said, “For many years Yellow Barn has had the pleasure to work with Maria at Next Stage, Putney’s treasured performance venue. Her deeply emotional connection to the arts, her belief that lives can be changed when we communicate through them, and her unique ability to turn that connection and belief into a meaningful reality, will have a profound impact on the work we do at Yellow Barn.”

Ms. Basescu completes a staff restructuring for this venerable arts institution based in southeastern Vermont, with a national agenda and a growing international presence. “Maria is the ideal person for this new position,” said Catherine Stephan. “She brings significant insight and understanding to Yellow Barn, together with an innate ability to manage the scope and geographic breadth of our year-round programs.” In addition to an array of responsibilities that are critical to the daily operation of Yellow Barn’s programs (its 50-year-old summer festival; the Young Artists Program in June; the first Artist Residencies program in the United States for performing musicians; and national tours with its one-of-a-kind traveling stage, Yellow Barn Music Haul), Ms. Basescu will contribute directly to the implementation of Yellow Barn’s strategic plan, including taking Yellow Barn Music Haul to scale and establishing an artists’ residence and center for music and social dialogue.

Maria Basescu has been the founding Executive Director for Next Stage Arts Project since 2013. Jim Johnson, Chair of the NSAP Board of Directors, said, "Maria’s work at Next Stage has been instrumental in positioning the organization for the next phase of growth. She was our first Executive Director, and guided us through the modernization of 15 Kimball Hill and helped dramatically expand the reach of Next Stage programming. We wish Maria well in her new role, and look forward to our continued collaborations with Yellow Barn."

Ms. Basescu’s deep experience in arts administration includes serving as President of Annapurna Concerts, Public Relations Director for Emerson College’s Division of Performing Arts and Associate Director of Media and Public Relations for the Boston Mayor’s Office of Business and Cultural Development. She has also served as a senior executive in communications and external affairs for Northern Berkshire Healthcare, the Brattleboro Retreat and Marlboro College, and as Senior Advisor with the strategic communications firm Denterlein.

Ms. Basescu has a B.A. in Sociology from Dartmouth College, is a graduate of the Snelling Center for Government’s Vermont Leadership Institute and a member of the Association of Performing Arts Professionals.

Said Basescu, “I am thrilled and honored to be joining the outstanding Yellow Barn team. I look forward to supporting the creative passion, excellence and growing international reputation of this exceptional organization.”