The 26 pieces in "New American Furniture: The Second Generation of Studio Furnituremakers" at the Renwick is a near-Victorian feast of tactile delights. In the skilled hands of a master craftswoman such as Kristina Madsen, even so lowly an object as a side chair becomes an article of rare beauty and eloquence.

The exhibition is the brainchild of Edward S. Cooke Jr., a specialist in 18th-century furniture at the Boston Museum. While teaching a course called "The American Craftsman in Historical Perspective" at Boston University, Cooke discovered that contemporary craftsmen were among his most avid students. Fascinated by their interest in the American heritage, he got the idea of encouraging them to respond directly to historical pieces.

Soon after receiving his curatorial post in 1985, Cooke asked leading furniture makers to choose single pieces from the museum collection and "reinterpret history any way they'd like in a work of their own." The resulting collection is a landmark distillation of the studio furniture movement, according to Michael Monroe, chief curator at the Renwick. "By bringing together 26 mid-career individuals, it really clarifies the field and points the way to future directions," he says.

The exhibit runs through Sept. 3. CLASSICAL

The New York Philharmonic, conducted by Zubin Mehta, will perform twice this week at Wolf Trap. Clarinetist Stanley Drucker will be the soloist Wednesday night in Mozart's Clarinet Concerto and Wagner's Overture to Rienzi. The program on Thursday will include music of Vivaldi, Bartok and Brahms.

Pianist Raymond Jackson will give a free concert at 12:15 Wednesday at Lisner Auditorium. Pianist Rosa Park will give a free concert at 1 p.m. Wednesday at the International Monetary Fund's Visitors Center. DANCE

The program by Thompson & Trammell & Friends at Dance Place tonight includes choreography by Cynthia Thompson, Kate Trammell, Meriam Rosen and Shane O'Hara. POP MUSIC

Bluegrass may have spawned Allison Krauss, but country music's going to claim her, just as it did Ricky Skaggs and Keith Whitley. At the Birchmere on Friday.

With her first two albums now repackaged as a single CD, and a new one about to wrap with help from Miles Davis and Branford Marsalis, it's looking like break time for the great pianist-singer Shirley Horn -- and she's appearing free at Fort Dupont Friday and Saturday.