Monday, September 28, 2009

The NEA, again

The National Endowment for the Arts has shed its communications director, Yosi Sergant, after the airing of a teleconference call in which he “urged members of the arts community to help Obama's efforts to spur volunteer community service,” Mike Boehm reports on the Los Angeles Times’ Culture Monster blog. But Sergant’s departure has not headed off political aftershocks:

A few observations about this kerfuffle:

* The communications director – i.e., chief publicist – of the NEA does not participate in the endowment’s grant-making process, except, maybe, to advise groups of the procedures for applying for a grant. Peer-review panels consider applications and recommend awarding of grants. So Sergant, who had been an operative in the 2008 Obama campaign, wasn’t really in a position to “politicize” the key function of the NEA. That said, merely mentioning a political campaign while speaking for a government agency is asking for trouble; and Sergant, an experienced cultural publicist, must have known that gunning for the NEA is a favorite pursuit of right-wing talking heads and grassroots organizers.

* It’s pretty rich, though, for Republicans to complain about politicizing federal agencies. The Bush administration placed operatives, not just in PR jobs but in posts whose occupants control policy formulation and implementation, in numerous agencies that are supposed to be insulated from the usual partisan give-and-take. Remember Bush-era manipulation and/or suppression of data from scientific, medical and environmental agencies? Remember loyalty to Bush and the GOP being made a key qualification for getting a job in the Justice Department?

* However loudly the usual suspects kvetch about it, the NEA isn’t going away. It survived the Gingrich-era Congress and the Bush presidency. Now it has cultivated good will by awarding a series of one-time grants to recession-rocked arts groups as part of the Obama administration’s stimulus package. Many recipients of these grants reside in the communities whose congressional representatives would be most inclined to de-fund or abolish the NEA. Most elected officials are not keen to offend the community leaders and philanthropists who support mainline arts organizations, because a lot of those people are also major donors to political campaigns.

Congressional liberals and moderates will keep the NEA intact. Conservatives will try to minimize its budget, and use its existence to rally their populist base whenever the opportunity arises. And this mini-uproar, or something like it, will be recycled again and again.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Review: Paley Music Festival

Sept. 27, First English Lutheran Church, Richmond

Pianist Alexander Paley’s 12th Richmond music festival concluded much as it had started, at least stylistically.

Paley, joined by violinist Kathy Judd and cellist Clyde Thomas Shaw, wrapped up three days of music-making with Chopin’s Piano Trio in G minor, Op. 8. In this and other early works (most familiarly, the two piano concertos), Chopin decorated impassioned and/or sentimental themes with florid treble figurations. This compositional style was inherited from a previous generation of Central European pianist-composers, among them Carl Czerny, whose "Brilliant Grand Sonata" opened this year’s Paley Festival.

Passionate expression and busy fingers are two qualities Paley thrives on, and the Chopin brought out the best in his keyboard technique and his collaborative gifts in chamber music. This piece is essentially a concerto for piano with bare-bones string accompaniment; it’s scarcity in concert programs may stem from the challenge string players face in being heard alongside the elaborate piano lines, while not getting more than a few cameo solos. Judd and Shaw used their moments constructively, the violinist especially soaring nearly to the pianist’s expressive elevation.

Clarinetist Charles West joined Paley and Shaw in a reading of Brahms’ Clarinet Trio that was both emphatic and lyrical. West played with his characteristic balance of refined tone and vigorous projection. Paley emphasized the grand scale of Brahms’ piano writing, but also sensitivity to the harmonic explorations found in the composer’s later works.

Paley and his wife, Pei-Wen Chen, frequently use the Richmond festival to revive obscure arrangements and transcriptions for piano four-hands. This year, the featured obscurity was a suite that Rimsky-Korsakov arranged from his opera "The Legend of the Invisible City of Kitezh and the Maiden Fevroniya." The opera, rarely staged in Russia and hardly ever elsewhere, may be the most Wagnerian score written by a Russian composer, a kind of "Rheingold" in Slavic dialect. This piano version also plays up the melodramatic quality of Rimsky’s depictions of passion and conflict. The duo’s performance was sweeping, if at times a bit unruly.

Paley and his small crew of church and community volunteers rounded up the largest audiences in the festival’s history – no mean feat on the weekend of Yom Kippur and the Richmond Symphony’s first concerts in the renovated Carpenter Theatre, which conflicted with two of three Paley Festival programs. Not long ago, this festival was in dire straits. Now it seems to be in good shape for a long run.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Review: Richmond Symphony

Sept. 26, Carpenter Theatre, Richmond CenterStage

Now that the Richmond Symphony again has a downtown hall to call home, the orchestra’s next challenge is to learn how to exploit the sound of the space. The opening-night program made it vividly clear that acoustically the Carpenter Theatre is not what it used to be.

Two of the works on the program, the Bacchanale from Saint-Saëns’ "Samson et Delila" and Orff’s "Carmina Burana," are sonic spectaculars, studded with exclamatory winds and percussion, boasting wide palettes of tone color, surging dynamism and, in "Carmina," a variety of unusual solo-vocal and choral effects. They are also, mostly, very loud. Tucked between them is Brahms’ "Variations on a Theme by Haydn," a sample of Austro-German classical-romantic orchestration at conventional concert volume.

Alastair Willis, the seventh of nine conductors auditioning to become the symphony’s next music director, took all three works at measured tempos, outright slow in much of the Brahms. He placed great emphasis on dynamism and phrasing, and seemed especially intent on producing warm string sound. He also played an old orchestral showman’s trick, quickening the pace as the music got louder, too indiscriminately for my ears.

The orchestra was audibly pumped for the occasion. The wind, brass and percussion players sustained rounded sonorities and maintained ensemble and balance at high volume, and the strings projected brightly and energetically. Woodwind choirs in the Brahms sounded perfectly balanced and beautifully tinted, and solo winds – notably Gustav Highstein’s oboe and Mary Boodell’s flute in the Saint-Saëns – were striking in their clarity and timbral shading.

The Richmond Symphony Chorus and Children’s Festival Chorus, collectively about 130 voices, sounded rather distant in the early going of "Carmina," but came into clearer focus as the performance progressed. (Was amplification being used and adjusted?) It sounded as if the children occupied a sonic sweet spot on the stage, while the Symphony Chorus’ sopranos inhabited more brittle-sounding space.

The vocal soloists were outstanding. Baritone Richard Zeller, who has performed with the symphony in several previous programs, made a meal of his prominent role here, delivering everything from near-crooning to rattling speech-song. Soprano Anya Matanovic was rich and quite sensual, with Earth Motherly inflections. Tenor Marcus Shelton sang his cameo for maximum effect, both in his urgent vocalizing and physical shtick that extended to a pratfall off the stage.

Commenting on the Carpenter Theatre’s acoustics, based on this program, is tricky. The orchestra is much larger than that heard in most symphony concerts, and Orff’s choral voicings are louder and less subtle (or differently subtle) than those in most symphonic choral writing. Saint-Saëns’ orchestration is also exceptional. The Brahms was the only "normal" work in this concert, so it’s from that performance that I'll make some preliminary observations about acoustics.

Orchestral sound in this hall is significantly more reverberant – a short, loud chord takes nearly 3 seconds to decay to silence, about 1 second longer than before the renovation. High-frequency instruments, such as flute, oboe, trumpet, violin and cymbals, sound noticeably brighter. But high frequencies clustered densely, as they are in "Carmina" and the Saint-Saëns, can produce a shattering effect at high volume (over, say, 90 decibels). Bass sound, especially in the strings, is comparatively weak. When the stage is extended into the hall, as it is in this weekend’s concerts, instruments or voices directly under the proscenium arch sound with extra prominence and clarity – beneficiaries on this occasion were flutes and oboes.

This is a space the symphony can work with; but it’s going to take months of work in a lot of different music, probably with the musicians moving to different locations, maybe elevated, maybe not, adjusting their sound with every move. We may not know how the orchestra really sounds in the Carpenter Theatre until this time next year.

The Richmond Symphony’s season-opening Masterworks program repeats at 3 p.m. Sept. 27 at the Carpenter Theatre, Sixth and Grace streets. Tickets: $17-$72. Details: (804) 927-2787 (Ticketmaster);

Alicia de Larrocha (1923-2009)

Alicia de Larrocha, the pianist best known for her interpretations of Mozart and music of her native Spain, has died at 86. By the time she retired in 2003, her performing career had spanned three-quarters of a century. Her obituary in The New York Times:

Review: Paley Music Festival

Sept. 25, First English Lutheran Church, Richmond

Alexander Paley is a pianist of seemingly boundless stamina, and he asks a lot of staying power of his audience – at least the audience of his annual festival in Richmond.

The opening concert of this year’s installment consisted of the massive "Brilliant Grand Sonata" of Carl Czerny and all 24 of Rachmaninoff’s preludes, altogether about two and a half hours of high-intensity piano music (mercifully, with two intermissions).

Czerny, generally known for his keyboard exercises, packs both dexterous busyness and rhapsodic expression into this Sonata in C minor for piano four-hands. The composer and his most accomplished pupil, Franz Liszt, frequently played this piece (Liszt doing the treble busyness). In this performance, Paley played the glittering treble figurations, while his wife, Pei-Wen Chen, played the bass line, which contains most of the work’s thematic and structural content. The piece, especially its large opening movement, anticipates the style of Chopin, and the two pianists made that linkage clear in their interpretation.

Paley will be taking the Rachmaninoff preludes on tour in the spring; this was the first time he has played the early Prelude in F major, the ten Op. 23 preludes and the 13 of Op. 32 as a cycle. It is a deep immersion in both Rachmaninoff’s psyche and his piano style, at least as they manifested themselves before he left Russia. The preludes, played in sequence, veer between visceral energy and bittersweet reverie; dark timbres prevail, but there are surprising flashes of light (and lightness of touch).

Paley pounced on the big sonorities and animal vitality of the more assertive pieces – at times, to the point that his bright-toned Blüthner piano was swamped in overtones. At more moderate tempos and quieter dynamics, the instrument, and his handling of it, revealed a palette of tone colors one rarely hears in Rachmaninoff.

The Alexander Paley Music Festival continues with piano and chamber works by Hindemith, Mendelssohn, Arensky and others, at 8 p.m. Sept. 26, and by Brahms, Chopin and Rimsky-Korsakov, at 3:30 p.m. Sept. 27, at First English Lutheran Church, Monument Avenue at Lombardy Street (Stuart Circle), in Richmond. Donations requested. Details: (804) 355-9185;

Friday, September 25, 2009

Passing 'the newspaper test'

As the Utah Symphony announced the appointment of the Swiss conductor Thierry Fischer as its new music director, the chairman of the search committee listed three standard gauges of desirability in a maestro – conducting talent, organizational leadership mettle, commitment to the community – and a fourth that you rarely see acknowledged in public: "the ability to 'pass the newspaper test,' in that he [is] a person of integrity who wouldn't some morning appear on the front page in a scandal," David Burger and Catherine Reese Newton report in The Salt Lake Tribune:

Thursday, September 24, 2009

A first-rate second-rate composer

The Richmond Symphony will usher itself into and out of its first season in the renovated Carpenter Theatre at Richmond CenterStage with works by the French composer Camille Saint-Saëns: the Bacchanale from his opera "Samson et Delila" in the opening concerts (Sept. 26-27), his "Organ" Symphony (No. 3) in the closing concerts (May 15-16).

This might seem a somewhat eccentric choice for alpha and omega placement in the orchestra’s program schedule. Maybe not, though, in a celebratory season in this particular space. Saint-Saëns’ music sounds like the Carpenter Theatre looks. (If I were booking a bacchanalia, it would be my venue of choice.)

Saint-Saëns knew his craft, knew how to engage an audience, and knew how to write a good tune. But musicians and critics tend to consign him to the class of first-rate second-rate composers, alongside the likes of Max Bruch or Alexander Borodin.

Like them, Saint-Saëns was a product of a distinctive musical culture, spoke its accumulated dialects fluently, and manipulated its musical materials with ingenuity and technical mastery. His music draws on the long French tradition, from Lully to Rameau to Berlioz, of colorful timbres and vivid representational effects. Saint-Saëns was also deeply grounded in classical form and style; the frameworks of his concertos and symphonies were modeled after Mozart’s and Beethoven’s. At the least, Saint-Saëns was a first-rate French classical-romanticist.

Born in 1835, the year Donizetti’s "Lucia di Lammermoor" premiered, Saint-Saëns lived long enough (until 1921) to hear Stravinsky’s "Rite of Spring" and Ravel’s "La Valse;" and was active as a virtuoso pianist and composer, and an attentive listener, through most of those eventful years.

Saint-Saëns was one of first composers of film music – in 1908 he scored an 18-minute silent film, "L’Assassinat du Duc de Guise" – and film-makers have not been shy about exploiting his music. The "Samson et Delila" Bacchanale cycled through countless cartoon soundtracks to become the stereotypical belly-dance music. "The Swan" and other pieces from his "Carnival of the Animals" similarly made their way into the popular musical vernacular. The spooky atmospherics at the opening of the "Organ" Symphony echo through horror-movie scores, and its exuberantly resolute finale morphed into the theme song for the Australian animal adventure "Babe." The big tune in the finale of the Fourth Piano Concerto begs for use as the theme of a swashbuckler or super-hero movie. (Maybe it has been and I missed it.)

Late in life, Saint-Saëns came to personify, to younger French composers, an outdated, hidebound traditionalism, which they were eager to discredit and overturn. One of those younger fry was Claude Debussy, who as a young critic was a bête noire of Saint-Saëns, and subsequently matured into a first-rate first-rate composer. Respectable critical opinion has accepted his verdict on Saint-Saëns, more out of respect for Debussy, I suspect, than disrespect for Saint-Saëns. For a lot of highbrows, the old man's music is a guilty sensual pleasure.

It will be a treat to hear the Bacchanale, as it was when the symphony played it 30 years ago in its first tryout of the old Loew’s movie palace as a concert space; and the "Organ" Symphony can be an spectacular experience, a total immersion in sound and dramatic gesture. I look forward to them with pleasure, and without guilt.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Paley's 12th

Alexander Paley is Richmond’s unlikeliest impresario. In 1998, Paley, a Moldovan-born pianist best known for his fiery interpretions of Russian and romantic literature and virtuoso showpieces of the 19th century, was in town for a recital at Virginia Commonwealth University. Walking downtown, he came across the old Books First shop on Grace Street, decided the place would be ideal for salon-style musicales, and persuaded the owner to stage a late-summer, three-concert festival.

The bookstore closed before a second installment could be presented there; but Paley has played on, working on low budgets (sometimes no budgets) with local volunteers, using a variety of church and school venues before settling into First English Lutheran Church several years ago.

His festival returns for a 12th season of three concerts, Sept. 25-27. Admission is free (although donations would be welcome).

Programming this year, as always, centers on repertory for piano four-hands, played by Paley and his wife, the Taiwan-born pianist Pei-Wen Chen, and by a duo of guest pianists, Ivo Kaltchev and José Ramos Santana.

Paley and Chen will play the "Brilliant Grand Sonata" in C minor by Carl Czerny on opening night, Hindemith’s Sonata (1938) on Sept. 26, and Rimsky-Korsakov’s keyboard transcription of a suite from his opera “The Legend of the Invisible City of Kitezh and the Maiden Fevroniya” on Sept. 27. Kaltchev and Santa will play dances by Grieg, Dvořák, Brahms and Mortitz Moszkowski in the Sept. 26 program. Paley will survey Rachmaninoff’s 24 preludes for solo piano on Sept. 25.

Three of Paley's regular collaborators, Washington-based violinist Kathy Judd, Audubon Quartet cellist Clyde Thomas Shaw and VCU-based clarinetist Charles West, return to join the pianist in Mendelssohn’s Sonata for clarinet and piano, Anton Arensky’s Piano Trio No. 1 in D minor and Rachmaninoff’s "Trio élégaique" on Sept. 26; and Brahms’ Clarinet Trio and Chopin’s Piano Trio in G minor on Sept. 27.

Paley Music Festival concerts begin at 8 p.m. Sept. 25-26 and 3:30 p.m. Sept. 27 at First English Lutheran Church, Monument Avenue at Lombardy Street (Stuart Circle). Details: (804) 355-9185;

'High-concept' Met 'Tosca' booed

The Metropolitan Opera launched its new season with a production of Puccini's "Tosca" by the Swiss director Luc Bondy, whose "high-concept staging featured stark, spare, cold sets," replacing a lavishly decorous old production by Franco Zeffirelli. Bondy seemed to be "looking for every pretense to flesh out, literally, the eroticism of the lovers and the lecherous kinkiness of Scarpia," Anthony Tommasini writes in The New York Times. The opening-night audience did not approve:

Monday, September 21, 2009

Crisis in Philadelphia

The Philadelphia Orchestra is in a "dire financial crisis," Peter Dobrin reports in The Philadelphia Inquirer. Sagging ticket sales and fund-raising that doesn't measure up to that of other orchestras Philly's size leave the orchestra facing a $7.5 million deficit this season. The board hopes to raise a quick $15 million from its members:

UPDATE 1: Dobrin reports that Allison Vulgamore, outgoing president of the Atlanta Symphony, is in negotiations to fill the vacant CEO's post at the Philadelphia Orchestra:

UPDATE 2: Dobrin summarizes Philly's woes as he reports on its annual meeting, the real business of which took place behind closed doors:

Sunday, September 20, 2009

The greatest conductor?

The Guardian's Ed Vulliamy profiles Valerey Gergiev, terming the Russian maestro "the greatrest conductor of his generation":

I would call Gergiev the greatest living throwback to the generations of Mengelberg, Toscanini, Stokowski, Karajan, Bernstein and Solti – figures who imposed a personal sound and grand scale on orchestras, and who presented the public with an oversized personality. Like them, Gergiev can be intoxicating leading one of "his" ensembles (the London Symphony, the Mariinsky Theater Orchestra) in a big, brash score. Basically, he has upgraded the Soviet-style leviathan orchestra into a more refined and fleeter-footed 21st-century model – the ultimate Shostakovich machine.

But I can think of many composers, whole periods and schools of music, from Bach and Mozart to Debussy and Bartók, that I would rather not hear given the Gergiev treatment. And that list is long enough to disqualify him, in my book, as "the greatest."

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Review: eighth blackbird

Sept. 16, University of Richmond

Launching its sixth season in residence at the University of Richmond, the contemporary music sextet eighth blackbird offered a sampler of six pieces, three of them in first or second performances by this group, all of them posing unusual demands on the musicians’ techniques and attentiveness to the playing of their colleagues.

The ’birds named the program for its most accessible work, Marc Mellits’ “Spam” (1995), a tuneful, mostly exuberant opus in which layered minimalist figures coalesce into a kind of latter-day boogie-woogie, and then trail off into a wistful climax.

A similar tone, but with spikier harmonic language and more complex textures, pervades “Grazioso” by Mark-Anthony Turnage. Introduced this summer at the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, which commissioned the piece for eighth blackbird, the piece is one of a series written by the English composer under the influence of the iconic 1970s rock band Led Zeppelin. (The title refers to the name of Jimmy Page’s guitar.) “[T]here is a very slight allusion to the group’s 1971 ‘Black Dog,’ ” Turnage writes, as well as a vaguely bluesy harmonic tint throughout the piece; but its syncopated rhythms and bright voicings might just as readily be heard as an homage to 1920s jazz.

Much subtler technique, especially in string parts, and finer balances among instruments were needed in the four other works of this program – particularly in “Toward the Flame,” a new piece by the Newport News-bred, Chicago-based composer Shawn Allison. This four-part work, evoking four kinds of moths, is full of fine-grained, fluttering figures for flute, violin and cello, supported by atmospheric percussion. At its best, the piece conjures tonal magic. Its third section, “Atlas,” sounds like an orchestral tone poem in a germinal stage.

“The Deserted Churchyards” (1990) by the Danish composer Bent Sørensen, inspired by visits to abandoned coastal churches about to be consumed by the North Sea, is tone poetry in more fragmentary form – indeed, it sounds to be more fragment than form, at least on first hearing. Its instrumental writing is very busy but generally cyclical, producing movement without a clear destination. Rather astringent voicings for flute and clarinet echo the late work of Carl Nielsen, the great early modern Danish composer.

The other two works on this program were more playful. In Mayke Nas’ “Twelve Hands” (2008), six musicians produce “moaning, giggling and groaning,” as the composer puts it, by stroking and striking the innards of a piano with brushes, spoons, coffee strirrers and other implements, and by scraping cards along the edges of the keyboard. No sounds are produced by actually depressing the keys or pedals of the piano. In this performance, percussive effects came off nicely, but string resonance was quite muted. A concert grand doesn’t sound like the ideal instrument for this piece. How might it sound played on a lighter keyboard, such as a fortepiano or harpsichord? Or, better yet, on a harp positioned horizontally?

“Catch” (1991) by Thomas Adès is two games at once: Musical tag, with “it” played by a clarinetist flitting around the stage, hovering briefly over a pianist, violinist and cellist; and name-the-mystery-composer haunting the piece, a pastime that Adès sometimes pursues in his chamber music. I caught distinct whiffs of Brahms in the clarinet writing and its role in the ensemble, and more faint aromas of some English pastoralist – Butterworth, maybe?

The ’birds – pianist Lisa Kaplan, violinist Matt Albert, cellist Nicholas Photinos, flutist Tim Munro, clarinetist Michael J. Maccaferri and percussionist Matthew Duvall – negotiated this ever-shifting musical terrain with their usual technical mastery and uncanny sensitivity to the tone and spirit of the music at hand.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Hicks to N.C. Symphony

Sarah Hicks, formerly the associate conductor of the Richmond Symphony and currently the resident conductor of the Minnesota Orchestra, has been named the new associate conductor of the North Carolina Symphony, a statewide ensemble based in Raleigh:

Another Richmond Symphony alumnus, William Henry Curry, is the North Carolina Symphony's resident conductor.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

CenterStage's opening night

Richmond CenterStage, the much-debated and long-delayed downtown performing-arts center, finally opened to the public on Sept. 12 in a gala featuring artists from the nine “resident producing companies” that will perform regularly on its three stages. The largest among them, the Richmond Symphony, Virginia Opera and Richmond Ballet, will be the principal users of the center’s main hall, the 1,800-seat Carpenter Theatre. The Richmond Jazz Society, African American Repertory Theatre, Barksdale Theatre/Theater IV, the Elegba Folklore Society, Richmond Shakespeare and SPARC (School of the Performing Arts in the Richmond Community) will use the complex’s smaller venues.

This gala, playing to a capacity crowd of more than 1,700, was devoted to musical-theatrical bits and pieces that were pretty clearly selected to engage the audience emotionally, to provide plenty of visual and aural stimulation, and to give the expanded technical capacities of the theater a workout. More than 200 performers, with simple but effective scenic elements, were efficiently hustled on and off the stage. Glitches, mainly in the amplification of voices, were minimal.

I grew up in the 1950s and ’60s golden age of television variety shows, but never acquired a taste for them. For those who like this sort of show, there was a lot to like. All the performers gave off appropriately good vibes; the African American Rep, Elegba and SPARC troupes made strongly positive impressions on many patrons experiencing them for the first time.

The symphony, conducted by Erin Freeman, opened the program brightly and energetically in the “Festive” Overture of Dmitri Shostakovich, and seemed to be in comparably sparkling form as it led off the second half in Leonard Bernstein’s “Candide” Overture (“seemed to” because through most of the piece the houselights were still up and the audience was still returning to seats and chatting noisily). Sopranos Veronica Mitina and Elizabeth Andrews Roberts, tenor Derek Taylor and baritone Eugene Brancoveanu, who will star in the Virginia Opera’s forthcoming production of Puccini’s “La Bohème,” gave fine accounts, vocally and dramatically, of three of the opera’s big numbers. The symphony, conducted by Ron Matson, also sounded crisip and animated in Jonathan Romeo’s score for the finale of Stoner Winslett’s “Windows,” performed by the Richmond Ballet.

I was impressed by the African American Rep’s lead reciter of Langston Hughes’ verses and the singer of “Climb Every Mountain” from Theater IV’s forthcoming production of “The Sound of Music.” Their identities, alas, were buried in a program book that listed theatrical groups’ cast members but not their roles.

The program boasted personable emcees in Tim and Daphne Maxwell Reid, and Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine’s remarks could be a lesson in pertinence and brevity for politicians speaking at cultural events.

* * *

When the Carpenter Theatre, originally opened in 1928 as a Loew’s movie palace, was converted to a performing-arts center in 1983, opening night was a highbrow affair, with the eminent soprano Leontyne Price accompanied by the symphony.
No stellar visitor took top billing in the debut of this second reincarnation of the hall; and the programming signaled the embracing of a broader definition of “the arts” by Richmond’s cultural, business and social establishments.

One couldn’t help but notice, though, that this was an embrace out of an older Richmond, almost entirely black and white.

Other than the appearance of two dancers from the Latin Ballet of Virginia in the Barksdale/Theater IV segment, there were no representations of Central Virginia’s growing and culturally vibrant communities of Latino and Asian descent, or of the region’s folk and folk-revival circles. Also absent were any performers from the contemporary/alternative arts community of young adults – an ironic omission, since they form the dominant indigenous culture of the neighborhood in which CenterStage lives.

It would have been impractical to cram more acts into a show whose juxtapositions – jazz scat-singing followed by verismo opera, African drums and dance segueing into Shakespeare sonnets – produced enough aesthetic whiplash as it was. Some presenters will diversify beyond their norm during the season – the symphony, for example, will feature a soloist playing the pipa (Chinese lute) in its November Masterworks program – and a few other gaps (bluegrass, gospel) will be filled in coming weeks.

Still, CenterStage has some way to go before it reflects the full range of cultures in Richmond today.

UPDATE: I'm reliably informed that Kara Charise Harman sang "Climb Every Mountain."

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Wilkins in Hollywood

The Los Angeles Times' Greg Braxton profiles Thomas Wilkins, the Norfolk native and former associate conductor of the Richmond Symphony, now music director of the Omaha Symphony and resident conductor of the Detroit Symphony. Wilkins is conducting the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra in the finale of its summer series:

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Best of [not available]

In one of the stranger basic collectors' guides I've ever encountered, critics of Britain's Telegraph recommend 100 best classical recordings . . .

. . . 21 of which are listed as "deleted."

They also recommend that you "throw away everything you have" by, among others, Vladimir Ashkenazy. Presumably excepting Ashkenazy's disc of Rachmaninoff's 24 preludes, which they listed among the essentials.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Va. Symphony executive resigns

Carla Johnson, president and executive director of the Virginia Symphony, has resigned after five years with the Hampton Roads-based orchestra.

Johnson oversaw efforts to eliminate some $2 million in debt that the orchestra had amassed before her arrival in 2004, but leaves as debt has climbed again to about $2 million. In the fiscal year that ended July 31, during which it obtained a loan of $500,000 from the Norfolk Economic Development Authority, the Virginia Symphony ran an operating deficit of $720,000, The Virginian-Pilot's Teresa Annas reports:

Beethoven for night-owls

Deutsche Welle, the German international radio service, will present free, live video streams of the nine Beethoven symphonies as performed at the Bonn Beethovenfest by the German Chamber Philharmonic, Paavo Järvi conducting, from Sept. 9-12. The concerts begin at 1:40 a.m. Eastern time. Access via

Thursday, September 3, 2009

2009-10 season overview

Time for an overview of Richmond’s 2009-10 classical season, as scheduled to date. (Several choruses and other community groups have yet to announce their schedules.)

The big change, of course, is the reopening of the Carpenter Theatre (formerly Carpenter Center), the main venue of the new Richmond CenterStage downtown arts complex. With its move back into the hall, the Richmond Symphony will reduce its migration around suburban venues to four pairs of concerts in a series dubbed Metro Collection. The symphony’s mainstage Masterworks series will pair concerts on Saturday nights and Sunday afternoons. The Virginia Opera will return to the Carpenter Theatre after five seasons in the Landmark Theater.

With symphony and opera events concentrated in the same hall, you might think there would be fewer multiple events on the same dates than in recent seasons. Not so, unfortunately. This season’s calendar is full of conflicting events and matinees followed closely by evening concerts. Some, such as Symphony Pops dates vs. Rennolds Chamber Concerts, conflict less obviously than others. In any case, series subscribers should be prepared to exchange tickets.

Here’s the lineup of major events, followed by links to previous Letter V posts and/or presenters’ Web pages with more details:

12…Carpenter Theatre opening gala: Richmond Symphony, Virginia Opera, Richmond Ballet, et al.
16…eighth blackbird: “SPAM” (Camp Concert Hall, Modlin Arts Center, University of Richmond)
19...Richmond Symphony/Erin Freeman (Pocahontas State Park)

20…Paul Hanson & Joanne Kong, pianos (Camp Concert Hall, Modlin Arts Center, University of Richmond)
25-27...Alexander Paley Music Festival (First English Lutheran Church)

26-27…Richmond Symphony & Chorus/Alastair Willis (Carpenter Theatre)

…Richmond Symphony/Alastair Willis/Karen Johnson, violin (Collegiate School/Randolph-Macon College)
3...Marta Puig, piano (Vlahcevic Concert Hall, Singleton Arts Center, Virginia Commonwealth University)

4...Susanna Klein, violin & Dmitri Shteinberg, piano (Vlahcevic Concert Hall, Singleton Arts Center, Virginia Commonwealth University)
5…Matt Albert & Andrew McCain, violins (Camp Concert Hall, Modlin Arts Center, University of Richmond)
10…Richmond Symphony Pops/Christian Knapp (Carpenter Theatre)
10...Maia Quartet (Vlahcevic Concert Hall, Singleton Arts Center, Virginia Commonwealth University)

10…Chestnut Brass Company (Vlahcevic Concert Hall, Singleton Arts Center, Virginia Commonwealth University)
11...Sonia Vlahcevic, piano (Vlahcevic Concert Hall, Singleton Arts Center, Virginia Commonwealth University)

17-18…Richmond Symphony/Christian Knapp/Jeremy Denk, piano (Carpenter Theatre)
18…Christopher Marks, organ (Grace Covenant Presbyterian Church)
19…Shanghai Quartet/Lynn Harrell, cello (Camp Concert Hall, Modlin Arts Center, University of Richmond)
19...Russell Wilson, piano (Vlahcevic Concert Hall, Singleton Arts Center, Virginia Commonwealth University)

20...Charles West, clarinet (Vlahcevic Concert Hall, Singleton Arts Center, Virginia Commonwealth University)
21…Thomas Hampson, baritone: “Song of American Project” (Camp Concert Hall, Modlin Arts Center, University of Richmond)
23, 25…Virginia Opera: “La Bohème” (Carpenter Theatre)
25…Judith Cline, soprano, & Cara Ellen Modisett, piano (Camp Concert Hall, Modlin Arts Center, University of Richmond)
27...Oberon Quartet (Upper School Chapel, St. Christopher's School)

31…Richmond Symphony Lollipops/Erin Freeman (Carpenter Theatre)

1/2…Richmond Philharmonic/Robert Mirakian (Vlahcevic Concert Hall, Singleton Arts Center, Virginia Commonwealth University/location TBA)
6…Balint Karosi, organ (Bethlehem Lutheran Church)
6-7…Third Practice Electroacoustic Festival (Camp Concert Hall, Modlin Arts Center, University of Richmond)
6/8…Richmond Symphony/Arthur Fagen/Ralph Skiano, clarinet (Bon Air Baptist Church/Randolph-Macon College)
7…Pacifica Quartet (Vlahcevic Concert Hall, Singleton Arts Center, Virginia Commonwealth University)
9…LA Guitar Quartet/Jim Dale, narrator: “Ingenious Gentleman,” music of Cervantes’ time (Camp Concert Hall, Modlin Arts Center, University of Richmond)
10...Dmitri Shteinberg, piano (Vlahcevic Concert Hall, Singleton Arts Center, Virginia Commonwealth University)

14-15…Richmond Symphony/Arthur Fagen/Yang Wei, pipa (Carpenter Theatre)
16…Bruce Stevens, organ (Camp Concert Hall, Modlin Arts Center, University of Richmond)
16...Mary Bowden, trumpet (Vlahcevic Concert Hall, Singleton Arts Center, Virginia Commonwealth University)

21-22...Opera Theatre VCU (Vlahcevic Concert Hall, Singleton Arts Center, Virginia Commonwealth University)
27, 29…Virginia Opera: “Daughter of the Regiment” (Carpenter Theatre)

4…Richmond Symphony & Chorus/Erin Freeman: “Messiah” (Carpenter Theatre)
4...VCU Holiday Gala (Vlahcevic Concert Hall, Singleton Arts Center, Virginia Commonwealth University)

5-6…Richmond Symphony Pops & choruses/Erin Freeman: “Let It Snow” (Carpenter Theatre)
6...Richmond Choral Society holiday program (St. Mark's Episcopal Church)

6…University of Richmond Christmas Candlelight Service (Camp Concert Hall, Modlin Arts Center, University of Richmond)
7…Richmond Philharmonic/Robert Mirakian: “Home for the Holidays” (Atrium, James Center)

12/14…Richmond Symphony/Karen Johnson, violin (Kingsway Community Church/Randolph-Macon College)
16-17…Richmond Symphony & Chorus/conductor TBA (Carpenter Theatre)
24…Jeremy McEntire, flute, & Charles Hulin, piano (Camp Concert Hall, Modlin Arts Center, University of Richmond)
29…Orpheus Chamber Orchestra/Angela Hewitt, piano (Camp Concert Hall, Modlin Arts Center, University of Richmond)
30…Richmond Symphony Pops/conductor TBA (Carpenter Theatre)
30…Capuçon-Angelich Trio (Vlahcevic Concert Hall, Singleton Arts Center, Virginia Commonwealth University)

31...Ira Gold, double-bass (Vlahcevic Concert Hall, Singleton Arts Center, Virginia Commonwealth University)

5…Oliver Sachs lecture (Camp Concert Hall, Modlin Arts Center, University of Richmond)
6-7…Richmond Symphony/conductor TBA/Karen Johnson, violin (Carpenter Theatre)
7…Richard Becker, piano (Camp Concert Hall, Modlin Arts Center, University of Richmond)
14…Shanghai Quartet/Yuja Wang, piano (Camp Concert Hall, Modlin Arts Center, University of Richmond)
20…Wu Han, piano; David Finckel, cello, & Philip Seltzer, violin (Camp Concert Hall, Modlin Arts Center, University of Richmond)
20…Richmond Symphony Lollipops/Erin Freeman (Carpenter Theatre)
20…Arnaldo Cohen, piano (Vlahcevic Concert Hall, Singleton Arts Center, Virginia Commonwealth University)
23...Oberon Quartet (Bannard Chapel, St. Catherine's School)

27-28…Richmond Symphony/conductor TBA/Jon Nakamatsu, piano (Carpenter Theatre)
28…Richmond Philharmonic/Robert Mirakian (Vlahcevic Concert Hall, Singleton Arts Center, Virginia Commonwealth University)
28…Christophe Montoux, organ (St. Paul’s Episcopal Church)

1…Jennifer Cable, soprano, & Kenneth Merrill, harpsichord (Camp Concert Hall, Modlin Arts Center, University of Richmond)
3…eighth blackbird: “Slide,” works by Rinde Eckert & Steve Mackey (Camp Concert Hall, Modlin Arts Center, University of Richmond)
5, 7…Virginia Opera: “Don Giovanni” (Carpenter Theatre)
5/7…Richmond Symphony/Erin Freeman/Lynette Wardle, harp (Camp Concert Hall, Modlin Arts Center, University of Richmond/Randolph-Macon College)
10...Richmond Piano Trio (Vlahcevic Concert Hall, Singleton Arts Center, Virginia Commonwealth University)

13…Richmond Symphony Pops/Arturo Sandoval, trumpet (Carpenter Theatre)
20-21…Richmond Symphony/Erin Freeman/Tai Murray, violin (Carpenter Theatre)
21…Jeremy Denk, piano (Camp Concert Hall, Modlin Arts Center, University of Richmond)
21...Richmond Choral Society: "Women of Note" (St. Mark's Episcopal Church)

27…Jupiter String Quartet (Vlahcevic Concert Hall, Singleton Arts Center, Virginia Commonwealth University)
28...Karen Johnson, violin & Joanne Kong, piano (Vlahcevic Concert Hall, Singleton Arts Center, Virginia Commonwealth University)

28…Richard Becker & Doris Wylee Becker, pianos (Camp Concert Hall, Modlin Arts Center, University of Richmond)

11…UR Schola Cantorum: “Messiah” (Cannon Memorial Chapel, University of Richmond)
17…Peter Wispelwey, cello (Vlahcevic Concert Hall, Singleton Arts Center, Virginia Commonwealth University)
19…Rachel Laurin, organ (Westminster Presbyterian Church)
24…Richmond Symphony/conductor TBA/Gil Shaham, violin (Carpenter Theatre)
30…Virginia Opera: “Porgy and Bess” (Carpenter Theatre)

2…Virginia Opera: “Porgy and Bess” (Carpenter Theatre)
3…Richmond Philharmonic/Robert Mirakian/Concerto Competition winner (location TBA)
8…Richmond Symphony Lollipops/Erin Freeman (Carpenter Theatre)
9…Richmond Philharmonic/Robert Mirakian/Concerto Competition winner (Vlahcevic Concert Hall, Singleton Arts Center, Virginia Commonwealth University)
15-16…Richmond Symphony & Chorus/conductor TBA/organist TBA (Carpenter Theatre)

23...Richmond Symphony/Erin Freeman (Pocahontas State Park)

6...Richmond Choral Society: "A Sentimental Journey" pops program (St. Mark's Episcopal Church)

20…Richmond Philharmonic/Robert Mirakian (The Gardens at Sunday Park, Brandermill)









Tuesday, September 1, 2009

September 2009 calendar

Classical performances in and around Richmond, with selected events elsewhere in Virginia and the Washington area. Program information, provided by presenters, is updated as details become available. Adult single-ticket prices are listed; senior, student, group and other discounts may be offered.


* In and around Richmond: The newly renovated Carpenter Theatre of Richmond CenterStage opens with a gala variety show, including performances by the Richmond Symphony and singers from the Virginia Opera, on Sept. 12; and the symphony, with music-director candidate Alastair Willis conducting and the Symphony Chorus singing Orff’s "Carmina Burana," opens its Masterworks season on Sept. 26-27. . . . Pianist Alexander Paley returns for the 12th year of his Richmond music festival, featuring Rachmaninoff’s 24 preludes and rarely heard music by Czerny, Rimsky-Korsakov and Arensky, Sept. 25-27 at First English Lutheran Church.

* New and/or different: The Charlottesville Chamber Music Festival, Sept. 6-20 at the University of Virginia and Paramount Theater, features contemporary pieces by John Harbison, Steve Mackey and Chen Yi alongside more standard chamber fare. . . . eighth blackbird launches the 2009-10 classical season at the University of Richmond’s Modlin Arts Center on Sept. 16 with "SPAM," a program of rock-influenced contemporary chamber works by Mayke Nas, Mark-Anthony Turnage, Marc Mellits and Bent Sørensen. . . . Also at UR, pianists Joanne Kong and Paul Hanson play Messiaen’s epic "Visions de l’Amen," along with music of Stravinsky and Ravel, on Sept. 20. . . Violinists Zachary De Pue and Nicholas Kendall and double-bassist Ranaan Meyer play Jennifer Higdon’s "Concerto 4-3" with Marin Alsop and the Baltimore Symphony, Sept. 26 at Strathmore in the Washington suburbs. . . . . Indian classical vocalist Vatsala Mehra performs on Sept. 27 at the Kennedy Center in Washington. . . . The Australian Chamber Orchestra presents a musical world tour, including evocations of the Middle East by composer and oud player Joseph Tawadros, Sept. 30 at the Kennedy Center.

* Star turn: Pianist Evgeny Kissin plays Chopin with Iván Fischer and Washington’s National Symphony in its season-opening concert, Sept. 26 at the Kennedy Center.

* Bargain of the month: Alexander Paley’s three concerts of piano and chamber works, Sept. 25-27. (Free)

* My picks: eighth blackbird’s "SPAM," Sept. 16, and the two-piano program by Joanne Kong and Paul Hanson, Sept. 20, both at the University of Richmond. . . . The Richmond Symphony’s Masterworks opener, Sept. 26-27 at the Carpenter Theatre. . . . Alexander Paley and Pei-Wen Chen playing Rimsky-Korsakov’s rarely heard Suite from "The Legend of the Invisible City of Kitezh and the Maiden Fevroniya," along with Paley, clarinetist Charles West, violinist Kathy Judd and cellist Tom Shaw playing chamber works by Brahms and Chopin, Sept. 27 at First English Lutheran Church in Richmond.

Sept. 6 (3 p.m.)
Old Cabell Hall, University of Virginia, Charlottesville
Charlottesville Chamber Music Festival:
Soovin Kim & Jesse Mills, violins
Timothy Summers, violin & viola
Nicholas Cords, viola
Raphael Bell, cello
Anthony Manzo, double-bass
Julia Gallego, flute
Benjamin Hochman, piano
Ysaÿe: "Caprice d’après l’etude en forme de Valse de Saint-Saëns"
Mendelssohn: Piano Sextet in D major, Op. 110
John Harbison: "Six American Painters"
Bach: "Brandenburg" Concerto No. 5
(434) 295-5395

Sept. 6 (8 p.m.)
West Lawn, U.S. Capitol, Washington
National Symphony Orchestra
Emil de Cou conducting
Labor Day Concert
(800) 444-1324

Sept. 8 (8 p.m.)
Vlahcevic Concert Hall, Singleton Arts Center, Virginia Commonwealth University, Park Avenue at Harrison Street, Richmond
Bryan Hooten, trombone
Program TBA
(804) 828-6776

Sept. 10 (8 p.m.)
Paramount Theater, 215 E. Main St., Charlottesville
Charlottesville Chamber Music Festival:
Jesse Mills, violin

Timothy Summers, violin & viola
Amadi Azkiwe, viola
Raphael Bell, cello
Julia Gallego, flute
Igor Begelman, clarinet
Rieko Aizawa & Benjamin Hochman, pianos
Mozart: Trio, K. 498, for clarinet, viola and piano ("Kegelstatt")
Steve Mackey: "Micro-Concerto" for percussion and small ensemble
Henry Cowell: "Set of Five" for violin, piano and percussion
Mozart-Czerny: Piano Concerto No. 20 in D minor, K. 466
(434) 295-5395

Sept. 11 (8 p.m.)
Ferguson Arts Center, Christopher Newport University, Newport News
Sept. 12 (8 p.m.)
Chrysler Hall, 201 Brambleton Ave., Norfolk
Sept. 13 (2:30 p.m.)
Sandler Arts Center, 201 Market St., Virginia Beach
Virginia Symphony
JoAnn Falletta conducting
Smith: "The Star Spangled Banner"
Ward: "America the Beautiful"
Stravinsky: "Fireworks"
Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 5 ("Emperor")
Benedetto Lupo, piano
Shostakovich: Symphony No. 5
(757) 892-6366

Sept. 12 (8 p.m.)
Carpenter Theatre, Richmond CenterStage, Sixth and Grace streets
CenterStage Opening Gala
Richmond Symphony
Erin Freeman conducting
Virginia Opera members
Richmond Jazz Society’s Generations of Jazz
Richmond Ballet members
Theatre IV-Barksdale members
Richmond Shakespeare members
African American Repertory Theatre
Elegba Folklore Society
SPARC (School of the Performing Arts in the Richmond Community)
Program TBA
(804) 343-0144

Sept. 12 (8 p.m.)
Center for the Arts, George Mason University, Fairfax
Fairfax Symphony Orchestra
Christopher Zimmerman conducting
Bernstein: Symphonic Dances from "West Side Story"
Elgar: Introduction and Allegro for strings
Stravinsky: "Le sacre du printemps" ("The Rite of Spring")
(888) 945-2468 (

Sept. 12 (7 p.m.)
Sept. 13 (2 p.m.)
Sept. 14 (7 p.m.)
Sept. 15 (7:30 p.m.)
Sept. 16 (7:30 p.m.)
Sept. 19 (7 p.m.)
Sept. 20 (2 p.m.)
Kennedy Center Opera House, Washington
Washington National Opera
Michele Mariotti & Joseph Mechavich conducting
Rossini: "The Barber of Seville"
Simone Alberghini & Marco Caria (Figaro)
Lawrence Brownlee & Juan Francisco Gatell (Count Almaviva)
Silvia Tro Santafé & Ketevan Kemoklidze (Rosina)
Donata DiStefano & Valeriano Lanchas (Bartolo)
Eric Owens & Grigory Soloviov (Don Basilio)
David Gately, stage direction
in Italian, English captions
(800) 876-7372

Sept. 13 (3 p.m.)
Old Cabell Hall, University of Virginia, Charlottesville
Charlottesville Chamber Music Festival:
Axel Strauss & Timothy Summers, violins

Amadi Azikwe & Jessica Thompson, violas
Raphael Bell & Raman Ramakrishnan, cellos
Mendelssohn: String Quintet in B flat major, Op. 87
Chen Yi: "The Sound of Five" for string quintet
Beethoven: Sonata in A major, Op. 47 ("Kreutzer") (string quintet arrangement)
(434) 295-5395

Sept. 16 (7:30 p.m.)
Camp Concert Hall, Modlin Arts Center, University of Richmond
eighth blackbird
Mayke Nas: "Twelve Hands"
Mark-Anthony Turnage: "Grazioso!"
Marc Mellits: "Spam"
Bent Sørensen: "Deserted Churchyard"
(804) 289-8980

Sept. 17 (8 p.m.)
Old Cabell Hall, University of Virginia, Charlottesville
Charlottesville Chamber Music Festival:
Carrie Stevens, mezzo-soprano

Mark Gothoni & Timothy Summers, violins
Melissa Reardon & Emile Cantor, violas
Raman Ramakrishnan & Laurentiu Sbarcea, cellos
Byron Schenkman, harpsichord
Telemann: Sextet in G minor
Dowland: songs TBA
Bach: Cantata 54 ("Widerstehe doch der Sunde")
Brahms: String Sextet in B flat major, Op. 18
(434) 295-5395

Sept. 19 (6 p.m.)
Pocahontas State Park, Chesterfield County
Richmond Symphony
Erin Freeman conducting
Pops program TBA
(Rain date: 6 p.m. Sept. 20)
(800) 927-2787

Sept. 19 (8 p.m.)
University of Virginia Amphitheater, Charlottesville
Charlottesville & University Symphony Orchestra
Kate Tamarkin conducting
"Symphony Under the Stars"
Program TBA
(434) 924-3376

Sept. 20 (3 p.m.)
Camp Concert Hall, Modlin Arts Center, University of Richmond
Joanne Kong & Paul Hanson, pianos
Stravinsky: Concerto for two solo pianos
Ravel: "Mother Goose" Suite
Messiaen: "Visions de l’Amen"
(804) 289-8980

Sept. 20 (4 p.m.)
Vlahcevic Concert Hall, Singleton Arts Center, Virginia Commonwealth University, Park Avenue at Harrison Street, Richmond
VCU Guitar Series:
Potomac Guitar Quartet
Program TBA
(804) 828-6776

Sept. 20 (3 p.m.)
Old Cabell Hall, University of Virginia, Charlottesville
Charlottesville Chamber Music Festival:
Orpheus String Quartet

Mark Gothoni & Timothy Summers, violins
Emile Cantor, viola
Laurentiu Sbarcea, cello
Schubert: "Quartettsatz" in C minor
Bartók: String Quartet No. 6
Beethoven: String Quartet in C sharp minor, Op. 131
(434) 295-5395

Sept. 20 (7 p.m.)
Center for the Arts, George Mason University, Fairfax
Jeffrey Siegel, piano
"Keyboard Conversations: Chopin for Lovers!"
(888) 945-2468 (

Sept. 24 (8 p.m.)
St. Bede Catholic Church, 3686 Ironbound Road, Williamsburg
Sept. 26 (8 p.m.)
Regent University Theater, 1000 Regent University Drive, Virginia Beach
Virginia Symphony
JoAnn Falleta conducting
Fauré: "Pelléas et Mélisande" Suite
Richard Strauss: Oboe Concerto
Sherie Aguirre, oboe
Jack Gallagher: Berceuse
Beethoven: Symphony No. 8
(757) 892-6366

Sept. 25 (8 p.m.)
First English Lutheran Church, Monument Avenue at Stuart Circle, Richmond
Alexander Paley Festival:
Czerny: "Brilliant Grand Sonata" in C minor, Op. 10, for piano four-hands
Alexander Paley & Pei-Wen Chen, piano
Rachmaninoff: 24 preludes
Alexander Paley, piano
(804) 355-9185

Sept. 26 (8 p.m.)
Sept. 27 (3 p.m.)
Carpenter Theatre, Richmond CenterStage, Sixth and Grace streets
Richmond Symphony
Alastair Willis conducting
Saint-Saëns: Bacchanale from "Samson et Delila"
Brahms: "Variations on a Theme by Haydn"
Orff: "Carmina Burana"
Anya Matanovic, soprano
Marcus Shelton, tenor
Richard Zeller, baritone
Richmond Symphony Chorus
Erin Freeman directing
(800) 927-2787 (Ticketmaster)

Sept. 26 (8 p.m.)
First English Lutheran Church, Monument Avenue at Stuart Circle, Richmond
Alexander Paley Festival:
Hindemith: Sonata for piano four-hands (1938)
Alexander Paley & Pei-Wen Chen, piano
Mendelssohn: Sonata for clarinet and piano
Charles West, clarinet
Alexander Paley, piano
Arensky: Piano Trio No. 1 in D minor, Op. 32
Kathy Judd, violin
Tom Shaw, cello
Alexander Paley, piano
Moszkowski: "Two Spanish Dances," Op. 65
Dvořák: Two Slavonic dances
Grieg: "Norwegian Dance," Op. 35, No. 2
Brahms: Two Hungarian dances
Ivo Kaltchev & José Ramos Santana, piano
Rachmaninoff: "Trio elegique"
Kathy Judd, violin
Tom Shaw, cello
Alexander Paley, piano
(804) 355-9185

Sept. 26 (8 p.m.)
Old Cabell Hall, University of Virginia, Charlottesville
Sept. 27 (3:30 p.m.)
Monticello High School, 1400 Independence Way, Charlottesville
Charlottesville & University Symphony Orchestra
Kate Tamarkin conducting
Verdi: "Nabucco" Overture
Abinoni: Adagio for strings
Nino Rota: Bassoon Concerto
Elizabeth Roberts, bassoon
Mendelssohn: Symphony No. 4 ("Italian")
(434) 924-3376

Sept. 26 (7:30 p.m.)
Terrace Theater, Kennedy Center, Washington
Cedric Tiberghien, piano
Chopin: Four ballades
Ravel: "Gaspard de la nuit"
Debussy: "Masques"
Debussy: "D’un cahier d’esquisses"
Debussy: "L’Isle joyeuse"
(202) 785-9727 (Washington Performing Arts Society)

Sept. 26 (7 p.m.)
Kennedy Center Concert Hall, Washington
National Symphony Orchestra
Iván Fischer conducting
Glinka: "Russlan and Ludmilla" Overture
Kodály: "Dances of Galánta"
Sarasate: "Zigeunerweisen"
József Lendvay Jr., violin
Chopin: Piano Concerto No. 2
Evgeny Kissin, piano
Richard Strauss: "Dance of the Seven Veils" from "Salome"
Johann Strauss II: "On the Beautiful Blue Danube"
(800) 444-1324

Sept. 26 (8 p.m.)
Music Center at Strathmore, 5301 Tuckerman Lane, North Bethesda, MD
Baltimore Symphony Orchestra
Marin Alsop conducting
Brahms: Hungarian dances Nos. 1, 3, 10
Jennifer Higdon: "Concerto 4-3"
Zachary De Pue & Nicholas Kendall, violins
Ranaan Meyer, double-bass
Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 4
(877) 276-1444 (Baltimore Symphony box office)

Sept. 27 (3:30 p.m.)
First English Lutheran Church, Monument Avenue at Stuart Circle, Richmond
Alexander Paley Festival:
Brahms: Clarinet Trio
Charles West, clarinet
Tom Shaw, cello
Alexander Paley, piano
Chopin: Piano Trio in G minor, Op. 8
Kathy Judd, violin
Tom Shaw, cello
Alexander Paley, piano
Rimsky-Korsakov: Suite from "The Legend of the Invisible City of Kitezh and the Maiden Fevroniya"
Alexander Paley & Pei-Wen Chen, piano
(804) 355-9185

Sept. 27 (7:30 p.m.)
Terrace Theater, Kennedy Center, Washington
Vatsala Mehra, Indian classical vocalist
"An Evening of Ghazals, Sufi and Geet"
(800) 444-1324

Sept. 29 (7:30 p.m.)
Terrace Theater, Kennedy Center, Washington
Australian Chamber Orchestra
Richard Tognetti conducting
Handel: Concerto Grosso in B flat major, Op. 6, No. 7
Carl Vine: "Smith’s Alchemy"
Elgar: Introduction and Allegro for strings
Ravel-Tognetti: Kaddish
Ravel-Tognetti: "The Eternal Enigma"
Paganini-Tognetti: Caprice No. 5
Bartók: Divertimento for strings
(800) 444-1324

Sept. 30 (7 p.m.)
Vlahcevic Concert Hall, Singleton Arts Center, Virginia Commonwealth University, Park Avenue at Harrison Street, Richmond
VCU Symphonic Wind Ensemble
Terry Austin directing
Program TBA
(804) 828-6776

Sept. 30 (7:30 p.m.)
Terrace Theater, Kennedy Center, Washington
Australian Chamber Orchestra
Richard Tognetti conducting
Robert Saxton: "Birthday Piece for Richard Rodney Bennett"
Anon. (Bolivia): "Sonata Chiquitanas XVIII" (movements 1-2)
Shostakovich: String Quartet No. 7
Trad. Sephardic: "Yo era niña de casa alta"
Shostakovich: Prelude and Scherzo, Op. 11, for string octet
Ruth Crawford Seeger: Andante for strings
Pink Floyd: "Shine On You Crazy Diamond" (parts 1-5)
Joseph Tawadros: "Rose," "Dahab," other works TBA
Joseph Tawadros, oud
James Tawadros, percussion
(800) 444-1324