Sunday, February 28, 2010

Review: Richmond Symphony

Steven Smith conducting
Feb. 27, Carpenter Theatre, Richmond CenterStage

Steven Smith, last of the three remaining music-director candidates to conduct the Richmond Symphony this season, made a persuasive case for himself by making persuasive cases for Beethoven and Berlioz, and a compelling case for Shostakovich, in the first of two Masterworks concerts this weekend.

In Berlioz’s "Le Corsaire" Overture, Smith adopted a tempo that was animated but still broad enough to allow stuttering woodwind figurations to emerge with complete clarity. The string sonorities that he obtained in the Berlioz, and subsequently in Beethoven’s "Emperor" Concerto, had warmth and heft without turning mushy, and were balanced in a way that made the thinness of bass-string sound in the Carpenter Theatre far less pronounced than in other concerts the orchestra has given since the acoustic makeover and reopening of the hall. Winds and brass sounded without reticence, but without overbalancing strings.

Jon Nakamatsu, the piano soloist in the Beethoven, is widely lauded for his interpretations of Chopin, and one could hear why in the crystalline tone and flexible, singing phrasing he brought to the concerto’s lyrical passages, notably in the central adagio. The piano’s generally bright tone – probably a combination of Nakamatsu’s technique and the way piano sound is reflected in this hall – sapped the outer movements, especially the finale, of some of the rhetorical grandeur that the instrument typically projects in this work.

Smith’s treatments of the Beethoven and Berlioz showed gratifying attention to detail and an interpretive approach that straddles classicism and romanticism in pacing, phrasing, accenting and sonority. His treatment of Shostakovich’s Fifth Symphony showed real passion.

The Shostakovich Fifth, typically, is not music to love so much as music to experience in awe. In a really good performance, it is music to be drawn deeply into. This performance was not just really good; it was the most intensely focused I’ve ever heard, live or recorded, from Russian or non-Russian musicians.

From the portentous opening exchange between high and low strings to the brassy, darkly triumphant climax – and most tellingly, in the spare, bleak and distant-sounding string passages of the symphony’s largo movement – Smith and the orchestra captured Shostakovich’s distinctive emotional and spiritual tone, in which tormented silence shadows even the most exuberant or aggressive outburst.

The musicians exploited this work’s contrasts of volume, from barely audible to very loud, and its fibrous sound textures – notably in the low winds and keyboards, harps and percussion – to great effect. Solos sounded, as they really must in this piece, like starkly candid disclosures of very private feelings.

In my experience, admirers of Shostakovich are not over-represented in the Richmond Symphony audience. Still, this audience listened to the Fifth in deep concentration, almost as if lives depended on the outcome (as the composer’s life may well have depended on the reception this work got in Stalinist Russia of the 1930s), and rewarded the performance with a roaring, richly deserved ovation.

The program repeats at 3 p.m. Feb. 28 at the Carpenter Theatre. Tickets: $17-$72. Details: (800) 982-2787 (Ticketmaster); www.richmondsymphony.com

Friday, February 26, 2010

Review: Biava Quartet

Feb. 26, Ellen Glasgow House, Richmond

In this new age of "alt-classical," chamber ensembles perform in all kinds of chambers, from recital halls to warehouses. Gigs in the parlors of 19th-century houses are pretty exceptional, though. (Pretty ironic, that, since most chamber music composed before 1900 was written with at-home performance in mind.)

So it wasn’t too surprising that the Biava Quartet, which has the chops and the burgeoning reputation to play in major concert halls, took some time adjusting its projection and instrumental blending to the relative intimacy of Richmond’s Ellen Glasgow House.

The foursome – violinists Austin Hartman and Hyunsu Ko, violist Mary Persin and cellist Gwendolyn Krosnick – brought to town by James Wilson’s Richmond Festival of Music, took its audience deep into the sonic and structural innards of music by Haydn, Brahms and Ginastera. Even in the seats most distant from the musicians (maybe 12 feet away) and under the rooms’ 14-foot ceilings, the immediacy and impact of the performances were striking, not to say stunning – almost as if one were listening from inside the instruments.

Don’t try this at home unless first-rate artists are at work. Even then, make allowances: Proximity amplifies imperfections, italicizes contrasts of volume and sound texture, and tends to etch the sound of each instrument in sharp relief.

That was just right for Ginastera’s Quartet No. 1 (1948), an eventful, sometimes violently expressive work that draws on the folk idioms of the composer’s homeland, Argentina, and also recalls the tone-colorization of the French impressionist school. The Biava played with great intensity in the sharply accented, highly dynamic writing of its outer movements, and with even more impressive subtlety in the voicings and textures of its inner scherzo and nocturne.

The group’s expressive intensity, and relatively brisk tempos, made for a cogent and memorably dramatic reading of Brahms’ Quartet in C minor, Op. 51. In the two final movements of this last piece on the program, the musicians sounded to have fully adjusted to the space in which they were playing, and so were able to produce an optimal instrumental blend.

The loudness and occasional unruliness of Haydn’s Quartet in F minor, Op. 20, No. 5, which opened the program, showed how tough it can be to adjust high-powered string playing to a domestic scale.

The Biava dedicated the performance to David Soyer, the longtime cellist of the Guarneri Quartet, who died on Feb. 25 at the age of 87.

House votes to cut Arts Commission


The Virginia House of Delegates has approved a budget that cuts and subsequently eliminates funding for the Virginia Commission for the Arts. Despite intensive lobbying by arts groups, "no amendment was offered in the House to restore money" for the commission, Tyler Whitley and Jeff E. Schapiro report in the Richmond Times-Dispatch:

http://www2.timesdispatch.com/rtd/news/state_regional/state_regional_govtpolitics/article/BUDG26_20100225-223007/326963/

In the House budget, the commission would have $2.23 million (a 50 percent reduction from current funding) to distribute in grants before shutting down as of July 1, 2011. The House budget must be reconciled with one passed by the Virginia Senate, which appropriates $4.46 million for the commission in each of the next two years.

Funding from the National Endowment for the Arts, currently $1 million annually, would be lost if the state shuts down its arts agency.

The legislature is supposed to approve a two-year budget before its current session adjourns; adjournment is scheduled for March 13. Gov. Bob McDonnell then may call for revisions to the budget. The governor's budget proposals called for a 26 percent decrease in funds for the Arts Commission.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Schoenberg does Elgar


Wolfgang Rihm, the German composer, found while examining fragments of Arnold Schoenberg's work the beginning of a contrapuntal exercise that appears to be based on Edward Elgar's "Enigma Variations." (Pause to ponder the unlikelihood.) Tom Service expounds on his blog for The Guardian:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/tomserviceblog/2010/feb/23/schoenberg-elgar-wolfgang-rihm-orchesterfragmente

Maazel to Munich?


Lorin Maazel, the former New York Philharmonic music director and maestro of the midsummer Castleton Festival on his estate in Virginia's Rappahannock County, reportedly is about to be named music director of the Munich Philharmonic. (The report comes from Germany's Süddeutscher Zeitung, via Musical America.)

The Munich Philharmonic, once the city's second orchestra (overshadowed by the Bavarian State Radio Orchestra, which Maazel led from 1993-2002), has risen in prominence in recent decades under a succession of stellar conductors: Sergiu Celibidache, James Levine and its current director, Christian Thielemann, who's leaving next year to take over the Saxon State Opera in Dresden.

Great American novel-turned-opera


Composer Jake Heggie, whose "Dead Man Walking" is one of the most compelling operas introduced in the past 20 years, discusses his new "Moby-Dick," as Herman Melville originally titled his novel and Heggie titles the opera, due to premiere in April in Dallas. The composer is interviewed by Bob Clark of Canada's Calgary Herald:

http://www.calgaryherald.com/news/Inside+Calgary+Opera+whale+tale/2601408/story.html

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Arts Commission shutdown?


The Appropriations Committee of the Virginia House of Delegates voted on Feb. 21 to eliminate the Virginia Commission for the Arts and state grants to cultural entities. Arts groups are mounting a crash campaign to save the commission, which "this year is handing out about $3.9 million in state grant money plus another $1 million in federal funds to 700 grantees," Teresa Annas reports in The Virginian Pilot of Norfolk:

http://hamptonroads.com/2010/02/backers-organize-after-vote-kill-virginia-arts-commission

The budget submitted by Gov. Bob McDonnell proposed cutting the commission's funding by 26 percent, on top of a reduction of about 30 percent made in former Gov. Tim Kaine's administration.

The full House vote on the proposed budget is scheduled for Feb. 25.

UPDATE 1: More from Zachary Reid and Tyler Whitley in the Richmond Times-Dispatch:

http://www2.timesdispatch.com/rtd/news/state_regional/state_regional_govtpolitics/article/ARTS25_20100224-212806/326707/

UPDATE 2: The Roanoke Times' Mike Allen and Tad Dickens count the potential costs to Roanoke and Southwest Virginia from an Arts Commission shutdown:

http://www.roanoke.com/news/roanoke/wb/237813

* * *


For some years, I’ve been conflicted on the question of government support for the arts.

A thriving cultural sphere is integral to a civilized society, and government ought to play a role in maintaining civilization. In this country, that role is fairly recent – the National Endowment for the Arts was established in 1968, and most state arts agencies came into being in the NEA’s wake – and in dollar terms it’s a pretty minor role: The NEA is funded at about $150 million in a multi-trillion-dollar federal budget; most state arts agencies disperse a few pennies per taxpayer.

In exchange for this small-change taxpayer support, arts groups are vulnerable to hostile scrutiny, and occasional harassment, from politicians and interest groups who know little about and care less for creative endeavor. Telling these people what they really should be told – buzz off (or less polite words to that effect) – isn’t possible as long as the arts are subsidized with public funds.

If you believe that creative people should cast a critical eye on society, and especially on those who would impose their "values" on the rest of us, you might reasonably view government subsidy as a means by which hostile forces can constrain and censor creativity – and do so at bargain prices, considering the small sums being given out.

That’s a big-picture view, though.

The more immediate concern is that arts groups are under serious-to-severe financial stress. The recession has ravaged fund-raising and earnings from endowments. Localities have already slashed grants for arts organizations, as well as school arts programs that indirectly benefit them. Sudden elimination of state and federal funding – money from the feds is contingent on money from the state – could push many groups deeper into the red and force some to shut down.

Public funds in various guises account for 5 to 10 percent of the operating budgets of Virginia’s largest arts groups. The percentage is higher, in some cases much higher, for smaller groups and those in rural areas and small towns. They would be the first casualties of an arts commission shutdown; but the fallout would soon hit artists and groups that have benefitted from the commission’s tour program and other "outreach" initiatives.

Saving the Virginia Commission for the Arts is necessary, for both tangible and symbolic reasons. Doing so would head off damage that is way out of proportion to the state money at issue. Saving the commission, however, would be a short-term victory in a conflict that isn’t going away.

Artists and arts groups should wean themselves from taxpayer subsidy, and the ideological pressure that seems inevitably to come with it, as quickly as possible. Any group that remains dependent is poorly managed and faces a painful, perhaps fatal, reality check.

The campaign that Virginia’s arts groups should be mounting (and that would require more than a few days of frenetic activity) is one that mobilizes private support for the idea that creative endeavor yields the immediate benefit of improved academic performance, and the longer-term benefit of laying a foundation for a thriving information-based economy.

These are not airy-fairy notions – they are supported by hard data, from student test scores to the choices that high-tech firms make in locating headquarters and plants – but they present the typical politician with too many dots to connect. The people who need to be convinced, and mobilized, are the corporate and community leaders whom politicians are loth to cross.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Required reading


For those interested in the financial and other challenges facing classical-music organizations, a column by the Philadelphia Inquirer's Peter Dobrin on the woes of the Philadelphia Orchestra, and the readers' comments that follow:

http://www.philly.com/philly/entertainment/84770447.html?viewAll=y

Who needs critics, and what kind?


"In this garbled sensorium we call a culture, criticism is more necessary than ever," Jonathan Jones writes on his blog for The Guardian.

"Real criticism," he goes on, "is not about distinguishing good from bad; it is about distinguishing good from great. There's plenty of terrible art around, but it usually finds its level in the end. The curse of our time, in the arts, is mediocrity and ordinariness" . . .

http://www.guardian.co.uk/artanddesign/jonathanjonesblog/2010/feb/22/critics-need-us

Real criticism is also about distinguishing artistry from personality. Another contemporary curse is that too often we let artists' personal attributes – physical attractiveness, gift of gab, compelling life story – affect our perceptions of their artistic merit. The history of art is full of obnoxious or pathetic characters who produce great art and attractive people who produce junk; and more recent history is peppered with artists who affect a rebellious, anti-social persona to distract from the mediocrity of their art or to make themselves the "work of art."

So, in Jones' "garbled sensorium," maybe the ideal critic would be a cranky old fart (actual age may vary) who is immune to charm, doesn't read publicity packages or listen to talk shows, avoids interaction with the artists being reviewed, and ignores public response.

The blogosphere is an environment in which such critics can thrive.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Review: Han-Setzer-Finckel trio

Feb. 20, University of Richmond

Reviewed by Francis Church

Franz Schubert’s two piano trios bespeak the glowing joy that marked Richmond’s first preview of spring. The trio of Wu Han, piano; Philip Setzer, violin; and David Finckel, cello, completed the picture on Saturday night with sparkling, balanced performances of the two pieces before a three-quarters-full house at Camp Concert Hall of the University of Richmond's Modlin Arts Center.

The listeners deserve their share of the credit, as well. They had to negotiate a campus gridlocked because of a basketball game. “What will happen when football season arrives?” some asked in pre-concert conversation.

But the rewards came early and often.

First was the pianistic virtuosity of Han. She was quite simply a wonder to see and hear. The music ebbed and flowed with beauty, life and majesty, as the score dictated. Her eyes darted back and forth with her collaborators. We heard none of the banging to which some pianists are inclined in these trios.

Then, there was the cello of Finckel, Han’s husband who shares with her the duties of directors of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center in New York. Not only shunning the facial and physical histrionics of so many of today’s cellists, he simply let the music do the job. His solos in the slow movements of both trios were wonders of lyricism. And he deftly managed the mishap when the hairs of his bow came loose midway in the first movement of the first trio, and he had to halt the proceedings and go backstage for a replacement..

Lastly, Setzer, who is Finckel’s colleague in the Emerson String Quartet, was a bedrock of strength throughout the evening. Occasionally, he was somewhat understated in his expressiveness, but that was to be preferred to overplaying. His dialogue with Finckel in the slow movement of the first piano trio, the one in B-flat major, Op. 99/D. 898, certainly was one of the great moments of the night.

Of the two trios, the second in E-flat major, Op. 100/D. 929, emerged the stronger. The exuberant opening allegro featured the rapturous piano work of Ms. Han; some of the chords were Beethoven-like in their power (Beethoven died in 1827, only a year before the young Schubert died in November 1828 at 31). The cello solo in the andante reminded one of the composer’s earlier song, “Death and the Maiden.” It reappears in the final movement. Is the composer telling us something of his own passing the year after he completed this work?

Occasionally, these trios display the composer’s inclination to write to “heavenly lengths,” as one commentator put it. But in the hands of the Han-Setzer-Finckel trio, they emerged fresh, refreshing and new, as Robert Schumann put it of the first trio: “One glance at Schubert’s trio -- and the troubles of our human existence disappear and all of the world is fresh and bright again.”

After this winter of our discontent and the campus gridlock, we got Schubert’s (and Schumann’s) message.


Francis Church, former music critic of the Richmond News Leader, is a cellist active in orchestral and chamber performance.

Review: Arnaldo Cohen

Feb. 20, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond

Scherzo literally translates as “joke;” but as a musical form the scherzo exhibits a variety of humors, from the bumptiousness of Beethoven to the playful traceries of Mendelssohn to the demonic intensity of Bruckner. The four scherzos that Chopin wrote for piano show all those qualities at one point or another, and mask fairly strict classical structure with the italicized phrasing and high sentiments of romanticism. They bring out the rhetorician in a pianist.

Arnaldo Cohen, the Brazilian-born pianist based at Indiana University, made pretty stern work of the Chopin set in this weekend’s installment of VCU's Rennolds Chamber Concerts.


Cohen’s technique emphasized power and clarity; his pacing tended toward the brisk, and dynamism sounded to be a higher priority than rubato in his phrasing. His bright, unsmudged treatment yielded the best outcomes in the central works of the set, the dramatically inflected scherzos in B flat minor, Op. 31, and C sharp minor, Op. 39.

The same qualities prevailed in Cohen’s performance of Busoni’s grand-piano version of the Chaconne from Bach’s Partita No. 2 in D minor, originally for solo violin. Brilliant high notes, emphatic bass and crisp rhythms directed the ear to Bach’s creation rather than Busoni’s elaborations on it.

The pianist devoted the rest of his program to miniatures by Brazilian composers of the early 20th century, only one of whom, Ernesto Nazareth, is well-known outside Brazil. Alberto Nepomuceno’s Air from “Suite Antiga” harkened back to Bach – it proved an apt postscript to the Bach-Busoni Chaconne. Waltzes by Radames Gnattali, Luis Levy and Francisco Braga played on bright tone colors; Levy’s “Valsa Lenta” had a nostalgic undertone more than vaguely recalling Scott Joplin.

Nazareth’s familiar “Odeon” and less familiar “Apanhei-te, Cavaquinho” were characterized by nervy energy and bright coloring, but not much sensuality.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Virginia Opera 2010-11


The Virginia Opera has announced the four operas to be staged in its 2010-11 season: Verdi's "Rigoletto," Mozart's "Così fan tutte," Wagner’s "Die Walküre" and Puccini’s "Madame Butterfly."

Peter Mark, the Virginia Opera's artistic director, will conduct the Verdi and Wagner productions. Joseph Walsh, the company's associate artistic director, will be conductor for the Mozart and Puccini.

The South African baritone Fikile Mvinjelwa will sing the title role of "Rigoletto" in a production directed by Marc Astafan. Other vocal casting will be announced later. Other stage directors are Eric Einhorn ("Così fan tutte"), Lillian Groag ("Die Walküre") and Dorothy Danner ("Madame Butterfly").

The four operas will be sung in their original languages – the Verdi, Mozart and Puccini in Italian, the Wagner in German – with projected English captions. The Wagner will be staged in "a three-hour, audience-friendly version" that the Virginia Opera is billing as "The Valkyrie," says Danielle M. Canonico, the company's communications director.

In its 36th season, the Virginia Opera will continue with a schedule of performances on Saturday, Wednesday and Friday nights and Sunday afternoons at Harrison Opera House in Norfolk, and Friday nights and Sunday afternoons at the Center for the Arts, George Mason University, in Fairfax and the Carpenter Theatre of Richmond CenterStage.

For information on ticket subscriptions, now on sale in Norfolk and Richmond, call the Virginia Opera box office at (866) 673-7282. For information on Fairfax subscriptions, going on sale April 8, call (703) 993-2787. Information is also available on the Virginia Opera website, www.vaopera.org

The opera's 2010-11 dates:

* Verdi: "Rigoletto" – Oct. 2, 6, 8 and 10 in Norfolk; Oct. 15 and 17 in Fairfax; Oct. 22 and 24 in Richmond.

* Mozart: "Così fan tutte" Nov. 13, 17, 19 and 21 in Norfolk; Nov. 26 and 28 in Richmond; Dec. 3 and 5 in Fairfax.

* Wagner: "The Valkyrie" ("Die Walküre") Feb. 5, 9, 11 and 13 in Norfolk; Feb. 18 and 20 in Fairfax; Feb. 25 and 27 in Richmond.

* Puccini: "Madame Butterfly" – March 19, 23, 25 and 27 in Norfolk; April 1 and 3 in Fairfax; April 8 and 10 in Richmond.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

'A third world . . . not a bridge'


Mason Bates, the Richmond-bred composer and recently named co-director of a new-music initiative at the Chicago Symphony, joins Leonard Slatkin and the Pittsburgh Symphony on Feb. 19 and 20 to perform his "Liquid Interface." In an interview with the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's Andrew Druckenbrod, Bates discusses re-creating orchestral music by incorporating electronic sound:

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/10049/1036486-388.stm

Modlin Center's new director


Deborah Sommers, director of the Quick Center for the Arts at Fairfield University in Connecticut, has been selected by the University of Richmond as the new executive director of its Modlin Arts Center, effective July 1, Zachary Reid reports in the Richmond Times-Dispatch:

http://www2.timesdispatch.com/rtd/entertainment/theatre_arts/article/MODL18_20100217-220404/325053/

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Whither Abbey Road?


The private equity firm that owns the British recording company EMI reportedly is putting its Abbey Road studios on the market.

Abbey Road, of course, was the venue for most of the Beatles' recording sessions and the namesake of the group's last album. Edward Elgar's recording of his Violin Concerto with the adolescent Yehudi Menuhin and many other seminal classical recordings of the 1930s, '40s and '50s were made at Abbey Road. Its big Studio No. 1 has been home to as many memorable performances as any of the world's great concert halls.

Norman Lebrecht guesses that the property will fetch £30-40 million ($47-63 million). He advocates turning the studios into a museum:

http://www.scena.org/columns/lebrecht/100217-NL-Abbey.html

The Beatles' Paul McCartney expresses his interest ("it would be lovely"), without tipping his hand financially, in preserving Abbey Road:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/2010/feb/17/bid-to-save-abbey-house

The National Trust, the British preservation society, says it "would consider buying the complex," The New York Times' Ben Sisario reports:

http://artsbeat.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/02/17/national-trust-considers-buying-abbey-road-studios/

UPDATE: EMI says it won't sell Abbey Road, Bloomberg News' Simon Packard reports:

http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601088&sid=aWhfBmz.ONqA

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Castleton Festival 2010


The Castleton Festival, staged on the Rappahannock County estate of conductor Lorin Maazel and his wife, Dietlinde Turban-Maazel, will feature new productions of the three one-act operas of Puccini’s "Il Trittico," Stravinsky’s "L’histoire du soldat" ("The Soldier’s Tale") and Manuel De Falla’s "Master Pedro’s Puppet Show," along with revivals of Britten’s "The Turn of the Screw" and Britten’s arrangement of "The Beggar’s Opera," in its 2010 season, opening July 2 and running through July 25.

The festival, which draws about 200 young musicians and theater artists and technicians to work with Maazel and other professional mentors, will present the staged works in the 140-seat Theatre House, as well as four orchestra concerts under a new festival tent that will accommodate 400 listeners. Maazel will lead all-Italian, all-French and all-Beethoven programs and will share the podium with conducting fellows in an American program.

Festival participants also will give three chamber recitals at the Theatre at Washington in nearby Washington, VA.

Tickets for the festival, individually priced at $20-$85, also available in several multi-event packages, will go on sale on March 20. Tickets may be ordered from the festival box office at (866) 974-0767 or via www.castletonfestival.org

Castleton’s 2010 schedule:

July 2 (7 p.m., Theatre House) – Puccini: "Il Trittico" ("Il Tabarro," "Suor Angelica," "Gianni Schicchi"), Lorin Maazel conducting. (Gala dinner included.)

July 3 (2 p.m., Theatre House) – Britten: "The Turn of the Screw," Timothy Myers conducting.

July 3 (7 p.m., festival tent) – Castleton Festival Orchestra, Maazel conducting. Respighi: "The Pines of Rome," "The Fountains of Rome;" works by Rossini, Verdi, Puccini.

July 4 (2 p.m., Theatre House) – "Il Trittico."

July 5 (7 p.m., The Theatre at Washington) – chamber program by festival participants.

July 8 (7:30 p.m., Theatre House) – "The Turn of the Screw."

July 9 (7:30 p.m., Theatre House) – "Il Tabarro," "Gianni Schicchi."

July 10 (2 p.m., Theatre House) – "Suor Angelica."

July 10 (7 p.m., festival tent) – Castleton Festival Orchestra, Maazel conducting. Works by Berlioz, Debussy, Ravel.

July 11 (2 p.m., Theatre House) – "Il Tabarro," "Gianni Schicchi."

July 11 (7 p.m., Theatre House) – "The Turn of the Screw."

July 12 (7 p.m., The Theatre at Washington) – chamber program by festival participants.

July 15 (7:30 p.m., Theatre House) – Gay-Pepusch/Britten: "The Beggar’s Opera," Maazel conducting.

July 16 (7:30 p.m., festival tent) – Maazel Master Class Concert. Gershwin: "An American in Paris," Maazel conducting; works by Barber, Bernstein, Copland led by conducting fellows.

July 17 (7 p.m., Theatre House) – "The Beggar’s Opera."

July 18 (2 p.m., Theatre House) – "Il Trittico."

July 19 (7 p.m., The Theatre at Washington) – chamber program by festival participants.

July 22 (7:30 p.m., Theatre House) – "Suor Angelica," "Gianni Schicchi."

July 23 (7:30 p.m., Theatre House) – Stravinsky: "L’histoire du soldat;" De Falla: "Master Pedro’s Puppet Show," Maazel conducting, with puppets by Emily DeCola and Eric Wright of the Puppet Kitchen.

July 24 (7 p.m., Theatre House) – "Il Trittico."

July 25 (2 p.m., Theatre House) – "L’histoire du soldat," "Master Pedro’s Puppet Show."

July 25 (7 p.m., festival tent) – Castleton Festival Orchestra, Maazel conducting. Beethoven: Symphonies Nos. 2, 3 ("Eroica").


Dogma vanishes in burst of color


Anthony Tommasini’s essay in The New York Times on the disappearance of "dogma" – or settled and peer-enforced parameters of acceptable forms and techniques of composition – in contemporary art-music . . .

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/14/arts/music/14dogma.html?ref=music

. . . acknowledges a trend that has been under way worldwide for at least 30 years. This trend developed alongside the emergence of nontraditional performing troupes, the introduction of instruments not previously heard in classical music, the growing recognition of composers from non-Western cultures (notably China), and the renewed influence of folk and vernacular musics on art composition.

The compositional dogmas – in a nutshell, "thou shalt compose using serial technique, and avoid or deeply sublimate sensuality and sentiment" – that took hold in Western European and North American art-music following World War II never prevailed in the rest of the world.

Serialism was officially proscribed as "decadent" in the old Soviet bloc, so in its 1950s and ’60s heyday its techniques were pursued by few composers, mainly in Poland and Hungary, who employed serial procedures more subjectively and expressively than Westerners. By the time it ceased being a career-killer in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet states in the 1980s, serialism was no longer dogma but one option on an extensive menu of compositional techniques.

Western music generally was driven underground during Mao’s Cultural Revolution in China, and is still attacked and suppressed by fundamentalist-Islamic and other anti-Western regimes. To such culture warriors, distinctions between Tchaikovsky and Boulez (or Coltrane or Lennon or Lloyd Webber) are meaningless.

Ideology aside, Western concepts of tonality, harmony and how they should be organized in composition are alien to the musics of any number of non-Western cultures. Musicians in Mali and Mongolia, India and Indonesia, rarely get worked up, pro or con, about serialism, minimalism or any other -ism of Western music.

In Euro-American music, meanwhile, much of the new energy in composition has come from musicians who, while classically trained, work in musical genres and performance configurations that weren’t in their conservatory curricula. By now, several generations of composers have sidestepped Western doctrinal disputes by adopting non-Western sounds and techniques. Others have (re)introduced folk and popular rhythms, chord progressions and expressive devices to concert and theater music. Multimedia presentation, especially dance and video, has made art-music more accessible – or, at least, provided more points of potential access – to audiences.

In this environment, as Tommasini’s essay is headlined, "anything goes." Some things, however, go better than others.

Tone color, especially, sounds to be a prevailing issue, if not a preoccupation, for most of the contemporary composers whose music is widely heard. The introduction of non-Western and/or non-classical strings and winds, the increased prominence of resonant percussion instruments and the incorporation of electronic sounds have widened the color palette of music vastly. Composers, naturally, are exploiting all those new colors and combinations.

This more colorful music may be abstract-expressionist – the visual-art form to which Schoenberg and disciples, and then the serialists, are commonly likened; but it’s just as likely that a composer will use color for atmospheric and illustrative purposes. Pieces that sound indebted to Debussy may be more numerous than those that owe Webern. (The former, interestingly, seem to cluster around the poles of classical-music programming, experimental and multimedia troupes and symphony orchestras.)

New and different colors, producing new and different sonorities, manipulated rhythmically, dynamically and spatially – as well as visually in multimedia works – sound to me to be where it’s at across a very broad spectrum of contemporary music.

Color-sensitive composition may be considered a school or tradition. Witold Lutoslawski, the mid- and late-20th century Polish master, traced a thread from "Debussy-early Stravinsky-Bartók-Varèse" to his own work, in which "the priority of the ear and sensitivity" are paramount. (The quotes are from a 1987 interview with Richard Dufallo, published in Duffalo’s book "Trackings." [Oxford, 1989])

Musical structure, at least as developed in European music of the 18th and 19th centuries, is much less noticeable – maybe not even relevant – in such color-driven music. The formal design of a piece may be elemental, or may incorporate improvisation or even random sound; but the result may be subtle, complex, engrossing, as rewarding the fifth time you hear it as the first – all the qualities we like to recognize as "serious" in music.

Lutoslawski’s "Debussy tradition" extends to contemporary compositions in which color sensitivity and exploitation are emphasized. This isn’t dogma and probably never will be (it’s hard to ride herd on an expanding universe); it’s better perceived as a shared concern, or maybe as a shared addiction to a aural light show that grows more varied and gets more enticing by the minute.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Review: Shanghai & Wang

Feb. 14, University of Richmond

Perhaps the most eagerly anticipated concert of Richmond’s current season was the return of the Shanghai Quartet with the gifted young pianist Yuja Wang to the University of Richmond. The five musicians, playing to a nearly full house in Camp Concert Hall (including some listeners who were new to chamber music, judging by the applause between movements), ranged across a variety of idioms, playing consistently with dynamism and intensity.

The program began and ended with examples of the classical mainstreaming of folk song and dance: a mini-suite from “Chinasong,” violinist Yi-Wen Jiang’s set of string-quartet arrangements of traditional and popular Chinese tunes; and Dvořák’s Piano Quintet in A major, Op. 81, arguably the best job this composer made of incorporating Czech folk music into classical form.

The Dvořák quintet also offers every player a substantial cameo, and Wang and the Shanghai – violinists Weigang Li and Jiang, violist Honggang Li and cellist Nicholas Tzavaras – exploited these moments with both vitality and sensitivity. Honggang Li’s viola was the most soulful of the lot (Dvořák was a violist by trade in his younger years, and he always treated the instrument kindly); Wang’s contributions on the piano were sparkling or robust, as the music warranted, and her balances with the fiddles were unerring. Some continuity was lost when Jiang broke a string during the third-movement furiant, but the ensemble sustained the tuneful and rustically rhythmic spirit of the piece.

Franck’s Piano Quintet in F minor is a tougher undertaking, both in harmonic language and balancing of piano and string voicings. Its mood is turbulent and its tone generally dark, yet much of its writing is in higher registers, especially those of the violins. Wang laid a fairly monumental foundation, atop which the Shanghai built an edifice of bright colors and rather angular lines.

The pianist, who celebrated her 23rd birthday on Feb. 10, took a solo turn in two Scarlatti sonatas, the D major, K. 414, and G major, K. 455, that she recently recorded for her second album, due to be released in April by Deutsche Grammophon. Wang’s crystalline touch and wistful tone in the D major contrasted nicely with a more energetic, pianistically muscular reading of the G major.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

'Running back to daddy'


The hiring of Joseph Volpe, the former general manager of the Metropolitan Opera, by his successor, Peter Gelb, to handle what are expected to be tough negotiations with the Met's unionized workers strikes The New York Observer's Zachary Woolfe as an indicator of "how profound the company’s financial worries must be" . . .

http://www.observer.com/2010/culture/curious-case-peter-gelb#

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Corigliano's orphan


John Corigliano, contracted to score the new Mel Gibson film, "Edge of Darkness," has his soundtrack rejected in favor of more "action"-oriented music by Howard Shore. The abortive project paid well, Corigliano tells Mikael Carlsson of Moviescore Magazine:

http://moviescoremagazine.com/2009/10/corigliano-speaks-out-on-darkness-rejection/

Monday, February 8, 2010

Snow cleanup


The Virginia Symphony has announced makeup dates for two performances of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony that were called off because of the weather.

The rescheduled concerts are at 8 tonight (Feb. 8) at Chrysler Hall in Norfolk and 7:30 p.m. tomorrow (Feb. 9) at the Sandler Arts Center in Virginia Beach. Tickets for the original dates and locations will be honored.

For more information, call the Virginia Symphony box office at (757) 892-6366 or visit http://www.virginiasymphony.org/


* * *

The Richmond Symphony, meanwhile, offers patrons of the canceled Feb. 6-7 Masterworks concerts the option of exchanging tickets for other concerts or returning the tickets for a tax credit. For details, call the symphony box office at (804) 788-1212.

Pires to retire


Maria João Pires, the widely lauded pianist, says she will end her 60-year performing career and devote herself to several projects for children in her adopted homeland, Brazil.

“Soloist comes from ‘solo’, meaning ‘alone’. Alone, separated, different. I don’t feel this is pleasant, I don’t feel this is healthy," the Portuguese-born pianist tells Geoff Brown of The Times of London:

http://entertainment.timesonline.co.uk/tol/arts_and_entertainment/music/article7015482.ece

John Dankworth (1927-2010)


John Dankworth, the British saxophonist and jazz bandleader, died Feb. 6 at the age of 82. Cleo Laine, the singer who has been Dankworth's wife for 52 years and his performing partner since 1950, announced her husband's death at the end of a concert celebrating the 40th anniversary of The Stables, the couple's music center in Buckinghamshire, Damien Pearse reports in The Guardian:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/2010/feb/08/jazz-concert-ends-with-news-dankworth-death

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Low notes at sea


The singing voices of blue whales, monitored off the coast of California, "have dropped by more than half an octave since the 1960s. No one knows why," Jill Leovy reports in The Los Angeles Times:

http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-whale1-2010feb01,0,6269463.story

Monday, February 1, 2010

February 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/youth, group and other discounts may be offered.

NOTE: Hazardous driving conditions and travel disruptions due to inclement weather may cause cancellations and postponements of events, especially in Western Virginia and the Northern Virginia-Washington area. Check with presenters or venues before attending.

SCOUTING REPORT

* In and around Richmond: The Richmond Symphony features its concertmaster, Karen Johnson, as violin soloist in works of Dvořák and Paganini, Feb. 6-7 at the Carpenter Theatre of Richmond CenterStage. . . . Yuja Wang, the acclaimed young Chinese-American pianist, returns with the Shanghai Quartet, Feb. 14 at the University of Richmond’s Modlin Arts Center. . . . Virginia Commonwealth University’s Rennolds Chamber Concerts series presents Brazilian pianist Arnaldo Cohen, Feb. 20 at VCU’s Singleton Arts Center. . . . Cellist David Finckel and violinist Philip Setzer of the Emerson String Quartet and pianist Wu Han, Finckel’s spouse, visit the Modlin Center on Feb. 20 to play Schubert’s two piano trios. . . . James Wilson’s Richmond Festival of Music presents the Biava String Quartet with cellist Wilson and violist Molly Sharp in sextets of Brahms and Dvořák, Feb. 25 at First Unitarian Universalist Church, and the quartet playing Haydn, Brahms and Ginastera, Feb. 26 at the Ellen Glasgow House. . . . In the Richmond Symphony’s final concert auditions of prospective music directors, Steven Smith conducts Berlioz, Shostakovich and Beethoven’s "Emperor" Concerto with pianist Jon Nakamatsu, Feb. 27-28 at the Carpenter Theatre. . . . Christophe Mantoux, titular organist of the Church of Saint-Séverin, Paris, performs on Feb. 28 at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church.

* New and/or different: The Richmond Symphony’s Feb. 6-7 program introduces Roberto Sierra’s Sinfonia No. 4. (The symphony is among the ensembles that commissioned the work.) . . . Alessandro Bosetti discusses and performs his works combining speech and electronica, Feb. 12 at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. . . . The Attacca Percussion Group and Charlottesville-based marimba soloist I-Jen Fang play compositions and arrangements for percussion ensemble, Feb. 25 at U.Va. . . . Robert Levin, the pianist and musicologist of the classical period, spices up a Baltimore Symphony program of Mozart and Beethoven with his own "Improvisation in the Style of Beethoven," Feb. 27 at Strathmore in the Maryland suburbs of D.C.

* Star turns: Violinist Joshua Bell and pianist Jeremy Denk perform on Feb. 9 at Strathmore and Feb. 10 at the Paramount Theater in Charlottesville. . . . The Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra of Amsterdam, Mariss Jansons conducting, is joined by violinist Janine Jansen in a program of Sibelius and Rachmaninoff, Feb. 15 at the Kennedy Center in Washington. . . . Itzhak Perlman conducts the Baltimore Symphony and picks up his violin to join oboist Katherine Needleman (a Richmond Symphony alumna) in Bach, Feb. 20 at Strathmore. . . . Pianist Yefim Bronfman plays Beethoven, Schumann, Prokofiev and Tchaikovsky, Feb. 23 at U.Va. in Charlottesville. . . . Violinist Christian Tetzlaff, cellist Tanja Tetzlaff and pianist Lars Vogt play Schubert, Kodály and Dvořák, Feb. 26 at The Barns at Wolf Trap in Northern Virginia. . . . Valery Gergiev conducts the Mariinsky Opera and Orchestra in concert presentations of Tchaikovsky’s "Eugene Onegin" on Feb. 27 and Mussorgsky’s "Boris Godunov" on Feb. 28 at the Kennedy Center.

* Bargain of the month: A troupe of VCU faculty musicians play the rarely heard Septet in A minor of Louis Spohr and Olivier Messiaen’s "Quartet for the End of Time," Feb. 4 at the Singleton Center. ($5)

* My picks: Joshua Bell and Jeremy Denk, Feb. 10 at the Charlottesville’s Paramount. . . . Yuja Wang and the Shanghai Quartet, Feb. 14 at the University of Richmond. . . . The Concertgebouw with Janine Jansen, Feb. 15 at the Kennedy Center. . . . The Biava Quartet with James Wilson and Molly Sharp, Feb. 25 at First Unitarian in Richmond. . . . The Richmond Symphony with Steven Smith and Jon Nakamatsu, Feb. 27-28 at the Carpenter Theatre.


Feb. 3 (7:30 p.m.)
Camp Concert Hall, Modlin Arts Center, University of Richmond
Geoff Haydon, piano
classical, jazz works TBA
Free
(804) 289-8980
www.modlin.richmond.edu

Feb. 4 (8 p.m.)
Vlahcevic Concert Hall, Singleton Arts Center, Virginia Commonwealth University, Park Avenue at Harrison Street, Richmond
Faculty Chamber Concert
Louis Spohr: Septet in A minor, Op. 147
Susanna Klein, violin
Dana McComb, cello
Tabatha Easley, flute
Charles West, clarinet
Bruce Hammel, bassoon
Patrick Smith, horn

Dmitri Shteinberg, piano
Messiaen: "Quartet for the End of Time"
Susanna Klein, violin
Dana McComb, cello
Charles West, clarinet
Dmitri Shteinberg, piano
$5
(804) 828-6776
www.vcumusic.org

Feb. 5 (7:30 p.m.)
St. Paul’s Memorial Church, 1700 University Ave., Charlottesville
Catholic University of America Chorus
Leo Nestor directing
program TBA
Free
(434) 924-3984
http://artsandsciences.virginia.edu/music/concertsevents/index.html

Feb. 6 (8 p.m.)
Feb. 7 (3 p.m.)
Carpenter Theatre, Richmond CenterStage, Sixth and Grace streets
Richmond Symphony
Erin R. Freeman conducting
Roberto Sierra: Sinfonia No. 4
Dvořák: Romance in F major for violin and orchestra
Paganini: "La Campanella" from Violin Concerto No. 2
Karen Johnson, violin
Stravinsky: "Petrushka"
$17-$72
(800) 982-2787
www.richmondsymphony.com

Feb. 6 (8 p.m.)
Chrysler Hall, 201 E Brambleton Ave., Norfolk
Virginia Symphony Pops
Matthew Kraemer conducting
Bernadette Peters, guest star
$30-$88
(757) 892-6366
www.virginiasymphony.org

Feb. 6 (7:30 p.m.)
Terrace Theater, Kennedy Center, Washington
Carl Donakowski, cello
Gabriel Dobner, piano
program TBA
$25
(800) 444-1324
www.kennedy-center.org

Feb. 6 (8 p.m.)
Sixth and I Historic Synagogue, 600 I St. N.W., Washington
Alisa Weilerstein, cello
Inon Barnatan, piano
Beethoven: Sonata No. 5 in D major, Op. 102, No. 2
Britten: Sonata in C major, Op. 65
De Falla: "Suite populaire espagnole"
Chopin: Sonata in G minor, Op. 65
$40
(202) 785-9727 (Washington Performing Arts Society)
www.wpas.org

Feb. 7 (2 p.m.)
Vlahcevic Concert Hall, Singleton Arts Center, Virginia Commonwealth University, Park Avenue at Harrison Street, Richmond
VCU alumni concert
performers TBA
program TBA
Free
(804) 828-6776
www.vcumusic.org

Feb. 7 (3 p.m.)
Camp Concert Hall, Modlin Arts Center, University of Richmond
Richard Becker, piano
Chopin, Liszt works TBA
Free
(804) 289-8980
www.modlin.richmond.edu

Feb. 9 (8 p.m.)
Music Center at Strathmore, 5301 Tuckerman Lane, North Bethesda, MD
Joshua Bell, violin
Jeremy Denk, piano
Bach: Sonata in C minor, BWV 1017
Saint-Saëns: Sonata No. 1 in D minor, Op. 75
Schumann: Sonata No. 1 in A minor, Op. 105
Ravel: Sonata for violin and piano
$55-$115
(202) 785-9727 (Washington Performing Arts Society)
www.wpas.org

Feb. 10 (8 p.m.)
Williamsburg Regional Library Arts Center Theater, 515 Scotland St.
Chamber Music Society of Williamsburg:
Cypress String Quartet
Haydn: Quartet in G minor, Op. 77, No. 2
Kevin Puts: "Lento assai" (2009)
Beethoven: Quartet in F major, Op. 135
$15 (waiting list)
(757) 229-5042
www.chambermusicwilliamsburg.org

Feb. 10 (8 p.m.)
Paramount Theater, 215 E. Main St., Charlottesville
Joshua Bell, violin
Jeremy Denk, piano
Bach: Sonata No. 4 in C minor, BWV 1017
Grieg: Sonata No. 3 in C minor, Op. 45
Schumann: Sonata No. 1 in A minor, Op. 105
Ravel: Sonata for violin and piano
$44.50-$64.50
(434) 979-1333
www.theparamount.net

Feb. 11 (7 p.m.)
Feb. 12 (8 p.m.)
Feb. 13 (8 p.m.)
Kennedy Center Concert Hall, Washington
National Symphony Orchestra Pops
Bill Conti conducting
"And the Winner Is . . ." movie music
$20-$85
(800) 444-1324
www.kennedy-center.org

Feb. 12 (8 p.m.)
Ferguson Arts Center, Christopher Newport University, Newport News
Moscow State Radio Symphony Orchestra
Alexei Kornienko conducting
Tchaikovsky: "Romeo and Juliet" Fantasy-Overture
Tchaikovsky: Violin Concerto
Nadezda Tokareva, violin
Tchaikovsky: Piano Concerto No. 1
Alexander Sinchuk, piano
$27-$67
(800) 745-3000
www.fergusoncenter.cnu.edu

Feb. 12 (8 p.m.)
Regent University Theater, 1000 Regent University Drive, Virginia Beach
Virginia Symphony
Joan Landry conducting
Smetana: "The Bartered Bride" Overture
Delius: "The Walk to Paradise Garden" from "A Village Romeo and Juliet"
Tchaikovsky: "Romeo and Juliet" Fantasy-Overture
Puccini, Mascagni arias
Amy Coefield Williamson, soprano
Seth Williamson, tenor
$26-$46
(757) 892-6366
www.virginiasymphony.org

Feb. 12 (8 p.m.)
The Bridge - PA1, University of Virginia, Charlottesville
Alessandro Bosetti, speech & electronica
program TBA
talk at 3:30 p.m. in Old Cabell Hall
Free
(434) 924-3984
http://artsandsciences.virginia.edu/music/concertsevents/index.html

Feb. 12 (8 p.m.)
The Barns at Wolf Trap, Trap Road, Vienna
Berlin Philharmonic Wind Quintet
Karl Pilss: Serenade
Gunther Schuller: Suite
Hindemith: "Kleine Kammermusik," Op. 24, No. 2
Ferenc Farkas: "Antiche Danze ungheresi dal secolo XVII"
György Orbán: Quintet
György Ligeti: Six Bagatelles
$35
(703) 938-2404
www.wolftrap.org

Feb. 13 (8 p.m.)
Feb. 17 (7:30 p.m.)
Feb. 19 (8 p.m.)
Feb. 21 (2:30 p.m.)
Harrison Opera House, 160 E. Virginia Beach Boulevard, Norfolk
Virginia Opera
Joseph Walsh conducting
Mozart: "Don Giovanni"
Matthew Worth (Don Giovanni)
Daniel Mobbs (Leporello)
Nicolle Foland (Donna Anna)
Cristina Nassif (Donna Elvira)
Chad A. Johnson (Don Ottavio)
Sarah Jane McMahon (Zerlina)
David Krohn (Masetto)
Nathan Stark (Commendatore)
Lillian Groag, stage director
in Italian, English captions
$25-$114
(866) 673-7282
www.vaopera.org

Feb. 13 (8 p.m.)
Old Cabell Hall, University of Virginia, Charlottesville
Feb. 14 (3:30 p.m.)
Monticello High School, 1400 Independence Way, Charlottesville
Charlottesville & University Symphony Orchestra
Kate Tamarkin conducting
Kodály: "Dances of Galanta"
Chopin: Piano Concerto No. 2 in F minor
Mimi Tung, piano
Arvo Pärt: "Cantus in Memorium Benjamin Britten"
Andrzej Panufnik: "Sinfonia sacra" (Symphony No. 3)
$20-$35
(434) 924-3984
http://artsandsciences.virginia.edu/music/concertsevents/index.html

Feb. 13 (8 p.m.)
Center for the Arts, George Mason University, Fairfax
Moscow State Radio Symphony Orchestra
Alexei Kornienko conducting
Rimsky-Korsakov: "The Tsar’s Bride" Overture
Rachmaninoff: "Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini"
Alexander Sinchuk, piano
Tchaikovsky: "Rococo Variations"
Julian Schwarz, cello
Rimsky-Korsakov: "Scheherazade"
$28-$56
(888) 945-2468 (Tickets.com)
http://cfa.gmu.edu/calendar

Feb. 14 (7:30 p.m.)
Camp Concert Hall, Modlin Arts Center, University of Richmond
Shanghai Quartet
Yuja Wang, piano
Franck: Piano Quintet in F minor

Dvořák: Piano Quintet in A major, Op. 81
Rachmaninoff: Vocalise
Chinese folk-song arrangements
$32
(804) 289-8980
www.modlin.richmond.edu

Feb. 14 (3 p.m.)
Feb. 15 (8 p.m.)
Shaftman Performance Hall, Jefferson Center, 541 Luck Ave., Roanoke
Roanoke Symphony
David Stewart Wiley conducting
Beethoven: Symphony No. 6 ("Pastoral")
Rachmaninoff: Piano Concerto No. 3
Tavit Tashjian, piano
$21-$41
(540) 434-9127
www.rso.com

Feb. 14 (7:30 p.m.)
Terrace Theater, Kennedy Center, Washington
East Coast Chamber Orchestra
Purcell-Britten: Chacony
Elgar: Serenade in E minor
Britten: Prelude and Fugue, Op. 20
Turina: "La oración del torero"
Tchaikovsky: Serenade in C major
$38
(800) 444-1324
www.kennedy-center.org

Feb. 15 (8 p.m.)
Kennedy Center Concert Hall, Washington
Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra of Amsterdam
Mariss Jansons conducting
Sibelius: Violin Concerto
Janine Jansen, violin
Rachmaninoff: Symphony No. 2
$35-$115
(202) 785-9727 (Washington Performing Arts Society)
www.wpas.org

Feb. 17 (7 p.m.)
Feb. 18 (7 p.m.)
Vlahcevic Concert Hall, Singleton Arts Center, Virginia Commonwealth University, Park Avenue at Harrison Street, Richmond
VCU Guitar Festival:
performers TBA
Manuel Ponce: works TBA
Free
(804) 828-6776
www.vcumusic.org

Feb. 18 (7 p.m.)
Feb. 19 (8 p.m.)
Feb. 20 (8 p.m.)
Kennedy Center Concert Hall, Washington
National Symphony Orchestra
James Gaffigan conducting
Lera Auerbach: "Requiem for Icarus"
Rachmaninoff: Piano Concerto No. 2
Denis Matsuev, piano
Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 4
$20-$85
(800) 444-1324
www.kennedy-center.org

Feb. 19 (8 p.m.)
Coolidge Auditorium, Library of Congress, First Street at Independence Avenue S.E., Washington
Tapestry & Friends
"American Dreams," vocal & instrumental works by Barber, Copland, Hovhaness, others
Free; tickets required
(703) 573-7328 (Ticketmaster)
http://www.loc.gov/rr/perform/concert/0910-schedule.html

Feb. 20 (11 a.m.)
Carpenter Theatre, Richmond CenterStage, Sixth and Grace streets
Richmond Symphony LolliPops
Erin R. Freeman conducting
Prokofiev: "Peter and the Wolf"
Michael Boudewyns, narrator
other works TBA
Kimberly Hou, piano
Annika Brynn Jenkins, violin
$17
pre-concert activities at 10 a.m.
(800) 982-2787
www.richmondsymphony.com

Feb. 20 (8 p.m.)
Vlahcevic Concert Hall, Singleton Arts Center, Virginia Commonwealth University, Park Avenue at Harrison Street, Richmond
Rennolds Chamber Concerts:
Arnaldo Cohen, piano
Bach-Busoni: Chaconne

Nepomuceno: Air from "Suite Antiga," Op. 11
Gnattali: Valsa No. 7
Levy: "Valsa Lenta" No. 4
Braga: "Corrupio (Valsa Capriccio)"
Nazareth: "Odeon," "Apanhei-te Cavaquinho"
Chopin: four scherzos
$32
Free master class at 4 p.m. Feb. 19
(804) 828-6776
www.vcumusic.org

Feb. 20 (7:30 p.m.)
Camp Concert Hall, Modlin Arts Center, University of Richmond
David Finckel, cello
Wu Han, piano
Philip Setzer, violin
Schubert: Piano Trio in B flat major, D. 898
Schubert: Piano Trio in E flat major, D. 929
$34
(804) 289-8980
www.modlin.richmond.edu

Feb. 20 (7:30 p.m.)
Old Cabell Hall, University of Virginia, Charlottesville
Youth Orchestras of Charlottesville-Albemarle
Charles West & Don Brubaker conducting
Tchaikovsky: "Rococo Variations"
Elise Linder, cello
Cecile Chaminade: Concertino
Samantha Marshall, flute
Shostakovich: "Festive" Overture
Copland, Verdi, Tchaikovsky, Schubert excerpts
$10
(434) 924-3984
http://artsandsciences.virginia.edu/music/concertsevents/index.html

Feb. 20 (8 p.m.)
Music Center at Strathmore, 5301 Tuckerman Lane, North Bethesda, MD
Baltimore Symphony Orchestra
Itzhak Perlman conducting
Bach: Concerto for violin and oboe
Itzhak Perlman, violin
Katherine Needleman, oboe
Tchaikovsky: Serenade in C major
Beethoven: Symphony No. 5
$30-$125 (waiting list)
(877) 276-1444 (Baltimore Symphony)
www.strathmore.org

Feb. 21 (3:30 p.m.)
Old Cabell Hall, University of Virginia, Charlottesville
U.Va. Chamber Music Series:
Brahms: Clarinet Quintet
Tasha Warren, clarinet
David Colwell & David Sariti, violins
Ayn Balija, viola
Adam Carter, cello
Reinecke: Trio in A minor, Op. 188
Aaron Hill, oboe
Ian Zook, French horn
Lori Piitz, piano
Saint-Saëns: Sonata in G major, Op. 168
Elizabeth Roberts, bassoon
David Norfrey, piano
Arthur Ronald Frackenpohl: duets
Paul Neebe, trumpet
Nathan Dishman, trombone
$20
(434) 924-3984
http://artsandsciences.virginia.edu/music/concertsevents/index.html

Feb. 22 (7:30 p.m.)
L.C. Bird High School, 10301 Courthouse Road, Chesterfield
Richmond Philharmonic
Robert Mirakian conducting
Hindemith: "Symphonic Metamorphosis on Themes of Carl Maria von Weber" (excerpts)
Schubert: Symphony No. 9 in C major ("Great") (excerpts)
$5 per person, $10 per family
(804) 673-7400
www.richmondphilharmonic.org

Feb. 22 (7:30 p.m.)
Terrace Theater, Kennedy Center, Washington
Young Concert Artists Series:
Noé Inui, violin
Noreen Polera, piano
Mozart: Sonata in C major, K. 296
Brahms: Sonata No. 1 in G major, Op. 78
Stravinsky: Divertimento for violin and piano
Szymanowski: Nocturne and Tarantella, Op. 28
$30
(800) 444-1324
www.kennedy-center.org

Feb. 23 (7:30 p.m.)
Bannard Chapel, St. Catherine’s School, 6001 Grove Ave., Richmond
Oberon Quartet
Haydn: Quartet in D minor, Op. 76, No. 2 ("Quinten")

Werner Thomas-Mifune: "Haydn's South American Lapses for String Quartet"
Shostakovich: Quartet No. 3
Free
(804) 288-2804
www.st.catherines.org

Feb. 23 (8 p.m.)
Old Cabell Hall, University of Virginia, Charlottesville
Tuesday Evening Concerts:
Yefim Bronfman, piano
Beethoven: "32 Variations on an Original Theme"
Schumann: "Faschingschwank aus Wien"
Prokofiev: Sonata No. 2
Tchaikovsky: Sonata in G major, Op. 37
$12-$28
(434) 924-3376
www.tecs.org

Feb. 23 (7:30 p.m.)
Terrace Theater, Kennedy Center, Washington
Ebène Quartet
Beethoven: Quartet in F major, Op. 18, No. 1
Fauré: Quartet in E minor, Op. 121
Mendelssohn: Quartet in F minor, Op. 80
$35
(202) 785-9727 (Washington Performing Arts Society)
www.wpas.org

Feb. 24 (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
$5
(804) 828-6776
www.vcumusic.org

Feb. 25 (7:30 p.m.)
First Unitarian Universalist Church, 1000 Blanton Ave. at the Carillon, Richmond
Richmond Festival of Music:
Biava String Quartet
Molly Sharp, viola
James Wilson, cello
Brahms: Sextet in B flat major, Op. 18
Dvořák: Sextet in A major, Op. 48
$25
(804) 519-2098
www.cmscva.org

Feb. 25 (8 p.m.)
Old Cabell Hall, University of Virginia, Charlottesville
Attacca Percussion Group
Minoru Miki: "Marimba Spiritual"
I-Jen Fang, marimba
Tina Davidson, Kit Mills works TBA
Barber, Ginastera arrangements TBA
Free
(434) 924-3984
http://artsandsciences.virginia.edu/music/concertsevents/index.html

Feb. 25 (8 p.m.)
Coolidge Auditorium, Library of Congress, First Street at Independence Avenue S.E., Washington
Concerto Soave
"Handel in Italy," works by Handel, Alessandro Scarlatti, Caldara
Free; tickets required
(703) 573-7328 (Ticketmaster)
http://www.loc.gov/rr/perform/concert/0910-schedule.html

Feb. 26 (7:30 p.m.)
Ellen Glasgow House, 1 W. Main St., Richmond
Richmond Festival of Music:
Biava String Quartet
Haydn: Quartet in F minor, Op. 20, No. 5

Ginastera: Quartet No.1
Brahms: Quartet in C Minor, Op. 51, No. 1
$50 (limited availability)
(804) 519-2098
www.cmscva.org

Feb. 26 (8 p.m.)
Feb. 28 (2 p.m.)
Center for the Arts, George Mason University, Fairfax
Virginia Opera
Joseph Walsh conducting
Mozart: "Don Giovanni"
Matthew Worth (Don Giovanni)
Daniel Mobbs (Leporello)
Nicolle Foland (Donna Anna)
Cristina Nassif (Donna Elvira)
Chad A. Johnson (Don Ottavio)
Sarah Jane McMahon (Zerlina)
David Krohn (Masetto)
Nathan Stark (Commendatore)
Lillian Groag, stage director
in Italian, English captions
$44-$86
(888) 945-2468 (Tickets.com)
www.vaopera.org

Feb. 26 (8 p.m.)
The Barns at Wolf Trap, Trap Road, Vienna
Christian Tetzlaff, violin
Tanja Tetzlaff, cello
Lars Vogt, piano
Schubert: Trio in B flat major, D. 898
Kodály: Duo for violin and cello, Op. 7
Dvořák: Trio in F minor, Op. 65
$35
(703) 938-2404
www.wolftrap.org

Feb. 26 (8 p.m.)
Coolidge Auditorium, Library of Congress, First Street at Independence Avenue S.E., Washington
Altenberg Trio
Rachmaninoff: "Trio élegiaque" in G minor
Dvořák: Trio No. 1 in B flat major, Op. 21
Frank Martin: "Trio sur des mélodies populaires irlandaises"
Schumann: Trio No. 1 in D minor, Op. 63
Free; tickets required
(703) 573-7328 (Ticketmaster)
http://www.loc.gov/rr/perform/concert/0910-schedule.html

Feb. 27 (2 p.m.)
Gellman Room, Richmond Public Library, First and Franklin streets
Finnsbury Minstrel Guild
Renaissance, baroque works TBA
Free
(804) 646-7223
www.richmondpubliclibrary.org

Feb. 27 (8 p.m.)
Feb. 28 (3 p.m.)
Carpenter Theatre, Richmond CenterStage, Sixth and Grace streets

Richmond Symphony
Steven Smith conducting
Berlioz: "Le Corsaire" Overture
Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 5 ("Emperor")
Jon Nakamatsu, piano
Shostakovich: Symphony No. 5
$17-$72
(800) 982-2787
www.richmondsymphony.com

Feb. 27 (7:30 p.m.)
Kennedy Center Opera House, Washington
Mariinsky Opera & Orchestra
Valery Gergiev conducting
Tchaikovsky: "Eugene Onegin" (concert presentation)
Alexey Markov (Onegin)
Irina Mataeva (Tatyana)
Sergey Semishkur (Lensky)
Zlata Bulycheva (Olga)
Mikhail Petrenko (Gremin)
Svetlana Volkova (Larina)
in Russian
$29-$150
(800) 444-1324
www.kennedy-center.org

Feb. 27 (8 p.m.)
Music Center at Strathmore, 5301 Tuckerman Lane, North Bethesda, MD
Baltimore Symphony Orchestra
Nicholas McGegan conducting
Mozart: "The Marriage of Figaro" Overture
Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 1
Robert Levin: "Improvisation in the Style of Beethoven"
Robert Levin, piano
Mozart: Symphony No. 41 ("Jupiter")
$25-$80
(877) 276-1444 (Baltimore Symphony)
www.strathmore.org

Feb. 28 (3 p.m.)
St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Ninth and Grace streets
American Guild of Organists Repertoire Recital Series:
Christophe Mantoux, organ
Louis Marchand: Dialogue in C major

A. P. F. Boëly: "Six Preludes on Canticles of Denizot"
Franck: Chorale in E major
Charles Tournemire: "Cantilène improvisée" (reconstructed by Maurice Duruflé)
Widor: Allegro from Symphony No. 6
Duruflé: Suite
donations accepted
(804) 643-3589
www.richmondago.org

Feb. 28 (3 p.m.)
Vlahcevic Concert Hall, Singleton Arts Center, Virginia Commonwealth University, Park Avenue at Harrison Street, Richmond
Richmond Philharmonic
Robert Mirakian conducting
Hindemith: "Symphonic Metamorphosis on Themes of Carl Maria von Weber"
Schubert: Symphony No. 9 in C major ("Great")
$5 per person, $10 per family
(804) 673-7400
www.richmondphilharmonic.org

Feb. 28 (3:30 p.m.)
Old Cabell Hall, University of Virginia, Charlottesville
U.Va. Wind Ensemble
William Pease directing
Westfield High School Band
Steve Panoff directing
Bernstein: "West Side Story" dances
Bach: Toccata and Fugue in D minor
Harry L. Alford: "Clownette"
"Auld Lang Syne" (Mannheim Steamroller arr.)
"The Good Old Song"
$10
(434) 924-3984
http://artsandsciences.virginia.edu/music/concertsevents/index.html

Feb. 28 (1:30 p.m.)
Kennedy Center Opera House, Washington
Mariinsky Opera & Orchestra
Valery Gergiev conducting
Mussorgsky: "Boris Godunov" (concert presentation)
Evgeny Nikitin (Boris)
Mikhail Petrenko (Pimen)
Sergey Skorokhodov (Pretender Dmitri)
Evgeny Akimov (Shuisky)
Alexey Markov (Shelkalov)
Dmitri Voropaev (Fool)
Alexei Tanovitsky (Varlaam)
Andrey Popov (Misail)
Elena Vitman (Hostess of the Inn)
in Russian
$29-$150
(800) 444-1324
www.kennedy-center.org