Sunday, March 29, 2009

Review: Chanticleer

March 29, University of Richmond

Chanticleer, the men’s vocal ensemble from San Francisco, is marking the beginning of its fourth decade with about as wide-ranging a sampler of American music as could be imagined. The program, "Wondrous Free," contrasts early Anglo-American hymnody with liturgical music from the Catholic missions of Spanish California, and familiar folk tunes with modern and contemporary ensemble pieces that sound like latter-day madrigals. (All that’s missing, curiously, is the program’s namesake, believed to be the first secular song written in English-speaking America.)

In this concert, as in so many others, the 12 men – sopranos Dylan Hotstetter, Michael McNeil and Gregory Peebles; altos Cortez Mitchell, Alan Reinhardt and Adam Ward; tenors Brian Hinman, Matthew Oltman and Todd Wedge; and basses Eric Alatorre, Gabriel Lewis-O’Connor and Jace Wittig – demonstrated that no vocal music, no style, no degree of structural or harmonic complexity, elude them. If that weren’t enough, they’re also pretty good at shtick comedy and even better at deadpan humor.

The program’s highlights were "Credidi," a sacred piece elaborated in madrigal style by the early 17th-century Mexican cleric-composer Juan de Lienas – one of a number of early Latino-American works that Chanticleer has revived after centuries of neglect – and "Sleep My Child," a ravishing lullaby that Eric Whitacre originally wrote (to a text by David Noroña) for his opera "Paradise Lost: Shadows and Wings" and subsequently rearranged for this ensemble.

The Lienas displayed Chanticleer at its most virtuosic in intricate part-singing; the Whitacre showcased the rarified, almost weightless sonorities this group can create and sustain.

Two more ventures into madrigal style – Peter Schickele’s P.D.Q. Bach numbers "The Queen to Me a Royal Pain Doth Give" and "My Bonnie Lass She Smelleth" – proved less successful. They sounded lovely; but the words, and thus the humor, were obscured in the wash of tone.

The most novel offering of the evening was "Night Chant," written for Chanticleer by the American Indian (Mohican) composer Brent Michael Davids. The piece is extended musical foreplay for a night of love-making, layering a dialogue between male and female characters and a variety of naturalistic and percussive effects on a bassy chant, rendered sonorously by Alatorre.

The program began with a foursome of early hymn tunes, including two shape-note fuguing tunes, William Billings’ "David’s Lamentation" from the 18th century and A.M. Cagle’s "Soar Away," which dates from the 1930s but belongs to a much older tradition of rustic but highly expressive "Sacred Harp" singing.

In three pieces from Samuel Barber’s song cycle "Reincarnations" and "The Homecoming," a tribute to Martin Luther King Jr. that David Conte composed to a text by John Stirling Walker, Chanticleer showed its fluency in modern harmonies emphasizing high registers.

A set of three Stephen Foster tunes – "Hard Times Come Again No More," "Gentle Annie" and "Nelly Bly" – led into a concluding selection of folk and popular songs. The last set featured outstanding solos by Mitchell in the Gershwins’ "Summertime," Hinman in "Rock My Soul" and Peebles in "Shenandoah."

Good music = good health?

“Listening to finer music and attending concerts on a consistent basis makes your real age about four years younger,” says Dr. Michael F. Roizen of the Wellness Institute at the Cleveland Clinic. “Whether that’s due to stress relief or other properties, we see decreases in all-cause mortality, reflecting slower aging of arteries as well as cancer-related and environmental factors. Attending sports events like soccer or football offers none of these benefits.”

Matthew Gurewitsch reports on the new field of "musical pharmacology" in The New York Times:

Friday, March 27, 2009

Review: 'The Barber of Seville'

Virginia Opera, Peter Mark conducting
March 27, Landmark Theater, Richmond

Rossini’s "The Barber of Seville" is great fun for audiences. It’s also heavy duty for singers, who must negotiate arias laden with speedy coloratura, exude broadly comic personality and physicality and make it all look and sound romping and breezy. When they pull it off, it’s not just marvelous, it’s wondrous.

This production's cast pulls it off consistently. The principal singers get a huge assist from stage director Greg Ganakas, who peppers the show with sight gags and comic tableaux for choristers and supernumeraries. Even conductor Peter Mark gets into the act at the beginning.

For all the high jinks, this "Barber" is still a singers’ showcase. The five principals – Jason Detwiler (as Figaro), Manon Strauss Evrard (Rosina), John Zuckerman (Almaviva), Steven Condy (Bartolo) and Mark McCrory (Basilio) – sing with high energy, impressive flexibility and generally strong projection and secure pitch as they render Rossini’s florid vocal lines. Detwiler’s delivery of Figaro’s signature aria, "Largo al factotum," is the merry showstopper it’s meant to be; he’s just as impressive as a duet partner and a core voice in ensemble numbers.

Evrard, returning to the company after memorable performances in Offenbach’s "The Tales of Hoffmann" and Donizetti’s "Lucia di Lammermoor" last season, is an alluring Rosina, although she had to rein in a rather steely high register in the early going of the first of two Richmond performances. Her gift for physical comedy, hinted at in "Hoffmann," flowers in this production.

Zuckerman, in his first appearance with the Virginia Opera, displayed a fine-grained, youthfully light tenor voice. Condy and McCrory, also making their mainstage debuts with the company, proved to be able comic foils and projected their low-riding lines with gratifying sonority and without compromising on tempos – not easy for baritones and basses in Rossinian patter.

Eduardo Sicangco’s vintage sets and costumes serve nicely in this revival. The orchestra, drawn from the Richmond Symphony, played with refinement and sparkle, although percussion sounded curiously recessed.

The final performance of the Virginia Opera’s "Barber of Seville" begins at 2:30 p.m. March 29 at Richmond’s Landmark Theater. Tickets: $22.50-$92.50. Details: (804) 262-8003 (Ticketmaster);


Playlist, a digital concert magazine covering music in Virginia, Washington and Maryland, now features recommended classical-music events from Letter V.

Our content-sharing begins in the April edition of Playlist, online at:

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Review: eighth blackbird

with Glenn Kotche, drums & percussion
March 25, University of Richmond

Encounters between performers of contemporary art-music and popular music of the art-rock or "indie" genres are becoming more frequent, if not yet commonplace. Many younger musicians ignore the old, once-bold line between highbrow and lowbrow art forms; and, it seems, "every composer’s got a band," observed Missy Mazzoli, shortly after her "Still Life with Avalanche" was introduced by eighth blackbird in the finale of its fifth season in residence at the University of Richmond.

The program explored the common ground – by now, a pretty substantial bit of acreage – cohabited by today’s classical musicians and rockers who aspire to more than four-four beats and catchy hooks in their songs. It also reminded us that this common ground has been cultivated for some time.

The featured artist of the evening was Glenn Kotche, best-known as the drummer of the band Wilco, also a composer and performer in several other groups that delve into jazz and multicultural percussion-centered music. Kotche, with and without members of the ’birds, presented four of his compositions, and joined the sextet in a performance of Steve Reich’s "Clapping Music" (1972) for an ensemble of hand-clappers.

Two of Kotche’s works, the large-scale "Monkey Chant" (2004) and shorter "Projections of (what) Might" (2005), melded the sound and style of gamelan, the Indonesian percussion orchestra, with the rhythms and atmospherics of street-corner funk. Gamelan music has influenced generations of American composers in both classical and jazz realms; Kotche, as a percussionist, departs less from the original sound model than others who have adapted gamelan for Western instruments and ensembles.

"Monkey Chant" is a "loose retelling" of the story of the battle of monkey armies from the Hindu epic "Ramayana," in which Kotche plays along with a film by Nathaniel Murphy. Murphy uses figures from Indonesian shadow plays in an animation recalling the primitive television cartoons of the 1970s, with their minimally moving figures and static backgrounds.

Kotche’s "Double Fantasy" (2008) expands his "Fantasy on a Shona Theme" for solo vibraphone into an ensemble piece for performance with eighth blackbird. The theme, a tune from Zimbabwe that sounds like a lullaby, develops into a kind of lilting pastorale with heavy percussive interjections. It also boasts one of the oddest multi-instrumental taskings ever faced by the ’birds’ Matt Albert, who alternates between violin and bass drum and gong.

Kotche’s "Individual Trains" (2005), another piece expanded for eighth blackbird, is the densely percussive sound track for his abstract film-in-four-frames on their mutual hometown, Chicago.

All these works showcase Kotche’s virtuosic technique on drum kit and other percussion and his immersion in both non-Western and vernacular pop rhythmic styles; but they also show that, multicultural as his influences may be, Kotche is a composer whose structural and dynamic arcs reflect a fundamentally classical core.

After performing his works, Kotche joined eighth blackbird in Louis Andriessen’s "Worker’s Union" (1975), a thunderous, lengthy opus from the height of the Dutch composer’s thumb-in-the-eye-of-the-highbrow-establishment period. Characterized by the ’birds’ pianist, Lisa Kaplan, as a "socialist manifesto minimalist romp," the piece, heard a generation after its creation, makes both the political and musical ideologies sound oppressive and obsessive. The musicians managed their heavy labor with intense concentration, and maybe an ironic sense of fun.

The premiere of Mazzoli’s "Still Life with Avalanche" was a welcome break from the largely high-volume percussive balance of the program. The work is a sunny pastorale into which a dark cloud intrudes; while writing it at an upstate New York art colony, the composer got news of the sudden death of her cousin. Mazzoli layers melodic content expertly and emotional contrasts with sensitivity and depth. In this first performance, the ’birds treated the piece like a precious, fragile object – like life itself.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Symphony 'Free for All'

The Richmond Symphony will present a "Musical Free for All" beginning at 10 a.m. on March 28 at the downtown main branch of the Richmond Public Library, First and Franklin streets.

The event, co-sponsored by the Friends of the Richmond Public Library, will feature activities for families and children, including a "petting zoo" with hands-on exposure to instruments of the orchestra, computer composition classes, sessions in instrument tuning and care, introductor Suzuki violin lessons with instruments provided, art activities and storytelling.

The Richmond Ballet's Minds in Motion Team XXL and the Happy Lucky Combo will perform, and the symphony, conducted by Erin Freeman, will stage an open rehearsal at 10 a.m. and a concert of works by Haydn, Dvořák, Rimsky-Korsakov and others at 3:30 p.m.

Admission is free, but donations of canned goods for the Central Virginia Food Bank are requested. (This is the local component of the "Orchestras Feeding America" national food drive.)

For more information, call the symphony box office at (804) 788-1212, or visit

Purge in Phoenix?

Eight veteran musicians in the Phoenix Symphony have filed age-discrimination complaints with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and the Phoenix office of the National Labor Relations Board has charged the orchestra with violating the National Labor Relations Act.

Both actions stem from "charges of wrongful termination, allegations of retaliation, and the charge that the symphony's top, veteran players are being forced to take demotions or leave the symphony so they can be replaced with younger, more compliant players," Phoenix New Times blogger Stephen Lemons writes:

Among the "EEOC eight" is Peter Rosato, the former principal violist of the Richmond Symphony, who left Richmond in the early 1980s to take the first chair in the Phoenix Symphony's viola section. Rosato "is embroiled in a legal fight with the symphony over unpaid wages and breach of contract, and was recently terminated," Lemons reports.

Cost-cutting in Cleveland

The Cleveland Orchestra becomes the latest to cut back on salaries and concerts in the face of the economic downturn.

Facing a $7.5 million deficit, the orchestra has obtained $300,000 in salary give-backs from its music director, Franz Welser-Möst, and executive director, Gary Hanson, and will cut salaries of other administrative staff from 5-10 percent. The 2009-10 subscription season will be shortened and the orchestra will cancel any tour engagements "projected to be unprofitable," Zachary Lewis and Tony Brown report in The Plain Dealer:

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Toxic assais?

Pianist-blogger Jeremy Denk, who's never met an analogy he couldn't milk for laughs, imagines the Wall Street crisis as it might be translated into classical music:

Monday, March 23, 2009

Freeman stepping down in Chicago

Paul Freeman, the Richmond-born conductor who founded the Chicago Sinfonietta in 1987, is relinquishing direction of the orchestra and will become its music director emeritus once a successor is chosen. The orchestra hopes to name a replacement in time for the 2011-12 season, Andrew Patner reports in the Chicago Sun-Times:,chicago-sinfonietta-freeman-032009.article

The 73-year-old Freeman also is chief conductor of the Czech National Orchestra in Prague. He has made some 200 recordings, including several ground-breaking series devoted to African-American composers.

Freeman says he is cutting back on conducting commitments because of back pain, John Von Rhein reports in the Chicago Tribune:,0,1073026.story

DC's Master Chorale to shut down

The Master Chorale of Washington will disband at the end of this season. The 144-member ensemble, founded 42 years ago as the Paul Hill Chorale, has been under financial stress in the economic downturn.

Its director, Donald McCullough, who was director of the Virginia Symphony Chorus before taking over the Washington chorus, says the Master Chorale is "trying to end . . . in a way that avoids bankruptcy." The ensemble will sing Brahms' "A German Requiem" with the National Symphony April 9-11 and close out its history with a performance of Orff's "Carmina Burana" on May 17, Anne Midgette reports in The Washington Post:

Friday, March 20, 2009

Ax gives back

Emanuel Ax, long one of the world's leading concert pianists, reminds us that he's also a mensch among major-league musicians, as he waives his fee for playing Brahms' Piano Concerto No. 2 with the financially struggling Columbus (OH) Symphony.

"I think it's just an incredible tragedy if this orchestra were not to exist," Ax tells Gary Budzak of The Columbus Dispatch:

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

'An eagle in a high eyrie'

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the death of the Czech composer Bohuslav Martinů (1890-1959), whose energetic and incandescent music sounds like no other's. The Martinů anniversary is passing unnoticed in most of the music world. Norman Lebrecht notices, and offers high praise to this woefully underrated contemporary of Stravinsky, Bartók and Schoenberg:

Richmonders of a certain age remember Martinů, thanks to the late Frantisek Smetana, who worked with the composer and continued to perform and promote his compositions when most other musicians were overlooking them.

The Guardian's Anthony Bateman revisits the composer, recommends some of his best works, and surveys British performances marking the anniversary:

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Va. Beach: No extra symphony funds

The city of Virginia Beach, citing "considerable fiscal limitations," has turned down a request by the Virginia Symphony for an additional grant of $240,000 to support concerts at the Sandler Arts Center and outdoor and educational events.

The orchestra, which received $44,000 from Virginia Beach this year, plans to continue performing at the Sandler Center but will eliminate the other programs, The Virginian-Pilot's Aaron Applegate reports:

Anne Brown (1912-2009)

Anne Brown, who created the role of Bess in the Gershwins' "Porgy and Bess," has died in Oslo, Norway, at the age of 96. Her obituary in The New York Times:

Another obituary, in The Guardian:

Washington Performing Arts Society 2009-10

The Washington Performing Arts Society, the region’s leading booker of first-tier touring classical talent, has unveiled a 2009-10 season with an emphasis on longtime favorites – pianists Murray Perahia, Maurizio Pollini, Mitsuko Uchida and Radu Lupu; violinists Joshua Bell and Christian Tetzlaff; soprano Kiri Te Kanawa; the Royal Concertgebouw and Philadelphia orchestras, San Francisco Symphony, New York Philharmonic and Los Angeles Philharmonic – and focused on crowd-pleasing repertory, especially from Russian composers.

Most of the novel entries in WPAS’ classical season will be found in chamber programs, notably a collaboration between pianist Leif Ove Andsnes and visual artist Robin Rhode and all-Bach programs by violinist Julia Fischer and pianists Angela Hewitt and Yuja Wang.

The LA Philharmonic date will mark the return of Gustavo Dudamel, perhaps the hottest commodity among today’s conductors, who will be in his first season as the orchestra’s new music director.

Concerts will be staged in the Terrace Theater and Concert Hall of Washington’s Kennedy Center and the Music Center at Strathmore, in the D.C. suburb of North Bethesda, MD. Wang will perform at the Sixth & I Historic Synagogue in Washington.

Full and partial subscription packages are now on sale. For information, call WPAS at 202) 785-9727.
Dates, artists and programs, announced to date, for the WPAS 2009-10 season:

Oct. 17 (4 p.m., Kennedy Center Concert Hall) – Murray Perahia, piano. Program TBA.

Nov. 14 (7 p.m., Kennedy Center Concert Hall) – Kiri Te Kanawa, soprano; Brian Zeger, piano. Program TBA.

Nov. 20 (7:30 p.m., Terrace Theater, Kennedy Center) – Leif Ove Andsnes, piano; Robin Rhode, visual artist. "Pictures Reframed." Mussorgsky: "Pictures at an Exhibition," other works TBA, with images projected onscreen during performances.

Nov. 21 (4 p.m., Kennedy Center Concert Hall) – New York Philharmonic, Riccardo Muti conducting. Liszt: "Les Préludes;" Elgar: "In the South;" Prokofiev: "Romeo and Juliet" Suite.

Nov. 22 (7 p.m., Music Center at Strathmore) – Vienna Chamber Orchestra, Philippe Entremont conducting. Mozart: Symphony No. 35 ("Haffner"), Piano Concerto No. 20 in D minor, K. 466 (Entremont, piano); Haydn Symphony No. 104 ("London").

Nov. 24 (7:30 p.m., Terrace Theater, Kennedy Center) – Vivian Hagner, violin; Shai Wosner, piano. Program TBA.

Dec. 3 (8 p.m., Music Center at Strathmore) – Angela Hewitt, piano. Bach: "Goldberg" Variations.

Dec. 5 (2 p.m., Terrace Theater, Kennedy Center) – Plamena Mangova, piano. Scriabin: Sonata No. 9 ("Black Mass"), six études; Chopin: Nocturne No. 1 in B Major, Op.62; Ballade No. 1 in G minor, Op.23; Ravel: "Pavane pour une infante défunte," "Alborada del grazioso," "La Valse."

Jan. 23 (2 p.m., Terrace Theater, Kennedy Center) – Jeremy Denk, piano. Program TBA.

Jan. 27 (8 p.m., Kennedy Center Concert Hall) – Radu Lupu, piano. Janáček: “In the Mist;” Schubert: Sonata in B flat major, D. 960; Beethoven: sonata TBA.

Feb. 6 (8 p.m., Kennedy Center Concert Hall) – Alisa Weilerstein, cello; Inon Barnatan, piano. Works by Beethoven, Britten, Stravinsky, Rachmaninoff.

Feb. 9 (8 p.m., Music Center at Strathmore) – Joshua Bell, violin; Jeremy Denk, piano. Program TBA.

Feb. 15 (8 p.m., Kennedy Center Concert Hall) – Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra of Amsterdam, Mariss Jansons conducting. Sibelius: Violin Concerto (Janine Jansen, violin); Rachmaninoff: Symphony No. 2.

Feb. 23 (7:30 p.m., Terrace Theater, Kennedy Center) – 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.

Feb. 27 (2 p.m., Terrace Theater, Kennedy Center) – Rafal Blechacz, piano. Program TBA.

March 7 (4 p.m., Music Center at Strathmore) – Denyce Graves, mezzo-soprano. Program TBA.

March 24 (8 p.m., Kennedy Center Concert Hall) – San Francisco Symphony, Michael Tilson Thomas conducting. Liszt: "Tasso;" Ravel: "Valses nobles et sentimentales;" Tchaikovsky: Violin Concerto (Christian Tetzlaff, violin).

March 26 (8 p.m., Music Center at Strathmore) – Vladimir Feltsman, piano. Haydn: Sonata in E flat major; Beethoven: Sonata in C minor ("Pathétique"); Mussorgsky: "Pictures at an Exhibition."

March 29 (8 p.m., Kennedy Center Concert Hall) – Dmitri Hvorostovsky, baritone; Ramón Vargas, tenor; National Philharmonic, Ion Marin conducting. Program TBA.

April 3 (8 p.m., Kennedy Center Concert Hall) – Julia Fischer, violin. Bach: Partitas Nos. 1-3 for unaccompanied violin.

April 15 (8 p.m., Kennedy Center Concert Hall) – Maurizio Pollini, piano. All-Chopin program.

April 16 (8 p.m., Music Center at Strathmore) – Takács String Quartet; Joyce Wang, piano. Haydn: Quartet in D major, Op. 71, No. 2; Beethoven: Quartet in C major, Op. 59, No. 3 ("Razumovsky"); Schumann: Piano Quintet in E flat major, Op. 44.

April 21 (8 p.m., Music Center at Strathmore) – Mitsuko Uchida, piano. Schumann: Fantasy in C major, "Davidsbündlertänze."

May 1 (2 p.m., Terrace Theater, Kennedy Center) – Gold medalist of 2009 Van Cliburn International Piano Competition. Program TBA.

May 4 (7:30 p.m., Terrace Theater, Kennedy Center) – Zuill Bailey, cello; Robert Koenig, piano. Program TBA.

May 17 (8 p.m., Kennedy Center Concert Hall) – Los Angeles Philharmonic, Gustavo Dudamel conducting. Bernstein: Symphony No. 2 ("The Age of Anxiety") (pianist TBA); Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 6 ("Pathétique").

May 22 (8 p.m., Sixth & I Historic Synagogue) – Yuja Wang, piano. Bach: Partitas Nos. 1-3.

May 26 (8 p.m., Music Center at Strathmore) – Philadelphia Orchestra, Charles Dutoit conducting. Glinka: "Russlan and Ludmilla" Overture; Rachmaninoff: Piano Concerto No. 3 (Nikolai Lugansky, piano); Stravinsky: "Pétrouchka."

Monday, March 16, 2009

'A pitiful end for a worthy institution'

The Baltimore Sun's Tim Smith delivers a post-mortem on the Baltimore Opera, and looks back fondly on a 60-year history studded with great names:,0,6632057.story

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Figaro at the bridge

"Largo al factotum," Figaro's big tune from Rossini's "The Barber of Seville," sets off pyrotechnics of a novel kind, courtesy of the Virginia Department of Transportation:

So, will "Nessun dorma" fill potholes?

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Tsar Valery

Valery Gergiev, maestro of St. Petersburg's Mariinsky Theater, ally of Russian strongman Vladimir Putin and master of post-Soviet cultural crosscurrents, profiled by Arthur Lubow in The New York Times Magazine:

'Evidence-based' Beethoven

In an essay in The Guardian, Roger Norrington, the British conductor who produced shock waves 20 years ago with his period-instruments, historicaly informed performances of the Beethoven symphonies, restates his case for Beethoven with "pure tone" and adherence to the composer's still-controversial metronome markings:

Friday, March 13, 2009

Baltimore Opera, R.I.P.

The Baltimore Opera, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in December, has decided to shut down permanently. "We've lost many of our corporate contributors that used to be headquartered here. And we had no endowment. The final nail in the coffin was the recession," Allan Jenson, the company's board chairman, tells Tim Smith of the Baltimore Sun:,0,3670415.story

'If I rest, I rust'

That's the motto of Plácido Domingo, who this weekend marks his 40th anniversary at the Metropolitan Opera. Anthony Tommasini traces Domingo's career – 52 years and counting – and interviews the indominable tenor in The New York Times:

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Teetering in Philadelphia

The Philadelphia Orchestra, currently functioning with interim artistic and administrative leadership, has seen its endowment drop in value by 30 percent, $3 million in state and city subsidies disappear, donations drop by an average of 10 percent and ticket sales fall by 14 percent. It has canceled tour appearances and is cutting 18 administrative positions and reducing staff salaries to head off a $2.2 million deficit on a current operating budget of $46.6 million, Daniel J. Wakin reports in The New York Times.

“If the markets don’t turn, I can see catastrophe for American orchestras," says Frank Slattery Jr., the business executive serving as the Philadelphia Orchestra's temporary executive director:

The staff cuts are the latest sign of "pressing struggles" in the storied orchestra, writes Peter J. Dobrin in the Philadelphia Inquirer:

UPDATE: Richard B. Worley, a 63-year-old investment advisor and longtime arts patron, has been named chairman of the Orchestra Association, the Philadelphia Orchestra's governing body, The Inquirer reported on March 19.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Feeding Virginia

Four Virginia orchestras will participate in "Orchestras Feeding America," an initiative by the League of American Orchestras and Feeding America to help stock local food banks during performances from mid-March to early April.

* The Richmond Symphony will accept donations for the Central Virginia Food Bank at its "Free for All" events running from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. March 28 at the main branch of the Richmond Public Library, First and Franklin streets.

* The Roanoke Symphony will collect donations for Southwest Virginia Second Harvest Food Bank during its pops concert with Glen Campbell, April 3 at Salem Civic Center.

* Hampton Roads' Virginia Symphony hopes to collect 1,500 pounds of food for the Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia and Foodbank of the Virginia Peninsula at concerts on March 27-28 and April 2-4.

* The Fairfax Symphony will accept donations of canned goods for Food for Others at its March 14 concert.

Playing in traffic

John Harle, the composer curating this summer's City of London Festival, will introduce "Leviathan," a work for 800 saxophones. On June 21, bands of saxes will march from outlying points to London Bridge.

"Each band will be playing in a certain key. So when they all converge together at the bridge, there will be chaos. Then, as they move on to the bridge, they will start playing in the same key, and as they move off it they will all resolve on to one note. It's using music as a metaphor: purging the city of its crisis of confidence and moving from chaos, to harmony, to unanimity," Harle tells Charlotte Higgins of The Guardian:

Q: What's the difference between a saxophone and a lawn mower?

A: Lawn mowers sound better in small ensembles.

More saxophone jokes at:

'Am I not playing the Fourth?'

Hélène Grimaud, the French pianist, thought she had been booked to play Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 4 in G major this weekend with the Chicago Symphony, and said so during an interview with Bryant Manning of Time Out Chicago. Manning checked the orchestra's schedule. No, he told Grimaud, you're playing the "Emperor" Concerto.

A few hours later, a press release arrived from Grimaud's management: "An unfortunate miscommunication has occurred," and was discovered "too late for Ms. Grimaud to have time to prepare Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 5 to her satisfaction." So she canceled the Chicago engagement. The Ukrainian pianist Valentina Lisitsa will play the "Emperor" in Grimaud's place:

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

French accents

Violinist Soovin Kim, pianist Jeremy Denk and the Jupiter String Quartet reviewed on a disc of Chausson's Concerto in D major and Fauré's Violin Sonata No. 1, in print in Style Weekly, online at:

Investment banking is out, so...

College music programs are experiencing a boom. Applications for admission are have risen by double-digit percentages in recent years, Howard Reich reports the Chicago Tribune:,0,7410459.story

Orchestra seeks $240,000 from Virginia Beach

The Hampton Roads-based Virginia Symphony, which skirted Chapter 11 bankruptcy after receiving a $500,000 loan from the Norfolk Economic Development Authority in December, now is asking Virginia Beach for $240,000 to support concerts at the Sandler Arts Center and other activities in the city, Aaron Applegate reports in The Virginian-Pilot:

UPDATE: The Pilot is polling readers on whether the Virginia Symphony should get the money. As of 4:15 p.m. March 11, the tally was 19 percent in favor, 74 percent opposed.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Review: Paul Jacobs

March 8, St. Mary’s Episcopal Church, Goochland

There’s a "Wizard of Oz" quality to most organ recitals. You spend a couple of hours immersed in the massive sonorities of an instrument that takes up a substantial part of a building; and through it all, the musician remains unseen or visible only as a not-too-animated head and shoulders at a console.

Paul Jacobs pulled back the curtain in his recital at St. Mary’s. As he played its Schantz organ in the choir loft at the rear of the sanctuary, a camera was trained on him. The image it captured, shown on a screen at the altar, looked like a seated version of the Appalachian toy known as the dancing man – fingers dancing across a couple of keyboards, feet dancing on the pedals, as the trunk of the body remained relatively still.

Playing to a camera is one of the means that Jacobs employs to rise to celebrity in a field that doesn’t produce many stars. Another is to not just verbally introduce, but enthuse about, the music he is playing. Even to crack the occasional joke, such as noting that Louis Vierne, the longtime (1900-37) organist of Notre Dame in Paris, died while performing, and observing that "it sends a ghastly sound down the nave when you drop dead at the organ."

For all this, Jacobs, the 32-year-old chairman of the organ department at the Juilliard School, does not come across as a pop-classical phenom, a latter-day Virgil Fox. He plays serious organ music, seriously and idiomatically across a range of periods and styles. He understands, though, that serious organ music is still aural spectacle, often playful in spirit, responsive to a virtuoso's touch and sensibility.

So, in this recital, he played up the jazzy syncopation of Marcel Dupré’s Prelude and Fugue in B minor, freely splashed color on the "Naïades" from Vierne’s "Fantasy Pieces," emphasized the sheer merriment of the fugues in two of Bach’s preludes and fugues, the A minor, BWV 543, and D major, BWV 532, and, in an encore, played the organ transcription of the Sinfonia from Bach’s Cantata 29 ("Wir danken dir, Gott") as the exuberant showpiece that it is.

The centerpiece of Jacobs’ program was the recently discovered Prelude and Fugue in B minor of Samuel Barber, written when the composer was a 17-year-old student at the Curtis Institute – and, from the sounds of this piece, an attentive student of Bach and subsequent acolytes, especially Max Reger. The bittersweet lyricism of the mature Barber is already in evidence, although of the darker, emotionally ambivalent kind heard in, say, "Dover Beach" or "Vanessa." That’s how Jacobs plays it, anyway. Another organist could just as credibly make the fugue into an elaborate pre-echo of the Barber Adagio.

In Jacobs’ hands, St. Mary’s two-manual, 30-rank Schantz (vintage 1992), and the sanctuary that houses it, with wood walls and arched ceiling, sounded like a Bach instrument. The splashier sonorities of the Dupré and Vierne pieces and of Leo Sowerby’s "Pageant" had a brittle, congested quality at their loudest, and bright acoustics nudged colors from pastel toward primary.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Review: Richmond Symphony

Dorian Wilson conducting
March 7, First Baptist Church

Dorian Wilson, sixth of the music-director candidates to conduct Masterworks concerts with the Richmond Symphony, is joined by a onetime University of Michigan classmate, tenor Robert Breault, in one of the most striking selections in the orchestra’s current season: "Les Illuminations," Benjamin Britten’s song cycle on poems of Arthur Rimbaud.

Britten’s greatest compositions, by most critical estimations, are his operas and "War Requiem;" but this early work written in 1938-39 when the composer was 26, compares favorably with any of his subsequent music for voice. And few composers of the past century have drawn more expression and color from a string orchestration than Britten did here.

In the second of three performances of "Les Illuminations," Breault, positioned above and behind the strings, projected forcefully and sounded thoroughly immersed in both the spirit and imagery of Rimbaud's strangely evocative texts. Expressively, the French language was no barrier to the listener's understanding.

Breault was a clarion narrative voice in "Villes" and "Royauté." In more impressionistic texts, such as "Antique" and "Being Beautious," his tone was softer, more misty, and his inflection more poetic. His consistency of tone production, up to some very high notes, was remarkable. In all, he delivered an absorbing performance.

Wilson and the symphony strings were comparably engaged – scene-painters and storytellers in their own right.

The conductor and full orchestra also painted to fine effect, and with a much wider tonal palette, in a surging and vividly colorful reading of Rimsky-Korsakov’s "Scheherazade." Wilson set a moderate pace through much of the piece, opening up expressive opportunities for the many soloists in Rimsky’s orchestration. The solo violin portraying Scheherazade, played to the hilt by concertmaster Karen Johnson, was a first among equals among solo and duet voices, ranging from harp (Lynette Wardle), oboe (Gustav Highstein) and flute (Mary Boodell) to cello (Neal Cary) and bass trombone (Scott Cochran).

While showing a sensitive ear for this music’s many colorful and exotic details, Wilson didn’t hold back on its lush, broad strokes. "The Sea and Sinbad’s Ship" couldn’t have sounded more swellingly tidal, or the "Shipwreck" more crashing.

The program opens with Charles Ives’ "The Unanswered Question," a signature piece of this orchestra during the years (1957-71) when it was conducted by Edgar Schenkman. In these performances, Wilson and Erin Freeman, the symphony’s associate conductor, lead physically separated strings, woodwinds and solo trumpet (played splendidly by Rolla Durham), clarifying the contrasting roles they play in a discourse of sublime futility.

At least it’s supposed to be sublime. In this performance, cell-phone noise broke the spell, not once but twice.

The program repeats at 8 p.m. March 8 at St. Michael Catholic Church, 4491 Springfield Road in Glen Allen. Tickets: $28. Details: (804) 788-1212; That concert also will be broadcast live on WCVE (88.9 FM) and its affiliates.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Road music

Come Sunday, we’ll begin buying an extra hour of afternoon daylight – yes, it’s daylight-saving time again – and in these parts the temperature is expected to hit 80. And in modern America, recession or no recession, that means a lot of us will have the uncontrollable urge to hit the road to some point beyond the usual commuting-and-shopping radius.

I’ll be day-tripping to Goochland County to hear Paul Jacobs’ organ recital – not exactly a trek to the wilderness – but I’ll surely be tempted to take some winding country roads on the return trip.

No member of my generation (I’m in the high-boomer cohort) can contemplate a drive of any distance without thinking about suitable music for the trip. As a high boomer-turned-highbrow, I'm conflicted: Part of me associates road-tripping with rock ’n’ roll and R&B – Chuck Berry, Stax-Volt and Motown through early Rolling Stones and The Band to the Grateful Dead and Ry Cooder – while my other self sifts through classical pieces that would be appropriate for country roads and rural vistas.

For some time now, it has been perfectly respectable, even borderline-obligatory, for classical-music writers to exhibit knowledgeable empathy for pop culture – to assess the relative merits of Beniamino Gigli and Roy Orbison as bel canto tenors, for instance – but I’ll spare you any such musings here. This isn’t about cross-cultural musicology; it’s about assembling a soundtrack for the road.

High-flying voices wouldn’t make my cut, anyway. They’re too distracting for a trip I’d like to return from in one piece. The same is true of a lot of other music. I don’t want to drive at speed on unfamiliar roads while listening to music that demands too much concentration. So I generally avoid solo voices, solo and chamber instrumental music and most concertos.

My favorite not excessively demanding classical road music is the baroque orchestral suite, something like Handel’s "Water Music" or one of the Bach suites for orchestra. (But not the "Brandenburg" concertos or Vivaldi’s "Four Seasons" – their solo and concertante parts are a bit too attention-getting for this purpose, I think.) A number of Telemann’s orchestral suites, such as "Hamburg Ebb and Flood" (the other great baroque "water" music) and several pieces from "Tafelmusik" (I especially favor the Overture in D major for trumpet, oboe and strings that opens Part II) are good for driving. So is the "Drottningholm Wedding Music" of Johann Helmich Roman.

One thing all these pieces have in common – and that separates them from the "Brandenburgs" and "Seasons" – is moderate tempos, even in faster sections. A lickety-split pace in any music is a temptation to reckless driving, and that temptation is compounded by the even speedier ornaments and grace notes of baroque music. The tempo giusto of the first air in Telemann’s Overture in D major strikes me as near-perfect cruising speed.

Classical-period serenades, divertimentos and cassations grew out of the baroque suite – all are essentially collections of airs and dances – and most of them make comparably middling demands on the listener’s concentration. Mozart’s big "Posthorn" Serenade (No. 9 in D major, K. 320) and smaller "Serenata notturna" (No. 6 in D major, K. 239), as well as the familiar "Eine kleine Nachtmusik" (Serenade No. 13 in G major, K. 525), are eminently road-worthy. Less so the "Gran Partita" (Serenade No. 10 in B flat major, K. 370a), which I find too content-rich for undistracted driving.

Romantic and modern examples of this genre worth considering include Brahms’ Serenade No. 1 in D major, Dvořák’s two serenades, one for strings, the other for winds, and the Serenade for strings of the Swedish composer Dag Wirén. (You might add the Tchaikovsky serenades; I dislike them.) Brahms’ Hungarian dances, Dvořák’s Slavonic dances and Liszt’s Hungarian rhapsodies fit our parameters, too – but, again, beware of especially speedy tempos, especially from Dvořák.

Many works from the British "pastoral" school – think Vaughan Williams, Delius, Butterworth, non-"Planets" Holst, Peter Warlock – make nice driving companions. So, for those so inclined, do a number of contemporary works associated (more or less) with the minimalist school; for driving purposes, I would recommend Michael Torke’s orchestral tone poems named for colors ("Green," "Orange," etc.) – although I find them better suited to interstate highways than country roads.

And, of course, there’s Beethoven’s "Pastoral" Symphony (No. 6 in F major), a pretty obvious choice for a trip to the country, and a better bet for lowland driving than many "scenic" late-romantic orchestral works. I would save the likes of Mahler’s First and Richard Strauss’ "Alpine" symphonies for higher altitudes and longer drives.

Drive and listen safely.

POSTSCRIPT: A reader recalls a 2004 study by Canada's RAC Foundation, suggesting that loud music and fast tempos can impair driving:

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Making do

Petrof, the Czech piano-maker, hopes to ride out the economic crash by switching half its production to making furniture. This isn't the first time the firm has laid aside its specialty in hard times. "During the 1930s crisis, Petrof produced wooden railway sleepers, and at the time of war it focused on grenade boxes," Zuzana Ceralova-Petrofova, the company's president, tells The Telegraph:

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

National Symphony 2009-10

Washington’s National Symphony Orchestra has announced a 2009-10 season customarily studded with big names – pianists Evgeny Kissin and Lang Lang, cellist Yo-Yo Ma and tenor Ben Heppner in one-nighters; pianists Emanuel Ax, Jean-Yves Thibaudet, Nelson Freire, Ingrid Fliter, Denis Matsuev and Yuja Wang; violinists Joshua Bell, Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg, Leila Josefowicz, Vadim Repin and Jennifer Koh; cellists Mischa Maisky and Daniel Müller-Schott; and percussionist Evelyn Glennie in subscription programs – and large-scale repertory, including a rare revival of Eugene Goosens’ giant-sized arrangement of Handel’s "Messiah."

The season also will feature piano concertos by Jennifer Higdon (played by Wang) and Guillaume Connesson (played by Thibaudet), in their world and U.S. premieres, respectively; a two-week residency by composer-conductor John Adams; and 100th anniversary performances of Elgar’s Violin Concerto, conducted by the NSO’s former music director, Leonard Slatkin, with Nikolaj Znaider playing the same instrument, a 1741-vintage Guarnerius del Gesu, that Fritz Kreisler played in the concerto’s 1910 premiere

Christoph Eschenbach, the NSO’s music director-designate, will conduct Verdi’s Requiem. Iván Fischer, in his last season as the orchestra’s principal conductor, will lead the opening-night gala and five subscription programs, including performances of Bartók’s "The Wooden Prince," Stravinsky’s "The Rite of Spring" and Bach’s Mass in B minor. Guest conductors, in addition to Slatkin and Adams, include Lorin Maazel, Hans Graf, Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos, Jeffrey Kahane, Kristjan Järvi, Michael Stern and two former NSO associate conductors, Andrew Litton and Hugh Wolff.

The NSO Pops series, conducted mainly by Marvin Hamlisch, will feature an 80th birthday tribute to Stephen Sondheim, a concert version of Meredith Wilson’s "The Music Man" and guest appearances by the vocal group Afro Blue and trumpeter Chris Botti.

The Kennedy Center Chamber Players, composed of NSO members, will present three programs in the Terrace Theater; and the orchestra will play three free holiday concerts on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol.

Symphonic and pops concerts, in the Kennedy Center Concert Hall, are mainly at 7 p.m. Thursdays and 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, with some matinees at 1:30 p.m. Fridays or Sundays.

For subscription and single-ticket information, call the Kennedy Center box office at (800) 444-1324 or visit

The NSO’s 2009-10 schedule:

Sept. 6 (8 p.m.) – conductor TBA. Labor Day Concert, on West Lawn of U.S. Capitol. Program TBA. (Free)

Sept. 26 (Season Opening Ball Concert, 7 p.m.) – Iván Fischer conducting. Glinka: "Russlan and Ludmilla" Overture; Kodály: "Dances of Galanta;" Sarasate: "Zigeunerweisen" (József Lendvay Jr., violin); Chopin: Piano Concerto No. 2 (Evgeny Kissin, piano); Richard Strauss: "Salome’s Dances" from "Salome;" Johann Strauss II: "On the Beautiful Blue Danube."

Oct. 1 (7 p.m.), 2-3 (8 p.m.) – Iván Fischer conducting. Beethoven: Symphony No. 6 ("Pastoral"); Bartók: "The Wooden Prince" (with English captions) (Cast TBA).

Oct. 8 (7 p.m.), 10 (8 p.m.), 11 (1:30 p.m.) – Ludovic Morlot conducting. Tchaikovsky: "Francesca da Rimini;" Martinů: “The Frescoes of Piero della Francesca;” Brahms: Piano Concerto No. 1 (Nelson Freire, piano).

Oct. 15 (7 p.m.), 16-17 (8 p.m.) – Lorin Maazel conducting. Mussorgsky: "Night on Bald Mountain"; Barber: Violin Concerto (Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg, violin); Maazel: "The Giving Tree" (Dietlinde Turban-Maazel, narrator); Franck: Symphony in D minor.

Oct. 22 (8 p.m.) – conductor TBA. Ben Heppner, tenor, in program TBA.

Oct. 29 (7 p.m.), 30-31 (8 p.m.) – NSO Pops, Marvin Hamlisch conducting. Chris Botti, trumpet.

Nov. 5 (7 p.m.), 6-7 (8 p.m.) – Alexander Vedernikov conducting. Brahms: Violin Concerto (Vadim Repin, violin); Prokofiev: Symphony No. 5.

Nov. 13 (8 p.m.) – Andrew Litton conducting. Weber: "Euryanthe" Overture; Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 1 (Lang Lang, piano); Glinka: "Russlan and Ludmilla" Overture; Prokofiev: Piano Concerto No. 3 (Lang Lang, piano).

Nov. 19 (7 p.m.), 21 (8 p.m.), 22 (1:30 p.m.) – Hugh Wolff conducting. MacMillan: "Í (A Meditation on Iona);" Bruch: "Scottish Fantasy" (Joshua Bell, violin); Mendelssohn: Symphony No. 3 ("Scottish").

Nov. 27 (1:30, 8 p.m.), 28 (8 p.m.) – NSO Pops, Marvin Hamlisch conducting. Meredith Wilson’s "The Music Man" in concert (cast TBA).

Dec. 3 (7 p.m.), 4 (1:30 p.m.), 5 (8 p.m.) – Andrew Litton conducting. Rimsky-Korsakov: "The Snow Maiden" Suite; Jennifer Higdon: Piano Concerto (premiere) (Yuja Wang, piano); Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 1 ("Winter Dreams").

Dec. 10 (7 p.m.), 18-19 (8 p.m.), 20 (1 p.m.) – NSO Pops, Marvin Hamlisch conducting. "Happy Holidays," with Afro Blue and Dan Alexander as Santa Claus.

Dec. 17 (7 p.m.), 18-19 (8 p.m.), 20 (1 p.m.) – Rossen Milanov conducting. Handel-Goosens: "Messiah" (Elza van den Heever, soprano; Meredith Arwady, contralto; Jason Collins, tenor; Eric Owens, bass-baritone; Washington Chorus, Julian Wachner directing).

Jan. 7 (7 p.m.), 8-9 (8 p.m.) – Leonard Slatkin conducting. Elgar: Violin Concerto (Nikolaj Znaider, violin); Holst: "The Planets" (Choral Arts Society, Norman Scribner directing).

Jan. 10 (2 p.m.) – National Symphony Chamber Players. Brahms: Sonata in E minor, Op. 38, for cello and piano; Sonata in E flat major, Op. 120, No. 2, for viola and piano; Sonata in D minor, Op. 108, for violin and piano (Nurit Bar-Josef, violin; Daniel Foster, viola; David Hardy, cello; Lambert Orkis, piano).

Jan. 14 (7 p.m.), 15 (1:30 p.m.), 16 (8 p.m.) – Michael Stern conducting. Barber: Symphony No. 1; Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 2 (Emanuel Ax, piano); Sibelius: Symphony No. 2.

Jan. 21 (7 p.m.), 22-23 (8 p.m.) – Iván Fischer conducting. Mozart: Symphony No. 38 ("Prague"); Mahler: "Das Lied von der Erde" (Christianne Stotijn, mezzo-soprano; Stig Andersen, tenor).

Jan. 28 (7 p.m.), 29-30 (8 p.m.) – Iván Fischer conducting. Bernstein: "Three Dances from ‘On the Town’;” Tchaikovsky: “Lensky’s Aria,” “Rococo Variations” (Mischa Maisky, cello); Dvořák: Symphony No. 8.

Feb. 11 (7 p.m.), 12-13 (8 p.m.) – NSO Pops, Bill Conti conducting. "Academy Awards."

Feb. 18 (7 p.m.), 19-20 (8 p.m.) – James Gaffigan conducting. Lera Auerbach: "Requiem for Icarus;" Rachmaninoff: Piano Concerto No. 2 (Denis Matsuev, piano); Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 4.

March 4 (7 p.m.), 5-6 (8 p.m.) – Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos conducting. Mozart: Serenade No. 6 ("Serenata Notturna"), Piano Concerto No. 23 (Ingrid Fliter, piano); Richard Strauss: "Symphonia domestica."

March 11 (7 p.m.), 12-13 (8 p.m.) – Christoph Eschenbach conducting. Verdi: Requiem (Twyla Robinson, soprano; Mihoko Fujimura, mezzo-soprano; Nikolai Schukoff, tenor; Evgeny Nikitin, bass-baritone; chorus TBA).

March 25 (7 p.m.), 27 (8 p.m.), 28 (1:30 p.m.) – Jakub Hrűša conducting. Dvořák: Cello Concerto (Daniel Müller-Schott, cello); Schubert: Symphony No. 8 (“Unfinished”); Janáček: “Taras Bulba.”

April 1 (7 p.m.), 2-3 (8 p.m.) – Iván Fischer conducting. Bach: Mass in B minor (Dominique Labelle, soprano; Marie-Nicole Lemieux, alto; Michael Slattery, tenor; Thomas Bauer, baritone; University of Maryland Concert Choir, Edward Maclary directing).

April 24 (8 p.m.) – conductor TBA. "Gospel Across America" (guest artists TBA).

April 25 (2 p.m.) – Kennedy Center Chamber Players. Ravel: Introduction and Allegro; Dutilleuz: "Ainsi la nuit” (string quartet); Dvořák: String Sextet, Op. 48 (Nurit Bar-Josef & Heather Ledoux Green, violins; Daniel Foster & Abigail Evans, violas); David Hardy & Rachel Young, cellos; Toshiko Kohno, flute; Loren Kitt, clarinet; Dotian Levalier, harp).

April 29 (7 p.m.), April 30-May 1 (8 p.m.) – Hans Graf conducting. Debussy: "Images;" Guillaume Connesson: new work TBA for piano and orchestra, Ravel: Piano Concerto for the left hand (Jean-Yves Thibaudet, piano); Ravel: "Daphnis et Chloé" Suite No. 2.

May 6 (7 p.m.), 7-8 (8 p.m.) – NSO Pops, Marvin Hamlisch conducting. "Stephen Sondheim 80th Birthday Tribute" (guest artists TBA).

May 13 (7 p.m.), 14-15 (8 p.m.) – John Adams conducting. Copland: "Billy the Kid" Suite; Adams: "The Wound-Dresser" (Eric Owens, baritone); Barber: Adagio for strings; Elgar: "Enigma Variations."

May 20 (7 p.m.), 21 (1:30 p.m.), 22 (8 p.m.) – John Adams conducting. Britten: "Four Sea Interludes" from "Peter Grimes;" Adams: "The Dharma at Big Sur" (Leila Josefowicz, electric violin); Stravinsky: "Feu d’Artifice;" Adams: "City Noir" Symphony.

May 30 (8 p.m.) – conductor TBA. Capitol Concert, on West Lawn of U.S. Capitol. Program TBA. (Free)

June 3 (7 p.m.), 4 (1:30 p.m.), 5 (8 p.m.) – Iván Fischer conducting. Rimsky-Korsakov: "Scheherazade;" Stravinsky: "The Rite of Spring."

June 6 (2 p.m.) – Kennedy Center Chamber Players. Walter Gieseking: Quintet for piano and winds; Szymanowski: "Mythes" for violin and piano; Schubert: String Quintet in C major (Nurit Bar-Josef & Marissa Regni, violins; Daniel Foster, viola; David Hardy & Steven Honigberg, cellos; Nicholas Stovall, oboe; Loren Kitt, clarinet; Sue Heineman, bassoon; Martin Hackleman, horn; Lambert Orkis, piano).

June 10 (7 p.m.), 11-12 (8 p.m.) – Kristjan Järvi conducting. Grieg: "Lyric Suite;" Erkki-Sven Tüür: Symphony No. 4 ("Magma") (Evelyn Glennie, percussion); Bernstein: "Candide" Overture and Suite; Ellington: "Harlem."

June 17 (7 p.m.), 18-19 (8 p.m.) – Juraj Valčuha conducting. Haydn: Symphony No. 85 (“La Reine”); Szymanowski: Violin Concerto No. 1 (Jennifer Koh, violin); Mahler: Symphony No. 1.

June 29 (8 p.m.) – Jeffrey Kahane conducting. Yo-Yo Ma, cello. Program TBA.

July 4 (8 p.m.) – conductor TBA. Capitol Concert, on West Lawn of U.S. Capitol. Program TBA. (Free)

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Richmond Symphony 2009-10

What it couldn’t handle logistically during five seasons of performing in church sanctuaries – piano concertos, large-scale orchestral and choral music – the Richmond Symphony will program extensively in the coming season, as its mainstage Masterworks series returns to the Carpenter Theatre in downtown Richmond’s new CenterStage complex.

The 1,800-seat theater, which opened in 1928 as a Loew’s movie palace and was known as the Carpenter Center after its 1983 conversion to a performing-arts center, also will be the venue for the orchestra’s Pops concerts, a new LolliPops series for children and families, the Christmas-season performance of Handel’s "Messiah" and a special spring concert with violinist Gil Shaham.

The symphony’s chamber-orchestra series, devoted to composer-centered festivals over the past four seasons, will acquire a more generalized moniker, Metro Collection, with Friday-night performances at four different suburban venues and Sunday matinees at Randolph-Macon College in Ashland.

Alastair Willis, Christian Knapp and Arthur Fagen, the last three of nine candidates auditioning to become the orchestra’s fifth music director, will conduct concerts in the fall. The symphony is expected to name its new maestro around the end of the year. The conducting slots for four winter and spring Masterworks programs and the Shaham concert are being held open for the winning candidate and/or guest conductors.

In addition to Shaham, guest soloists for the season include pianists Jeremy Denk (playing Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No. 3) and Jon Nakamatsu (Beethoven’s "Emperor" Concerto), violinist Tai Murray (Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto) and Yang Wei, playing the pipa (Chinese lute) in "Nanking! Nanking! A Threnody for Orchestra and Pipa" by the Chinese-American composer Bright Sheng.

Metro Collection concerts will feature three of the symphony’s principal players: concertmaster Karen Johnson (Mozart’s Violin Concerto No. 2 and Astor Piazzolla’s "Four Seasons of Buenos Aires"), clarinetist Ralph Skiano (Weber’s Clarinet Concerto No. 2) and harpist Lynette Wardle (Rodrigo’s “Sones en la Giralda” and Ravel’s Introduction and Allegro). Johnson also will play short works by Dvořák and Paganini in a Masterworks program.

The Pops series will present Arturo Sandoval, the Cuban-born jazz trumpeter; singer Steve Lippia in songs popularized by Frank Sinatra; a program of music and footage from the films of Alfred Hitchcock; and the annual Christmas pops program "Let It Snow!"

In addition to the Bright Sheng and Piazzolla works, the season’s contemporary music programming includes Roberto Sierra’s Sinfonia No. 4 in one of its first performances (the symphony is part of a consortium of orchestras that commissioned the piece), Christopher Theofandis’ "Rainbow Body" and Jennifer Higdon’s Concerto for Orchestra, part of a program, also featuring Lili Boulanger’s "D’un Matin de Printemps," staged in conjunction with "Minds Wide Open: Virginia Celebrates Women in the Arts 2010."

The Masterwork series will begin and end with orchestral blockbusters by Camille Saint-Saëns: the Bacchanale from "Samson et Delila" (the first piece the symphony played in its 1979 tryout of the then-abandoned Loew’s as a potential concert hall) and the "Organ" Symphony. Other major works on tap: Berlioz’s "Symphonie fantastique,” Stravinsky’s “Pétrouchka,” the Ravel orchestration of Mussorgsky’s “Pictures at an Exhibition,” Dvořák’s Sixth Symphony, Franck’s Symphony in D minor, Bizet’s Symphony in C major, Beethoven’s Fourth Symphony, Ravel’s Bolero and “La Valse” and the Symphony No. 40 in G minor and "Gran Partita" of Mozart.

The Richmond Symphony Chorus, directed by Erin Freeman (who is also the symphony’s associate conductor), will perform in Orff’s "Carmina Burana," Borodin’s "Polovtsian Dances" and two works by Brahms, "Gesang der Parzen (Song of the Fates)" and "Nänie," as well as "Messiah" and "Let It Snow!"

For a 2009-10 season brochure and details on subscription ticket packages, call the Richmond Symphony box office at (804) 788-1212. Single tickets will go on sale on Sept. 8.

The season’s dates, programs, venues and subscription ticket prices (adult unless listed otherwise):

8 p.m. Saturdays, 3 p.m. Sundays at Carpenter Theatre, Richmond CenterStage, Sixth and Grace streets
Subscriptions: $154-$448

Sept. 26-27 – Alastair Willis conducting. Saint-Saëns: Bacchanale from "Samson et Dalila;" Brahms: "Variations on a Theme by Haydn;" Orff: "Carmina Burana" (soloists TBA; Richmond Symphony Chorus, Erin Freeman directing).

Oct. 17-18 – Christian Knapp conducting. Debussy: "Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun;" Prokofiev: Piano Concerto No. 3 (Jeremy Denk, piano); Berlioz: "Symphonie fantastique."

Nov. 14-15 – Arthur Fagen conducting. Beethoven: "Egmont" Overture; Bright Sheng: "Nanking! Nanking! A Threnody for Orchestra and Pipa" (Yang Wei, pipa); Franck: Symphony in D minor.

Jan. 16-17 – conductor TBA. Prokofiev: "Lieutenant Kijé" Suite; Borodin: "Polovtsian Dances" (Richmond Symphony Chorus, Erin Freeman directing); Mussorgsky-Ravel: "Pictures at an Exhibition."

Feb. 6-7 – conductor TBA. Roberto Sierra: Sinfonia No. 4; Dvořák: Romance in F minor, Paganini: “La Campenella” from Violin Concerto No. 2 (Karen Johnson, violin); Stravinsky: “Pétrouchka.”

Feb. 27-28 – conductor TBA. Mozart: "The Magic Flute" Overture; Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 5 (“Emperor”) (Jon Nakamatsu, piano); Dvořák: Symphony No. 6.

March 20-21 – Erin Freeman conducting. Lili Boulanger: "D’un Matin de Printemps;" Tchaikovsky: Violin Concerto (Tai Murray, violin); Jennifer Higdon: Concerto for Orchestra.

May 15-16 – conductor TBA. Christopher Theofandis: "Rainbow Body;" Brahms: "Gesang der Parzen," "Nänie" (Richmond Symphony Chorus); Saint-Saëns: Symphony No. 3 ("Organ") (organist TBA).

8 p.m. Fridays at listed venues, 3 p.m. Sundays at Blackwell Auditorium, Randolph-Macon College, 205 Henry St., Ashland
Subscriptions: $64 (general-admission seating)

Oct. 2 (Collegiate School, North Mooreland Road, Henrico County), Oct. 4 (Randolph-Macon) – Alastair Willis conducting. Ravel: "Le Tombeau de Couperin;" Mozart: Violin Concerto No. 2 (Karen Johnson, violin); Beethoven: Symphony No. 4.

Nov. 6 (Bon Air Baptist Church, Forest Hill Avenue at Buford Road), Nov. 8 (Randolph-Macon) – Arthur Fagen conducting. Wagner: "Siegfried Idyll;" Weber: Clarinet Concerto No. 2 (Ralph Skiano, clarinet); Mozart: Symphony No. 40.

Jan. 12 (Kingsway Community Church, 500 LeGordon Drive, Midlothian), Jan. 14 (Randolph-Macon) Mozart: Serenade No. 10 in B flat major ("Gran Partita"); Astor Piazzolla: "The Four Seasons of Buenos Aires" (Karen Johnson, violin).

March 5 (Camp Concert Hall, Modlin Arts Center, University of Richmond), March 7 (Randolph-Macon) – Erin Freeman conducting. Chevalier de Saint-Georges: Sinfonia in D major ("L’amant anonyme" Overture); Rodrigo: "Sones en la Giralda" for harp and orchestra, Ravel: Introduction and Allegro (Lynette Wardle, harp); Bizet: Symphony in C major.

8 p.m. Saturdays, 2 p.m. Dec. 6, at Carpenter Theatre
Subscriptions: $83-$234

Oct. 10 – Christian Knapp conducting. "Hitchcock! A Symphonic Night at the Movies," music and footage from Alfred Hitchcock’s films.

Dec. 5-6 – Erin Freeman conducting. "Let It Snow!" Christmas program, with Richmond Symphony Chorus.

Jan. 30 – conductor TBA. "Simply Sinatra." Steve Lippia, vocalist.

March 13 – conductor TBA. Arturo Sandoval, trumpet.

11 a.m. Saturdays at Carpenter Theatre
Subscriptions: $45 for adults, $30 for children and students with ID

Oct. 31 – Erin Freeman conducting. "The Composer Is Dead," musical murder mystery by Lemony Snicket and Nathaniel Stookey.

Feb. 20 – Erin Freeman conducting. Prokofiev’s "Peter and the Wolf," semi-staged with cast from Theatre IV.

May 8 – Erin Freeman conducting. "Beethoven Lives Upstairs," Beethoven’s music introduced through letters between the composer and his young neighbor, Christoph.

8 p.m. at Carpenter Theatre

Dec. 4 – Erin Freeman conducting. Handel: "Messiah" (soloists TBA, Richmond Symphony Chorus). ($25-$40)

April 24 – conductor TBA. De Falla: "The Three-Cornered Hat" Suite No. 2; Ravel: Bolero, "La Valse;" Debussy: "Clair de Lune," "L’isle joyeuse;" Sarasate: "Carmen" Fantasy, "Zigeunerweisen" (Gil Shaham, violin). ($25-$75)

March 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: Dorian Wilson, the sixth of nine candidates for music director of the Richmond Symphony (and the last to visit this season), leads a Masterworks program of Ives, Britten and Rimsky-Korsakov, March 6, 7 and 9 at Second Baptist, First Baptist and St. Michael Catholic churches, respectively. . . . The symphony then adjourns to Norfolk to rehearse for Rossini’s "The Barber of Seville" with the Virginia Opera; the production, featuring the return of soprano Manon Strauss Evrard as Rosina, runs from March 13-22 at Norfolk’s Harrison Opera House and plays Richmond’s Landmark Theater on March 27 and 29 (plus two more dates in early April at George Mason University in Fairfax). . . . Paul Jacobs, the acclaimed American organist, performs on March 8 at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church in Goochland County. . . . The Garth Newel Piano Quartet visits downtown Richmond’s art6 Gallery for a March 8 recital. . . . The Choir of St. John’s College, Cambridge, visits Virginia Commonwealth University on March 28. . . . Chanticleer, the men’s vocal ensemble, sings its "Wondrous Free" program of early Americana and more, March 29 at the University of Richmond. . . . Pianist Peter Serkin plays a program of John Bull, Debussy, Bach and Brahms, March 30 at UR.

* New and/or different: Clarinetist Charles West and pianist Dmitri Shteinberg sample modern and contemporary works, March 1 at VCU. . . . The Male Choir of St. Petersburg sings Russian liturgical music, March 1 at the Ferguson Arts Center in Newport News. . . . Soprano Harolyn Blackwell and the Post-Classical Ensemble survey modern Spanish and Latin American music, March 1 at the Washington’s Kennedy Center. . . . Emmanuel Ceysson, the celebrated young French harpist, ranges from Scarlatti to serialism in a March 6 recital at the Barns at Wolf Trap in Northern Virginia. . . . Soprano Jennifer Cable, tenor Jeffrey Riehl and harpischordist Kenneth Merrill perform Monteverdi’s "Madrigals of Love and War" on March 16 at UR. . . . The Biava Quartet and guests play works of Shostakovich and his Russian Jewish contemporaries on March 19 at the Kennedy Center. . . . The Charlottesville and University Symphony Orchestra plays Jennifer Higdon’s "Blue Cathedral," alongside standards of Beethoven and Saint-Saëns, March 21 at the University of Virginia, March 22 at Monticello High School. . . . Glenn Kotche, drummer of the band Wilco, joins eighth blackbird for a program of his compositions and arrangements, plus Louis Andriessen’s boisterous "Worker’s Union," March 25 at UR. . . . The New Zealand Quartet and Richard Nunns play Gillean Whitehead’s "Sprouting to the Sky" for strings and traditional Maori instruments, March 27 at the Library of Congress in Washington. . . . The Left Bank Concert Society plays new and recent works by Isang Yun, Charles Wuorinen and Lawrence Moss, March 28 at the Kennedy Center.

* Star turns: In addition to Chanticleer and Serkin at UR and the St. John’s choristers at VCU, it’s a big month for big names all over the map: Pianist Evgeny Kissin plays Prokofiev and Chopin, March 1 at the Kennedy Center. . . . Cellist Matt Haimovitz plays the Dvořák Concerto in B minor with the Williamsburg Symphonia, March 2 and 4 at the Kimball Theatre. . . . Kurt Masur conducts the Cleveland Orchestra, with pianist Louis Lortie, in an all-Beethoven program, March 3 at the Ferguson Center. . . Cellist Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble perform on March 11 at Strathmore in the Maryland suburbs of D.C. (waiting list for tickets). . . . Jonathan Biss joins Herbert Blomstedt and the National Symphony in Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 27, on a program with Bruckner’s Ninth Symphony, March 19-21 at the Kennedy Center. . . . Marin Alsop continues her Dvořák cycle with the Baltimore Symphony, conducting the Seventh Symphony and “Scherzo capriccioso,” March 21 at Strathmore. . . . Ilan Volkov makes his debut with the Washington National Opera, conducting Britten’s Peter Grimes" with a cast including Patricia Racette and Alan Held, March 21-29 (and more dates in April) at the Kennedy Center. . . . The Academy of Ancient Music plays Bach’s six "Brandenburg" concertos, March 22 at GMU in Fairfax. . . . Pianist Olga Kern plays Haydn, Brahms, Chopin and Liszt, March 22 at Strathmore. . . . Tenor José Carreras sings on March 24 at the Ferguson Center. . . . Mezzo-soprano Frederica von Stade and bass-baritone Samuel Ramey sing on March 25 at the Kennedy Center. . . . Two stellar violinists take on the Brahms Concerto on three successive nights: Vadim Rapin with Yan Pascal Tortelier and the Baltimore Symphony, March 26 at Strathmore, and Elmar Oliveira with JoAnn Falletta and the Virginia Symphony, March 27 at the Ferguson Center, March 28 at Chrysler Hall. . . . Valery Gergiev conducts the London Symphony in Prokofiev, and pianist Alexei Volodin plays Beethoven’s Concerto No. 4, March 28 at the Kennedy Center. . . . Pianist Richard Goode plays Bach, Chopin and more, March 29 at Strathmore.

* Bargain of the month: Paul Jacobs’ organ recital, featuring one of the first performances of Samuel Barber’s recently unearthed Prelude and Fugue in B minor, March 8 at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church. (Free)

* My picks: Haimovitz with Janna Hymes and the Williamsburg Symphonia, March 2 and 4. . . . Jacobs’ March 8 recital. . . . Wilson’s Richmond Symphony program, including the orchestra’s first performance of Britten’s song cycle "Les Illuminations" with tenor Robert Breault and Rimsky-Korsakov’s redoubtable "Scheherazade" with violinist Karen Johnson, March 6, 7 and 9 at three area churches. . . . Blomstedt, Biss and the National Symphony in Mozart and Bruckner, March 19-21 at the Kennedy Center. . . . Kotche and eighth blackbird, March 25 at UR. . . . Serkin’s March 30 recital at UR.

March 1 (7 p.m.)
James River High School, 3700 James River Road, Midlothian
Richmond Symphony Youth Orchestra
Camerata Strings
Erin Freeman conducting
Program TBA
(804) 788-1212

March 1 (8 p.m.)
Vlahcevic Concert Hall, Singleton Arts Center, Virginia Commonwealth University, Park Avenue at Harrison Street, Richmond
Charles West, clarinet
Dmitri Shteinberg, piano
Martinů: Sonatina
Arnold Bax: Clarinet Sonata
Michelle Basile: "Three Waltzes for Rudy"
Bela Kovacs: Hommage à R. Strauss"
Joseph Horovitz: Sonatina
(804) 828-6776

March 1 (7 p.m.)
Ferguson Arts Center, Christopher Newport University, Newport News
Male Choir of St. Petersburg
Works by Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninoff, others
(757) 594-8752

March 1 (2:30 p.m.)
Sandler Arts Center, 201 S. Market St., Virginia Beach
Virginia Symphony
JoAnn Falletta conducting
Verdi: Requiem
Jonita Lattimore, soprano
Charlotte Paulsen, mezzo-soprano
Fernando del Valle, tenor
Kevin Deas, bass
Virginia Symphony Chorus
Robert Shoup directing
(757) 892-6366

March 1 (3:30 p.m.)
Old Cabell Hall, University of Virginia, Charlottesville
Virginia Consort
Virginia Consort Festival Chorus
Consort Youth Chorale
Judith Gary conducting
Beethoven: "Ode to Joy" from Symphony No. 9
Barber: "Prayers of Kierkegaard"
Other works TBA
(434) 924-3984

March 1 (4 p.m.)
Kennedy Center Concert Hall, Washington
Evgeny Kissin, piano
Prokofiev: Three Pieces from "Romeo and Juliet"
Prokofiev: Sonata No. 8 in B flat major
Chopin: Polonaise-Fantasie in A flat major, Op. 61
Chopin: mazurkas, Op. 30, No. 4; Op. 41, No. 4; Op. 59, No. 1
Chopin: études, Op. 10, Nos. 1-4, 12; Op. 25, Nos. 5-6, 11
(202) 785-9727 (Washington Performing Arts Society)

March 1 (7:30 p.m.)
Terrace Theater, Kennedy Center, Washington
Harolyn Blackwell, soprano
Post-Classical Ensemble
Angel Gil-Ordóñez & Joseph Horowitz directing
De Falla: "Psyché"
Turina: "Poema en forma de Canciones"
Montsalvatge: Sinfonietta ("Folia Daliniana")
Rodrigo: "Cuatro Madrigales Amatorios"
Villa-Lobos: "Chôro" No. 7
Gerhard: "Cancionero de Pedrell"
(800) 444-1324

March 2 (8 p.m.)
March 4 (8 p.m.)
Kimball Theatre, Duke of Gloucester Street, Williamsburg
Williamsburg Symphonia
Janna Hymes conducting
Verdi: "La forza del destino" Overture
Dvořák: Cello Concerto in B minor
Matt Haimovitz, cello
Schumann: Symphony No. 4 (1841 version)
(757) 229-9857

March 3 (7:30 p.m.)
Ferguson Arts Center, Christopher Newport University, Newport News
Cleveland Orchestra
Kurt Masur conducting
Beethoven: "Leonore" Overture No. 3
Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 1
Louis Lortie, piano
Beethoven: Symphony No. 7
(757) 594-8752

March 5 (8 p.m.)
Vlahcevic Concert Hall, Singleton Arts Center, Virginia Commonwealth University, Park Avenue at Harrison Street, Richmond
VCU Symphony Orchestra
Daniel Myssyk conducting
Glinka: "Russlan and Ludmilla" Overture

Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 4
(804) 828-6776

March 5 (8 p.m.)
Coolidge Auditorium, Library of Congress, First Street at Independence Avenue S.E., Washington
Belcea Quartet
Haydn: Quartet in F sharp minor, Op. 50, No. 4
Prokofiev: Quartet No. 1
Schubert: Quartet in D minor ("Death and the Maiden")
Free; tickets required
(703) 573-7328 (Ticketmaster)

March 6 (8 p.m.)
St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, Grove Avenue at Three Chopt Road, Richmond
American Guild of Organists Repertoire Recital Series:
Carla Edwards, organ
Program TBA
(804) 228-6243

March 6 (8 p.m.)
Second Baptist Church, River and Gaskins roads, Richmond
March 7 (8 p.m.)
First Baptist Church, Boulevard at Monument Avenue, Richmond
March 9 (8 p.m.)
St. Michael Catholic Church, 4491 Springfield Road, Glen Allen
Richmond Symphony
Dorian Wilson conducting
Ives: "The Unanswered Question"
Britten: "Les Illuminations"
Robert Breault, tenor
Rimsky-Korsakov: "Scheherazade"
Karen Johnson, violin
(804) 788-1212

March 6 (7:30 p.m.)
American Theatre, 125 E. Mellen St., Hampton
Yevgeny Sudbin, piano
Works by Scarlatti, Haydn, Medtner, Chopin
(757) 722-2787

March 6 (8 p.m.)
The Barns at Wolf Trap, Trap Road, Vienna
Emmanuel Ceysson, harp
Scarlatti: two sonatas
C.P.E. Bach: Sonata in G major
Spohr: Variations on "Je suis encoredans mon printemps"
Marcel Tournier: "Images" Suite No. 4
Henriette Renié: "Légende"
Fauré: Impromptu
Heinz Holliger: Präludium, Arioso and Passacaglia
Carlos Salzedo: Ballade
(877) 965-3872 (

March 7 (8 p.m.)
Music Center at Strathmore, 5301 Tuckerman Lane, North Bethesda, MD
Baltimore Symphony Orchestra
Jun Märkl conducting
Stravinsky: "Apollo"
Mozart: Requiem
Christine Brandes, soprano

Susan Platts, mezzo-soprano
Roger Honeywell, tenor
Timothy Jones, bass-baritone
Baltimore Choral Arts Society
Tom Hall directing
(877) 376-1444

March 7 (8 p.m.)
Chrysler Hall, 201 E. Bremelton Ave., Norfolk
March 8 (2:30 p.m.)
Ferguson Arts Center, Christopher Newport University, Newport News
Virginia Symphony
Matthew Kraemer conducting
Ravel: "Rapsodie espagnole"
Rodrigo: "Concierto Andaluz"
Los Angeles Guitar Quartet
De Falla: "The Three-Cornered Hat"
(757) 892-6366

March 7 (8 p.m.)
Recital Salon, Squires Center, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg
Roanoke Symphony
David Stewart Wiley conducting
Britten: "Simple" Symphony
Grainger: "Irish Tune from County Derry"
Gershwin: Lullaby for strings
Mozart: "Eine kleine Nachtmusik"
Tchaikovsky: Serenade for strings
(540) 343-9127

March 8 (3 p.m.)
St. Mary’s Episcopal Church, 12291 River Road, Goochland County
Paul Jacobs, organ
Dupré: Prelude and Fugue in B major, Op. 7
Vierne: "Naiades" from "Fantasy Pieces"
Barber: Prelude and Fugue in B minor
Sowerby: "Pageant"
Bach: Prelude and Fugue in A minor, BWV 543
Bach: Trio Sonata in E minor, BWV 528
Bach: Prelude and Fugue in D major, BWV 532
(804) 784-5678

March 8 (3 p.m.)
art6 Gallery, 6 E. Broad St., Richmond
Garth Newel Piano Quartet
Bridge: Piano Quartet in F sharp minor ("Phantasie")
Dvořák: Piano Quartet in D major, Op. 23
Peteris Vasks: Piano Quartet (2001)
$25 minimum donation (reservation recommended)
(804) 343-1406

March 8 (4 p.m.)
Bon Air Presbyterian Church, 9201 W. Huguenot Road, Richmond
Second Sunday South of the James:
Members and friends of Bon Air Presbyterian Church
Program TBA
Donation requested
(804) 272-7514

March 9 (11 a.m.)
Cathedral of the Sacred Heart, Floyd Avenue at Laurel Street, Richmond

Program of opera arias
Puccini: "In quelle trine morbide" from "Manon Lescaut"
Victoria Williams, soprano
Mozart: "Deh, vieni, non tardar" from "The Marriage of Figaro"
Jennifer McCluskey, soprano
Mozart: "Deh per questo istante" from "La Clemenza di Tito"
Darlene Temple, mezzo-soprano
Mozart: "Dove sono" from "The Marriage of Figaro"
Carolyn Halbert, soprano
Douglas Moore: "Willow Song" from "The Ballad of Baby Doe"
Heather Bordley-Harvell, soprano
Mozart: "Hai già vinto la causa . . . Vedrò mentr’io sospiro" from ""The Marriage of Figaro"
Dustin Faltz, baritone
Mozart: "Vedrai carino" from "Don Giovanni"
Sarah Serge, soprano
Handel: "Sì, tra I ceppi" from "Berenice"
Stacey Wilson, mezzo-soprano
Bellini: "Ah, non credea . . . Ah! Non giunge" from "La Somnambula"
Michelle Orr, soprano
Mozart: "Ah scostati . . . Smanie implacabili" from "Cosí fan tutte"
Nicolette Stumpf, mezzo-soprano
Mozart: "In quali eccessi . . . Mi tradi quell’ alma" from "Don Giovanni"
Puccini: "Chi il bel sogno di Doretta" from "La Rondine"
Anne O’Byrne, soprano
Patrick Carlin, piano
(804) 359-5651

March 10 (8 p.m.)
Williamsburg Library Theatre, 515 Scotland St.
Chamber Music Society of Williamsburg:
Manderling String Quartet
Program TBA
$15 (waiting list)
(757) 229-2901

March 10 (8 p.m.)
Old Cabell Hall, University of Virginia, Charlottesville
Tuesday Evening Concerts:
Leipzig String Quartet
Mendelssohn: Quartet in A major, Op. 13
Heinrich Isaac: Sequenza from "Choralis Constantinus"
Beethoven: Quartet in A minor, Op. 132
$28 (waiting list)
(434) 924-3984

March 11 (8 p.m.)
Music Center at Strathmore, 5301 Tuckerman Lane, North Bethesda, MD
Yo-Yo Ma, cello
Silk Road Ensemble
Program TBA
$48-$143 (waiting list)
(202) 785-9727 (Washington Performing Arts Society)

March 12 (7:30 p.m.)
American Theatre, 125 E. Mellen St., Hampton
Conjunto Iberico, cello octet
Works by Piazzolla, Ginastera, Guastavino, others
(757) 722-2787

March 12 (8 p.m.)
Old Cabell Hall, University of Virginia, Charlottesville
Rivanna String Quartet
Mozart: Quartet in D major, K. 575
Webern: "Langsamer Satz"
Brahms: Quartet in A minor, Op. 52, No. 2
(434) 924-3984

March 12 (7 p.m.)
March 13 (8 p.m.)
March 14 (8 p.m.)
Kennedy Center Concert Hall, Washington
National Symphony Orchestra Pops
Donald Pippin conducting
"Jerry Herman’s Broadway"
Melissa Enrico, soprano
Debbie Gravitte, mezzo-soprano
Hugh Panaro, tenor
Ron Raines, baritone
(800) 444-1324

March 13 (8 p.m.)
March 15 (2:30 p.m.)
March 18 (7:30 p.m.)
March 20 (8 p.m.)
March 22 (2:30 p.m.)
Harrison Opera House, 160 W. Virginia Beach Boulevard, Norfolk
Virginia Opera
Peter Mark conducting
Rossini: "The Barber of Seville"
Jason Detwiler (Figaro)
Manon Strauss Evrard (Rosina)
Jon Zuckerman (Almaviva)
Steven Condy (Bartolo)
Greg Ganakas, stage direction
in Italian, English captions
(866) 673-7282

March 13 (8 p.m.)
Chrysler Hall, 201 E. Bremelton Ave., Norfolk
Virginia Symphony
Matthew Kraemer conducting
Cherish the Ladies
Program TBA
(757) 892-6366

March 13 (8 p.m.)
Coolidge Auditorium, Library of Congress, First Street at Independence Avenue S.E., Washington
Quatuor Ébène
Debussy: Quartet in G minor
Fauré: String Quartet, Op. 121
Ravel: Quartet in F major
Free; tickets required
(703) 573-7328 (Ticketmaster)

March 14 (2 p.m.)
Gellman Room, Richmond Public Library, First and Franklin streets
Carlos Pozzi, classical guitar
Richmond Public School music students
Program TBA
(804) 646-7223

March 14 (8 p.m.)
Center for the Arts, George Mason University, Fairfax
Fairfax Symphony
Gregory Vajda conducting
Liszt: "Les Préludes"
Bartók: Piano Concerto No. 3
Andrew Armstrong, piano
Schumann: Symphony No. 2
(888) 945-2468 (

March 15 (4 p.m.)
Vlahcevic Concert Hall, Singleton Arts Center, Virginia Commonwealth University, Park Avenue at Harrison Street, Richmond
Richmond Philharmonic
Robert Mirakian conducting
Johann Strauss II: "On the Beautiful Blue Danube"
Work TBA
Richmond Philharmonic Concerto Competition winner
Berlioz: "Symphonie fantastique"
$5 per person, $10 per family
(804) 673-7400

March 15 (7:30 p.m.)
Ferguson Arts Center, Christopher Newport University, Newport News
Teatro Lirica d’Europa
Conductor TBA
Mozart: "The Marriage of Figaro"
Cast TBA
in Italian, English captions
(757) 594-8752

March 15 (3 p.m.)
Chrysler Hall, 201 E. Bremelton Ave., Norfolk
Virginia Symphony
Virginia Children’s Chorus
Rhythm of Ireland School of Irish Dance members
Matthew Kraemer conducting
"Irish Spring Fling" family concert
(757) 892-6366

March 16 (7:30 p.m.)
Camp Concert Hall, Modlin Arts Center, University of Richmond
Jennifer Cable, soprano
Jeffrey Riehl, tenor
Kenneth Merrill, harpsichord
Monteverdi: "Madrigals of Love and War"
(804) 289-8980

March 17 (7 p.m.)
St. James’s Episcopal Church, 1201 W. Franklin St., Richmond
Schola Cantorum of Westminster Choir College
James Jordan directing
Program TBA
(804) 355-1779

March 17 (8 p.m.)
Vlahcevic Concert Hall, Singleton Arts Center, Virginia Commonwealth University, Park Avenue at Harrison Street, Richmond
Janice Minor, clarinet
Pianist TBA
Program TBA
(804) 828-6776

March 19 (8 p.m.)
St. Bede Catholic Church, 3686 Ironbound Road, Williamsburg
March 20 (8 p.m.)
Regent University Theater, 1000 Regent University Drive, Virginia Beach
Virginia Symphony
Wes Kenney conducting
Mozart: "The Magic Flute" Overture
Haydn: Symphony No. 94 ("Surprise")
William Bolcom: "Commedia for (Almost) 18th-century Orchestra"
Beethoven: Symphony No. 2
(757) 892-6366

March 19 (7 p.m.)
March 20 (8 p.m.)
March 21 (8 p.m.)
Kennedy Center Concert Hall, Washington
National Symphony Orchestra
Herbert Blomstedt conducting
Mozart: Piano Concerto No. 27 in B flat major, K. 595
Jonathan Biss, piano
Bruckner: Symphony No. 9
(800) 444-1324

March 19 (7:30 p.m.)
Terrace Theater, Kennedy Center, Washington
Pro Musica Hebraica:
Biava Quartet
Rachel Calloway, mezzo-soprano
Alexander Tall, baritone
Konstantin Soukhovetski, piano
Shostakovich: Quartet No. 4
Joseph Achron: "Four Improvisations"
Dmitri Zhitomirski: "Dem rebens nigun"
Michel Michelet: Elegie, Op. 4
Leo Zeitlin: ""Five Songs from the Yiddish"
(800) 444-1324

March 20 (7:30 p.m.)
Vlahcevic Concert Hall, Singleton Arts Center, Virginia Commonwealth University, Park Avenue at Harrison Street, Richmond
VCU Flamenco Festival:
Paco de Malaga, guitar
Marija Temo, dancer
Program TBA
(804) 828-6776

March 21 (7 p.m.)
Cedar Street Baptist Church, 2301 Cedar St., Richmond
March 28 (8 p.m.)
St. Michael Catholic Church, 4491 Springfield Road, Glen Allen
One Voice Chorus
Glen McCune & Frank Williams directing
African-American spirituals, other works TBA
(804) 231-0324

March 21 (8 p.m.)
Old Cabell Hall, University of Virginia, Charlottesville
March 22 (3:30 p.m.)
Monticello High School, 1400 Independence Way, Charlottesville
Charlottesville and University Symphony Orchestra
Kate Tamarkin conducting
Jennifer Higdon: "Blue Cathedral"
Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 5 ("Emperor")
Dubravka Tomsic, piano
Saint-Saëns: Symphony No.3 ("Organ")
Paul Walker, organ
(434) 924-3984

March 21 (7 p.m.)
March 23 (7 p.m.)
March 26 (7:30 p.m.)
March 29 (2 p.m.)
Kennedy Center Opera House, Washington
Washington National Opera
Ilan Volkov conducting
Britten: "Peter Grimes"
Christopher Ventris (Grimes)
Patricia Racette (Ellen Orford)
Alan Held (Captain Balstrode)
Ann McMahon Quintero (Auntie)
Daniel Okulitch (Swallow)
Paul Curran, stage direction
in English, captions
(800) 876-7372

March 21 (8 p.m.)
Music Center at Strathmore, 5301 Tuckerman Lane, North Bethesda, MD
Baltimore Symphony Orchestra
Marin Alsop conducting
Dvořák: “Scherzo capriccioso”
Chopin: Piano Concerto No. 1
Lukáš Vondrácek, piano
Dvořák: Symphony No. 7
(877) 376-1444

March 22 (4 p.m.)
Vlahcevic Concert Hall, Singleton Arts Center, Virginia Commonwealth University, Park Avenue at Harrison Street, Richmond
VCU Flamenco Festival:
VCU faculty and alumni
VCU Guitar Ensemble
VCU Community Guitar Ensemble
John Patykula directing
Program TBA
(804) 828-6776

March 22 (4 p.m.)
First Presbyterian Church, 4602 Cary Street Road, Richmond
VCU Commonwealth Singers
VCU Women's Ensemble
VCU Vocal Chamber Ensemble
John Guthmiller & Rebecca Tyree directing
Program TBA
(804) 828-6776

March 22 (4 p.m.)
Center for the Arts, George Mason University, Fairfax
Academy of Ancient Music
Richard Egarr, harpsichord, directing
Bach: "Brandenburg" concertos Nos. 1-6
(703) 993-2787

March 22 (4 p.m.)
Music Center at Strathmore, 5301 Tuckerman Lane, North Bethesda, MD
Olga Kern, piano
Haydn: Sonata in C major
Brahms: "Variations on a Theme by Paganini"
Chopin: Sonata No. 3 in B minor
Liszt: "Spanish Rhapsody"
(202) 785-9727 (Washington Performing Arts Society)

March 24 (7:30 p.m.)
Ferguson Arts Center, Christopher Newport University, Newport News
José Carreras, tenor
Pianist TBA
Program TBA
(757) 594-8752

March 24 (7:30 p.m.)
Terrace Theater, Kennedy Center, Washington
Young Concert Artists:
Pius Cheung, marimba
Keiko Abe: "Variations on Japanese Children's Songs"

Zhou Tan: "Blowing Westward"
Bach: "Goldberg Variations" (excerpt)
Cheung: "Three Études"

Schoenberg: "Sechs kleine Klavierstücke," Op. 19
Joseph Schwantner: "Velocities"
(800) 444-1324

March 25 (7:30 p.m.)
Camp Concert Hall, Modlin Arts Center, University of Richmond
eighth blackbird
Glenn Kotche, drums
Steve Reich: "Clapping Music"

Reich-Kotche: "Music for Pieces of Wood"
Missy Mazzoli: "Still Life with Avalanche"
Kotche: "Monkey Chant"
Film by Nathaniel Murphy
Lonnie Lynn, Kanye West, Abiodun Oyewole, Bin Hassan, Leon Moore/arr. Kotche: "The Corner"
Kotche: "Projections of what (Might)"
Kotche: "Individual Trains"
Kotche: "Double Fantasy"
Louis Andriessen: "Worker’s Union"
(804) 289-8980

March 25 (8 p.m.)
Kennedy Center Concert Hall, Washington
Frederica von Stade, mezzo-soprano
Samuel Ramey, bass-baritone
Martin Katz, piano
Works by Copland, Berlioz, Offenbach, Gershwin, Rodgers & Hammerstein, others
(800) 444-1324

March 26 (7:30 p.m.)
Terrace Theater, Kennedy Center, Washington
Vocal Arts Society:
Susanna Phillips, soprano
Craig Terry, piano
Program TBA
(800) 444-1324

March 26 (8 p.m.)
Music Center at Strathmore, 5301 Tuckerman Lane, North Bethesda, MD
Baltimore Symphony Orchestra
Yan Pascal Tortelier conducting
Brahms: Violin Concerto
Vadim Rapin, violin
Prokofiev: Symphony No. 5
(877) 376-1444

March 27 (8 p.m.)
March 29 (2:30 p.m.)
Landmark Theater, Main and Laurel streets, Richmond
Virginia Opera
Peter Mark conducting
Rossini: "The Barber of Seville"
Jason Detwiler (Figaro)
Manon Strauss Evrard (Rosina)
Jon Zuckerman (Almaviva)
Steven Condy (Bartolo)
Greg Ganakas, stage direction
in Italian, English captions
(804) 262-8003 (Ticketmaster)

March 27 (8 p.m.)
Vlahcevic Concert Hall, Singleton Arts Center, Virginia Commonwealth University, Park Avenue at Harrison Street, Richmond
Marjorie Bagley, violin
Dmitri Shteinberg, piano
Works by Schubert, Brahms, Debussy

(804) 828-6776

March 27 (8 p.m.)
Ferguson Arts Center, Christopher Newport University, Newport News
March 28 (8 p.m.)
Chrysler Hall, 201 E. Bremelton Ave., Norfolk
Virginia Symphony
JoAnn Falletta conducting
Kodály: "Dances of Marosszek"
Bartók: Concerto for Orchestra
Brahms: Violin Concerto
Elmar Oliveira, violin
(757) 892-6366

March 27 (8 p.m.)
Coolidge Auditorium, Library of Congress, First Street at Independence Avenue S.E., Washington
New Zealand Quartet
Mendelssohn: Quartet in E minor, Op. 44, No. 2
Gillean Whitehead: "Sprouting to the Sky"
Richard Nunns, traditional Maori instruments
Schubert: Quartet in G major
Free; tickets required
(703) 573-7328 (Ticketmaster)

March 28 (3:30 p.m.)
Richmond Public Library, First and Franklin streets
Richmond Symphony
Erin Freeman conducting
"Music Free-for-All" community concert
(Public rehearsal, 10 a.m.; family musical activities, 1-3:30 p.m.)
Free; food donation requested
(804) 788-1212

March 28 (8 p.m.)
Vlahcevic Concert Hall, Singleton Arts Center, Virginia Commonwealth University, Park Avenue at Harrison Street, Richmond
Choir of St. John’s College, Cambridge
Tallis: "O Nata lux"
Gibbons: "O Lord, in thy wrath"
Christopher Tye: "Omnes gentes"
Robert Parsons: "Ave Maria"
Purcell: "Hear my prayer," "Jehova, quam mutli," "sunt hostes mei"
Pelham Humfrey: "O Lord my God"
Gerald Finzi: "Lo, the full, final sacrifice"
Handel: "Zadok the Priest"
with VCU Commonwealth Singers
(804) 828-6776

March 28 (4 p.m.)
Kennedy Center Concert Hall, Washington
London Symphony Orchestra
Valery Gergiev conducting
Prokofiev: Symphony No. 1 ("Classical")
Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 4
Alexei Volodin, piano
Prokofiev: Symphony No. 6
(202) 785-9727 (Washington Performing Arts Society)

March 28 (7:30 p.m.)
Terrace Theater, Kennedy Center, Washington
Left Bank Concert Society
Isang Yun: Oboe Quartet (1994)
Charles Wuorinen: "Eleven Short Pieces for Violin and Vibraphone" (2006)
Charles Wuorinen: "Buttons and Bows" for cello and accordion (2001)
Lawrence Moss: "New Paths" for oboe , viola and piano (2008)
Schumann: Quartet in A major, Op. 41, No. 3
(800) 444-1324

March 28 (8 p.m.)
Music Center at Strathmore, 5301 Tuckerman Lane, North Bethesda, MD
"Wondrous Free," program TBA
(877) 376-1444

March 29 (4 p.m.)
Bon Air Baptist Church, 2531 Buford Road, Richmond
Richmond Choral Society
Thomas A. Williams directing
Works by Haydn, Salieri, Leopold & Wolfgang Mozart
$12 in advance, $15 at door
(804) 967-9878

March 29 (4 p.m.)
Vlahcevic Concert Hall, Singleton Arts Center, Virginia Commonwealth University, Park Avenue at Harrison Street, Richmond
VCU Percussion Ensemble
Kris Keeton directing
Michael Burritt, percussion
Program TBA
(804) 828-6776

March 29 (7:30 p.m.)
Camp Concert Hall, Modlin Arts Center, University of Richmond
"Wondrous Free," program TBA
(804) 289-8980

March 29 (2:30 p.m.)
Shaftman Performance Hall, Jefferson Center, 540 Luck Ave., Roanoke
Opera Roanoke Sunday Concerts:
Amy Cofield, soprano
Scott Williamson, tenor
Pianist TBA
"Shakespeare in Song," works by Schubert, Vaughan Williams, Korngold, others
(540) 982-2742

March 29 (2 p.m.)
Terrace Theater, Kennedy Center, Washington
Madison Singers
James Madison University Chorale
Patrick Walters directing
Menotti: "The Unicorn, Gorgon and Manticore"
Works by Vaughan Williams, Imant Raminsh, Jason Haney
(800) 444-1324

March 29 (4 p.m.)
Music Center at Strathmore, 5301 Tuckerman Lane, North Bethesda, MD
Richard Goode, piano
Works by Bach, Chopin, others
(202) 785-9727 (Washington Performing Arts Society)

March 30 (7:30 p.m.)
Camp Concert Hall, Modlin Arts Center, University of Richmond
Peter Serkin, piano
John Bull: "Ut, re, mi, fa, sol, la"

Debussy: "Épigraphes antiques"
Bach: Suite in C minor, BWV 997
Brahms: "Variations and Fugue on a Theme by Handel," Op. 24
(804) 289-8980

March 31 (8 p.m.)
Old Cabell Hall, University of Virginia, Charlottesville
Tuesday Evening Concerts:
Salzburg Chamber Soloists
Villa-Lobos: "Bachiana Brasileira" No. 9
Mozart: Sinfonia concertante in E flat major, K. 364
violinist & violist TBA
Haydn: Symphony No. 49 ("La Passione")

Piazzolla: "Five tangos"
$28 (waiting list)
(434) 924-3984