Monday, June 29, 2009

Review: Centenary Festival Choir & Orchestra

Stanley M. Baker conducting
June 28, Centenary United Methodist Church, Richmond

Where does Renaissance music end and baroque music begin? The normally cited date is 1600; but a lot of 17th-century music (and some from the 18th century) retains the old dance forms and strophic-song structure, as well as using the instruments, at play in the Renaissance. That stylistic hybrid quality resonated through the 22nd annual installment of Centenary Classics, Richmond’s summer showcase of baroque choral and instrumental music.

These concerts focus on a single composer or school of composition. This year, it was Franz Biber (1644-1704), the Bohemian best-known as a violin virtuoso (one of the first to emerge north of Italy), heard in his less-familiar role as a composer of church music in the service of the archbishop of Salzburg. Stanley M. Baker led a chamber chorus and orchestra of period strings and brass in three of Biber’s Psalm settings and a larger ensemble of two dozen voices in Biber’s "Missa Sancti Henrici."

Alongside Biber’s liturgical works, the instrumental ensemble played pieces by the Austrian Johann Heinrich Schmelzer (1623-80) and the Bohemians Johann Kuhnau (1660-1722) and Pavel Josef Vejvanovský (c. 1630-93).

The Biber Mass, introduced in 1697 at the investiture of his daughter as a nun, is for the most part a straightforward setting of Catholic liturgy. Its most striking sections are celebratory, as in the Gloria, and the Credo's recounting of the Passion of Christ, garnished with representational or evocative effects. Baker’s chorus, drawn from the choir of Centenary United Methodist Church with some guest singers, projected the generally upbeat tone of the piece, with fine solo contributions from soprano Brittany Davis and bass John C. Ford Jr.

Diction, however, was rather muddy, both in the Mass and in Biber’s settings of "Dixit Dominus" (Psalm 110), "Laudate, pueri, Dominum" (Psalm 113) and "Laetatus sum" (Psalm 122).

The instrumental ensemble, led by violinist Daniel Boothe, was at its most sonorous and expressive in Schmelzer’s "Musical Swordfight," a crossbreeding of the representational "battle music" popular in the 17th century and the dance suite that would evolve in the hands of later composers such as Bach and Telemann. Framing the Schmelzer were the brief ceremonial sonata from Kuhnau’s cantata "Wenn ihr fröhlich seid an euren Festen" ("On the day of your gladness also, and at your appointed feasts") and Vejvanovský’s Sonata à 10, showing off the ensemble’s early trumpets and sackbuts (antique trombones) to excellent effect.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Prehistoric music

Archaeologists at Tübingen University unveil a 35,000-year-old flute made of bird bone, the oldest instrument yet found in Europe, from a site near Ulm in southwestern Germany. John Noble Wilford reports in The New York Times:

Philharmonic history online

The New York Philharmonic has launched an online archive listing concerts, artists and programming back to its founding in 1842:

The archive lists five Richmond engagements, conducted by Josef Stransky (March 12, 1913), Willem Mengelberg (Jan. 5, 1928), Leopold Stokowski (April 16, 1947) and Leonard Bernstein (April 18, 1961, when Bernstein played Ravel's Piano Concerto in G major, and Sept. 23, 1961, when Eileen Farrell sang Wagner's "Wesendonck Lieder").

Other Virginia appearances: One date in Norfolk (Stokowski conducting, April 15, 1947); three in Roanoke (Stransky, May 20, 1916; Bruno Walter, April 26, 1949; Dmitri Mitropoulos, April 10, 1954); and nine at Wolf Trap in Northern Virginia (Erich Leinsdorf, Aug. 19 and 20, 1972; Pierre Boulez, Aug. 22 and 23, 1975; Julius Rudel, Aug. 28, 1977; Zubin Mehta, Aug. 19 and 20, 1981, and Aug. 22 and 23, 1990).

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Biber time

Centenary Classics, the summer showcase of baroque music at Richmond's Centenary United Methodist Church, this year focuses on the 17th-century Bohemian composer Franz Biber. A preview, in print in Style Weekly, online at:

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Richmond Symphony runs deficit

The Richmond Symphony projects a deficit of $146,706 on an operating budget of $4.75 million in the fiscal year ending June 30, the orchestra’s board was told at its annual meeting. A shortfall of about $200,000 in expected revenues, partially offset by savings of about $34,000 in projected expenses, was cited in the orchestra’s end-of-the-year financial roundup.

The symphony joins a long list of orchestras reporting recession-driven deficits this year. Most are running deficits equal to 5 to 10 percent of their operating budgets, said David Fisk, the symphony’s executive director. Richmond’s shortfall is about 5 percent.

Revenues dropped 5 percent from 2007-08, when the symphony reported a $21,050 surplus. The orchestra reported declines in both earned and contributed income in 2008-09.

"Through careful and constant monitoring of our financial progress, we have weathered this year of economic downturn with appropriate measures," Fisk said in a prepared statement. He added that despite the deficit, the orchestra is in "a strong position" for its return this fall to the Carpenter Theatre in the downtown Richmond CenterStage complex following five seasons of performing in temporary venues.

The symphony also announced a gift of $500,000 from the Pauley Family Foundation, the fourth gift at that level to its endowment fund in the past three years. The endowment currently is valued at about $7.5 million, down from a value of $9.3 million at this time last year. The orchestra is preparing to launch the public phase of fund-raising to enlarge the endowment, whose returns currently provide about 16 percent of the orchestra’s total revenue.

Other shares of contributions, which account for three-quarters of the symphony’s income, are 31 percent from individuals, 7 percent from businesses, 12 percent from corporate concert and series sponsorships, and 12 percent from governments and public agencies, with the balance coming primarily from grants by foundations.

Ticket sales for the 2008-09 season were $315,581 from subscriptions, $218,044 from single-ticket purchases and $94,000 from gala and special events.

Joe Murillo, client services vice president and associate general counsel of Altria Group, Inc. (sponsor of the symphony's Masterworks series) was elected as the new president of the symphony board. He succeeds Marcia Thalhimer, completing her second term as president in the past 10 years.

Arts education stuck in neutral?

The U.S. Department of Education's National Assessment of Educational Progress in Arts finds that arts and music education in the nation's schools is about where it was a decade ago. (The survey was conducted before the recent wave of recession-driven retrenchments in school budgets.)

The survey, whose results may be questionable because of the small number of students sampled, found that "in music and art, white and Asian students scored higher, on average, than African-American and Hispanic students, girls outscored boys, and private schools outperformed public ones," Sam Dillon reports in The New York Times:

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Battle of the bands

British music lovers, and possibly some innocent bystanders, are whiling away the summer observing supporters of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic challenge the Hallé Orchestra's status as the oldest in Britain. The German émigré Charles Hallé founded the Manchester orchestra that bears his name in 1858. Liverpudlians claim their band is descended from a philharmonic society that began presenting concerts by a professional orchestra in 1853.

BBC Music Magazine quotes John Summers, chief executive of the Hallé, as calling Liverpool's claim "bollocks." (Don't you love it when highbrows talk dirty?):’s-oldest-orchestra

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Abbado's Beethoven

A newly issued video set of Beethoven's nine symphonies in 2000-01 concerts by Claudio Abbado and the Berlin Philharmonic goes for $10 less than the audio version of the same performances. And Richmond-born Thomas Moser is the tenor soloist in the Ninth. My review, in print in Style Weekly, online at:

The Cliburn tie

Scott Cantrell of The Dallas Morning News appraises this year's Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, which ended in a first-place tie between Haochen Zhang, a 19-year-old from China, and Nobuyuki Tsujii, a 20-year-old from Japan. Tsujii becomes the first blind pianist to win the Cliburn:

Friday, June 5, 2009

150 years (and counting)

Little did we know it until very recently, but this year apparently marks the 150th anniversary of recorded sound.

David Giovannoni and Patrick Feaster, after digging through an archive in Paris, last year released a playback of an 1860 "phonautogram," which stores audio information through visual representation of sound waves. The device was invented by a Paris typesetter named Édouard-Léon Scott de Martinville.

Now the two researchers have released more phonautograms, including one from 1859, reports Slate culture blogger Jody Rosen:

The phonautograms can be heard on Giovannoni's and Feaster's Web site, First Sounds:

Alsop reups in Baltimore

Marin Alsop has signed a new contract with the Baltimore Symphony, extending her commitment to the orchestra through 2015.

When Alsop, a onetime assistant conductor of the Richmond Symphony, was appointed in Baltimore in 2007, she faced a near-revolt by the orchestra's musicians. Two years later, they've changed their tune. "She challenges, us, she educates us, and she inspires us. . . . She gets more accomplished when we're together than any music director we've worked with," a players' representative tells Tim Smith of the Baltimore Sun:,0,7237978.story

Thursday, June 4, 2009

An unparalleled career

Stanley Drucker, the New York Philharmonic's principal clarinetist since 1960 and a member for 60 years, retires from the orchestra this weekend. The 80-year-old Drucker has performed in some 10,200 of the philharmonic's concerts, more than two-thirds of those given by the orchestra since its founding in 1842, Daniel J. Wakin reports in The New York Times:

Here's a vintage "Live from Lincoln Center" video of Drucker playing Weber's Concertino with Zubin Mehta and the philharmonic:

UPDATE: The Times' Vivien Schweitzer covers Drucker's farewell performance of Copland's Clarinet Concerto, and honors from the philharmonic:

'An audience, period'

Anne Midgette of The Washington Post serves up good food for thought, writing that classical-music ensembles and presenters should reconsider their preoccupation with reaching younger audiences. "I think that we need to stop fixating on the young audience and focus on reaching an audience, period," she writes:

To which I would add: Classical musicians and their audiences need to learn how to be a subculture. They should talk to the bluegrass/old-time crowd or the Celtic revivalists, who've thrived for years on word-of-mouth, mailing lists, end-of-the-dial radio – and now, the Internet, which makes subcultural networking easier and much cheaper.

The long-standard guestimate of the size of the classical-music audience – people who listen to it on the radio, buy recordings, buy or might be induced to buy tickets to the symphony and opera – is 5 percent of an urban-suburban population. In greater Richmond, that would be 50,000 people. The number grows if you add fans of musical theater, amateur choristers, music students and their parents, occasional patrons from surrounding rural areas, among others who might be attracted to some classical events.

That's a substantial audience, but it's dispersed in the larger population. It skews old on the age range, which makes it less desirable to youth-fixated mass media. It's predominantly white, with a growing Asian contingent, but few African-Americans or Latinos; so it flunks the cultural-diversity test. The classical audience is better-educated and more affluent, and the portion of it that goes to live performances (many classical fans don't) probably attends more events, than the people who turn out for touring musicals or big rock shows.

Classical organizations and presenters in this country historically have depended on establishment support, which is now crumbling as corporations fail or are merged out of existence, mass media shrink and local and state governments cut grants to arts groups and marginalize or eliminate arts in public schools.

An economic recovery won't see the reconstruction of that old support system. A new one will have to be built by the people who promote and sustain classical music. That's going to require more active and sophisticated networking – especially via the Internet – which, in Richmond and most other places, is only beginning to occur.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009


The Da Capo Chamber Players open an electroacoustic program with "Like Dreams, Statistics Are a Form of Wish Fulfillment" (2005) by the University of Richmond's Benjamin Broening, and close with "Spring Tides," a new work by the University of Virginia's Judith Shatin. Allan Kozinn reviews the performance in The New York Times:

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

UR Modlin Center 2009-10

Three of the most acclaimed pianists at work today – the American Jeremy Denk, the Canadian Angela Hewitt and the Chinese-born Yuja Wang – will return to the University of Richmond in next season’s Great Performances series at the Modlin Arts Center.

Hewitt will play concertos by Bach and Stravinsky with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra on Jan. 29. Wang will perform on Feb. 14 with the Shanghai Quartet (with whom she made her Richmond debut in November 2007). Denk will give a solo recital on March 21.

The contemporary music sextet eighth blackbird, in its sixth season as UR’s ensemble-in-residence, will present two programs – "SPAM," rock-influenced chamber works by Mayke Nas, Mark-Anthony Turnage, Marc Mellits and Bent Sørensen, on Sept. 16; and "Slide," featuring recent works by Rinde Eckert and Steve Mackey, on March 3 – as well as performing in the Third Practice Electroacoustic Music Festival, Nov. 6-7.

Other classical artists scheduled for 2009-10 Modlin Center dates:

* The Shanghai Quartet with cellist Lynn Harrell, Oct. 19.

* Baritone Thomas Hampson in "The Song of America Project," Oct. 21.

* The LA Guitar Quartet with narrator Jim Dale in "The Ingenious Gentleman Don Quixote: Words and music from the Time of Cervantes," Nov. 9.

* The Rose Ensemble in "Cantigas from the Land of Three Faiths," a program of vocal music from the Islamic, Jewish and Christian cultures of medieval Spain, Jan. 13.

* David Finckel, cellist of the Emerson Quartet, and pianist Wu Han – spouses and co-artistic directors of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center – joined by Emerson violinist Philip Seltzer in Schubert’s two piano trios, Feb. 20.

Oliver Sacks, the neurologist and author of "Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain," will give the Neumann Lecture on Music on Feb. 5. Sacks’ talk coincides with the exhibit "Slightly Unbalanced" at the University Museums. Also in conjunction with the exhibit, UR-based soprano Jennifer Cable and harpsichordist Kenneth Merrill will perform "Mad Songs," from theatrical works of the 17th and 18th centuries, on March 1.

Other performances by UR faculty include a duo-piano program of Stravinsky, Ravel and Messiaen by Joanne Kong and Paul Hanson, Sept. 20; eighth blackbird violinist Matt Albert with Chicago-based violinist Andrew McCain in duos by Leclair, Prokofiev, Stephen Hartke and others, Oct. 5; flutist Jeremy McEntire and pianist Charles Hulin in a recital featuring a new work by Richmond composer Allan Blank, Jan. 24; and an Easter-season presentation of Handel’s "Messiah," with Jeffrey Riehl conducting UR’s Schola Cantorum and Women’s Chorale, guest soloists and a period-instruments orchestra, April 11.

The Modlin Center’s Great Performances series also will present programs of jazz, world music, theater and dance, including visits by the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and "Monterey Jazz Festival on Tour" to the Carpenter Theatre of the new Richmond CenterStage downtown arts complex. (The Carpenter Foundation co-sponsors these events.) And the Modlin Center will be host to performances by faculty and student music, dance and theater troupes.

For information on Great Performances subscription-ticket packages, and tickets for University Players and University Dancers events, call the Modlin Center box office at (804) 289-8980 or visit

The complete 2009-10 Modlin Center schedule (GP denotes Great Performances series events):

All at 7:30 p.m. unless listed otherwise

Sept. 8-9 (Jepson Theatre) – The Actors’ Gang in Daniel Berrigan's "The Trial of the Catonsville 9." (GP)

Sept. 11-12 (Jepson Theatre) – The Second City Touring Company 59th Anniversary Tour. (GP)

Sept. 14-15 (Cousins Studio Theatre) – Monday Night World Theatre, Walter Schoen directing, in Roald Hoffman’s "Something That Belongs to You." (GP)

Sept. 16 (Camp Concert Hall) – eighth blackbird in "SPAM," works by Mayke Nas, Mark-Anthony Turnage, Marc Mellits and Bent Sørensen. (GP)

Sept. 20 (Carpenter Theatre, Richmond CenterStage) "American Bluegrass Masters," featuring J.D. Crowe, Bobby Osborne, others. (GP)

Sept. 20 (3 p.m., Camp Concert Hall) – Joanne Kong and Paul Hanson, piano duo, in works by Stravinsky, Ravel and Messiaen. (Free)

Oct. 2 (Camp Concert Hall) – UR Wind Ensemble, Jazz Ensemble, Gamelan Orchestra, Women’s Chorale and Schola Cantorum in Family Weekend Concert. (Free)

Oct. 4 (Camp Concert Hall) – Béla Fleck, banjo; Zakir Hussain, tabla; Edgar Meyer, double-bass. (GP)

Oct. 5 (Camp Concert Hall) – Matt Albert and Andrew McCain, violins, in works by Leclair, Prokofiev and Stephen Hartke. (Free)

Oct. 6-7 (Jepson Theatre) – Pilobolus Dance Theater. (GP)

Oct. 14 (Camp Concert Hall) – Geoff Haydon, piano, in classical and jazz works. (Free)

Oct. 16 (Camp Concert Hall) – David Esleck Trio in jazz. (Free)

Oct. 17 (Jepson Theatre) – Universes poetry and theater troupe in Chay Yew’s "Ameriville." (GP)

Oct. 19 (Camp Concert Hall) – Shanghai Quartet with Lynn Harrell, cello. (GP)

Oct. 21 (Camp Concert Hall) – Thomas Hampson, baritone, in "The Song of America Project." (GP)

Oct. 22-23 (Jepson Theatre) – Circo Aereo in "Espresso." (GP)

Oct. 25 (3 p.m., Camp Concert Hall) – Judith Cline, soprano, and Cara Ellen Modisett, piano, in Alan Smith’s "Vignettes: Ellis Island." (Free)

Oct. 27 (Carpenter Theatre, Richmond CenterStage) – "Genesis: a Conversation with R. Crumb and Françoise Mouly." (GP)

Oct. 28 (Camp Concert Hall) – University Wind Ensemble, David Niethamer directing, and Longwood Wind Symphony, Gordon Ring directing. (Free)

Oct. 30 (Camp Concert Hall) – Terence Blanchard Quintet in jazz. (GP)

Nov. 1 (Camp Concert Hall) – Neil Berg’s "101 Years of Broadway." (GP)

Nov. 6-7 (various times, Camp Concert Hall) Third Practice Electroacoustic Music Festival, Benjamin Broening directing, with eighth blackbird and Arthur Campbell, clarinet. (Free)

Nov. 8 (3 p.m., Camp Concert Hall) – UR Schola Cantorum and Women’s Chorale, Jeffrey Riehl and David Pedersen directing. (Free)

Nov. 9 (Camp Concert Hall) – The LA Guitar Quartet with narrator Jim Dale in "The Ingenious Gentleman Don Quixote: Words and Music from the Time of Cervantes." (GP)

Nov. 13-14, 15 (2 p.m.), 19-21 (Jepson Theatre) – The African Company in Carlyle Brown’s "Richard III."

Nov. 15 (Camp Concert Hall) – University Wind Ensemble, Thom Ritter George directing. (Free)

Nov. 16 (Cannon Chapel) – Bruce Stevens, organ, in works by Buxtehude, Bach, Vivaldi, Rheinberger, others. (Free)

Nov. 23 (Camp Concert Hall) – University Jazz Ensemble, Mike Davison directing. (Free)

Nov. 30 (Perkinson Recital Hall, North Court) – University Chamber Music Ensembles and Opera Scenes, including selections from Mozart’s "Così fan tutte." (Free)

Dec. 2 (Camp Concert Hall) – University Orchestra, Alexander Kordzaia conducting, with Natalia Sanders and Jessica Clough, violins, in works by Kabalevsky, Barber, others. (Free)

Dec. 3 (Camp Concert Hall) – World music concert, Andrew McGraw directing. (Free)

Dec. 6 (5 and 8 p.m., Cannon Chapel) Annual Christmas Candlelight Service, with Schola Cantorum and Women’s Chorale, Jeffrey Riehl directing. (Free)

Dec. 6 (Camp Concert Hall) – The Klezmatics. (GP)

Jan. 13 (Camp Concert Hall) – The Rose Ensemble, Jordan Sramek directing, in "Cantigas from the Land of Three Faiths." (GP)

Jan. 19-20 (Jepson Theatre) – Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo. (GP)

Jan. 22 (Carpenter Theatre, Richmond CenterStage) – Band of the Irish Guards and Royal Regiment of Scotland. (GP)

Jan. 24 (3 p.m., Camp Concert Hall) – Jeremy McEntire, flute, and Charles Hulin, piano, in works by Allan Blank, others. (Free)

Jan. 26 (Jepson Theatre) – Richard Alston Dance. (GP)

Jan. 29 (Camp Concert Hall) – Orpheus Chamber Orchestra with Angela Hewitt, piano, in works by Bach, Stravinsky, others. (GP)

Jan. 31, Feb. 2 (Camp Concert Hall) – L.A. Theatre Works in "The RFK Project." (GP)

Feb. 5 (Camp Concert Hall) – Oliver Sacks in Neumann Lecture in Music. (Free; tickets required)

Feb. 7 (3 p.m., Camp Concert Hall) – Richard Becker, piano, in works by Chopin and Liszt. (Free)

Feb. 8 (Camp Concert Hall) – The Luciana Souza Trio in jazz. (GP)

Feb. 14 (Camp Concert Hall) – Shanghai Quartet with Yuja Wang, piano. (GP)

Feb. 17 (Camp Concert Hall) – Jazz Faculty All-Stars, featuring Mike Davison, trumpet, in Mardi Gras Celebration. (Free)

Feb. 20 (Camp Concert Hall) – David Finckel, cello; Wu Han, piano; and Philip Seltzer, violin, in Schubert’s two piano trios. (GP)

Feb. 23 (Carpenter Theatre, Richmond CenterStage) "Monterey Jazz Festival on Tour," featuring Kenny Barron, piano; Regina Carter, violin; Kurt Elling, vocals; Russell Malone, guitar. (GP)

Feb. 26-27, 28 (2 p.m.) (Jepson Theatre) – University Dancers, Myra Daleng directing, in "Twenty 5."

March 1 (Camp Concert Hall) – Jennifer Cable, soprano, and Kenneth Merrill, harpsichord, in "Mad Songs," works by Purcell, Boyce, Arne, others. (Free)

March 3 (Camp Concert Hall) – eighth blackbird in "Slide," works by Rinde Eckert and Steve Mackey. (GP)

March 15 (Carpenter Theatre, Richmond CenterStage) – Elieen Ivers, Irish fiddle, in "Beyond the Bog Road." (GP)

March 17-18 (Jepson Theatre) – Luna Negra Dance Theater. (GP)

March 21 (3 p.m., Camp Concert Hall) – Jeremy Denk, piano. (GP)

March 22-23 (Cousins Studio Theatre) – University Players in John Kennedy Toole’s "A Confederacy of Dunces," staged reading of adaptation by Matt Di Cintio and Walter Schoen.

March 28 (3 p.m., Camp Concert Hall) – Richard Becker and Doris Wylee-Becker, piano duo, in works by Schubert, Saint-Saëns, Stravinsky, others. (Free)

April 7 (Camp Concert Hall) – University Orchestra, Alexander Kordzaia conducting, with Joanne Kong and Paul Hanson, pianos, in works by Chopin, Schumann, Beethoven, Bernstein. (Free)

April 8 (Carpenter Theatre, Richmond CenterStage) – Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. (GP)

April 9-10, 11 (2 p.m.), 15-17 (Jepson Theatre) – University Players, Dorothy Holland directing, in Jean Girandoux’s "The Madwoman of Chaillot."

April 11 (5 p.m., Cannon Chapel) – Schola Cantorum and Women’s Chorale with soloists and baroque orchestra, Jeffrey Riehl conducting, in Handel’s "Messiah." (Free)

April 12 (Camp Concert Hall) – University Jazz Ensemble and Jazz Combo, Mike Davison directing. (Free)

April 14 (Camp Concert Hall) – University Wind Ensemble, David Niethamer directing. (Free)

April 19 (Camp Concert Hall) – University Chamber Ensembles. (Free)

Classical fashion

Classical music reputedly is immune to the vagaries of fashion. Its history suggests otherwise, Andrew Clark writes in The Financial Times.

Surveying the programming of the BBC Proms, Clark finds that before World War I, "the top 10 composers by number of performances included Gounod, Mendelssohn, Liszt, Saint-Saëns and Sullivan, all of whom, 100 years later, are lucky to get a single hearing in any Prom season (exceptionally, Mendelssohn gets a boost in 2009, the 200th anniversary of his birth).

"Until the late 1960s Beethoven symphonies never had fewer than 40 performances in any five-year period. In the past five years there have been just 19. By the 1980s Sibelius and Tchaikovsky, previously popular, had been marginalized but Mahler and Bruckner, whose music barely featured in the first 60 years, had become a staple, reflecting a trend towards bigger, louder music. Since 2004 more Shostakovich symphonies have been played than Mahler or Beethoven," Clark notes:

Monday, June 1, 2009

Wish I'd said that

The New Yorker's Alex Ross observes in Mahler's Eighth Symphony "certain grandly bustling passages that can sound like official memos from the Gesamtkunstwerk Corporation":

June 2009 calendar

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


* In and around Richmond: The round of nearby summer festivals continues with the Fredericksburg Chamber Music Festival, June 2, 4 and 5 at St. George’s Episcopal Church in downtown Fredericksburg, June 6 at Mountain View High School in Stafford. . . . Centenary Classics returns with a choral-orchestral concert of works by Franz Biber and his contemporaries, June 28 at Centenary United Methodist Church in downtown Richmond.

* New and/or different: Soprano Lisa Edwards-Burrs, bass Branch Fields and pianist Pamela McClain perform excerpts from Linda Haugen’s "Pocahontas" and Steven Allen’s "Sunshine and Shadows," June 6 at Bon Air Presbyterian Church in Richmond. . . . Violinist Hilary Hahn plays Jennifer Higdon’s Violin Concerto with Marin Alsop and the Baltimore Symphony, June 6 at Strathmore in the Maryland suburbs of D.C. . . . . The National Philharmonic Chorale sings Rachmaninoff’s Vespers, June 13 at Strathmore. . . . The Shenandoah Valley Bach Festival presents Handel’s oratorio "Samson," June 20 at Eastern Mennonite University in Harrisonburg.

* Star turns: Pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet plays Ravel and Liszt with Charles Dutoit and the Philadelphia Orchestra, June 3 at Washington’s Kennedy Center. . . . Hahn, Alsop and Higdon (also Beethoven and Dvořák), June 6 at Strathmore. . . . Pianist Yefim Bronfman plays Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 3 with Alsop and the Baltimore Symphony, June 11 at Strathmore. . . Soprano Karita Matilla sings Richard Strauss with Mikko Franck and the National Symphony, June 25-27 at the Kennedy Center.

* My picks: The Fredericksburg Chamber Music Festival’s opening program of Mozart, Ravel and Frank Martin, June 2 at St. George’s Episcopal Church. . . . Karita Matilla with the National Symphony, June 25-27 at the Kennedy Center. . . . The Wolf Trap Opera Company production of Mozart’s "Così fan tutte," June 26, 28 and 30 at The Barns of Wolf Trap in Northern Virginia. . . . The Biber concert, June 28 at Centenary Church in Richmond.

June 1 (7 p.m.)
June 4 (7:30 p.m.)
Kennedy Center Opera House, Washington
Washington National Opera
Keri-Lynn Wilson/Plácido Domingo conducting
Puccini: "Turandot"
Maria Guleghina/Sylvie Valayre (Turandot)
Dario Volonté/Franco Farina (Calaf)
Sabina Cvilak/Maija Kovalevska (Liù)
Morris Robinson (Timur)
Nathan Herfindahl (Ping)
Norman Shankle (Pang)
Yingxi Zhang (Pong)
Andrei Serban, stage director
in Italian, English captions
(800) 876-7372

June 2 (7 p.m.)
St. George’s Episcopal Church, 905 Princess Anne St., Fredericksburg
Fredericksburg Chamber Music Festival:
Bayla Keyes, Peter Zazofsky & Meira Silverstein, violins
Steven Ansell, viola
Michael Reynolds, cello
Paul Glenn, double-bass
Michele Levin, piano
Carol Wincenc, flute
John Ferillo, oboe
Alex Fiterstein, clarinet
Kathleen Reynolds, bassoon
William Scharnberg, French horn
Ravel: String Quartet
Frank Martin: Piano Trio
Jancourt: Duo on Bellini’s "La Sonnambula"
Mozart: Clarinet Quintet
(540) 374-5040

June 3 (8 p.m.)
Kennedy Center Concert Hall, Washington
Philadelphia Orchestra
Charles Dutoit conducting
Ravel: Piano Concerto for the left hand
Liszt: "Totentanz"
Jean-Yves Thibaudet, piano
Rachmaninoff: Symphonic Dances
Ravel: "La Valse"
(202) 785-9727 (Washington Performing Arts Society)

June 4 (7 p.m.)
St. George’s Episcopal Church, 905 Princess Anne St., Fredericksburg
Fredericksburg Chamber Music Festival:
Bayla Keyes, Peter Zazofsky & Meira Silverstein, violins
Steven Ansell, viola
Michael Reynolds, cello
Paul Glenn, double-bass
Michele Levin, piano
Carol Wincenc, flute
John Ferillo, oboe
Alex Fiterstein, clarinet
Kathleen Reynolds, bassoon
William Scharnberg, French horn
Amy Beach: Quintet for flute and strings
Beethoven: Quintet for piano and winds
Tchaikovsky: Serenade for strings
(540) 374-5040

June 5 (7 p.m.)
St. George’s Episcopal Church, 905 Princess Anne St., Fredericksburg
Fredericksburg Chamber Music Festival:
Bayla Keyes, Peter Zazofsky & Meira Silverstein, violins
Steven Ansell, viola
Michael Reynolds, cello
Paul Glenn, double-bass
Michele Levin, piano
Carol Wincenc, flute
John Ferillo, oboe
Alex Fiterstein, clarinet
Kathleen Reynolds, bassoon
William Scharnberg, French horn
Barber: String Quartet
Poulenc: Sextet for piano and wind quintet
Franck: Piano Quintet
(540) 374-5040

June 6 (7:30 p.m.)
Bon Air Presbyterian Church, 9201 W. Huguenot Road, Richmond
Lisa Edwards-Burrs, soprano
Branch Fields, bass
Pamela McClain, piano
Linda Haugen: "Pocahontas" (excerpts)
Steven Allen: "Sunshine and Shadows" (excerpts)
Works by Richard Strauss, Debussy, others
(804) 346-9024

June 6 (7 p.m.)
Mountain View High School, 2135 Mountain View Road, Stafford
St. George’s Episcopal Church, Fredericksburg
Fredericksburg Chamber Music Festival:
Bayla Keyes, Peter Zazofsky & Meira Silverstein, violins
Steven Ansell, viola
Michael Reynolds, cello
Paul Glenn, double-bass
Michele Levin, piano
Carol Wincenc, flute
John Ferillo, oboe
Alex Fiterstein, clarinet
Kathleen Reynolds, bassoon
William Scharnberg, French horn
Mozart: Clarinet Quintet
Barber: String Quartet
Tchaikovsky: Serenade for strings
(540) 374-5040

June 6 (7:30 p.m.)
Terrace Theater, Kennedy Center, Washington
Washington Men’s Camerata
Frank Albinder directing
Works by Biber, Copland, Stephen Foster, others
(800) 444-1324

June 6 (8 p.m.)
Music Center at Strathmore, 5301 Tuckerman Lane, North Bethesda, MD
Baltimore Symphony Orchestra
Marin Alsop conducting
Beethoven: "Egmont" Overture
Jennifer Higdon: Violin Concerto
Hilary Hahn, violin
Dvořák: Symphony No. 5
(877) 276-1444 (Baltimore Symphony)

June 11 (8 p.m.)
Music Center at Strathmore, 5301 Tuckerman Lane, North Bethesda, MD
Baltimore Symphony Orchestra
Marin Alsop conducting
Rachmaninoff: Piano Concerto No. 3
Yefim Bronfman, piano
Wagner: orchestral excerpts from "Der Ring des Nibelungen"
(877) 276-1444 (Baltimore Symphony)

June 13 (8 p.m.)
Music Center at Strathmore, 5301 Tuckerman Lane, North Bethesda, MD
National Philharmonic Chorale
Stan Engebretson directing
Rachmaninoff: Vespers
Molly Donnelly, mezzo-soprano
Matthew Smith, tenor
(301) 581-5100

June 14 (2 p.m.)
Harrison Opera House, 160 E. Virginia Beach Boulevard, Norfolk
Virginia Opera "Opera for Everyone" concert:
Cristina Nassif & Aundi Marie Moore, sopranos
Eric Margiore, tenor
Nathaniel Hackman, baritone
Hope Mihalap, emcee
Opera arias and ensemble numbers TBA
Free; reservations recommended
(757) 627-9545 ext. 3583

June 14 (3 p.m.)
Lehman Auditorium, Eastern Mennonite University, Harrisonburg
Shenandoah Valley Bach Festival:
Festival Orchestra & Chorus
Kenneth Nafziger conducting
Handel: "Messiah"
Jennifer Ellis Kampani, soprano
Heidi Kurtz, mezzo-soprano
Kenneth Gayle, tenor
David Newman, bass
(540) 432-4582

June 19 (7:30 p.m.)
Lehman Auditorium, Eastern Mennonite University, Harrisonburg
Shenandoah Valley Bach Festival:
Festival Orchestra
Kenneth Nafziger conducting
Bach: "Brandenburg" Concerto No. 4
Mary Kay Adams & Carol Warner, flutes
Joan Griffing, violin
Handel: Concerto "à due cori" in F major
Vivaldi: Concerto in C major for 2 oboes, two clarinets, strings and continuo
Sandra Gerster & Kevin Piccini, oboes
Leslie Nicholas & Lynda Dembowski, clarinets
Handel: "Royal Fireworks Music"
(540) 432-4582

June 20 (noon, 3 and 7 p.m.)
Old Cabell Hall, University of Virginia, Charlottesville
U.Va. Chamber Music Festival:
David Colwell, violin
Ayn Balija & Johanna Beaver, violas
Adam Carter & Lisa Wright, cellos
Aaron Hill, oboe
Ibby Roberts, bassoon
Paul Neebe, trumpet
Mimi Tung, piano
Kate Tamarkin conducting
Programs TBA
(434) 924-3984

June 20 (7:30 p.m.)
Lehman Auditorium, Eastern Mennonite University, Harrisonburg
Shenandoah Valley Bach Festival:
Festival Orchestra & Chorus
Kenneth Nafziger conducting
Handel: "Samson"
Jennifer Ellis Kampani, soprano
Heidi Kurtz, mezzo-soprano
Kenneth Gayle & Joel Ross, tenors
David Newman, bass
(540) 432-4582

June 20 (7:30 p.m.)
Terrace Theater, Kennedy Center, Washington
18th Street Singers
"Haunted: Music That Lingers in the Soul," works by Billings, Poulenc, Eric Whitacre, others
(800) 444-1324

June 21 (6 p.m.)
The Gardens at Sunday Park in Brandermill, 4602 Millridge Parkway, Midlothian
June 22 (7:30 p.m.)
Godwin High School, 2101 Pump Road, Short Pump
Richmond Philharmonic
Robert Mirakian conducting
Grieg: "Morning" and "In the Hall of the Mountain King" from "Peer Gynt" incidental music
Bizet: Farandole from "L’Arlesienne" incidental music
Copland: "Rodeo" (excerpts)
Smetana: Polka and "Dance of the Comedians" from "The Bartered Bride"
Sousa: "The Stars and Stripes Forever"
Works by Duke Ellington, Henry Mancini
Free (June 21), $5 per person/$10 per family (June 22)
(804) 673-7400

June 21 (10 a.m.)
Lehman Auditorium, Eastern Mennonite University, Harrisonburg
Shenandoah Valley Bach Festival:
Leipzig Service
Rev. Rosemary Bray McNatt, homilist
Festival Orchestra & Chorus
Kenneth Nafziger conducting
Bach: Cantata 146, "Wir müssen durch viel Trübsal in das Reich Gottes eingehen"
Jennifer Ellis Kampani, soprano
Heidi Kurtz, mezzo-soprano
Kenneth Gayle, tenor
David Newman, bass
Marvin Mills, organ
Mendelssohn: "Verleih uns Frieden gnädiglich"
(540) 432-4582

June 24 (7:30 p.m.)
American Theatre, 125 E. Mellen St., Hampton
Trio Con Brio Copenhagen
Program TBA
(757) 722-2787

June 25 (7 p.m.)
June 26 (8 p.m.)
June 27 (8 p.m.)
Kennedy Center Concert Hall, Washington
National Symphony Orchestra
Mikko Franck conducting
Rautavaara: "Manhattan Triology"
Richard Strauss: "Drei Hymnen"
Karita Matilla, soprano
Richard Strauss: "Also sprach Zarathustra"
(800) 444-1324

June 26 (8 p.m.)
June 28 (3 p.m.)
June 30 (8 p.m.)
The Barns of Wolf Trap, 1545 Trap Road, Vienna
Wolf Trap Opera Company
Timothy A. Myers conducting
Mozart: "Così fan tutte"
Rena Harms (Fiordiligi)
Jamie Van Ek (Dorabella)
Alicia Gianni (Despina)
David Portillo (Ferrando)
Matthew Hanscom (Guglielmo)
Carlos Monzón (Don Alfonso)
Eric Einhorn, stage direction
in Italian, English captions
(877) 965-3872 (

June 27 (7:30 p.m.)
Terrace Theater, Kennedy Center, Washington
Jeong-Won Suh, piano
Works by Mozart, Chopin, Ravel, Dello Joio
(800) 444-1324

June 28 (5 p.m.)
Centenary United Methodist Church, 411 E. Grace St., Richmond
Centenary Festival Orchestra & Chorus
Stanley M. Baker conducting
Johann Kuhnau: Sonata from cantata "Wenn ihr fröhlich seid an euren Festen"
Johann Heinrich Schmelzer: "Musical Swordfight"
Pavel Josef Vejvanovsky: Sonata à 10
Franz Biber: Three Psalms from "Vesperae longiores ac breviores"
Biber: "Missa Sancti Henrici"
Brittany Davis & Lynn LeBarre, sopranos
Amy Asel & Sarah Caulkins-Zuk, altos
Todd Minich, tenor
John C. Ford Jr., bass

(804) 648-8319

June 28 (2 p.m.)
Terrace Theater, Kennedy Center, Washington
Kennedy Center Chamber Players
Mozart: String Quintet in C major, K. 515
Messiaen: "Quartet for the End of Time"
(800) 444-1324