Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Symphony endowment 'Fanfare'

The Richmond Symphony has launched the public phase of a drive to build the orchestra's endowment fund to $11 million.

The private phase of the campaign raised $4.5 million, 90 percent of a $5 million goal. The public component,

"Fanfare – Funding the Power of Music," seeks to raise the remaining $500,000 by June 30.

The endowment fund pays out 5 percent of its value annually to support the orchestra's operations. The most recent payout was $422,000, representing about 10 percent of the symphony's 2009-10 operating budget of $4.75 million.

Contributions may be made to support general operations, or to one of a dozen named endowment funds, among them the Music Director's Commissioning Fund, Music Education Scholarship Fund and James Erb Choral Chair Fund.

For more information about endowment contributions, call the symphony at (804) 788-4717, ext. 115, or visit

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Piggybacking on Picasso

I don’t know whether the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts’ bid for a place in the blockbuster tour of "Picasso: Masterpieces from the Musée National Picasso, Paris" – a successful one, Katherine Calos reports in the Richmond Times-Dispatch . . .

. . . was widely known to the rest of Richmond’s arts community. But few of the programs that have been scheduled by the city’s performing-arts groups and presenters while the exhibition runs (Feb. 19-May 15, 2011) address Picasso’s cultural milieu.

Just before the exhibition opens, the Richmond Ballet is staging "Giselle" (right place, Paris, but wrong era). Shortly before the show leaves town, the Ysaÿe Quartet will play the Debussy Quartet (contemporaneous to much of Picasso's best work) in Virginia Commonwealth University’s Rennolds Chamber Concerts.

The Richmond Symphony is playing Schumann, Brahms, Tchaikovsky and Prokofiev in its mainstage Masterworks series; the Sinfonietta of Francis Poulenc is on a Metro Collection program. The Virginia Opera is staging Wagner’s "The Valkyrie" ("Die Walküre") and Puccini’s "Madame Butterfly." The University of Richmond’s Modlin Arts Center is showcasing Chinese and Lebanese music, Japan’s KODO drummers and Tennessee Williams’ "The Glass Menagerie." Richmond CenterStage has "The Wizard of Oz" and "Beauty and the Beast."

Not to mention Civil War sesquicentennial activity. (The Fort Sumter anniversary falls on April 12.)

So, the field for piggybacking on Picasso looks wide open.

No word yet on whether the museum is planning any musical or other performance events in conjunction with the show. Hope so: Picasso's artistic influence and personal connections extended beyond visual art, into music and dance especially.

There’s certainly no shortage of music to complement this show. Picasso’s working life overlapped several eras and schools of composition, and Paris in his time was a magnet for composers and musical styles from all over the world: Stravinsky, Enescu, De Falla, Martinů, Gershwin, Copland, American jazz, Argentine tango, Indonesian gamelan. Plus, of course, several generations of French composers – Debussy, Ravel, Satie, Milhaud, Poulenc – many of whom knew the artist, all of whom lived and worked in the cultural climate he played a seminal role in creating.

The museum has only one large space dedicated to performance, the old Virginia Museum Theater, basically untouched in the expansion project, I’m told, and never acoustically inviting to musicians. The structure’s new spaces are untried musically. Its Marble Hall, however, has proved in the past to be friendly to various musics – its acoustics are quite good, despite its being built of all the "wrong" materials; it can comfortably accommodate an audience of 300 or so.

One hopes that Richmond’s performers and presenters, in collaboration with the museum or independently, will have the artistic savvy to explore Picasso’s world beyond the canvas, and the marketing savvy to exploit the local buzz and influx of visitors (this is the show's only stop on the East Coast) generated by a blockbuster.

Kentucky dude

The Los Angeles Times' Marcia Adair tells quite the tale, of how Centre College (1,250 students) in Danville, KY (population: 18,000), lured conductor Gustavo Dudamel and the Vienna Philharmonic for a concert date with bourbon, horses and persistence (not necessarily in that order):

Monday, September 27, 2010

Domingo leaving WNO

Plácido Domingo will relinquish leadership of the Washington National Opera at the end of the current season. The famed tenor was named artistic director of the WNO (then the Washington Opera) in 1996, became its general director in 2003, and has sung and conducted regularly with the company.

The Washington Post's Anne Midgette reports that Domingo told the WNO board that his departure allows "the company to go in new directions, including studying the possibility of a merger with the Kennedy Center," an option first publicly aired in July:

Domingo last week renewed his contract as general director of the Los Angeles Opera through 2013.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Review: Paley Music Festival

Sept. 26, First English Lutheran Church, Richmond

If Alexander Paley weren't the most virtuosic pianist to perform in Richmond during most seasons, which he is, his fall music festival would still be an event to anticipate and savor thanks to his practice of selecting obscure music that's well worth hearing. This extends beyond the four-hands piano literature explored by Paley and his wife, Pei-Wen Chen, and beyond his signature Russian repertory.

One of this year's happiest discoveries, Clara Schumann's Piano Trio in G minor, Op. 17, opened the festival's final program. The wife of Robert Schumann and mentor and soulmate of Johannes Brahms was one of the finest pianists of the 19th century. Her trio, however, is not especially piano-centric; the violin plays at least as prominent a role, and the cello is more than a supportive voice, especially in the slow movement.

Paley joined violinist Akemi Takayama and cellist Clyde Thomas Shaw in a performance deeply immersed in romantic temperament and spirit, persuading this listener, at least, that the piece deserves to be rated alongside the far better-known piano trios of Mendelssohn.

An even more obscure selection, Johann Sobeck's Duo concertant on themes from Mozart's "Don Giovanni," proved to be pleasant but decidedly lesser music. Although Sobeck, a Czech clarinetist, was a contemporary of Brahms and Dvořák, this piece's style echoes music of earlier vintage. Sobeck's choice of the aria "La ci darem la mano" for the theme and variations that occupy most of the work is another link to the past; the tune was a popular subject for T&Vs and fantasies from Beethoven, Chopin and other composers of the early 19th century.

Clarinetist Charles West, French horn player Patrick Smith and Paley played the Sobeck jovially and sonorously. Smith's warmly lyrical first statement of the "La ci darem" theme set the tone for what followed.

Paley, violinist Takayama, cellist Shaw and violist Doris Lederer closed the program with one of the staples of chamber music, Robert Schumann's Piano Quartet in E flat major, Op. 47. The string players, who comprise three-quarters of the Audubon Quartet, were very much on one another's stylistic and expressive wavelengths. Paley reined in his customary gusto to complement his collaborators.

Next year's 14th edition of the Paley Festival will be scheduled a few weeks later in the fall, in an effort to avoid conflicts with other musical events. (This year's festival was staged on the same weekend as the opening of the Richmond Symphony's season and the Claremont Trio's season-opener for Virginia Commonwealth University's Rennolds Chamber Concerts.) For 2011, Paley and Chen plan to survey the four-hands piano music of Mozart, and the maestro is looking at chamber works by Medtner and Taneyev and solo-piano music of Schubert.

Detroit: decline or fall?

Musicians of the Detroit Symphony have voted to strike on Oct. 4, three days before the scheduled opening of the season, after reaching an impasse with the orchestra’s management over a contract offer calling for a 30 percent pay cut and taking on additional work outside the concert hall, Mark Stryker reports in the Detroit Free Press:

As the recession has pushed many orchestras, opera companies and other performing troupes from chronic financial stress toward oblivion, it was just a matter of time before a front-line institution radically cut back or folded. It appears that institution will be the Detroit Symphony, long ranked among the top 10 U.S. orchestras.

That’s not especially surprising: Detroit has been in decline for decades, and the recession walloped the auto industry. As Stryker notes, cultural institutions in Detroit have been hit especially hard by reductions in individual and corporate contributions and grants from local and state government.

Detroit Symphony musicians have been among the best-paid in the country. Under their former contract, base pay was $104,650; the management proposal to cut that to $70,200 would still place the players near the top of the orchestral food chain. Their counter-proposal to accept a reduction in salary to $82,000, rising back to $96,600 in three years, won’t generate much sympathy in such an economically
depressed community. (The comments thread following Stryker’s article suggests just how unsympathetic the locals are likely to be.)

A cultural realignment – most classical-music lovers would call it a decline – has been under way for some time in this country. Music education has all but disappeared from public schools; classical music has all but disappeared from mass media. Right-wing populists have conditioned many to think of the fine arts as "elitist," undeserving of public support. Groups that feel no personal or collective stake in maintaining the Western art-music tradition – young people, non-European immigrants and non-whites, religious fundamentalists – are among the fastest-growing segments of the U.S. population. Even among educated and affluent whites, the longtime core audience and donor pool for classical music and its performing entities, younger people are far less attuned to the music than their parents and grandparents.

On top of all that, we see the decline of the old industrial cities that built and sustained most of the leading U.S. orchestras, and no great rush to establish major orchestras in growth areas. If classical groups’ artistic stature reflected the economic and demographic profiles of their hometowns, Denver, San Diego and Charlotte would have larger and better orchestras than Detroit, Cleveland and St. Louis.

In Detroit, it appears the options are a qualitatively diminished orchestra or a defunct orchestra. Other cities, in the Rust Belt and beyond, will soon hear the same sad song.

AFTERTHOUGHT: A cruel irony to this situation is that the U.S. classical audience is probably larger today than it was in the supposedly golden age of the 1930s and ’40s. (The country's population has nearly tripled since then.) The audience, however, is far more dispersed geographically; highbrows in Missoula and Mobile are no help to orchestras in Buffalo and Baltimore.

Review: Richmond Symphony

Steven Smith conducting
Sept. 25, Carpenter Theatre, Richmond CenterStage

Think of all the literary, historical, psychological, metaphysical and other non-musical modifers, metaphors and analogies ever used to describe Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony. Hardly any of them would be useful in describing the Ninth with which Steven Smith launches his first season as music director of the Richmond Symphony.

That’s because most of the non-musical language is used to characterize the subjective, romantic qualities of this work. Smith’s reading of the Ninth, in the first of two weekend performances, was objective in phrasing and voicing, classical in tone and spirit. Tempos were very fast, at times verging on breathless (the soloists in the “Ode to Joy” might strike the "verging on" part), and accents were sudden or slashing (or at least were meant to be).

Clearing away the romantic cobwebs in Beethoven – not wallowing in expressiveness, not letting energetic passages lumber along, not making exclamations and surprises land with a thud – is laudable, and is increasingly standard practice among conductors. Brisk, unindulgent Beethoven can give listeners new or renewed insights, even make them feel as if they are hearing this music for the first time.

A well-wrought classical Ninth, however, isn’t paced so quickly that it blurs or buries the orchestration’s internal figures and makes singers bark instead of sing. Its dynamic range isn’t compressed into the space between never really quiet and rarely very loud. Its silences resonate with wonder or tingle with anticipation, rather than giving you just enough time to think about saying, "Whew."

The orchestra performed alertly, with good sectional balance (hefty low strings, sonorous and punchy but not intrusive brass) and richer sonority than one might have expected at Smith’s tempos. The Richmond Symphony Chorus sang with refinement and fervor, although it sounded distant even when singing full-tilt, a chronic problem when the choristers are placed at the very back of the Carpenter Theatre stage.

The Beethoven Ninth is hell on solo voices – one or another commonly leaps out of ensembles, and some passages require the breath control of a pearl diver. Soprano Mary Dunleavy, mezzo-soprano Christin-Marie Hill, tenor Tracey Welborn and bass Kevin Deas were about average in coping with these issues, above average taking the speedy tempos into account. Dunleavy was the only one to produce memorably beautiful tone.

Time was, the Ninth was performed alone. Nowadays, it often has company on a program. Here, it is preceded by two short pieces by Mason Bates, plus the "Serenade to Music" by Ralph Vaughan Williams.

Bates’ "Sonic Panoply," a fanfare commissioned for the new music director, is the first of two works that the Richmond-bred composer is introducing here this fall (the other is a piece for organ to be performed on Oct. 17 in the 200th anniversary service of Centenary United Methodist Church). Although billed as a fanfare, "Sonic Panoply" is more a miniature tone poem. Its colors are almost cinematic; it swings with elaborate syncopation; its stuttering wind and percussion figures give a nervy energy to the piece.

His "Ode" (2001), composed as a prelude or "prequel" to the Beethoven Ninth and peppered with fragmentary quotes from the Ninth, is a mosaic of orchestral sound, with startling accents, colliding motifs and sharply contrasted instrumental voices that strike the ear as a prism strikes the eye.

Smith and the orchestra dove into both pieces, to gratifying, at times dazzling, effect.

"Serenade to Music," performed here as part of the observance of the Symphony Chorus’ 40th anniversary (its founder, James Erb, still sings among the tenors), is high-autumnal Vaughan Williams – spacious, pastoral, lyrical, gazing with quiet wonder toward far horizons. Karen Johnson’s solo violin and the chorus’ sensitive reading of the text (from Shakespeare’s "The Merchant of Venice") paced a mellow, long-breathed performance.

The program repeats at 3 p.m. Sept. 26 at the Carpenter Theatre. Tickets: $16-$72. Details: (800) 982-2787 (Ticketmaster);

Friday, September 24, 2010

Review: Paley Music Festival

Sept. 24, First English Lutheran Church, Richmond

Alexander Paley opened the 13th edition of his Richmond music festival with Pei-Wen Chen, his wife and piano partner, playing rarely heard Tchaikovsky and even more rarely heard pieces by Nikolai Medtner.

Just one of the program's four works, Tchaikovsky's "Capriccio Italien," is widely familiar, but not in the original four-hands piano version performed here. Paley and Chen made brilliant work of the closing tarantella and played with verve and joviality in the Italian dances and street songs at the heart of the tone poem; the fanfares that launch the piece lacked the spatial quality that comes through in the orchestral version.

Tchaikovsky's Suite No. 2 in C major, Op. 53, is a more substantial and sonically transparent example of the composer's four-hands writing – indeed, it may be the most symphonically scaled of his piano works – and drew a more balanced and nuanced interpretation from Paley and Chen. Their rhythmic flexibility in the waltz and sensitive rendering of the emotional atmospherics of "Dreams of a Child" were especially satisfying.

Paley played two single-movement sonatas by Medtner, who, like his contemporary Rachmaninoff, was a pianist-composer who spent most his adult life outside Russia. The "Sonata reminiscenza" in A minor, Op. 38, No. 1, sounds very much like Rachmaninoff in bittersweet mode; the "Sonata tragica" in C minor, Op. 39 No. 5, is Russian romanticism fit to a more Germanic frame.

Listeners hearing these pieces for the first time – much but probably not all of this audience (a sizeable portion of which was Russian-speaking) – couldn't have asked for better introductions than these highly animated, sweepingly passionate readings by Paley. Few pianists play Russian music with such intensity and spontaneity, and in the Medtner sonatas Paley had ideal showcases for those qualities.

The festival continues through the weekend with programs of French and German piano and chamber music, in which Paley and Chen will be joined by Virginia Commonwealth University-based clarinetist Charles West and French horn player Patrick Smith and three members of the Audubon Quartet, violinist Akemi Takayama, violist Doris Lederer and cellist Clyde Thomas Shaw.

Further Paley Festival performances are at 8 p.m. Sept. 25 and 3:30 p.m. Sept. 26 at First English Lutheran Church at Stuart Circle (Monument Avenue at Lombardy Street). Donations are requested. Details: (804) 355-9185;

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Paley's 13th

Alexander Paley’s annual music festival in Richmond, which began with the Russian-émigré virtuoso playing for several dozen people crowded around his piano in a bookstore, returns this weekend for its 13th season in the more comfortable setting of First English Lutheran Church.

Paley and Pei-Wen Chen, his wife and four-hands piano partner, will be joined by two musicians based at Virginia Commonwealth University, clarinetist Charles West and French horn player Patrick Smith, and by three members of the Audubon Quartet, violinist Akemi Takayama, violist Doris Lederer and cellist Clyde Thomas Shaw, in a wide-ranging assortment of piano and chamber music.

Paley and Chen, who lately have been touring more actively as a four-hands duo, will sample that piano literature, playing the original version of Tchaikovsky’s “Capriccio Italien” and his Suite No. 2 in C major (both on Sept. 24), and Debussy’s Divertissement and the Sonata, Op. 22, by the Anglo-French composer Georges Onslow (both on Sept. 25). As a solo pianist, Paley will perform two sonatas by the Russian Nikolai Medtner (Sept. 24).

The four-hands literature, Paley says, is by its nature more intimate, "more music for the salon than solo-piano or two-piano music is." Several of the pieces on his programs, such as the Tchaikovsky capriccio, were composed originally for four-hands piano; their orchestral versions came later.

The golden age of four-hands was the 19th century, and most performances were given either by composers and closely related partners (spouses, students, etc.) or by amateurs playing at home. Amateurs of that time, however, were accomplished, technically and musically – semi-pro, or close to it, by modern standards – so the best examples of the four-hands literature are anything but amateurish.

Another distinguishing characteristic of four-hands piano music is that performers must focus on quality rather than quantity of sound, Paley says. The effort to create a "huge" piano sound gives way to "thinking more like a conductor working to bring the best sounds out of an orchestra."

The festival will mark the 200th anniversary of the birth of Robert Schumann with performances of his familiar Piano Quartet in E flat major, Op. 47, and of the far more rarely played Piano Trio in G minor of Schumann’s wife, Clara (both on Sept. 26). Another chamber staple, Franck’s Violin Sonata, is on the Sept. 25 program.

Two more rarities round out this year’s programming: Georges Enescu’s Concert Piece for viola and piano (Sept. 25) and the Duo concertant on themes from Mozart’s “Don Giovanni” for clarinet, horn and piano by the 19th-century Czech clarinetist and composer Johann Sobeck (Sept. 26).

Admission is free; donations are accepted.
First English Lutheran Church is on Stuart Circle (Monument Avenue at Lombardy Street).

Details: (804) 355-9185;

Monday, September 20, 2010

New music chairman at VCU

John Guthmiller, who has been chairman of the Virginia Commonwealth University Department of Music, has vacated the chair to become Interim Associate Dean of Student and Program Development of the VCU School of the Arts. Guthmiller will continue to direct the Commonwealth Singers.

Darryl Harper, who has been an assistant professor specializing in jazz history at VCU and has served in admissions and arts-administration posts, will be interim chairman of the music department. He will continue to teach.

Symphony sales up

The Richmond Symphony reports that subscription ticket sales for 2010-11 series at the Carpenter Theatre of Richmond CenterStage are 22 percent higher than last season's, with about 450 new subscriptions for its Masterworks, Pops and LolliPops series.

David Fisk, the symphony's executive director, attributes the jump to the arrival of Steven Smith as the orchestra's new executive director, positive response to the concert experience in the Carpenter Theatre and "easing of the recession."

The orchestra's "2010: Transformation" development campaign, launched in the spring, includes among its goals attracting 2,010 new subscribers, donors and sponsors in 2010-11.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Powell Hall no more

Radford University is removing John Powell's name from an arts-and-music hall after being reminded that the Virginia composer and folk-song collector also was a leading activist in white-supremacist "racial purity" causes, Tonia Moxley reports in The Roanoke Times:

Since Powell (1882-1963) was a native and longtime resident of Richmond, home of this blog, I guess I should comment.

Powell's racism makes us want to forget him. His music makes that easy.

As a pianist (a pupil of Theodor Leschetizky, no less), he wrote extensively for that instrument. His big piano pieces are long and seem endless thanks to their turgid, Germanic late-romantic style. Being a folklorist, he naturally produced a number of folk-inspired works, mostly miniatures and suites; these are pleasant but bland. His last big work, the Symphony in A major ("Virginia"), which can be heard on a recording by conductor JoAnn Falletta and the Virginia Symphony (Albany 589), sounds like Elgar on an off-day.

The best-known, or least obscure, work by Powell is "Rhapsodie nègre" for piano and orchestra, which prominently employs the melody of "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot." The only available recording of the piece (New World 80228) is conducted by the late Calvin Simmons, who was African-American. I like to think of that as posterity's revenge.

Levine's back

After undergoing a 10-hour surgical procedure in April to correct spinal compression, James Levine is returning to his podiums at the Metropolitan Opera and Boston Symphony. Their institutional fingers are crossed as Levine is due to conduct two performances of Wagner's "Das Rheingold" at the Met and two of Mahler's "Resurrection" Symphony (No. 2) in Boston in the space of two days, Daniel J. Wakin reports in The New York Times:

Thump . . . thump . . . thump . . .

Bassy sound bleeds from from Rhythm Hall to the Gottwald Playhouse at Richmond CenterStage, Will Jones reports in the Richmond Times-Dispatch:

Apartment and condo dwellers are familiar with the phenomenon, only it seems to be reversed at CenterStage. The most annoying bleeding thumps typically emanate from the floor above; but Rhythm Hall is below the Gottwald Playhouse. Technicians are working on the problem.

* * *

In vaguely related news, composer David Prior and architect Frances Crow have won Britain's biennial New Music Award of £50,000 (about $78,000) for creating the Organ of Corti, which recycles ambient mechanical and environmental noises for musical purposes, The Guardian's Mark Brown reports:

The instrument is named after the part of the inner ear that contains auditory sensory ("hair") cells, sometimes described as "the body's microphone."

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Review: eighth blackbird

Sept. 15, University of Richmond

The contemporary music sextet eighth blackbird is bracketing its seventh year of residency at the University of Richmond with two programs testing the validity of a comment by Igor Stravinsky: "Music is, by its very nature, essentially powerless to express anything at all." (The group, wisely, is leaving it to others to gauge the sincerity of Stravinsky’s remark.)

The first of the two programs, "Powerful," presents two works with overt political overtones, Frederic Rzewski’s "Coming Together" (1972) and John Corigliano’s "Mr. Tambourine Man: Seven Poems of Bob Dylan" (2000), along with John Luther Adams’ "The Light Within" (2007), which could be called political only if a work of highly abstracted nature evocation stirs your partisan juices. (I’m sure it stirs somebody’s – everything else does.)

Corigliano’s song cycle, originally for voice and piano, later orchestrated, now introduced in a version tailored to eighth blackbird’s instrumentation, must have few precendents. The composer takes Dylan at his word but not his music, treating his song lyrics as if they were poems without any reference to the tunes for which the words were written. (Corigliano says he had not heard Dylan’s songs before writing this set. Getting through the late 20th century without encountering "Mr. Tambourine Man," "Blowin’ in the Wind" or "All Along the Watchtower" seems unthinkable, but there was a time when highbrow composers were oblivious to popular music.)

Dylan’s folk-derived song style is strophic (i.e., the tune repeats itself), which imposes regular, generally simple meters on his lyrics. Corigliano’s music is through-composed with little if any repetition and considerable variance in meter; so in these settings Dylan’s words are stretched, compressed and sometimes broken into fragments of key words or phrases for extra expressive effect. The anger and passion of some lyrics, such as those of "Masters of War," are far more vivid in Corigliano’s settings than in Dylan’s original, folky sing-song tunes; in more anthemic material, such as "Chimes of Freedom," the musical distance between the two composers is narrower.

Corigliano forms an effective personal-political arc through the cycle, making it a kind of coming-of-age emotional scrapbook of the 1960s. As he wrote for an operatic voice – originally soprano Sylvia McNair; here, mezzo-soprano Katherine Calcamuggio – it’s not surprising that the most effective of his Dylan settings are those that can made into monodramas (notably, the autobiographical "Clothes Line") or can be delivered at operatic extremes of passion or tenderness.

Calcamuggio sang with operatic heft and emotiveness, leavened judiciously with a more straight-toned, quasi-folk style. The ’birds – violinist Matt Albert, cellist Nicholas Photinos, flutist Tim Munro, clarinetist Michael J. Maccaferri, pianist Lisa Kaplan and percussionist Matthew Duvall – brought out Corigiliano’s broad palette of tone colors and reveled in his often complex mixture of instrumental voicings.

The musicians achieved similar results in "Coming Together," Rzewski’s setting of part of a letter written by Sam Melville, an inmate at New York’s Attica State Prison who helped organize, and subsequently died in, suppression of the riot and hostage-taking that occurred there in 1971.

Rzewski leans heavily on the contradiction between Melville’s sunny words ("I am in excellent physical and emotional health. . . . I can act with clarity and meaning") and his violent environment and ultimate fate, creating a miniature drama of a soul breaking under extreme stress. Matt Albert’s 2003 arrangement of the piece for eighth blackbird amplifies that drama by enlarging the narrator’s role to several voices, often in combination.

"The Light Within" is an internalized expression of John Luther Adams’ preoccupation with light, space and other natural elements. The piece wraps its instrumentation – broad-breathed, sighing phrases by strings and winds, more elaborate figures for piano and percussion – in electronic sound to create what the composer calls an "aura." Its contemplative, almost motionless and sonically dense qualities were helpfully augmented (partially offset?) by the ’birds’ intensely focused performance.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

2010-11 season overview

Richmond’s 2010-11 classical season sees the arrival of new artistic and organizational leaders – Steven Smith, the Richmond Symphony’s fifth music director; Deborah Sommers, the new executive director of the Modlin Arts Center at the University of Richmond; and the newness doesn’t stop there.

The season boasts an extensive and varied lineup of new and recent music: The Richmond Symphony will perform the "Ode" and a new fanfare by Mason Bates, the Richmond-bred composer now in residence with the Chicago Symphony (Sept. 25-26); Michael Colgrass’ Concerto for piano and harpsichord with Joanne Kong as soloist (Oct. 22); Judith Shatin’s "Jefferson, in His Own Words" (Nov. 13-14); a new orchestral work by Daniel Roumain (March 5-6); and an evening of contemporary music for percussion and orchestra with Evelyn Glennie (April 2).

At UR's Modlin Center: Philip Glass’ Violin Concerto No. 2 ("The American Four Seasons") (Robert McDuffie with Venice Baroque Orchestra, Nov. 15); Len Liang’s Quintet for string quartet and pipa (Chinese lute) (Shanghai Quartet and Wu Man, Feb. 27); a new choral work by Chen Yi (UR’s Schola Cantorum and Women’s Chorale with eighth blackbird, April 8); and contemporary works by Glass, Corigliano, Frederic Rzewski and György Ligeti, among others, played by eighth blackbird in two programs (Sept. 15 and March 14), and by the ’birds and other performers and composers in UR’s Third Practice Electroacoustic Music Festival (Nov. 4-6).

Vocal music will have a higher-than-usual profile in the coming season. The Richmond Symphony and Symphony Chorus open and close the orchestra’s Masterworks season with Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony (Sept. 25-26) and "Missa Solemnis" (May 21-22), along with their annual performance of Handel’s "Messiah" (Dec. 3).

The Virginia Opera showcases ensemble singing in Mozart’s "Cosí fan tutte" (Nov. 26 and 28) and heroic voices in Wagner’s "The Valkyrie" (aka "Die Walküre") (Feb. 25 and 27), bracketed by two Italian staples, Verdi’s "Rigoletto" (Oct. 22 and 24) and Puccini’s "Madame Butterfly" (April 8 and 10).

Soprano Katie Calcamuggio joins eighth blackbird in John Corigliano’s Bob Dylan cycle "Mr. Tambourine Man" (Sept. 15); tenor Christoph Genz joins pianist Charles Rosen in Schumann’s song cycle "Dichterliebe" (Oct. 23); soprano Kelly Nassief joins the symphony in Ravel’s "Schéhérazade" and opera excerpts (Jan. 15-16); and the roster of touring recitalists includes UR performances by The King’s Singers (Nov. 30) and soprano Amanda Pabyan (Feb. 18).

There are way too many conflicting dates, about which I’ve already scolded presenters:

On my high-anticipations list: Symphony performances of the Beethoven Ninth (always an occasion, more so as it launches Steven Smith’s tenure) and Dvořák’s too rarely heard, Brahmsian Sixth Symphony (Nov. 13-14); 8bb-Corigliano-Dylan, Shanghai/Wu Man, and pianist Yefim Bronfman (March 21) at UR; the VCU recitals by Rosen and the Ysaÿe String Quartet (March 5); and the Virginia Opera production of "Cosí" (my favorite opera).

Here’s an overview of Richmond’s 2010-11 classical performances, which I’ll update as more dates are announced:

15 – eighth blackbird (UR Modlin Center)
21 – Andrew Scanlon (organ) (All Saints Episcopal Church)
21 – Elisabeth Adkins (violin)/Edward Newman (piano) (VCU Singleton Center)
24-26 – Alexander Paley Music Festival (First English Lutheran Church)
25 – The Claremont Trio (VCU Singleton Center)
25-26 – Richmond Symphony & Chorus/Steven Smith (Carpenter Theatre)

1 – Richmond Symphony/Erin R. Freeman (St. Mary’s Episcopal Church)
1 – Shanghai Quartet/Michel Lethiec (clarinet) (UR Modlin Center)
3 – Richmond Symphony/Erin R. Freeman (Randolph-Macon College)
3 – Sonia Vlahcevic (piano) (VCU Singleton Center)
9 – Richmond Symphony Pops/Steven Smith/Cirque de la Symphonie (Carpenter Theatre)
15 – Patrick Smith (French horn) (VCU Singleton Center)
16-17 – Richmond Symphony/Steven Smith/Dmitri Shteinberg (piano) (Carpenter Theatre)
19 – VCU Symphony Orchestra (VCU Singleton Center)
22 – Richmond Symphony/Steven Smith/Joanne Kong (piano & harpsichord) (UR Modlin Center)
22/24 – Virginia Opera "Rigoletto" (Carpenter Theatre)
23 – Charles Rosen (piano)/Christoph Genz (tenor) (VCU Singleton Center)
26 – Oberon Quartet (St. Christopher’s School)
30 – Richmond Symphony LolliPops/Erin R. Freeman/Magic Circle Mime Company ("Phantoms of the Orchestra") (Carpenter Theatre)

4-6 – Third Practice Electroacoustic Music Festival/eighth blackbird (UR Modlin Center)
5 – Richmond Symphony/Steven Smith (Steward School)
5 – Daniel Sullivan (organ) (St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church)
6-7 – James River Singers (First Presbyterian Church/location TBA)
7 – Richmond Symphony/Steven Smith (Randolph-Macon College)
7 – Academy of St. Martin in the Fields/Inon Barnatan (piano) (UR Modlin Center)
7 – Richmond Philharmonic/Robert Mirakian (Hermitage High School)
13-14 – Richmond Symphony/Steven Smith/Neal Cary (cello) (Carpenter Theatre)
15 – Robert McDuffie (violin)/Venice Baroque Orchestra (UR Modlin Center)
21 – VCU Opera (VCU Singleton Center)
26/28 – Virginia Opera "Cosí fan tutte" (Carpenter Theatre)
30 – The King’s Singers (UR Cannon Chapel)

1 – University of Richmond Orchestra/Alexander Kordzaia (UR Modlin Center)
3 – Richmond Symphony & Chorus/Erin R. Freeman (Handel "Messiah") (Carpenter Theatre)
3 – Commonwealth Singers (VCU Singleton Center)
4 – Jon Nakamatsu (piano) (VCU Singleton Center)
4-5 – Richmond Symphony Pops & Symphony Chorus/Erin R. Freeman ("Let It Snow!") (Carpenter Theatre)
5 – Candlelight Festival of Lessons and Carols (UR Cannon Chapel)
6 – Richmond Philharmonic/Robert Mirakian (James Center Atrium)
7 – VCU Symphony Orchestra/Daniel Myssyk (VCU Singleton Center)
7 – Richmond Festival of Music: "A Musical Offering" (Wilton House Museum)
8 – Richmond Festival of Music: "Solo Bach: the Baroque Player's Perspective" (Richmond Public Library)
8 – VCU Choral Arts Society (VCU Singleton Center)
9 – Richmond Festival of Music: "Baroque by Candlelight – a Handel Celebration" (First Unitarian Universalist Church)
10 – VCU Holiday Gala (VCU Singleton Center)

15-16 – Richmond Symphony & Chorus/Steven Smith/Kelly Nassief (soprano) (Carpenter Theatre)
22 – Richmond Symphony Pops/Erin R. Freeman/The Contours (Carpenter Theatre)
22 – Susanna Klein (violin)/Hannah Holman (cello) (VCU Singleton Center)
23 – Robinson Guitar Duo (VCU Singleton Center)
26 – eighth blackbird, et al. (UR Modlin Center)
28 – Richmond Symphony/Steven Smith (KingsWay Community Church)
30 – Richmond Symphony/Steven Smith (Randolph-Macon College)

5-6 – Richmond Symphony/Victor Yampolsky/Awadagin Pratt (piano) (Carpenter Theatre)
6 – Richard Becker (piano) (UR Modlin Center)
8 – Patrick Smith (French horn) (VCU Singleton Center)
12 – Borromeo String Quartet (VCU Singleton Center)
18 – Amanda Pabyan (soprano) (UR Modlin Center)
19 – Richmond Symphony LolliPops/Erin R. Freeman/Michael Boudewyns (actor) ("Green Eggs and Ham") (Carpenter Theatre)
20 – Richmond Festival of Music: "Beethoven and Blank" (Bon Air Presbyterian Church)
23 – Oberon Quartet/Ralph Skiano (clarinet) (St. Catherine’s School)
23 – Thomas Mastroianni (piano) (UR Modlin Center)
25 – Richmond Symphony/Steven Smith (Bon Air Baptist Church)
25/27 – Virginia Opera "The Valkyrie" (Carpenter Theatre)

27 – Shanghai Quartet/Wu Man (pipa) (UR Modlin Center)
27 – Richmond Symphony/Steven Smith (Randolph-Macon College)

5 – Ysaÿe String Quartet (VCU Singleton Center)
5-6 – Richmond Symphony/Steven Smith/Tim Hooten (trumpet) (Carpenter Theatre)
12 – Richmond Symphony Pops/Carl Davis ("The Music of James Bond") (Carpenter Theatre)
13 – Richmond Philharmonic/Robert Mirakian (VCU Singleton Center)
14 – eighth blackbird (UR Modlin Center)
21 – Yefim Bronfman (piano) (UR Modlin Center)
21 – Susanna Klein (violin) (VCU Singleton Center)
25 – Jeremy Filsell (organ) (Centenary United Methodist Church)
27 – Richard Becker & Doris Wylee-Becker (piano duo) (UR Modlin Center)

2 – Richmond Symphony/Steven Smith/Evelyn Glennie (percussion) (Carpenter Theatre)
2 – Zuill Bailey (cello) (VCU Singleton Center)
3 – Sérgio & Odair Assad (guitars), et. al. (UR Modlin Center)
6 – University of Richmond Orchestra/Alexander Kordzaia (UR Modlin Center)
8 – UR Schola Cantorum & Women’s Chorale/eighth blackbird (UR Modlin Center)
8/10 – Virginia Opera "Madame Butterfly" (Carpenter Theatre)
30 – Richmond Symphony/Steven Smith/Karen Johnson (violin) (Carpenter Theatre)

1 – Richmond Symphony/Steven Smith/Karen Johnson (violin) (Carpenter Theatre)
6 – Peggy-Marie Haas Howell (organ) (St. Michael’s Episcopal Church)
7 – Richmond Symphony LolliPops/Erin R. Freeman ("Carnival of the Animals") (Carpenter Theatre)
8 – Richmond Philharmonic/Robert Mirakian (VCU Singleton Center)
13 – Richmond Festival of Music: "White Nights – Heaven and Earth" (First Unitarian Universalist Church)
14 – Richmond Festival of Music: "Tchaikovsky in Words and Music" (Richmond Public Library)
14 – Richmond Festival of Music: "Baroque Reflection"
16 – Richmond Festival of Music: "The Nature of Nostalgia" (First Unitarian Universalist Church)
21-22 – Richmond Symphony & Chorus/Erin R. Freeman (Carpenter Theatre)

19 – Richmond Philharmonic/Robert Mirakian (Gardens at Sunday Park, Brandermill)

Richmond Symphony:

Virginia Opera:
UR Modlin Center:
VCU Music:
American Guild of Organists:
Richmond Philharmonic:
James River Singers:
Alexander Paley Music Festival:

Friday, September 10, 2010

'Secrets in her underwear'

Quite the headline, and quite the story, of Margery Booth, a singer who performed for and circulated among Hitler and the Nazis in Berlin during World War II, working for a British spy network all the while. Richard Savill reports in The Telegraph (UK):

(via Musical America)

T-D's Millner joins symphony

Frazier Millner is leaving the Richmond Times-Dispatch to become the Richmond Symphony’s Director of Advancement and Patron Communications, overseeing the orchestra’s marketing, public relations and communications, sales and fund-raising.

Millner currently is Vice President of Audience and Content Development at the newspaper, and has held several other executive positions there. Before joining the T-D in 2002, she worked at 64 Magazine, the Cultural Arts Center at Glen Allen, The Richmond Forum, O’Keefe Marketing, the Arts Council of Richmond, TheatreVirginia and the Virginia Chamber of Commerce. She served on the symphony’s board of directors from 2005 until earlier this year.

In a statement issued by the orchestra, Millner said she is making the move "to pursue my long-term plan for re-entering the arts and cultural community. . . . This offers the opportunity to put my experience to work for an organization [that] I believe has tremendous potential to grow and flourish."

Thursday, September 9, 2010

An opus a day

R. Luke DuBois, a composer based at the Brooklyn Experimental Media Center, set out last September to write a piece each day for a full year. He sums up the experience, and the music, for The New York Times:

Overrated or under-represented?

Pianist Stephen Hough, on his blog for The Telegraph (UK), broaches the subject of overrated composers, mentioning that his former umbrage at Tchaikovsky’s being called overrated has eased into letting that view "pass by without much of a comment except a gentle word of quiet dissent." (Quiet dissent, how quaint.) Then Hough turns over the discussion to readers:

Some of the more insightful commenters observe that it’s not so much that this or that composer is overrated as that certain works are overplayed, at the expense of better or more characteristic music by that composer.

Take Rachmaninoff, one of the composers cited by many of Hough’s readers: If all I knew of Rachmaninoff’s work were the Third Piano Concerto, I would think less of him than I do also knowing his "Études-tableaux" and Vespers.

Or Mozart, another name that surprisingly many commenters pounce upon: Concertgoers and classical radio listeners hear his "Eine kleine Nachtmusik" and "Jupiter" Symphony a lot more often than they do most of his piano concertos or "Cosí fan tutte," into which Mozart packed at least as many good tunes and more ingenuity.

What you think of a composer depends on what you hear. What you hear may not be the best, or may be a handful of the better works too frequently heard.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

September calendar

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


Festivites: Two orchestra music directors launch their debut seasons with Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony: The Richmond Symphony’s Steven Smith on Sept. 25-26 at the Carpenter Theatre of Richmond CenterStage, and The National Symphony’s Christoph Eschenbach on Sept. 30 (and Oct. 1-2) at the Kennedy Center in Washington.
. . . Two more big batches of chamber music to see out the summer: The Charlottesville Chamber Music Festival, Sept. 9-23 at the Paramount and Jefferson theaters and Old Cabell Hall at the University of Virginia; and pianists Alexander Paley and Pei-Wen Chen and friends performing Tchaikovsky, Enescu, Robert and Clara Schumann, Debussy and more, Sept. 24-26 at First English Lutheran Church in Richmond. . . . eighth blackbird launches its seventh season at the University of Richmond on Sept. 15 with “Powerful,” a program including "Mr. Tambourine Man," John Corigliano’s Bob Dylan song cycle. . . . UVa marks the Chopin bicentennial with, among other events, piano recitals by Andrew Willis (playing an 1848 Pleyel instrument) on Sept. 17 and Roberto Poli on Sept. 18.

Sept. 5 (8 p.m.)
West Lawn, U.S. Capitol, Washington
National Symphony Orchestra
Emil de Cou conducting
Labor Day pops concert
program TBA
(800) 444-1324

Sept. 9 (8 p.m.)
Paramount Theater, 215 E. Main St., Charlottesville
Charlottesville Chamber Music Festival:
Mark Gothoni & Timothy Summers, violins
Emile Cantor, viola
Raphael Bell & Laurentiu Sbarcea, cellos
Benjamin Hochman, piano
Beethoven: Piano Trio in E flat major, Op. 1, No. 1
Webern: "Three Little Pieces," Op. 11, for cello and piano
Johann Strauss II-Schoenberg: "Roses from the South"
Schubert: String Quintet in C major
(434) 295-5395

Sept. 10 (8 p.m.)
Ferguson Arts Center, Christopher Newport University, Newport News
Sept. 11 (8 p.m.)
Chrysler Hall, 201 E. Brambleton Ave., Norfolk
Sept. 12 (2:30 p.m.)
Sandler Arts Center, 201 Market St., Virginia Beach
Virginia Symphony
JoAnn Falletta conducting
Sirota: "A Rush of Wings"
Glazunov: Violin Concerto
Chee-Yun, violin
Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 5
(757) 892-6366

Sept. 10 (8 p.m.)
Roanoke Civic Center Coliseum, Orange Avenue at Williamson Road
Roanoke Symphony
David Stewart Wiley conducting
Liza Minnelli, guest star
(540) 343-9127

Sept. 11 (8 p.m.)
McIntire Amphitheater, University of Virginia, Charlottesville
Charlottesville & University Symphony Orchestra
Kate Tamarkin conducting
works by Bernstein, Gershwin, Sousa, others
(434) 924-3376

Sept. 11 (8 p.m.)
Center for the Arts, George Mason University, Fairfax
Fairfax Symphony Orchestra
Christopher Zimmerman conducting
Tchaikovsky: "The Tempest"
Schumann: Piano Concerto
Philippe Bianconi, piano
Rachmaninoff: Symphony No. 3
(888) 945-2468 (

Sept. 11 (3 p.m.)

Kirkwood Presbyterian Church, 8336 Carrleigh Parkway, Springfield
Virginia Virtuosi
Nancy Jin, violin
Tiffany Richardson, viola
Mark Bergman, double-bass
works by Schubert, Dohnanyi, Gershwin, Piston, others
(703) 451-5320

Sept. 11 (7 p.m.)
Sept. 14 (7:30 p.m.)
Sept. 16 (7:30 p.m.)
Sept. 17 (7:30 p.m.)
Sept. 19 (2 p.m.)
Sept. 22 (7:30 p.m.)
Sept. 25 (7 p.m.)
Opera House, Kennedy Center, Washington
Washington National Opera
Daniele Calligari conducting
Verdi: "Un ballo in maschera" ("A Masked Ball")
Salvatore Licitra/Frank Porretta (Gustavus II)
Luca Salsi/Timothy Mix (Anckarström)
Tamara Wilson/Irene Theorin (Amelia)
Micaëla Oeste/Monica Yunus (Oscar)
James Robinson, stage direction
In Italian, English captions
(800) 876-7372

Sept. 12 (3:30 p.m.)
Old Cabell Hall, University of Virginia, Charlottesville
Charlottesville Chamber Music Festival:
Timothy Summers & Mark Gothoni, violins
Emile Cantor, viola
Raphael Bell & Laurentiu Sbarcea, cellos
Demarre McGill, flute
Matthew Hunt, clarinet
Marie-Pierre Langlamet, harp
Ravel: Introduction and Allegro for harp, flute, clarinet and string quartet
Debussy-Langlamet: Cello Sonata
Roussel: Serenade, Op. 30
Steve Reich: "New York Counterpoint"
Mozart: Violin Sonata in B flat major, K. 378 (clarinet and piano arr.)
Debussy: String Quartet
(434) 295-5395

Sept. 15 (7:30 p.m.)
Camp Concert Hall, Modlin Arts Center, University of Richmond
eighth blackbird
John Corigliano: "Mr. Tambourine Man"
Katie Calcamuggio, soprano
Frederic Rzewski: "Coming Together"
(804) 289-8980

Sept. 16 (8 p.m.)
Jefferson Theater, 110 E. Main St., Charlottesville
Charlottesville Chamber Music Festival:
Colin Jacobsen, Pekka Suusisto & Timothy Summers, violins
Timothy Summers & Nicholas Cords, violas
Raphael Bell, cello
Demarre McGill, flute
Matthew Hunt, clarinet
Marie-Pierre Langlamet, harp
Alasdair Beatson, piano
Thadd McQuaid, narrator
Stravinsky: "L’histoire du soldat" ("The Soldier’s Tale") Suite
Nathan Kind Currier: "A Sambuca Sonata" for flute, viola and harp
André Caplet: "Conte fantastique" from "The Masque of the Red Death"
George Crumb: "Black Angels" for string quartet
Abriela Lena Frank: "Canto de Harawi: Amadeoso"
Bartók: "Contrasts" for violin, clarinet and piano
(434) 295-5395

Sept. 17 (8 p.m.)
Old Cabell Hall, University of Virginia, Charlottesville
Andrew Willis, 1848 Pleyel piano
all-Chopin program
(434) 924-3376

Sept. 18 (8 p.m.)
Old Cabell Hall, University of Virginia, Charlottesville
Roberto Poli, piano
all-Chopin program
(434) 924-3376

Sept. 19 (3 p.m.)
Perkinson Recital Hall, North Court, University of Richmond
Donald George, tenor
Lucy Mauro, piano
"The Old Wicked Songs of Heinrich Heine"
Schumann: “Dichterliebe”
other works TBA
(804) 289-8980

Sept. 19 (3:30 p.m.)
Old Cabell Hall, University of Virginia, Charlottesville
Charlottesville Chamber Music Festival:
Pekka Suuisto & Timothy Summers, violins
Nicholas Cords, viola
Raphael Bell, cello
Alasdair Beatson, piano
Beethoven: Piano Quartet in E flat major, Op. 16
Shostakovich: Piano Trio No. 2, Op. 67
Sibelius: String Quartet ("Voces intimae")
(434) 295-5395

Sept. 19 (7 p.m.)
Center for the Arts, George Mason University, Fairfax
Jeffrey Siegel, piano
"Keyboard Conversations: Three Great B’s – Bach, Beethoven and Barber"
works TBA
(888) 945-2468 (

Sept. 19 (4 p.m.)
National Presbyterian Church, 4101 Nebraska Ave. NW, Washington
The Vivaldi Project
C.P.E. Bach: six string symphonies
(202) 537-0800

Sept. 21 (7:30 p.m.)
All Saints Episcopal Church, 8787 River Road, Richmond
American Guild of Organists’ Repertoire Recital Series:
Andrew Scanlon, organ
John Cook: Fanfare
Frank Bridge: Adagio in E major
Johann Gottfried Walther: Concerto in B minor (after Vivaldi)
Jean Langlais: "Suite Médiévale en forme de messe basse"
J.S. Bach: Fantasy and Fugue in C minor, BWV 537
Pierre Cogen: Offrande
Marcel Lanquetuit: Toccata
Donation requested
(804) 288-7811

Sept. 21 (8 p.m.)
Vlahcevic Concert Hall, Singleton Arts Center, Virginia Commonwealth University, Park Avenue at Harrison Street, Richmond
Elisabeth Adkins, violin
Edward Newman, piano
program TBA
(804) 828-6776

Sept. 23 (8 p.m.)
Old Cabell Hall, University of Virginia, Charlottesville
Charlottesville Chamber Music Festival:
Timothy Summers, violin
Nokuthula Ngwenyama, viola
cellist TBA
Judith Gordon, piano
John Adams: "China Gates"
John Cage: "In a Landscape"
Mozart: Divertimento in E flat major, K. 563, for string trio
Brahms: Piano Quartet in C minor, Op. 60
(434) 295-5395

Sept. 24 (8 p.m.)
First English Luthern Church, Monument Avenue at Stuart Circle, Richmond
Alexander Paley Music Festival:
Tchaikovsky: “Capriccio Italien” for piano four-hands
Alexander Paley & Pei-Wen Chen, piano
Medtner: "Sonata tragica"
Alexander Paley, piano
Tchaikovsky: Suite No. 2 in C major, Op. 53, for piano four-hands
Alexander Paley & Pei-Wen Chen, piano
Donation requested
(804) 355-9185

Sept. 25 (8 p.m.)
Sept. 26 (3 p.m.)
Carpenter Theatre, Richmond CenterStage, Sixth and Grace streets
Richmond Symphony
Steven Smith conducting
Mason Bates: "Sonic Panoply" (premiere)
Vaughan Williams: "Serenade to Music"
Mason Bates: "Ode"
Beethoven: Symphony No. 9 ("Choral")
Mary Dunleavy, soprano
Christin Marie Hill, mezzo-soprano
Tracey Welborn, tenor
Kevin Deas, bass
Richmond Symphony Chorus
Erin R. Freeman directing
(800) 982-2787 (Ticketmaster)

Sept. 25 (8 p.m.)
Vlahcevic Concert Hall, Singleton Arts Center, Virginia Commonwealth University, Park Avenue at Harrison Street, Richmond
Rennolds Chamber Concerts:
The Claremont Trio
Mozart: Piano Trio in B flat major, K. 502
Ravel: Piano Trio in A minor
Schumann: Piano Trio in F major, Op. 80
(804) 828-6776

Sept. 25 (8 p.m.)
First English Lutheran Church, Monument Avenue at Stuart Circle, Richmond
Alexander Paley Music Festival:
Debussy: Divertissement for piano four-hands
Alexander Paley & Pei-Wen Chen, piano
Georges Onslow: Sonata, Op. 22, for piano four-hands
Alexander Paley & Pei-Wen Chen, piano

Enesco: Concert Piece for viola and piano
Doris Lederer, viola
Alexander Paley, piano
Franck: Sonata in A major for violin and piano
Akemi Takayama, violin
Alexander Paley, piano
Donation requested
(804) 355-9185

Sept. 25 (8 p.m.)
Chrysler Hall, 201 E. Brambleton Ave., Norfolk
Sept. 26 (2:30 p.m.)
Sandler Arts Center, 201 Market St., Virginia Beach
Virginia Symphony
JoAnn Falletta conducting
Florent Schmitt: Suite No. 1 from “Antony and Cleopatra”
Mozart: Piano Concerto No. 24 in C minor, K. 491
Enrica Ciccarelli, piano
Berlioz: Introduction to “Romeo et Juliette”
(757) 892-6366

Sept. 25 (7 p.m.)
Kennedy Center Concert Hall, Washington
National Symphony Orchestra
Christoph Eschenbach conducting
Johann Strauss II: "Die Fledermaus" Overture
Richard Strauss: "Four Last Songs"
Renée Fleming, soprano
Johann Strauss II: "Emperor" Waltzes
Liszt: Piano Concerto No. 1
Lang Lang, piano
(800) 444-1324

Sept. 25 (8 p.m.)
Music Center at Strathmore, 5301 Tuckerman Lane, North Bethesda, MD
Baltimore Symphony Orchestra
Marin Alsop conducting
Bach-Mahler: Suite
Mahler: Symphony No. 7
$40-$90 (waiting list)
(877) 276-1444 (Baltimore Symphony box office)

Sept. 26 (3:30 p.m.)
First English Lutheran Church, Monument Avenue at Stuart Circle, Richmond
Alexander Paley Music Festival:
Johann Sobeck: Duo-concertant in B flat major on Themes from Mozart’s "Don Giovanni"
Charles West, clarinet
Patrick Smith, French horn
Alexander Paley, piano
Clara Schumann: Piano Trio in G minor
Akemi Takayama, violin
Clyde Thomas Shaw, cello
Alexander Paley, piano
Robert Schumann: Piano Quartet in E flat major, Op. 47
Akemi Takayama, violin
Doris Lederer, viola
Clyde Thomas Shaw, cello
Alexander Paley, piano
Donation requested
(804) 355-9185

Sept. 26 (3 p.m.)
Vlahcevic Concert Hall, Singleton Arts Center, Virginia Commonwealth University, Park Avenue at Harrison Street, Richmond
VCU Music alumni concert
performers TBA
program TBA
(804) 828-6776

Sept. 27 (8 p.m.)
Eisenhower Theater, Kennedy Center, Washington
Hespèrion XXI
Capella Reial de Catalunya
Jordi Savall directing
Monserrat Figueras, soprano
"El Nuevo Mundo: Folías Criollas" ("From Old Spain to the New World")
works TBA
(800) 444-1324

Sept. 28 (8 p.m.)
Williamsburg Library Theatre, 515 Scotland St.
Chamber Music Society of Williamsburg:
Alexander String Quartet
program TBA
$15 (waiting list)
(757) 258-4814

Sept. 29 (7 p.m.)
Vlahcevic Concert Hall, Singleton Arts Center, Virginia Commonwealth University, Park Avenue at Harrison Street, Richmond
VCU Symphonic Wind Ensemble
Terry Austin directing
program TBA
(804) 828-6776

Sept. 30 (7 p.m.)
Kennedy Center Concert Hall, Washington
National Symphony Orchestra
Christoph Eschenbach conducting
Pintscher: "Hérodiade-Fragmente"
Marisol Montalvo, soprano
Beethoven: Symphony No. 9 ("Choral")
Marisol Montalvo, soprano
Yvonne Naef, mezzo-soprano
Nikolai Schukoff, tenor
John Relyea, bass-baritone
Choral Arts Society of Washington
Norman Scribner directing
(800) 444-1324