Monday, May 30, 2011

VCU Rennolds Concerts 2011-12

Violinist Leila Josefowicz, pianist Vladimir Feltsman and the new-music string quartet Brooklyn Rider highlight the 2011-12 Rennolds Chamber Concerts series at Virginia Commonwealth University.

The coming season also will feature the Montreal-based Ensemble Appassionata, led by Daniel Myssyk, better-known in Richmond as conductor of the VCU Symphony Orchestra.

All concerts will begin at 8 p.m. in Vlahcevic Concert Hall of the Singleton Arts Center, Park Avenue at Harrison Street in Richmond’s Fan District.

For ticket-subscription information, call the VCU Music box office at (804) 828-6776. (Current subscribers’ seats will be reserved until July 1.) Single tickets – $32 for adults, $28 for seniors (60 and older) and VCU employees, $10 for full-time students – will go on sale later.

The 2011-12 Rennolds schedule:

* Sept. 17 – Vladimir Feltsman, piano.

* Oct. 8 – Brooklyn Rider Quartet.

* Nov. 5 – Fry Street Quartet with Robert McDonald, piano.

* Jan. 21 – Ensemble Appassionata, Daniel Myssyk conducting, with Richard Raymond, piano.

* April 14 – Trio Solisti.

* May 5 – Leila Josefowicz, violin.

(All programs TBA.)

Wednesday, May 25, 2011


Composer John Adams, in his recent commencement address at New York’s Juilliard School, speaks up for the fine arts, forcefully and with plain-spoken eloquence.

“A life in the arts,” Adams says, “means a life of sacrifice and tens of thousands of hours of devotion and discipline with scant remuneration and sometimes even scant recognition. A life in the arts means loving complexity and ambiguity, of enjoying the fact that there are no single, absolute solutions. And it means that you value communicating about matters of the spirit over the baser forms of human interaction, because you know that life is not just a transaction, not simply a game about winning someone’s confidence purely for purposes of material gain.”

The full text at NewMusicBox:

(via Alex Ross)

Freeman's Chicago farewell

Paul Freeman, the Richmond native who became the most prominent African-American conductor of his generation, steps down from the Chicago Sinfonietta, the orchestra he founded 24 years ago.

The 75-year-old Freeman, who has been in declining health, is honorary chief conductor of the Czech National Symphony Orchestra in Prague, which he led from 1996 to 2006.

The Chicago Tribune’s John von Rhein reviews an emotion-packed Chicago Sinfonietta concert celebrating Freeman:,0,7726283.column

WNO taps Zambello

Francesco Zambello, the opera and musical-theater stage director who last year became artistic director of the Glimmerglass opera festival in upstate New York, has been named artistic advisor of the Washington National Opera.

As Plácido Domingo relinquishes artistic direction of the company after 15 years and WNO’s administration goes under the wing of the Kennedy Center, Zambello’s role will be “open-ended, exploratory,” she tells The Washington Post’s Anne Midgette:

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

eighth blackbird's new violinist

Yvonne Lam, currently assistant concertmaster of the Washington National Opera Orchestra, has been named the new violinist of eighth blackbird, the contemporary chamber-music ensemble in residence at the University of Richmond and University of Chicago when not riding jetstreams around the planet.

Lam succeeds Matt Albert, a founding member of the ’birds, who is retiring after 15 years to pursue a more traditional classical career. “I’m looking forward to playing Sibelius symphonies, Mozart string quartets, and new violin works that I’ve commissioned,” he says. “These possibilities, and the many others I’ve yet to discover, are why I’m excited, and why the rest of the group is excited for me.”

Albert tells The Washington Post’s Anne Midgette that he has auditioned for several orchestras and is exploring free-lance opportunities:

Albert’s final performance with eighth blackbird will be at Chicago Counterpoint, a festival of works by Steve Reich, on Aug. 22.

Healthy, cultured Norwegians

A research team affiliated with the Norwegian University of Science and Technology finds that “participation in receptive and creative cultural activities was significantly associated with good health, good satisfaction with life, low anxiety and depression” . . .

Curiously, the study found that among men, “attending receptive, rather than creative, cultural activities was more strongly associated with all health-related outcomes” – e.g., that attending a piano recital proved more beneficial than playing the piano.

So, “don’t just do something, sit there” may be sound advice, at least for Norwegian guys.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Biblical prize winner

The Richmond-born composer Zachary Wadsworth has won a King James Bible Composition Award for “Out of the South Cometh the Whirlwind,” an anthem setting verses from the Book of Job.

The work will be performed on Nov. 16 at Westminster Abbey, London, in a service celebrating the 400th anniversary of the English translation of the Bible by scholars commissioned by King James I.

Wadsworth’s anthem will be published by Novello.

The composition competition, open to composers under 30, was initiated by the King James Bible Trust and supported by the dean and chapter of Westminster Abbey. Awards were presented in two categories: a work for advanced choir, won by Wadsworth; and one for non-professional choir, won by the British organist and teacher Christopher Totney.

The 28-year-old Wadsworth, a graduate of the Eastman School of Music and Yale University, is pursuing a doctorate at Cornell University. In 2008 he was one of the recipients of the ASCAP Foundation Morton Gould Young Composers Award; in 2007 he won the ASCAP-Lotte Lehmann Foundation Art Song Competition.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Virginia's roots road

Sarah Wildman, writing for The New York Times, travels The Crooked Road, the string of Southwestern Virginia venues and related festivals devoted to traditional Appalachian music and its offspring, bluegrass:

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Review: Richmond Symphony

with soloists & Richmond Symphony Chorus
Erin R. Freeman conducting
May 21, Richmond CenterStage

The Richmond Symphony Chorus is marking its 40th anniversary this weekend with the work in which it made its 1971 debut: Beethoven’s “Missa Solemnis.” James Erb, then at the University of Richmond, organized the ensemble and prepared it for its first performance, led by Robert Shaw, the pre-eminent American chorusmaster of the last century. Erb went on to lead the chorus for 36 years; in 2007 he handed over direction to Erin R. Freeman, one of the youngest protégés of Shaw.

In the first of two concerts concluding this season’s Masterworks series, Freeman, who doubles as associate conductor of the symphony, led the Beethoven Mass very much in the manner of Shaw, with moderate tempos, rich, robust choral sound and warm, weighty orchestral sonorities.

The chorus, which at times has struggled to project properly since the acoustical refit of the Carpenter Theatre, this time maintained a strong presence and good sectional balance, even when singing softly.

Male choral voices were especially striking in the “stage whisper” effects of the Et incarnatus section of the Credo, and the full ensemble handled Beethoven’s subtly varied dynamics and tidal surges of choral sound securely and, at its best, with seeming spontaneity. The chorus could have sounded more unbridled in the Gloria, but its semi-full cry suited Freeman’s overall approach to the work, one of solemnity liberally garnished with lyricism.

The soloists – soprano Lori Hultgren, mezzo-soprano Marietta Simpson, tenor John McVeigh and bass Michael Dean – were not vocally complementary. The women employed much wider vibrato than the men; Hultgren’s voice leaped out of ensembles (an occupational hazard for soprano soloists in this piece); and only Dean consistently resisted injecting sentimentality into vocal expression.

The singers might have taken their cue from the violin solo introducing the Benedictus section of the Sanctus, played with chaste expressiveness by Karen Johnson, the symphony’s former concertmaster, returning to her old stand for these concerts.

Erb, the founding director, still sings in the chorus’ tenor section. He took a solo bow after the performance, to well-earned cheers.

The program repeats at 3 p.m. May 22 at the Carpenter Theatre of Richmond CenterStage, Sixth and Grace streets. Tickets: $17-$72. Details: (800) 982-2787 (Ticketmaster);

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Now playing: the Whatsit Philharmonic

Classical music’s scandal du jour, as reported by Daniel J. Wakin in The New York Times, is that several European orchestras booked for tours of small and mid-sized towns in the U.S. seem to be ad hoc ensembles that have impressive-sounding names but apparently no history or presence in their homelands:

I’m having trouble getting too worked up about this. Yes, audiences are being sold questionable goods; but when in the history of performing for paying customers were audiences not sold questionable goods? Especially audiences outside major music centers?

The provincials are being conned, we are led to infer. But are they, really?

Let’s say you live in Pembroke, NC, one of the locales cited in Wakin’s article. This town of 2,500 or so residents is home to one of the campuses of the University of North Carolina system. UNC Pembroke presents touring-artists series; two orchestras, Russia’s Chamber Orchestra Kremlin and Poland’s Opole Philharmonic, were on this season’s schedule. They are not household names, but they weren’t cobbled together for these tours.

I doubt that name recognition figured much in decisions to buy tickets for their concerts. If you wanted to hear classical music played by a live orchestra in Pembroke, these were your two opportunities. (Your next-best options would be to drive 70-odd miles to hear the Charlotte Symphony or 60-odd miles to hear North Carolina Symphony concerts in Wilmington.)

I’m guessing that Pembroke residents with an interest in classical music knew they weren’t being offered the Concertgebouw or Berlin Philharmonic, but nonetheless thought they got their money’s worth: The priciest tickets for the Opole Philharmonic were $30; Chamber Orchestra Kremlin played for free.

The two ensembles’ Pembroke programs are not listed on the college’s online schedule, but I expect they stuck to works in which their musicians are conversant and well-practiced. The musicians may not have played at peak level – few do on tour, and, as Wakin notes, orchestras on the small-town circuit tend to have especially grueling travel schedules. I’m reasonably confident, though, that the audiences heard professional-grade performances.

One more point: Record collectors, presumably among the hardest-core of highbrows, have been buying and treasuring performances by pickup bands (remember Leopold Stokowski and “His Symphony Orchestra,” or the Columbia and RCA Victor symphony orchestras led by the likes of Bruno Walter, George Szell and Fritz Reiner?) and pseudonymous ensembles (“Vienna State Opera Orchestra,” “New York Stadium Symphony,” “Robin Hood Dell Symphony”) for generations.

Dubious labeling did not necessarily yield poor performances, and often gave record collectors a bargain. The same is true, I’ll bet, for small-town concert audiences hearing obscure orchestras from abroad.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Modernity's adolescent (reprise)

Today is the 100th anniversary of the death of Gustav Mahler, a composer who played a huge role in the musical and emotional awakening of many in my generation. Tributes abound all over the Internet and blogosphere – although, curiously, not as many as were written for Mahler’s 100th birthday (July 7, 2010). Maybe other writers and critics shot their bolt on Mahler last year. It seems I did. Here’s what I had to say last July:

Thinking back on my life and music’s role in it, I can’t say that Mahler was pivotal emotionally. Brahms, Bruckner, Nielsen and Vaughan Williams hit me at my most impressionable and vulnerable.

Mahler did provide my christening in large-scale symphonic music played to roof-rattling effect. As a not-quite-teenager, I saw and heard Leonard Bernstein conduct the New York Philharmonic in Mahler’s First Symphony at the old Mosque (now Landmark Theater) in Richmond. That performance was my first experience of being swept along in a torrent of orchestral sound.

Had puberty hit me a little sooner, or had Bernstein conducted the Mahler First here a little later, I very likely would hear – and feel – this composer quite differently. His music is about coming of age emotionally and spiritually, about viewing the present and anticipating the future through the lens of the past – perhaps a lens tinted by an imagined rather than real past.

The fundamental tension in Mahler comes from his brooding, impatiently breaking out of it, falling back in, breaking out – a cycle familiar to anyone who’s lived through adolescence.

Reading European history and listening to Mahler, it’s tempting to characterize him as the premier artistic adolescent of modernity. By the time Mahler came of age, all the key components and big differences of modern life were in place: rapidly advancing science and technology, urbanization, mobility, the withering of old roots, hierarchies and identities. Their consequences were beginning to be felt, and the sense that some great hammer was about to fall was widespread during Mahler’s working lifetime; but, dying in 1911, he didn’t live to experience the cataclysmic transformation of the old world into the new.

So, much like an adolescent going through the initiations of adulthood and obsessing on his doubts and anxieties, Mahler is all about anticipation, looking ahead with a mixture of hope and fear, looking back keenly sensitive to the loss of innocence, negotiating the present unsteadily, living as much or more in the imagination as in physical reality.

Listen to the final movement, the famous “dying away,” of Mahler’s Ninth Symphony, and then listen to Richard Strauss’ “Metamorphosen;” of, if you prefer, to “Der Abschied” from Mahler’s “Das Lied von der Erde” and then the “Four Last Songs” of Strauss. Both composers speak to the demise of the old order and the old way of life in the West; but Mahler does so in anticipation – i.e., in his imagination – and consequently with more ambiguity, while Strauss speaks more bluntly from eye-witness experience.

As the adolescent is a rough sketch of the adult, Mahler is a sketch of modernity, in both the musical and emotional-spiritual senses. Today’s listener knows what Mahler could only imagine; and so it is up to the listener to fill in the details, to clarify the colors and contours, of the picture.

With Mahler, as with few other composers, you have to invest your emotions and life experience to get the benefit of his.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Highbrows win a round

Ivan Hewitt, music critic of The Telegraph (UK), recounts his participation in a Cambridge Union debate on the proposition, “This House believes classical music is irrelevant to today’s youth,” which was voted down by a margin of 365 to 57, with 88 abstentions:

Between sighs of relief, we might ponder whether the debating society of an elite university is the ideal forum for deciding what’s relevant to today’s youth.

Also, whether relevance to an age group is an essential consideration in gauging an art form’s merits. Who would bother debating hip-hop’s relevance to the middle-aged and elderly?

A score in stone?

At Slate, Chris Wilson begins a series on Scotland’s Rosslyn Chapel, a key locale in Dan Brown’s Holy Grail thriller “The Da Vinci Code” . . .

. . . focusing on the father-and-son team of Tommy Mitchell, a onetime cryptographer with Britain’s Royal Air Force, and Stuart Mitchell, a composer, who believe that carvings in the 15th-century chapel encode a musical score.

Wilson and the Mitchells don’t name that tune. Not yet, at least. The series runs through May 20.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Lyric Opera in Richmond

Lyric Opera Virginia, the new company led by Peter Mark, has announced Richmond dates and venues for three productions in its inaugural 2011-12 season.

A full staging of Verdi’s “La Traviata,” starring soprano Manon Strauss Evrard as Violetta, will be presented at 8 p.m. Sept. 16 and 2:30 p.m. Sept. 18 at the Cramer Arts Center of The Steward School, 11600 Gayton Road in Richmond’s far West End. The school also will be the venue for a “jewel box,” or excerpted, production of Bizet’s “Carmen,” with performances at 8 p.m. May 19 and 7:30 p.m. May 20.

Seating is limited for those performances. The Steward School hall seats fewer than 500.

A production of the Rodgers & Hammerstein musical “The King and I” will be staged at 8 p.m. Jan. 20 and 2:30 p.m. Jan. 22 at Richmond’s Landmark Theater.

Lyric Opera had previously set dates for the three productions at the Sandler Arts Center in Virginia Beach and Christopher Newport University’s Ferguson Arts Center in Newport News:

* “La Traviata” – Sept. 9 and 11 (Virginia Beach), Sept. 23 and 25 (Newport News).

* “The King and I” – Jan. 6 and 8 (Virginia Beach), Jan. 27 and 29 (Newport News).

* “Carmen” – May 4 and 6 (Newport News), May
23-24 (Virginia Beach).

The company also is planning to perform in Charlottesville.

Subscriptions for the Richmond season are $58-$268.

For more information, call (757) 446-6666 or visit

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Review: 'White Nights' 1

May 13, First Unitarian Universalist Church

The Richmond Festival of Music, the springtime chamber-music series directed by cellist James Wilson, opened “White Nights,” a four-day sampler of works from Scandinavia and Russia with a semi-neglected masterpiece by Sergei Prokofiev and rarely performed quartets by Anton Arensky and Carl Nielsen.

The Prokofiev was the Sonata in D major, Op. 94, for flute and piano, a work that predates and vividly pre-echoes the Fifth Symphony. Mary Boodell, principal flutist of the Richmond Symphony and a regular participant in this festival, joined pianist Rieko Aizawa in a performance that nicely contrasted the melancholy lyricism of the opening movement and andante with the edgy, rather ominous energy of the piece’s dance-inspired sections.

Boodell was unerring in her phrasing and deft shading of of colors and dynamics; while bringing out the energy and technical displays this pianist-composer gives his instrument, Aizawa took care not to crowd or overbalance the flute.

Arensky’s Quartet in A minor, Op. 35, for violin, viola and two cellos received a reading of rich sonority and high-romantic expression from violinist Carmit Zori, violist Hsin-Yun Huang and cellists Wilson and Philip Borter. The foursome produced a surprisingly big sound, even in the introduction and subsequent sections played with mutes, and a fittingly soulful one in music that quotes Russian Orthodox chant and a rather somber theme from a song by Tchaikovsky.

The musicians emphasized the dark, weighty qualities of the first two movements, making their burst in brilliance in the sprinting finale (built around yet another Russian folk tune, “Slava”) all the more striking.

Nielsen’s Quartet in G minor, Op. 13, for the usual complement of strings, is an early work, conventionally romantic in its thematic development and harmonic language, but with hints of the “progressive tonality” and quirky, bumptious humor of the Danish master in maturity. An exuberant performance by Zori, Huang, Wilson and violinist Jesse Mills made the piece sound like Grieg crossbred with Dvořák, with the offspring favoring the latter.

The same four fiddlers played the string-quartet version of Arvo Pärt’s “Da pacem Domine” (originally for choir) with stark clarity. The church sanctuary was in near-darkness for the performance, underlining the music’s austerity and otherworldliness.

The Richmond Festival of Music continues with a free performance of Tchaikovsky’s “The Seasons,” with readings from the composer’s letters, at noon May 14 in the Gellman Room of the Richmond Public Library main branch, First and Franklin streets. Further ticketed concerts are at 7:30 p.m. May 14 at Wilton House Museum, 215 S. Wilton Road, and 7:30 p.m. May 16 at First Unitarian, 1000 Blanton Ave. at the Carillon. Tickets: $25. Details: (804) 519-2098;

Friday, May 13, 2011

Evrard headlines LOV recital

Lyric Opera Virginia, the company launched earlier this year by ex-Virginia Opera artistic director Peter Mark, continues its rounds of introduction to Central Virginia this weekend with a free concert featuring soprano Manon Strauss Evrard, one of the singers Mark “discovered” and promoted at his old company.

Evrard, who is to sing the role of Violetta this fall in Lyric Opera Virginia’s debut production, of Verdi’s “La Traviata,” will be joined in the Richmond recital by sopranos Anne O’Byrne and Sarah Kate Walston and tenor Michael Dailey, at 4 p.m. May 14 at Grace & Holy Trinity Episcopal Church, 8 N. Laurel St., next door to the Landmark Theater.

More information:

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

'White Nights' in Richmond

James Wilson’s Richmond Festival of Music returns this week with “White Nights,” three evenings plus an afternoon of chamber music from Scandinavia and Russia.

Three ticketed performances are scheduled: May 13 and 16 at First Unitarian Universalist Church, 1000 Blanton Ave. at the Carillon, May 14 at the Wilton House Museum, 215 S. Wilton Road, all at 7:30 p.m. The festival also will present a free performance of Tchaikovsky’s “The Seasons” with readings from Russian literature at noon May 14 in the Gellman Room of the Richmond Public Library’s main branch, First and Franklin streets.

The festival, staged each spring (with previews and supplementary concerts in the winter), seeks “to present [works] one doesn’t normally hear in chamber music concerts,” as Wilson comments in an online note to patrons. So, while many of this season’s featured composers – Grieg, Nielsen, Rachmaninoff, Prokofiev, Tchaikovsky, Sibelius – are familiar names, few pieces on the programs are staples of the chamber repertory.

Perhaps the rarest selections will be performed in the May 14 Wilton House concert, a sampler of baroque works from Sweden and Denmark, including several by Johan Helmich Roman, known as “the Swedish Handel,” played alongside contemporary pieces by the Russian composers Valentin Silvestrov and Alfred Schnittke.

Joining cellist Wilson will be several veterans of past seasons of the festival, such as violinist Carmit Zori, flutist Mary Boodell and pianist-harpsichordist Carsten Schmidt, as well as several new faces: baroque violinist Fiona Hughes, pianist Rieko Aizawa, violinist Jesse Mills and cellist Philip Borter.

Tickets are $25 per concert, $20 for seniors, $5 for students.

For ticket reservations, call (804) 519-2098. For more information on the artists and programs, visit the Chamber Music Society of Central Virginia website:

Choir auditions

The Greater Richmond Children’s Choir, directed by Hope Armstrong Erb, will hold information sessions and auditions on May 14, June 4 and June 7 at Grace & Holy Trinity Episcopal Church, 8 N. Laurel St., next door to the Landmark Theater.

The choir’s ensembles are open to boys and girls ages 8-18. The entry-level Treble Choir is open without audition.

GRCC’s annual summer camp, scheduled for Aug. 15-19 at Westover Hills United Methodist Church, will feature Paul Kwami, director of the Fisk University Jubilee Singers, as its resident artist. Kwami will work with all the GRCC choirs during his residency.

To schedule an audition and place at an information session, call (804) 201-1894, or visit

Monday, May 9, 2011

Falletta to Belfast

JoAnn Falletta, music director of the Virginia Symphony and Buffalo Philharmonic, has been named principal conductor of the Ulster Orchestra. Alf McCreary reports in the Belfast Telegraph:

Falletta, who will be the first female conductor of the principal orchestra of Northern Ireland, has signed up for three years, beginning in September, Gramophone reports:

The conductor also has renewed her contract with the Virginia Symphony for three more seasons, with an option for two further years, Teresa Annas of The Virginian-Pilot (Norfolk) reports:

The ultimate record collection

Randy Lewis of the Los Angeles Times tours the Library of Congress’ Packard Campus for Audio-Visual Conservation in Culpeper, VA, repository of some 6 million recordings and films of music, and quizzes its staffers on the prospect of this treasure trove being made available on the Internet:,0,4929059,full.story

Here's a link to the LOC’s National Jukebox of recordings made before 1925:

Friday, May 6, 2011

'Inconsistency of personnel'

Karen Lynne Deal, the Richmond-bred conductor, is wrapping up her 11-year tenure as music director of the Illinois Symphony, which performs in the state’s capital, Springfield, and several nearby communities.

In a valedictory interview with Dan Craft of The Pantagraph (Bloomington, IL) . . .

. . . Deal observes that for a musician trying to make ends meet, a gig with a sub-major symphony orchestra may not make economic sense:

“If I’m a musician from Chicago, and I can stay in Chicago and make more money playing a wedding than spending five days in Springfield, that’s what I’d do; it’s what any reasonable person would do.”

Deal goes on to say that “inconsistency of personnel makes it especially hard to plan a concert season a year in advance, based on who you’re supposed to have, since by the time the concert rolls around, you may have only 10 percent of [those musicians].”

That’s a critical problem for orchestras that depend on part-time and freelance musicians to fill out their rosters. (That includes every professional orchestra in Virginia.) Leaders of those orchestras rarely acknowledge this problem in public. They’re even less likely to acknowledge its effect on concert programming specifically and artistic scope generally.

Orchestras that chronically recycle warhorse repertory may lack ambition or vision. Or they may figure that playing the tried-and-true is the safest way to fill seats at their concerts. Or they may be anticipating “inconsistency of personnel” and avoiding music that could prove to be beyond the capacity of the ensemble that winds up playing it.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Landon Bilyeu memorial

A memorial service celebrating the life and work of Landon Bilyeu, the pianist and longtime music professor at Virginia Commonwealth University, will be held at 3 p.m. May 7 in VCU’s Black Music Center, Grove Avenue at Harrison Street in Richmond.

Bilyeu, who performed extensively as a soloist and chamber musician, died on April 27.

The family suggests memorial contributions to Spectrum Transformation Group for Autism Treatment, 1111506 Allecingie Parkway, Suite 2A, Richmond, VA 23235, or the VCU Department of Music Friends of Music, 922 Park Avenue, Box 842004, Richmond, VA 23284-2004.

Randy Hallman’s obituary of Landon Bilyeu in the Richmond Times-Dispatch:

May 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.


* In and around Richmond: The Richmond Symphony wraps up its subscription season, and celebrates the 40th anniversary of the Richmond Symphony Chorus, with Erin R. Freeman conducting Beethoven’s “Missa Solemnis,” May 21-22 at Richmond CenterStage. . . . James Wilson’s Richmond Festival of Music presents “White Nights,” a sampler of Scandinavian and Russian chamber music from the baroque to the modern, May 13-16 at several local venues. . . . The Richmond Philharmonic and its conductor, Robert Mirakian, explore Mahler’s First Symphony, May 8 at Virginia Commonwealth University’s Singleton Arts Center.

* Star turns: The Virginia Arts Festival continues its 2011 season in Hampton Roads with performances by Chanticleer, May 5 and 8; the Kalichstein-Laredo-Robinson Trio on May 21; and several recitals by pianist André-Michel Schub and women of the Virginia Symphony in late May. . . . Plácido Domingo takes his leave of the Washington National Opera, singing in Gluck’s “Iphigénie en Tauride,” May 6-28, and conducting some performances of Donizetti’s “Don Pasquale,” May 13-27, at the Kennedy Center Opera House. . . . Conductor Neeme Järvi and pianist Yefim Bronfman join the National Symphony for a Russian program, May 5-7 at the Kennedy Center. . . . Charles Dutoit and the Philadelphia Orchestra are joined by violinist Gil Shaham in a May 20 concert at the Kennedy Center.

May 4 (7:30 p.m.)
Sandler Arts Center, 201 S. Market St., Virginia Beach
Virginia Arts Festival:
“From the Top,” NPR broadcast, with Christopher O’Riley and young musicians TBA
(757) 282-2822

May 5 (7:30 p.m.)
Trinity Episcopal Church, 500 Court St., Portsmouth
May 8 (2:30 p.m.)
Sandler Arts Center, 201 S. Market St., Virginia Beach
Virginia Arts Festival:
program TBA
$30 (Portsmouth)
$25-$35 (Virginia Beach)
(757) 282-2822

May 5 (7 p.m.)
May 6 (8 p.m.)
May 7 (8 p.m.)
Kennedy Center Concert Hall, Washington
National Symphony Orchestra
Neeme Järvi conducting
Glazunov: “Concert Waltz” No. 1 in D major, Op. 47
Tchaikovsky: Piano Concerto in B flat minor
Yefim Bronfman, piano
Prokofiev: Symphony No. 6
(800) 444-1324

May 5 (8 p.m.)
Sixth & I Historic Synagogue, Washington
Pierre-Laurent Aimard, piano
Wagner: Sonata in A flat major (“Für das Album von Frau MW”)
Berg: Sonata No. 1
Scriabin: Sonata No. 9 (“Black Mass”)
Liszt: “La Lugubre Gondola”
Liszt: “Nuages gris”
Liszt: “Unstern! Sinistre, disastro”
Liszt: Sonata in B minor
(202) 785-9727 (Washington Performing Arts Society)

May 6 (8 p.m.)
Christ and St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, 560 W. Olney Road, Norfolk
Virginia Arts Festival:
Helga Schauerte, organ
program TBA
(757) 282-2822

May 6 (7 p.m.)
May 9 (7 p.m.)
May 12 (7:30 p.m.)
May 15 (2 p.m.)
May 17 (7:30 p.m.)
May 20 (7:30 p.m.)
May 25 (7:30 p.m.)
May 28 (7 p.m.)
Kennedy Center Opera House, Washington
Washington National Opera
William Lacey conducting
Gluck: “Iphigénie en Tauride”
Patricia Racette (Iphigénie)
Plácido Domingo (Oreste)
Shawn Mathey (Pylade)
Simone Alberghini (Thoas)
Jennifer Lynn Waters (Diana)
Emilio Sagi, stage director
in French, English captions
(800) 876-7372

May 7 (11 a.m.)
Carpenter Theatre, Richmond CenterStage, Sixth and Grace streets
Richmond Symphony LolliPops
Erin R. Freeman conducting
Saint-Saëns: “Carnival of the Animals”
(800) 982-2787 (Ticketmaster)

May 7 (4 p.m.)
Williamsburg Baptist Church, 227 Richmond Road
Virginia Virtuosi
works by Beethoven, Bizet, Gottschalk, others
(757) 229-1217

May 7 (7 p.m.)
Military Aviation Museum, 1341 Princess Anne Road, Virginia Beach
Virginia Arts Festival:
Virginia Symphony
Benjamin Rous conducting
“Flying Proms,” symphonic air show
program TBA
(757) 282-2822

May 8 (4 p.m.)
Vlahcevic Concert Hall, Singleton Arts Center, Virginia Commonwealth University, Park Avenue at Harrison Street, Richmond
Richmond Philharmonic
Robert Mirakian, speaker & conductor
“The Mahler Project,” lecture on and performance of Symphony No. 1
$8 in advance, $10 at door
(804) 673-7400

May 11 (10:30 a.m.)
Hixon Theater, Barr Education Center, 440 Bank St., Norfolk
Virginia Arts Festival:
Anna Petrova, piano
Beethoven: Sonata in F major, Op. 10, No. 2
Ravel: Sonatine
Fafchamps: “Back to the Sound”
Chopin: Polonaise in B flat major, Op. posth.
Chopin: Sonata in B minor
(757) 282-2822

May 13 (7:30 p.m.)
First Unitarian Universalist Church, 1000 Blanton Ave. at the Carillon, Richmond
Richmond Festival of Music:
Carmit Zori & Jesse Mills, violins
Fiona Hughes, baroque violin
Hsin-Yung Hwang, viola
Philip Borter & James Wilson, cellos
Mary Boodell, flute
Rieko Aizawa, piano
Carsten Schmidt, piano & harpsichord
Arensky: String Quartet in A major
Arvo Pärt: “Da Pacem Domine” for string quartet
Prokofiev: Flute Sonata in D major
Halvorsen: “Norwegian Songs and Dances” for violin and piano
Nielsen: String Quartet in G minor
(804) 519-2098

May 13 (7 p.m.)
May 16 (7 p.m.)
May 18 (7:30 p.m.)
May 21 (7 p.m.)
May 22 (2 p.m.)
May 24 (7:30 p.m.)
May 26 (7:30 p.m.)
May 27 (7:30 p.m.)
Kennedy Center Opera House, Washington
Washington National Opera
Plácido Domingo/Israel Gursky conducting
Donizetti: “Don Pasquale”
James Morris (Don Pasquale)
Ekaterina Siurina/Julia Novikova (Norina)
Antonio Gandia/Alexei Kudrya (Ernesto)
Dwayne Croft (Dr. Malatesta)
Jeffrey Tarr (Notary)
Leon Major, stage director
in Italian, English captions
(800) 876-7372

May 14 (noon)
Gellman Room, Richmond Public Library, First and Franklin streets
Richmond Festival of Music:
Rieko Aizawa & Carsten Schmidt, pianos
“Tchaikovsky in Words and Music”
Tchaikovsky: “The Seasons,” with readings from Russian authors
(804) 519-2098

May 14 (7:30 p.m.)
Wilton House Museum, 215 S. Wilton Road, Richmond
Richmond Festival of Music:
Fiona Hughes, baroque violin
James Wilson, baroque cello
Mary Boodell, transverse flute
Carsten Schmidt, harpsichord
Roman: Trio Sonata in G minor
Roman: Flute Sonata in G minor
Silvestrov: “Juli 1750”
Johan Agrell: Violin Sonata
Buxtehude: Trio Sonata in D major
Alfred Schnittke: Madrigal
(804) 519-2098

May 14 (7:30 p.m.)
Henricus Historical Park, 251 Henricus Park Road, Chester
Richmond Symphony
Steven Smith conducting
George Quincy: “Pocahontas” (opening)
Hopkinson: “The Toast”
Mozart: “The Marriage of Figaro” Overture
Robert Wendel: “The Pit and the Pendulum”
Harris: “Shenandoah” from “Americana”
Copland: “Variations on a Shaker Melody” (“Simple Gifts”) from “Appalachian Spring”
Wendel: “An Old Fashioned Summer”
Dvořák: Symphony No. 9 (“New World”) (first movement)
Ellington-Custer: “Duke Ellington!”
Adolphus Hailsork: “I Will Lift Up Mine Eyes”
Sousa: “The Stars and Stripes Forever”
Free ($5 per vehicle parking)
Rain date: May 15
(800) 982-2787 (Ticketmaster)

May 14 (8 p.m.)
First Presbyterian Church, 500 Park St., Charlottesville
Oratorio Society of Virginia
L. Thomas Vining directing
David Norfrey, organ
Karl Jenkins: “The Armed Man: a Mass for Peace”
(434) 295-4385

May 14 (8 p.m.)
Center for the Arts, George Mason University, Fairfax
May 15 (3 p.m.)
Hylton Performing Arts Center, 10960 George Mason Circle, Manassas
Fairfax Symphony
Christopher Zimmerman conducting
Mahler: Symphony No. 2 (“Resurrection”)
Jeanine Thames, soprano
Janine Hawley, mezzo-soprano
Fairfax Choral Society
Reston Chorale
(703) 563-1990

May 16 (7:30 p.m.)
First Unitarian Universalist Church, 1000 Blanton Ave. at the Carillon, Richmond
Richmond Festival of Music:
Carmit Zori & Jesse Mills, violins
Fiona Hughes, baroque violin
Hsin-Yung Hwang, viola
Philip Borter & James Wilson, cellos
Mary Boodell, flute
Rieko Aizawa, piano
Carsten Schmidt, piano & harpsichord
Sibelius: “Valse triste”
Grieg: “Morning Mood” from “Peer Gynt” for piano four-hands
Sibelius: “Drops of Rain” for violin and cello
Gubaidulina: “”Forest Sounds” for flute and piano
Rachmaninoff: Piano Trio in G minor (“Elegaic”)
Saariaho: “NoaNoa” for flute and electronics
Grieg: Violin Sonata in C minor
(804) 519-2098

May 15 (4 p.m.)
Bon Air Presbyterian Church, 9201 W. Huguenot Road, Richmond
Second Sunday South of the James:
Washington Camerata
“A Tour of 18th-century Europe (on a shoestring budget)”
J.S. Bach: Trio Sonata in G major, BWV 1039
Michel Blavet: Sonata in G minor, Op. 2, No. 4 (“La Lumagne”)
Domenico Scarlatti: Sonata in A major, K. 208
Locatelli: Duo Sonata in D minor, Op. 4, No. 4
J.F. Kleinknect: Trio Sonata No. 1 in G major
Donation requested
(804) 272-7514

May 19 (7 p.m.)
May 20 (1:30 p.m.)
May 21 (8 p.m.)
Kennedy Center Concert Hall, Washington
National Symphony Orchestra
Thomas Dausgaard conducting
Sibelius: “En Saga”
Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 4
Nikolai Lugansky, piano
Nielsen: Symphony No. 4 (“Inextinguishable”)
(800) 444-1324

May 20 (8 p.m.)
Kennedy Center Concert Hall, Washington
Philadelphia Orchestra
Charles Dutoit conducting
Mendelssohn: “Hebrides” Overture
Walton: Violin Concerto
Gil Shaham, violin
Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 5
(202) 785-9727 (Washington Performing Arts Society)

May 21 (8 p.m.)
May 22 (3 p.m.)
Carpenter Theatre, Richmond CenterStage, Sixth and Grace streets
Richmond Symphony
Erin R. Freeman conducting
Beethoven: “Missa Solemnis”
Lori Hultgren, soprano
Marietta Simpson, mezzo-soprano
John McVeigh, tenor
Michael Dean, bass
Richmond Symphony Chorus
Erin R. Freeman directing
(800) 982-2787 (Ticketmaster)

May 21 (8 p.m.)
American Theater, 125 E. Mellen St., Hampton
Virginia Arts Festival:
Kalichstein-Laredo-Robinson Trio
Beethoven: Piano Trio No. 2 in G major, Op. 1, No. 2
Danielpour: “Inventions on a Marriage” (premiere)
Tchaikovsky: Piano Trio in A minor, Op. 50
(757) 282-2822

May 22 (3 p.m.)
Cobble Hill Farm, 101 Woodlee Road, Staunton
Staunton Music Festival:
artists TBA
“Baroque and Jazz Bash”
$45 (includes food and beverages)
(540) 569-0267

May 22 (7 p.m.)
Carpenter Theatre, Richmond CenterStage, Sixth and Grace streets
Richmond Symphony Youth Concert Orchestra
Camerata Strings
String Sinfonietta
conductors TBA
program TBA
(800) 982-2787 (Ticketmaster)

May 22 (5 p.m.)
Kennedy Center Concert Hall, Washington
Choral Arts Society of Washington
Norman Scribner directing
Children’s Chorus of Washington
Joan Gregoryk directing
“Northern Lights: Choral Illuminations from Scandinavia and Beyond”
program TBA
(800) 444-1324

May 23 (8 p.m.)
Kennedy Center Concert Hall, Washington
Ravi Shankar, sitar
other artists TBA
Indian classical ragas TBA
(202) 785-9727 (Washington Performing Arts Society)

May 24 (7:30 p.m.)
Hixon Theater, Barr Education Center, 440 Bank St., Norfolk
Virginia Arts Festival:
André-Michel Schub, piano
women of Virginia Symphony
Poulenc: Flute Sonata
Debussy: Trio for flute, viola and harp
Chopin: Ballade No. 3
Chopin: Scherzo No. 3
Beethoven: Quintet, Op. 16, for piano and winds
(757) 282-2822

May 25 (10:30 a.m.)
Ferguson Arts Center, Christopher Newport University, Newport News
Virginia Arts Festival:
André-Michel Schub, piano
women of Virginia Symphony
Debussy: Trio for flute, viola and harp
Chopin: Ballade No. 3
Chopin: two waltzes
Chopin: Scherzo No. 3
Saint-Saëns: “Caprice on Danish and Russian Airs”
(757) 282-2822

May 26 (10:30 a.m.)
Williamsburg Winery, Lake Powell Road, James City County
Virginia Arts Festival:
André-Michel Schub, piano
women of Virginia Symphony
Beethoven: Quintet, Op. 16, for piano and winds
Beethoven: Sonata in F minor, Op. 57 (“Appassionata”)
(757) 282-2822

May 29 (8 p.m.)
West Lawn of U.S. Capitol, Washington
National Symphony Orchestra
conductor TBA
Memorial Day pops concert
program TBA
(800) 444-1324

May 30 (6 p.m.)
Town Point Park, Waterside Drive, Norfolk
Virginia Arts Festival:
Virginia Symphony
JoAnn Falletta conducting
“Symphony in the Park”
program TBA
(757) 282-2822

May 31 (7 p.m.)
Virginia Holocaust Museum, 2000 E. Cary St., Richmond
Jocelyn Adelman, violin
David Fisk, piano
“And Their Music Lives On...a Recital of Music by Composers Suppressed by the Nazis”
Zemlinsky: Serenade in A major
Ernst Krenek: Sonata in F major, Op. 3
Messiaen: “Louange a l’Immortilaté de Jesus” from “Quartet for the End of Time”
Donation requested; proceeds benefit Virginia Holocaust Museum and Richmond Symphony
(804) 788-4717