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The upcoming music season in New York City will take place in a shifting landscape. Some of the changes are good and some are bad, while the results of several inevitable changes remain to be seen.
In this context, it’s easy to see September 24 as the day when everything begins. In the newly renamed David Geffen Hall at Lincoln Center–previously known as Avery Fisher Hall and, before that, Philharmonic Hall–Alan Gilbert will lead the New York Philharmonic in their opening gala concert, featuring Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7 and Lang Lang playing Grieg’s Piano Concerto.
The Metropolitan Opera appears to be at an equilibrium for 2015-16, after last season’s contentious labor strife, and the political controversy over the staging of John Adams’ The Death of Klinghoffer. There are legitimate questions about the Met’s financial health and future and don’t be surprised by potential storm-clouds emerging on the horizon.
SubCulture, the fine basement venue in the East Village dedicated to listening, is riding out some financial turmoil of its own and had to scrap their slated season—although they will be hosting soprano Renée Fleming and the Emerson String Quartet, September 16. But a new Brooklyn music venue, National Sawdust, will be opening, with plenty of artistic and financial muscle behind it. With BAM, Roulette, ISSUE Project Room (also currently undergoing renovations and producing peripatetic shows), and the new space, one could easily spend an entire, satisfying music season in the borough. But that would mean missing out on some important ensembles.
In Alan Gilbert’s penultimate season at the New York Philharmonic, there will easily be as much, if not more, attention on visiting conductors as there will be on the music director himself.
The season schedule is hard proof of the underappreciated influence Gilbert has had on the orchestra and its direction: the CONTACT! new music series continues, the Biennial new music festival returns, and the season wraps once again with a staged music drama. There will be concerts built around the talents of this season’s artist-in-residence, bass-baritone Eric Owens, and there will also be substantive premieres of works that the Phil had a hand in commissioning, not the least from Esa-Pekka Salonen, who is not only the year’s composer-in-residence but certainly the most high-profile candidate on any short list to take over leadership at the orchestra.
After a series of film screenings with live scores (Sep. 18 – 21), and the opening gala, the central season begins September 25 – 26, with two concerts of Salonen’s LA Variations and Ein Heldenleben from Strauss, with Gilbert conducting. The world premieres start the following week, October 1 – 3, with Marc Neikrug’s Canta-Concerto, featuring mezzo-soprano Sasha Cooke, along with Brahms’ Tragic Overture and Piano Concerto No. 2, played by Emanuel Ax. On October 7 Gilbert and the Phil premiere Magnus Lindberg’s (the first composer-in-residence at the orchestra) Vivo at Carnegie Hall, on a program with Evgeny Kissin playing the Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto, and Ravel’s Daphnis et Chloé Suite No. 2.
Owens makes his first appearance October 14 – 15, in a concert titled “In Their Footsteps: Great African American Singers and Their Legacy,” a program of songs from Bach to Joplin to Mahler to Copland that Owens curated, will host and sing. Thomas Wilkins conducts, and sopranos Janai Brugger and Laquita Mitchell, mezzo Marietta Simpson, and tenor Russell Thomas join Owens on the stage. October 25, Owens will sing Poulenc’s Le Bal masqué on a New York Philharmonic Ensembles concert at Merkin Hall, joins the New York City Gay Men’s Chorus for a holiday program (Dec. 18 – 19), and in 2016 sings selections from Die Walküre with soprano Heidi Melton (Jan. 7 – 9, 12), and then, with John Storgards conducting, sings selections from Mahler’s Des Knaben Wunderhorn (May 12 – 14).
The Philharmonic also sponsors two additional positions, the artist-in-association (pianist Inon Barnatan, continuing from last season), and the new one of emerging composer, the first of whom is Anna Thorvaldsdottir. While unfortunately Thorvaldsdottir is not presented this season, Barnaton will play Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 23, October 29 – 31, under conductor Jaap van Zweden, on the same program with Britten and Beethoven symphonies. He will also appear on this year’s Paris-themed New Year’s Eve program, and is the pianist in a quartet that includes Alan Gilbert playing the violin, for a March 13 performance of Messiean’s Quartet for the End of Time that will take place at the Temple of Dendur in the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
That concert is part of a “Messiaen Week” mini-festival, during which Gilbert will lead the New York premiere of Salonen’s Karawane, March 17 – 19 (Leonidas Kavakos will also play the Sibelius Violin Concerto on the program). As part of the same series, Salonen will host a CONTACT! concert at National Sawdust on March 7—his Floof, with coloratura Hila Plitmann, will be heard as part of the same series, at the same place, February 1—and back at David Geffen Hall will conduct the Turangalîla-symphonie, with Yuja Wang at the piano (Mar. 10 – 12). Expect the world premiere of a Salonen piece at the Biennial (May 31 – June 11, schedule details to be announced later in the season), and the season wraps up with a CONTACT!/Biennial event, the U.S. staged premiere of Gerald Barry’s opera The Importance of Being Earnest, a production that comes from the Royal Opera House and is part of yet another Gilbert brainchild, the Lincoln Center-New York Philharmonic Opera Initiative.
A further mini-festival during the season runs in the fall, “Rachmaninoff: A Philharmonic Festival,” featuring the intense, poetic young pianist Daniil Trifonov. Trifonov will play Piano Concertos No. 2 (Nov. 11 – 14, 17, under Cristian Macelaru), 4 (Nov. 19 – 21, with Neeme Järvi conducting) and 3 (Nov. 24, 27 – 28, Ludovic Morlot at the podium), and will join Philharmonic musicians for a chamber music concert, November 22, at 92Y.
Other visiting artists this year include conductor Juanjo Mena and violinist James Ehnes with the Beethoven Violin Concerto and Bruckner’s Symphony No. 6 (Jan. 27 – 30); Yuja Wang plays Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 9 (February 3 – 6) with Charles Dutoit, on a program filled-out with Respighi; Christoph von Dohnányi conducts Brahm’s Ein deutsche Requiem (Mar. 3 – 5, 8); and Manfred Honeck and David Robertson—both men certainly contenders for music director—conduct programs of Beethoven’s “Pastoral Symphony,” Strauss’ Oboe Concerto (played by Liang Wang), and Suppé’s Poem and Peasant Overture (Apr. 7 –9, 12), and The Planets, with music by Elgar and John Williams (May 26 – 28), respectively.
The American Symphony Orchestra has a slightly reduced season coming up, but will still present substantial programs. Leon Botstein leads them in their season opener October 16 at Carnegie Hall, when they will play music by Gunther Schuller, Dutilleux, Nico Muhly, and Strauss’ Also sprach Zarathustra—Tracy Silverman is the six-string electric violin soloist. Botstein is known for presenting rarely heard, worthwhile music, and March 17 he will lead the orchestra in pieces from Adolf Busch and Max Reger, with pianist Peter Serkin playing Reger’s Piano Concerto. April 5 is A Mass of Life, Delius’ choral response to Nietzsche’s Also sprach Zarathustra.
While he’s not scheduled to appear before the Philharmonic this season, Orchestra of St. Luke’s music director Pablo Heras-Casado is also a leading candidate to move on to the marquee orchestra in town. The St. Luke’s season starts with Christian Tetzlaff playing Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto at Carnegie Hall—with Stravinsky’s Suite No. 2 and Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 1—October 29, and Heras-Casado conducts “Colors of Spain,” with flamenco singer Marina Heredia, March 10. The conductor-less Orpheus Chamber Orchestra plays Carnegie Hall October 15, December 5 (with violinist Augustin Hadelich in Stravinsky’s Divertimento from Le Baiser de la Fée and Tchaikovsky’s Valse-Scherzo, Op. 34), January 30, and March 19, with violinist Pinchas Zukerman on hand for the Mozart Violin Concerto No. 3 and Beethoven’s Romance for Violin and Orchestra No. 1.
The Metropolitan Opera has a season on tap that seems impervious to extra-musical issues. Opening September 21 with Aleksandrs Antonenko in Verdi’s Otello—for which the Met decided it made sense to no longer require blackface for the title Moor—the season promises the reliable comforts of familiar works.
The opener, with Yannick Nézet-Séguin conducting, staged by Bartlett Sher, is one of six new productions: William Kentridge’s take on Berg’s great Lulu (November 5) will be avidly anticipated, in great part because of soprano Marlis Petersen’s mastery of the role and James Levine’s equal skill with the music; British director Penny Woolcock updates Les Pécheurs des Perles, which opens New Year’s Eve with house favorites Diana Damrau, Matthew Polenzani and Mariusz Kwiecien; February 12, Jonas Kaufmann and Kristine Opolais take the stage in Manon Lescaut, in the film noir setting of occupied France as seen through the vision of Richard Eyre; soprano Sondra Radvanovsky sings Queen Elizabeth I in Sir David McVicar’s production of Roberto Devereaux (March 24); and opening April 14, the late, great director Patrice Chéreu will be represented (posthumously) for only the second time on the Met stage, with Strauss’s Elektra, with soprano Nina Stemme and conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen.
Radvanovsky will be a highly visible presence at the Met, singing the royal leads in all three Donizetti Tudor Operas—the string finished with revivals of Anna Bolena (September 26) and Maria Stuarda (January 29), and there will be even more Donizetti, with Don Pasquale, starring soprano Eleonora Buratto, tenor Javier Camarena, and baritone Ambrogio Maestri, and L’Elisir d’Amore, sung by soprano Aleksandra Kurzak and tenor Vittorio Grigolo. Along with Manon, the Met is presenting the other four most prominent Puccini operas, also in revivals: Franco Zeffirelli’s Turandot (Sep. 23), with a rotating cast of sopranos Christine Goerke, Lise Lindstrom, and Stemme, and tenors Marcelo Álvarez and Marco Berti; Tosca, conducted by Plácido Domingo and with the leads passing between four sopranos and three tenors—Oksana Dyka, Angela Gheorghiu, Maria Guleghina, Liudmyla Monastyrska, Massimo Giordano, Marcello Giordani, and Roberto Aronica— (October 16); La Boheme in Zeffirelli’s production (Nov. 23); and Anthony Minghella’s Madama Butterfly, with Opolais returning as Cio-Cio San, opposite tenor Roberto Alagna (February 19).
After Otello come Verdi’s Il Trovatore, starring soprano Anna Netrebko, tenor Yonghoon Lee, and baritone Dmitri Hvorostovsky (Sep. 25); Michael Mayer’s production of Rigoletto returns October 20, featuring baritones George Gagnidze and Željko Lučić sharing the lead; and James Levine conducts Domingo in Simon Boccanegra (April 1). There will also be Mozart—last year’s opening production of Le Nozze di Figaro (Feb. 25) with bass Mikhail Petrenko singing Figaro at the Met for the first time, and Die Entführung aus dem Serail (Apr. 22) with Levine conducting and Albina Shagimuratova in the coloratura role of Konstanze, along with tenor Paul Appleby as Belmonte—and Rossini’s La Donna del Lago will return, with Joyce DiDonato, on December 11. The double bill of Cavalleria Rusticana/Pagliacci is on stage beginning January 21, and Die Fledermaus runs over the Christmas holiday season, starting December 4. The sole Wagner opera on this season’s schedule is Tannhaüser (Oct. 6), again with Levine in the pit, and with baritone Peter Mattei as Wolfram and mezzo Michelle DeYoung as Venus. On February 28, Netrebko takes the stage for a solo recital, where she will sing music by Rimsky-Korsakov, Tchaikovsky, and others.
Away from the Met, Gotham Chamber Opera has a more compact season this year than they have in recent times, with only two productions set: San Giovanni Battista, a 17th century work from Alessandro Stradella, and Charlie Parker’s Yardbird, an opera from Daniel Schnyder about Parker, the saxophonist and founder of bebop. Each is a co-production, with the Netherlands National ReisOpera and the Apollo Theater/Opera Philadelphia, respectively.
While Charlie Parker’s Yardbird is scheduled for May 31 and June 3 and 5, at the Apollo Theater, details for San Gionvanni Battista remain to be set, although the production will go up in February. There are two concert attractions for Gotham Chamber Opera, a 15th Anniversary Celebration Concert slated for an as yet undetermined date and venue in the fall, and a concert of music from Catherine Doctorow Prize winner David Hertzberg, also to be determined.
Experiments in Opera reaches their fifth anniversary this year, with four events scheduled. On October 26 at the Stone, they will present “Burroughs Cuts up the Great Bards,” a collaborative song-cyle, with music coming from eleven different composers.December 12—also at the Stone—is a portrait of Matthew Welch, one of the companies founders, and he and his bagpipes/gamelan/rock band, Blarvuster, will play scenes from his opera about his family’s time in a Filipino prison camp. Next April, Anthology Film Archives will screen six video opera (date TBA) and on July 28, Experiments returns to the Stone for a program of experimental choral works.
Chelsea Opera stages Tom Cipullo’s Glory Denied at St. Peter’s Church in Chelsea, November 12 and 14; Loft Opera has a Verdi program scheduled for September 25 – 26; thingNY, who were behind the premiere of Robert Ashley’s final opera, Crash, presents a new work, This Takes Place Close By, in the gigantic Knockdown Center in Queens, September 24 and 25 – 27.
William Christie and Les Arts Florissants will be coming to New York with two different, notable works. October 31, at Alice Tully Hall, they will perform a concert version of Handel’s Theodora (as part of Lincoln Center’s Great Performers Series). In the spring, the ensemble is at BAM, April 14, 16, and 17, with a fully-staged production of André Campra’s opera-ballet Les Fétes vénitiennes. This will be the US premiere of Robert Carsen’s production of this 18th century grand entertainment.
In new opera, Beth Morrison Projects presents Keeril Makan’s Persona at National Sawdust on October 23 and 24, and then returns with the Prototype Festival in January. Productions for this season’s festival will include Angel’s Bone by Du Yun, composer and artistic director of the MATA Festival, Donnacha Dennehy’s eerie The Last Hotel, and a revival of David T. Little’s impressive Dog Days.
BAM is also producing a new opera from artist and director Kentridge, Refuse the Hour, as part of their Next Wave Festival (Oct. 22 – 24). Kentridge conceived this multi-media chamber opera about the nature of time, and wrote the libretto, Philip Miller composed the music, and there is choreography by Dad Masilo, video from Catherine Meyburgh, and dramaturgy from physicist Peter Galison.
Cellist Maya Beiser will also appear as part of the Next Wave, with a new theatrical work titled All Vows (Oct. 14 – 17), where she will play music from Glenn Kotche, David T. Little, Michael Gordon, Michael Harrison, and Mohammed Fairouz, along with her own arrangements of classic blues and rock. Her performance will be accompanied by a film from Bill Morrison.
Carnegie Hall and Other Venues
At Carnegie Hall there will be the usual variety and abundance. This season is the start of Carnegie’s 125 Commission Project that will bring at least 125 new works of music to the hall through 2020. There will be new orchestral, chamber, and vocal music this season: Valery Gergiev will lead the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra in Olga Neuwirth’s Masaot/Clocks Without Hands, along with Mussorgsky’s Prelude to Khovanschina and selections from Götterdammerung (Feb. 27); the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, with conductor Robert Spano, will play the New York premiere of Jonathan Leshnoff’s Zohar, along with Brahms’ Ein deutsches requiem (Apr. 30); the St. Lawrence String Quartet will play John Adams’ Second Quartet, along with Haydn and Beethoven, on October 29; Ensemble ACJW will play a new piece from Ted Hearne—and Mozart, Beethoven and Hummel—on February 15; and tenor Paul Appleby premieres new music from Matthew Aucoin on March 16, accompanied by Ken Noda (the program also includes works by Lachner, Schumann, Wolf, Berlioz, and Villa-Lobos).
Carnegie’s Fast Forward series includes a concert of world premieres written for the American Composers Orchestra (Oct. 23), an appearance by the Chicago ensemble eighth blackbird (Jan. 16), and world and local premieres from the Kronos Quartet, holders of this season’s Creative Chair position (Apr. 2). Ensemble ACJW, the training group supported by Carnegie and Juilliard, will play more concerts mixing old and new, including Schumann, Brahms and Timo Andres on October 19, and Copland, Steven Mackey, Ives’ The Unanswered Question and Philip Glass’ String Quartet No. 5, on April 12.
Carnegie is the place that all notable visiting musicians go to show off their best. Sir Simon Rattle will lead the Berliner Philharmoniker in all the Beethoven symphonies. November 17 – 21, culminating with the Westminster Symphonic Choir, and soloists Annette Dasch, Eva Vogel, Christian Eisner, and Dimitry Ivaschchenko joining for Symphony No. 9 on the last concert; the Vienna Philharmonic’s annual visit is rounded out with a February 26 concert of Wagner, La Mer and Pictures at an Exhibition, and a February 8 program of the Prelude and Good Friday Music from Parsifal and Tchaikovsky’s Manfred Symphony, Gergiev conducting; the Russian National Orchestra, Mikhail Pletnev, and violinist Stefan Jackiw play Borodin’s In the Steppes of Central Asia, Prokofiev’s Violin Concerto No. 2, and The Firebird Suite, March 2; and just before spring—March 15—Kent Nagano and the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal will play Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring, Ravel’s La vales, and Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 3, with Maria Joao Pires.
Visiting American orchestras include the Philadelphia Orchestra with conductor Nézet-Séguin, coming October 13, January 26, and March 11, with respective concerts of music by Grieg, Bártok (Violin Concerto No. 2 with Gil Shaham as soloist) and Sibelius, Haydn and Bruckner’s Symphony No. 4, then Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2, with Lang Lang, and the Deryck Cooke edition of Mahler’s Symphony No. 10; Andris Nelsons and the Boston Symphony, October 21 – 22, play Strauss’ Elektra in concert, with Christine Goerke singing the lead, then Prokofiev’s Alexander Nevsky and the Symphonic Dances by Rachmaninoff. On April 13, Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony bring a program of Copland (including the Piano Concerto, with Inon Barnatan as soloist) and Schumann’s Symphony No. 2; and James Levine brings the MET Orchestra in for three concerts in May: Glinka, Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2 (Evgeny Kissin plays) and Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 6 on the 19th, an all-Strauss program with Renée Fleming on the 22nd, and excerpts from Der Ring des Nibelungen with Goerke and tenor Johan Botha, on the 26th.
Kissin is the organizer of one of this season’s Perspectives series (the other is Rattle’s), and he is featured at the opening night gala on October 7, then plays recitals November 3 and 6, chamber music with Itzhak Perlman and Mischa Maisky December 3, and plays and reads poetry in a concert titled “Jewish Music and Poetry,” with rarities from Veprik and Krein, December 16. Other visiting pianists include András Schiff (Oct. 30), Jean-Yves Thibaudet (Nov. 11), Marc-André Hamelin (Jan. 20), Mitsuko Uchida (Feb. 23), Jeremy Denk (Apr. 17) and Yuja Wang (May 14). Yefim Bronfman will play the complete Prokofiev Piano Sonatas in three concerts, November 13, March 9 and May 7.
There will be vocal recitals from Isabel Leonard—accompanied by guitarist Sharon Isbin—on November 12, Diana Damrau on December 6, Marilyn Horne on January 23, and Jonas Kaufmann on January 31. Chamber music concerts will feature Gil Shaham with David Michalek, October 25; the Takács Quartet on November 19 and April 19; the MET Chamber Ensemble on December 13, and Quatour Ebène March 11.
Lincoln Center’s Great Performers series is another destination for the finest visiting artists. Tenor Mark Padmore opens the series with concerts October 14, 15 and 17. Accompanied by pianist Paul Lewis, Padmore will sing Schubert’s Die schöne Müllerin, Schwanengesang and Winterreise. Lewis returns November 14 to play the last three Beethoven Piano Sonatas.
The London Symphony visits Lincoln Center October 23 and 25, with Valery Gergiev—they will play Bartók’s Miraculous Mandarin and Piano Concerto No. 3 (Yefim Bronfman at the piano), and the complete Firebird, then an all-Bartók program of the Dance Suite, Piano Concerto No. 2 (with Bronfman) and the Concerto for Orchestra. On March 13 and 14, Gustavo Dudamel conducts the LA Philharmonic in Mahler’s Symphony No. 3 and then Appalachian Spring, with additional music from John Williams, Ginastera, and Andrew Norman.
The excellent period instruments orchestra Anima Eterna Brugge will play Beethoven January 28, including the Piano Concerto No. 1, with conductor Jos van Immerseel at the fortepiano, then the Freiburg Baroque Orchestra plays Mozart, including arias with baritone Christian Gerhaher and Lorenzo Coppola playing the clarinet d’amour in the Clarinet Concerto, February 25. The Emerson String Quartet plays three Lincoln Center concerts pairing Haydn and Beethoven on April 7, 17, and May 12.
Chamber Music and More
The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center starts off their season October 8 in the Rose Studio, with a concert of music from Reicha, Suk and Janacek. Outstanding season series are sure to be a Zemlinsky string quartet cycle, played by the Escher String Quartet on October 29, the Danish String Quartet playing the Nielsen quartets, November 12, pianist Gilbert Kalish and musicians playing Haydn, Schoenberg, and Brahms on November 22, keyboard music from Couperin, Scarlatti, Bach and Frescobaldi, played by Konstantin Lifschitz, December 8, the Jerusalem String Quartet playing the complete Bartók quartets on January 28 and February 4, pianist Anne-Marie McDermott with an all-Haydn program on February 25, a new music concert that includes Lachenmann’s Ein Kinderspiel and the US premiere of Wolfgang Rihm’s Sextet for Clarinet, Horn and Strings, taking place March 24, and the intriguingly titled “Macabre,” music by Ravel, Schubert, Caplet, and Bernard Hermann, May 13.
For season-long chamber music, Bargemusic is the destination. Their season is already in swing over the Labor Day weekend, with the Hear and Now Festival of new music. Fall highlights include the String Orchestra of Brooklyn playing a free memorial concert on September 11, then presenting further concerts September 12 and 13; Inbal Segev playing the Bach Solo Cello Suites September 25 and October 30; violinist Mark Peskanov and pianist Nina Kogan surveying the Beethoven Sonatas for Violin and Piano, October 3, 4, 17, and 18; the Brooklyn Art Song Society presenting “Ned Rorem at 92,” October 22; new music from Lisa Bielawa and Thierry Pécou on November 11; and violinist Noah Bendix-Begley and pianist Orion Weiss playing sonatas from Janacek, Brahms and Strauss, November 27. Bargemusic’s winter calendar will be available later in the fall.
92Y produces chamber music concerts in their own building and at venues around New York. Violinist Jennifer Koh and pianist Shai Wosner play Beethoven and new music in three “Bridge to Beethoven” concerts, October 26, December 7, and March 21. The “Masters of the Keyboard” series presents Angela Hewitt October 26, Stephen Hough March 23, and others. 92Y is also the leading producer of classical guitar concerts, and this season will include Pepe Romero on December 12, David Russell, March 2, and mandolinist Avi Avital and Friends, March 16.
At the Metropolitan Musuem of Art, the Chiara Quartet is in residence this season, and they will play Brahms on October 2, piano quintets with Simone Dinnerstein November 13, Bartók and Gabriela Lena Frank, March 18, and Schubert on May 6. Further old and new chamber music can be heard at the Frick Collection and the Morgan Library.
Uptown, Miller Theatre continues to be the leading destination for new music and classics of modernism. Opening night is September 17, when JACK Quartet and composer Simon Steen-Andersen turn the entire hall into an instrument for his Run Time Error. In October, Miller presents three concerts of music by William Schuman Award/Pulitzer winning composer John Luther Adams. The concerts, October 7, 9 and 10, cover three great early works that have never been heard in New York: Clouds of Forgetting, Clouds of Unknowing, For Lou Harrion, and In the White Silence.
Miller is known primarily for their Composer Portraits, comprehensive surveys of individual composers, and the Portraits this season include those for Ashley Fure on February 4, Alex Mincek February 25, Hannah Lash April 7, and Michael Gordon, May 11 and 12.
Don’t forget early music at Miller. The Orlando Consort plays 15th century music to accompany screenings of Carl Dreyer’s film,La Passion de Jeanne d’Arc, October 14 and 16; New York Polyphony sings “Songs of Hope” on November 14; the Tallis Scholars present “Christmas Across the Centuries,” December 5; and the excellent French ensemble Le Poème Harmonique performs an anthology concert, “Airs de Cour,” April 3. As an off-shoot, cellist Matt Haimovitz will play Bach and new music for concerts on October 22 and 24.
The place for new music downtown is Spectrum, which mixes new and experimental music with classics and early music. Always check their calendar for late updates, but as of this writing, pianist David Kalhous is scheduled to play Scarlatti, Janacek, Kurtag, Chopin, and new pieces on September 25, pianist Se-Hee Kin plays music by Louis Karchin on October 16, David Holzman will play more modern American piano music November 21, and pianist Augustus Arnone presents “Complete Babbitt,” November 22.
At the spectacular Park Avenue Armory, with its acoustically superior Board of Officers Room, Igor Levit will play the Goldberg Variations within an installation created by artist Marina Abramovíc (running December 7 – 19), and there will be recitals from pianist David Fray playing an all-Schubert program, October 6 – 9, the Rushes Ensemble with a concert of music from Michael Gordon, October 23, and baritone Christian Gerhaher, accompanied by Gerold Huber, will sing vocal music from Beethoven, Schoenberg, Haydn, and Berg, November 10.
The Momenta Quartet has created their own Momenta Festival, which runs from September 30 to October 4 at the Tenri Center. Performing with guest artists like Gilbert Kalish and cellist Marcy Rosen, the quartet will play, among other pieces, Morton Feldman’s For Aaron Copland, Philip Glass’ Music in Similar Motion, Ives String Quartet No. 2, Crumb’s Black Angels, an arrangement of Victoria’s Quam pulchri sunt, and Debussy’s String Quartet in G minor.
For more music on the cutting edge, there is BAM, Spectrum, and the aforementioned Roulette, ISSUE Project Room, and National Sawdust. The first classical music event at Roulette is September 11, the finale of the Resonant Bodies Festival of new vocal music. The festival opens on September 9 at Merkin Concert Hall, and across the two nights the likes of Dawn Upshaw, Tony Arnold, Kate Soper, and Jeffrey Gavett with perform a wide range of modern and contemporary music. On November 2, Mivos Quartet will premiere Eric Wubbels’ Being Time, a large-scale composition that uses acoustic music and quadrophonic electronic sound.
Yarn/Wire returns to ISSUE Project Room on September 29 for another installment in their Currents series, this one a collaboration with electronic/laptop musicians Mark Fell and Sam Pluta. National Sawdust already has some ambitious events planned: two “volumes” of a Terry Riley festival, on October 2 and 4, with Gyan Riley, Roomful of Teeth, Matmos, and John Zorn joining Riley’s ensemble Abbeyozzud. There is a John Zorn festival as well, mixing a substantial amount of his vast range as a musician. Classical concerts include two books of Madrigals on October 9, separate sets of piano and cello music on October 30, and “Magickal Chamber” music on Halloween. ICE plays the venue three nights in November, including a Pierre Boulez at 90 concert (Nov. 17, 18 and 21), and Miranda Cuckson and Yarn/Wire come together for a concert of music by George Lewis and Chiyoko Szlavnics on Dec. 4.
New York’s leading early music ensemble, the American Classical Orchestra, opens their season at Alice Tully Hall September 10, with Thomas Crawford leading the group and pianist Jiaya Sun in an all-Beethoven program: Piano Concerto No. 5, Leonore Overture No. 3, and Symphony No. 7. Other season highlights include Bach’s St. John Passion, November 3, and the season ending with an all Mozart “Festkonzert”—including the Gran Partita and Symphony No. 40, June 9.
Music Before 1800 mixes instrumental and vocal music all season long. Beginning with Rebel on October 4, their season includes the Cappella Pratensis singing Josquin’s Missa Ave maris stella on November 8, the Folger Consort and Stile Antico marking the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death on January 24, lute and soprano duo Asteria performing love songs by Binchois, Busnoys and Dufay, March 17, and Quicksilver playing music that might have been found in “Bach’s Library,” April 24.
There will be music seemingly everywhere, all the time. That’s one thing that never changes in New York.
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