No fear or letup in a packed New York music season from Adams to Weill

Wed Aug 27, 2014 at 11:01 am
Sir Simon Rattle and the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra will open Carnegie Hall's season with concerts October 1-5. Photo: Matt Dine

Sir Simon Rattle and the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra will open Carnegie Hall’s season with concerts October 1-5. Photo: Matt Dine

Probably every New Yorker, native or transplant, goes through a period of experiencing the Fear Of Missing Out. In the city that never sleeps, there is something interesting to do every single day of the year—not just one thing, but many things, and seemingly at all hours. The symptoms of FOMO range from the angst that strikes in the middle of an event, the sensation that you should have gone to that other thing, to a paralysis by analysis: overwhelmed by conflicting and equally worthwhile choices, you stay home instead.

The problem is acute once September, and the official performing season, begins: a deluge of symphony concerts, chamber music series, recitals, new music, operas. New York Classical Review’s preview is a subjective, informed try at directing you to what we feel are the most promising, important and memorable events throughout the season (with many more to be announced once the season is in full swing), highlighting music across genres, styles and tastes. As always, see what you love, and, hopefully, you will love what you see.

The Vocal Arts

The most welcome news of the new season is that there will in fact be a new season at the Metropolitan Opera. With the announcements that the house and unions have negotiated new labor agreements, the only large-scale professional opera company left in New York opens September 22 with a new production of one of the greatest operas of all, Le Nozze di Figaro (Sep. 22 – Dec. 20). The other new productions at the Met for 2014 – 15 include Cavalleria Rusticana & Pagliacci (Apr. 14 – May 8), and Iolanta & Bluebeard’s Castle (Jan. 26 – Feb. 21). The highest profile event will surely be the already-controversial run of John Adams’ The Death of Klinghoffer (Oct. 20 – Nov. 15), and other notable operas on the calendar include Verdi’s Don Carlo (Mar. 30 – Apr. 25,) and his Macbeth (Sep. 24 – Oct. 18) with a cast of Anna Netrebko, Željko Lucic, René Pape and Joseph Calleja, Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk (Nov. 10 – Nov. 29), The Rake’s Progress (May 1 – May 9), Diana Damrau’s first Met performances as Manon (Mar. 9 – Mar. 28), and more Mozart: Don Giovanni (Feb. 24 – Mar. 6) with Peter Mattei in the lead and Alan Gilbert conducting, and the full-length version of Julie Taymor’s groundbreaking and beloved production of Die Zauberflöte, conducted by Adam Fischer.

The Met is far from the only opera game in town, and the loss of New York City Opera has had the unexpected consequence of opening up the scene to numerous small companies staking their claim to the opera tradition, old and new. The largest of these is Gotham Chamber Opera, which is producing an unusual Martinu double-bill of  Alexandre bis and Comedy on the Bridge (Oct. 14 – 18), and reviving their 2010 production of El gato con botas (Dec. 6 – 14). The biggest single opera event in New York, outside of the Met, has quickly become the annual Prototype Festival—the third installment lands on stages around the city January 8 – 17, with seven different productions, including world premieres of Bora Yoon’s multimedia Sunken Cathedral and Stefan Weisman’s The Scarlet Ibis, and the return of Paola Prestini’s and Rinde Eckert’s Aging Magician.

No less worthwhile are companies like Chelsea Opera, which has a two-production season with The Face on the Barroom Floor and Emperor Norton, by Henry Mollicone (Nov. 7 – 8), and Tosca (Jun. 5 – 6); The Secret Opera, which will be performing Gian Carlo Menotti’s The Medium in November (dates TBD); there is also Gordon Beeferman’s intriguing The Enchanted Organ: A Porn Opera, appearing one night only, September 4; and the premiere of Laura Kaminsky’s As One at BAM (Sep. 4 – 7); and ISSUE Project Room has commissioned a new opera from Elliott Sharp that depicts Walter Benjamin’s final moments (Oct. 16 – 17).

You can find opera away from the dramatic stage as well, and one of the most interesting opera houses this season will be the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The museum is hosting three very different, new opera productions: musician and digital artist Ryoji Ikeda’s Superposition makes its U.S. premiere in the fall (Oct. 17 – 18), Opera Erratica is staging their La Celestina in the Vélez Blanco Patio (Mar. 20 – 29), while Jacob TV’s multimedia opera The News will be in the more traditional setting of the Grace Rainey Rogers Auditorium (Apr. 17 – 18).

There’s opera in concert at Carnegie Hall this season. The English Concert returns with Handel’s Alcina (Oct. 26), pianist Jeremy Denk and composer Steve Stucky have assembled The Classical Style: An Opera (of Sorts), inspired by Charles Rosen’s book (December 4), and John Eliot Gardiner leads the Monteverdi Choir and the English Baroque Soloists in Monteverdi’s L’Orfeo (May 1).

For vocal recitals, there are leading men and leading ladies, but the leading vocal series in New York is the New York Festival of Song. With Michael Barrett and Steven Blier accompanying and coaching, NYFOS presents thematic concerts that are both wildly entertaining and emotionally compelling. Their programs this season are “Art Song on the Couch: Lieder in Freund’s Vienna” (Nov. 11), “Harlem Renaissance” (Dec. 9), “Bel Canto/Can Belto” (Mar. 17) and “Letters from Spain: A World of Song in Spanish Poetry” (Apr. 28).

Highlights of the extensive solo recital season are: bass René Pape at the Metropolitan Opera (Sep. 28); Carnegie Hall features soprano Pretty Yende (Oct. 13), bass-baritone Luca Pisaroni (Oct. 16), baritone Thomas Hampson singing a world premiere work from Jennifer Higdon (Feb. 9), mezzo Sasha Cooke (Mar. 12), soprano Dorothea Röschmann, accompanied by Mitsuko Uchida (Apri. 22), soprano Heidi Stober’s New York recital debut (Mar. 27), and mezzo Stephanie Blythe (May 15); the George London Foundation Series is at the Morgan Library (Nov. 9, Jan. 11, Mar. 22). Singers appearing at Lincoln Center include the excellent tenor Matthew Polenzani (Feb. 4), the sizzling soprano Anna Caterina Antonacci (Mar. 5), and baritone Simon Keenlyside (Apr. 29)

John Adas "The Death of Klinghoffer" will e perfored at the etropoltan Opera xxx. Photo: English National Opera

John Adams’ “The Death of Klinghoffer” will be performed at the Metropolitan Opera October 20-November 15. Photo: English National Opera

Music for Large Ensembles

The New York Philharmonic’s season kicks off with guests Joshua Bell, Renée Fleming and Josh Groban and “La Dolce Vita: Music of Italian Cinema,” another installment in their The Art of the Score series (Sep. 16 – 17). The meat of their season begins a week later, with the U.S. premiere of Unsuk Chin’s Clarinet Concerto, with Kari Kriikku, and Mahler’s Symphony No. 1 (Sep. 23-30). The Phil also plays the premiere of Composer-in-Residence Christopher Rouses’s Thunderstruck, paired with Artist-in-Residence Lisa Biatishvili playing the Brahms Violin Concerto (Oct. 9-14). Alan Gilbert and the orchestra conclude their dynamic Nielsen Project with two sets of concerts, Symphonies 5 & 6 and the Maskarade Overture (Oct. 1 – 3), and the Clarinet Concerto, played by Anthony McGill, on a program that includes Ravel’s Valses nobles et sentimentales and selections from Swan Lake (Jan. 8 – 13). Gilbert leads Verdi’s Requiem (Jan. 15 – 17), Debussy’s Jeux and music by Esa-Pekka Salonen, Ravel and Strauss (Mar. 19 – 24), the world premiere of John Adams’ Scheherazade.2 with violinist Leila Josefowicz (Mar. 26 – 28), and Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 10 and a U.S. premiere by Thierry Escaich (Apr. 8 – 11). The season concludes in typically grand fashion with a staged performance of Honegger’s Joan or Arc at the Stake, featuring actress Marion Cotillard and soprano Erin Morley (Jun. 10 – 13).

Notable guest conductors and soloists with the Philharmonic include Salonen and pianist Jeremy Denk playing Beethoven and Stravinsky (Oct. 16 – 18), Lang Lang playing two Mozart piano concertos (Oct. 21), Yefim Bronfman playing Bartók’s Piano Concerto No. 3, with Bruckner’s Symphony No. 8 (Oct. 23 – 25, 28), Jaap Van Zweden conducting and Hilary Hahn playing Korngold’s Violin Concerto (Nov. 26 – 29), Christoph von Dohnányi and cellist Alisa Weilerstein playing Dvorak (Dec. 4 – 9), David Robertson and pianist Emanuel Ax (Jan. 28 – 31), a program to celebrate the 15th anniversary of Yo-Yo Ma’s Silk Road Ensemble (Feb. 19 – 21), Thomas Adès leading the U.S. premiere of his Totentanz with mezzo Christianne Stotijn and baritone Simon Keenlyside (Mar. 12 – 14), and Susanna Mälkki and pianist Jonathan Biss performing Brahms’ Piano Concerto No. 1 (May 21 – 23).

The Orchestra of St. Luke’s gives chamber music concerts around the five boroughs through most of the season, and the whole ensemble will accompany a staging of The Rite of Spring by master puppeteer Basil Twist (Oct. 15 – 18), then open its full season under Pablo Heras-Casado with Purcell, Tchaikovsky, Dallapiccola and Mendelssohn (Nov. 6), then play Wagner, Dvorak and Haydn under guest conductor Harry Bickett (Jan. 15)—both concerts at Carnegie Hall.

Orpheus Chamber Orchestra also plays at Carnegie, opening with Jonathan Biss at the piano and Beethoven and Poulenc (Oct. 23). During the season they will play new commissioned works from Anna Clyne (Dec. 6) and Timo Andres (Feb. 7), and welcome Fazil Say as both pianist and composer (Apr. 11).

Leon Botstein’s American Symphony Orchestra begins their season with an all-Strauss program at Carnegie (Oct. 15), then brings a compelling program of Vaughan Williams’ Symphony No. 6, Ligeti’s Requiem and Schnittke’s Nagasaki to the hall (Dec. 10). During the season they will also play Bruckner’s Symphony No. 00 (Mar. 26), music by George Rochberg and other Ivy League composers (Apr. 19), and honor George Perle’s 100th birthday (May 29).

Carnegie Hall is the main venue for visiting orchestras, and their season begins with a residency from the Berlin Philharmonic and conductor Simon Rattle. October 1, the orchestra and Anne-Sophie Mutter will play Rachmaninoff, Stravinsky and Bruch’s Violin Concerto No. 1. Concerts continue October 2, 5 and 6, the final two dates covering the Schumann symphonies. The orchestra then moves on to the Park Avenue Armory for Peter Sellars’ staging of Bach’s St. Matthew Passion (Oct. 7 – 8).

Several more international orchestras appear at Carnegie, including the Vienna Philharmonic’s regular concerts with the Brahms’ Symphony No. 1 and No. 3 (Feb. 27), Symphony No. 2 and No. 4 (Feb. 28) and A German Requiem (Mar. 1). There will be welcome visits from less familiar, but stellar, ensembles like the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra (Nov. 16), the Danish National Symphony Orchestra, also with Anne-Sophie Mutter, playing Sibelius and Nielsen (Feb. 11), and Leif Ove Andsnes conducts from the keyboard and plays Beethoven Piano Concertos No. 1 and No. 5 with the Mahler Chamber Orchestra (Feb. 25).

American orchestras coming through Carnegie Hall include the San Francisco Symphony and Michael Tilson Thomas, with Mahler’s Symphony No. 7 (Nov. 19) and new music from Samuel Carl Adams and the complete Daphnis et Chloé (Nov. 20); Riccardo Muti with the Chicago Symphony, playing Debussy and Scriabin (Jan. 30) and Prokofiev’s Alexander Nevsky (Feb. 1). The St. Louis Symphony and David Robertson return after last year’s unforgettable performance of Peter Grimes, this time playing Debussy, Tchaikovsky, and a new work from Meredith Monk (Mar. 20), the Boston Symphony plays Mahler’s grim Symphony No. 6 (Apr. 17), and the Philadelphia Orchestra comes for four concerts: playing Mahler’s Symphony No. 2 (Oct. 31), Brahms, Haydn and Strauss (Dec. 5), Nico Muhly, Beethoven and Rachmaninoff (May 14), and accompanying Joyce DiDonato and other singers in music from the bel canto era (Mar. 18).

Lincoln Center also welcomes orchestra in their Great Performers series. Riccardo Chailly will lead the wonderful Gewandhaus Orchestra of Leipzig in their bread and butter: Bach and Bruckner (Nov. 9) and Beethoven and Mendelssohn (Nov. 10). Iván Fischer’s Budapest Festival Orchestra plays Mendelssohn (including Fanny), with Brahms (Jan. 18), then Brahms and Mozart (Jan. 21), while Tilson Thomas does extra duty with the London Symphony Orchestra (Mar. 18).

Artist-in-residence with the New York Philharmonic  Lisa Batiashvili will perform Brahms with Alan Gilbert and the orchestra xxx.

Artist-in-residence with the New York Philharmonic Lisa Batiashvili will perform Brahms with Alan Gilbert and the orchestra October 9-14.

Music for Small Ensembles

There is, quite possibly, chamber music every day of the week from October through next May. The headliner is the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, and their wide-ranging season includes chamber versions of Mozart piano concertos (Oct. 15), an appearance from the Pacifica Quartet (Nov. 7), percussion music from Bartók to Takemitsu (Feb. 3), and a program of Copland and Stravinsky (Apr. 19). Alongside this, the Takács Quartet will make two appearances in the Great Performers series, February 26 and March 19.

There are four or five chamber music concerts almost every week of the year at Bargemusic, which also has the best view of any hall in New York City. Fall highlights include new music from Japan (Sep. 19), a Bartók cycle from the Chiara Quartet (Sep. 16 & Oct. 17), songs from Darius Milhaud (Nov. 6) and a program of music inspired by the “Kreutzer Affair” (Nov. 14). Check their site regularly for updates.

Chamber music at Carnegie Hall features Yefim Bronfman with the Emerson String Quartet (Oct. 14), the Brentano Quartet with Joyce DiDonato (Feb. 5), Richard Goode and Friends (Feb. 22 & Mar. 26), the MET Chamber Ensemble playing 20th century classics (Mar. 8), and Anne-Sophie Mutter—who organizes the season’s Perspectives series—plays with Yefim Bronfman and cellist Lynn Harrell (Apr. 14). Other string quartets to the play the hall are the Belcea Quartet (Oct. 22), and Quatour Ebène (Nov. 12). Carnegie also features pairs of solos stars, playing together: violinist Leonidas Kavakos and pianist Yuja Wang (Nov. 22), and poetic young pianist Daniil Trifonov with violinist Gidon Kremer (Jan. 23).

Uptown at Symphony Space, the New York Chamber Music Festival, featuring Pascal Rogé, runs September 5 – 7, while across the park 92Y hosts several series in their hall, including Art of the Guitar (Nov. – May), Masters of the Keyboard with Jeremy Denk, Jonathan Biss, Marc-André Hamelin and Nikolai Lugansky (Nov. – Mar.), and string soloists in their Distinguished Artists series (Sep. – Jan.). Downtown at SubCulture, 92Y presents the Smetana Trio (Oct. 22) and Schoenberg’s early chamber music (Dec. 15). Also at SubCulture, the Ariel Quartet plays a Beethoven cycle through the season (beginning Sep. 30).

Merkin Concert Hall is the place to hear the New York Philharmonic chamber ensembles (Oct. 19, Nov. 23 & Jan. 18), the string group Concertante (Nov. 9, Mar. 3 & May 5), and the Israeli Chamber Project (Oct. 23 & Apr. 18). Chamber music is also a staple of the museum concerts, with the St. Luke’s Chamber Ensemble at the Morgan Library (Oct. 22 & 24, Feb. 11 & 13, May 13 & 15), Quatuor Mosaïques (Nov. 9) and the Vienna Piano Trio (Mar. 15) at the Frick, while at the Metropolitan Museum the Attacca Quartet is in residence, with five performances from October through April, and the string quartet ETHEL plays every Friday and Saturday evening on the main terrace, free with admission.

Music of composer Anna Clyne will be presented at the Miller Theater April 23.

Music of composer Anna Clyne will be presented at the Miller Theatre April 23. Photo: Todd Rosenberg

A (Wo)Man Alone

The abundance of excellent piano soloists at Carnegie Hall includes Maurizio Pollini (Oct. 19), Pierre-Laurent Aimard playing The Well-Tempered Clavier, Book I (Nov. 13), Daniil Trifonov (Dec. 9), Yuja Wang playing Mompou and Scriabin (Dec. 11), András Schiff (Mar. 10 & 12), Piotr Anderszewski (Mar. 19), Murray Perahia (Apr. 1), Richard Goode (Apr. 24), Steven Hough playing Debussy and Chopin (May 9), and Evgeny Kissin (May 16). Harpsichordist Richard Egarr plays a recital February 9. There will also be debuts in Weill Recital Hall from harpist Sivan Magen (Oct. 21), violinistsItamar Zorman (Nov. 5) and Kristóf Baráti (Jan. 21), and pianist Behzod Abduraimov (Feb. 18).

Violist Kim Kashkashian plays at the Morgan Library (Mar. 11)—and in the ensemble Tre Voci at (Le) Poisson Rouge (Oct. 6). There are recitals from young artists at the Morgan Library: cellist Cicely Parnas, with pianist Noreen Polera (Jan. 28), pianist Andrew Tyson (Mar. 4), and violinist Paul Huang, who plays Beethoven, Pärt and Franck (Apr. 22). Also at the Morgan, Philip Glass Ensemble Music Director Michael Reisman plays Glass’ score for Dracula on the piano to accompany a screening of the film (Oct. 31). British pianist Charles Owens makes his local debut at the Frick (Oct. 19), as do pianist Kevin Kenner (Dec. 14) and German cellist Leonard Eischenbroich (Mar. 29).

Solo recitals at Bargemusic include the ubiquitous piano and violin, and go beyond. Clarinetist Alexander Fiterstein is first on the calendar (Sep. 6), and is followed, in part, by violinist Gregory Fulkerson (Sep. 24), cellist Colin Carr (Sep. 27), cellist Martti Rousi playing the complete Bach Solo Cello Suites (Oct. 18 & 19), a special Halloween program from pianist David Kaplan and actor Sherman Howard (Oct. 31), and pianist Adam Neiman playing the complete Rachmaninoff Études-Tableaux (Nov. 21). Again, check the Bargemusic calendar regularly for changes and updates.

Around town, violinist Alexi Kenny plays Janacek and Beethoven at Barbès (Nov. 9), the incredible young cellist Jay Campbell will be at SubCulture (Apr. 15). Flutist, musical entreupener and MacArthur Fellow Claire Chase brings her riveting Density series, in which she commissions new flute music every year through 2036, to The Kitchen (Oct. 2). Soloists in the Lincoln Center Great Performers are pianists Garrick Ohlsson (Jan. 29) and Emanuel Ax (May 7), and violinists Joshua Bell (Mar. 4) and Lisa Batiashvili (Mar. 30).

The Old

The finest early music performers visit New York during the season, and there is also a growing local cohort of ensembles and musicians. The terrific American Classical Orchestra opens their season with Krista Bennion Feeney giving a rare period instrument performance of the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto (Sep. 23). Thomas Crawford also leads the group in the Bach Mass in B minor (Nov. 15) and Beethoven’s “Pastorale” Symphony (Jun. 4).

The main early music event for the season is Carnegie Hall’s Before Bach festival, which brings together an astonishing collection of musicians and ensembles. Some, but not all, of the concerts will be Jordi Savall playing gamba music by Jean de Sainte-Colombe and Marin Marais (Apr. 13), and leading Le Concert des Nations in orchestral music from Lully and Couperin (Apr. 16), Fretwork (Apr. 20), L’Arpeggiata performing opera arias from Cavalli (Apr. 7), the Tallis Scholars singing sacred music from Josquin, Byrd and Tallis (Apr. 18), Kristian Bezuidenhout (Apr. 23), and John Elliot Gardiner conducting the English Baroque Soloists and the Monteverdi Choir in Monteverdi’s Vespro della Beata Vergine (Apr. 30), and Monteverdi’s L’Orfeo (May 1).

Beyond Before Bach, there is even more early music at Carnegie. Under the heading of their Baroque Unlimited series, you can see Richard Egarr directing the Academy of Ancient Music in an all-Bach program (Nov. 7), the Venice Baroque Orchestra (Mar. 11), and tenor Nicholas Phan singing Dowland, Purcall, and more (Mar. 18).

Early music is a staple for Miller Theatre too, which holds these series concerts at the Church of St. Mary the Virgin near Times Square. The excellent French ensemble Le Poème Harmonique returns this season (Oct. 25), and there is a stellar run of vocal groups: New York Polyphony (Nov. 15), the Tallis Scholars (Dec. 13) and Stile Antico (Feb. 28).

Lincoln Center Great Performers has a series devoted to baroque era chamber orchestras, with soprano Natalie Dessay and countertenor Christophe Dumaux singing and all-Handel program with Emmanuelle Haim and Le Concert d’Astrée (Nov. 30), Adam Fischer leading the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment (Feb 28), William Christie and Les Arts Florissants (Apr. 23) and violinist Fabio Biondi and Europa Galante (May 10).

The Boston Early Music Festival celebrates their 25th anniversary this season, and plays three concerts at the Morgan Library (Oct. 10, Feb 5 & Apr. 9). Also at the Morgan there will be a concert of Handel’s rarely heard Resurrection Oratorio (Mar. 25).

The New

The mind-boggling abundance of new music this season is a testament to the genre’s continued vitality and important. Opening night for the entire New York City classical season might just be September 9, when BAM launches their Next Wave Festival with a celebration of 50 years of music from the Nonesuch record label. Leading the way will be three historic concerts from the Philip Glass Ensemble and Steve Reich and Musician (Sep. 9 – 11), the first time the two composer will share the stage in 30 years. Together they will join in two performances of Reich’s rigorous Four Organs, and the ensembles will survey the careers of each composers, with performances of Music for 18 Musicians, excerpts from Music in Twelve Parts and Glass’ operatic music and film scores, and more.

Next Wave also includes soprano Dawn Upshaw and pianist Gilbert Kalish playing songs by Ives and Crumb (Sep. 11), two concerts by Alarm Will Sound—a John Adams program (Oct. 12), and Reich, Tyondai Braxton and Donnacha Dennehy (Oct. 13)—and multiple keyboardists playing Glass’ Etudes (Dec. 5 & 6).

Throughout the season, Miller Theatre is the leading venue for music in the high modernist tradition. Their season opens with eighth blackbird playing contemporary and Italian baroque music (Sep. 18), then their signature Composer Portraits series presents in-depth hearings of music from Chaya Czernowin (Oct. 23), Keeril Makan (Dec. 5), Anna Clyne (Apr. 23), and several more. Miller’s latest series is Bach, Revisited, which pairs Bach and contemporary composers like Michael Gordon (Mar. 12) and Helmut Lachenmann (Apr. 9).

Adams will lead the Yale Philharmonic and Brentano String Quartet in his Absolute Jest and music from Beethoven at Avery Fisher Hall as part of the Yale in New York series (Oct. 19), and the Yale Percussion group plays Mauricio Kagel’s theatrical Dressur in Weill Recital Hall (Jan. 25). There will also be more of Reich’s music, and post-minimalist percussion music, to come from Sandbox Percussion at the DiMenna Center (Sep. 13).

Carnegie Hall is also a major center for new music. Meredith Monk holds the Richard and Barbara Debs Composer’s Chair for the 2014 – 15 season, and her music will be heard in numerous concerts: a birthday celebration at (Le) Poisson Rouge (Nov. 20), on an American Composers Orchestra program in Zankel Hall (Nov. 21), an Ensemble ACJW performance of a newly commissioned work (Feb. 16), and two performances by Monk herself, with various musicians and her own vocal ensemble (Mar. 22 & May 5). The Carnegie Fast Forward series includes an all-Steve Reich program, with Drumming and the U.S. premiere of his Quartet (Oct. 29), the Theatre of Voices singing Stockhausen’s Stimmung (Feb. 21), and an all-Pierre Boulez concert by pianists Pierre-Laurent Aimard and Tamara Stefanovich (Mar. 16).

Roulette is home to Thomas Buckner’s Interpretations series, which this season includes a “Tribute to Robert Ashley” (Sep. 11), the trio of Chris Brown, Frank Gratowsky and William Winant (Dec. 11), and the brilliant string duo String Noise (Jan. 29). Roulette also hosts The Knights (Sep. 18), and Beth Morrison’s production of David Lang’s opera The Difficulty of Crossing a Field (Sep. 28). The Dedalus Ensemble returns from Europe to play Tom Johnsons’s new Counting to Seven (Oct. 13), and Annie Gosfield and JACK Quartet present the world premier of her Signal Jamming and Random Interference (Dec. 7).

The New York Philharmonic’s CONTACT! new music series has three concerts this year. John Adams hosts the opener, that features music from Daniel Bjarnson, Missy Mazzoli, Timo Andres and Ingram Marshall (Nov. 17), Lisa Batiashvili plays at the second concert (Feb. 9)—both at SubCulture—while Alan Gilbert and Courtney Lewis share the conducting duties in numerous premieres at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (Mar. 7).

Avant Media, which has produced occasional concerts in the past, has their first full season this year, with six concerts along with their 6th annual Avant Music Festival (Feb. 27 – Mar. 7). Their first stand-alone concert is a performance of John Cage’s magnum opus, Song Books (Sep. 5), while following programs focus on the music of Wandelweiser composer Michael Pisaro (Nov. 19), and an evening-length piece by Nate Wooley, based on the work of avant-garde composer and language theorist Kenneth Gaburo (Jan. 19).

JACK Quartet plays music by Matthias Pintscher and Monterverdi in conjunction with the Morgan Library’s exhibit Cy Twombly: Treatise on the Veil (Nov. 20). The Argento Ensemble is inaugurating the series Mahler in New York, exploring the relationship of the composer to both this city and contemporary composers; the opening concert has new music and Klaus Simon’s chamber orchestra arrangement of Symphony No. 9 (Sep. 15). The Kitchen produces the Stockhausen “Happening,” Originale (Nov. 7 – 8), and presents Dither electric guitar quartet playing John Zorn’s Game Pieces (Dec. 13). The Baryshnikov Arts Center has commissioned a new work for pianist Phyllis Chen, for hand-made music boxes and prepared auto-harp, and she will also play Dowland and Byrd on the clavichord, and Alvin Lucier’s Music for Piano with Magnetic Strings (Dec. 10). Across the Hudson, but in the metropolitan area, Peak Performances will premiere Scott Johnson’s Mind Out of Matter, a piece based on the writing of Daniel C. Dennett, with Alarm Will Sound (Oct. 4 – 5). Du Yun will have a new work, Tattooed in the Snow, performed there as well (Feb. 8), and will assuredly be heard in the MATA Festival, which is currently accepting scores for their 2015 installment. ISSUE Project Room hosts concerts by ensemble Yarn/Wire (Oct. 9 & Nov. 7).

Music for Masses and Voices

Choral music can be heard year round in sacred spaces in New York, particularly Trinity Wall Street, under the direction of Julian Wachner, and St. Thomas Church—which welcomes visiting choirs from Westminster Abbey (Nov. 3) and King’s College, Cambridge (Mar. 20)—the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, and as an integral part of orchestral and early music concerts.

Conductor Kent Tritle celebrates his tenth year leading the Oratorio Society of New York with a Carnegie Hall series that opens with Haydn’s Die Schöpfung (Nov. 3) and ends with Chichester Psalms and Carmina Burana (May 5), The Collegiate Chorale’s first concert of their season is the eyebrow-raising local premiere of Not the Messiah (He’s a Very Naughty Boy), a comic oratorio from Monty Python’s Life of Brian, with guests Eric Idle, Victoria Clark, Mark Kudisch, Lauren Worsham and William Ferguson (Dec. 15 – 16). The Chorale will also perform the U.S. premiere of The Road of Promise, a concert version of Kurt Weill’s The Eternal Road (May 6 – 7). And Sacred Music in a Sacred Space presents Mozart’s Mass in C minor (Oct. 22), Chanticleer (Dec. 5 & 7), and music for organ-based ensemble (Mar. 15).


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