In our Second Season Arts package, we look at the upcoming months and share some of the stuff we’re dying to see and hear between now and summer. Here's CP's classical-music critic Peter Burwasser's picks; for more on what's coming up in music and the arts, check out our calendars of spring must-sees for visual arts, dance, theater and music from pop to jazz to roots.
American opera is dominated by the Italian repertoire, but Tchaikovsky’s treatment of the Pushkin novel Eugene Onegin is as tuneful and dramatic as anything from Puccini or Verdi.
Jan. 15-22, Helen Corning Warden Theater, Academy of Vocal Arts.
Curtis Symphony Orchestra
Featuring the glowing zeal of the cream of the crop of the world’s best young musicians, Curtis Orchestra concerts are always a highlight of the season. This high-voltage program includes the music of Beethoven, Mahler and superb contemporary composer Steven Stucky.
Feb. 17, Kimmel Center.
This foursome has always been the Shostakovich string quartet (they premiered most of them for the composer). Borodin’s intense program includes the Russian composer’s Quartets Nos. 3 and 5, plus the ever-knotty “Great Fugue” of Beethoven.
March 28, Kimmel Center, Philadelphia Chamber Music Society.
One of the most delightful collaborations of recent years has been between Renaissance band Piffaro and composer Kile Smith. They’re at it again, but this time Smith is joined by another local composer of note, Arne Running, plus the forces of Orchestra 2001. There will also be more traditional fare, with the much-admired soprano Julianne Baird as a guest.
Temple University Symphony Orchestra + Choirs
Michael Daugherty writes highly colorful and engaging music, often inspired by pop-culture references such as comic books. His Reflections on the Mississippi for Tuba and Orchestra gets its world premiere here, with terrific Philadelphia Orchestra principal Carol Jantsch as soloist.
March 24, Kimmel Center, Boyer College of Music.
Bach’s enormous masterpiece The St. Matthew Passion has the heft and emotional range of grand opera. It is without any doubt a great monument of Western art, and too-rarely performed here. This will be a true test of Yannick’s mettle.
March 28-30, Kimmel Center.
This locally based pianist plays with an energy and discipline that always makes for a riveting live-music exper-ience. This program will include world premieres of music by Wagner and Brodhead, as well as works by Schubert, Brahms and Beethoven.
April 7, American Philosophical Society, Philadelphia Chamber Music Society.
Powder Her Face
British composer Thomas Adès is something of the “it” kid in new music, with the recent successful premiere of his opera Tempest at New York’s Met. Here is an early work, Powder Her Face, in a rather cheekier style.
June 7-16, Kimmel Center, Philadelphia Opera Company.