Top Spring Classical Music Performances

Kathleen Battle

Compiled by Staff

 

tenThing

Presented by Virginia Arts Festival

March 23

Attucks Theatre

Norwegian trumpeter Tine Thing Helseth has won rave reviews in recital and headlining orchestra concerts from the BBC Proms to Carnegie Hall. She also leads a unique all-female, ten-member ensemble of brass players in transcriptions of the classics that reveal new discoveries in every work. From witty embellishments to glorious new interpretations, listening to these surprising versions of classics is “a joyful blast from start to finish” (The Independent).

 

Mosaic Duo

Virginia Symphony Chamber Series

March 25

Ferguson Center

VSO’s principal flutist Debra Wendells Cross and principal harpist Barbara Chapman have been playing together for nearly 30 years, both in the VSO and as a duet. Not only have they recorded four albums together, but they have also been broadcast nationally on NPR’s “Performance Today.” The combination of flute and harp, known for its angelic sound, is a rare treat that brings out the best qualities in both instruments.

The music program will include Mosaic by Andrea Stern, Sonata for Flute and Harp by Nino Rota, and Air de Ballet by Cecile Chaminade, among others.

 

Kathleen Battle: Underground Railroad

Presented by Virginia Arts Festival

March 26

Wilder Center, Norfolk State University

Hear the voice hailed as “one of the very few most beautiful in the world” (The Washington Post). Grammy Award-winning soprano Kathleen Battle takes the audience on a journey of hope and salvation in this concert that combines traditional spirituals like He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands, I Don’t Feel No Ways Tired, and Go Down Moses with the writings of abolitionists Harriet Tubman and Frederick Douglass. Ms. Battle’s performance is backed by the mighty Norfolk State University Choir, which has performed twice at the White House and is known for the beauty of its choral tone.

 

Tchaikovsky’s Pathetique: Passionate & Poignant

Presented by Symphonicity

March 26

Sandler Center

An all-Russian program constitutes the fourth Masterworks concert for Symphonicity. The “Carnaval Overture” of Glazunov opens the concert. The beloved “Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini” will be performed by Curtis Institute of Music student, Kate Liu. The finale of the concert is the Sixth Symphony of Tchaikovsky, a work which changed the world’s concept of a symphony, and which Tchaikovsky considered to be the cornerstone of his musical legacy.

Maestro Sergey Bogza, winner of the 2016 International Conductors Workshop and Competition, is a dynamic and sensitive conductor and is in great demand as composer and pianist. He has a Doctorate of Musical Arts in Orchestral Conducting.

 

Piano Battle: Combat on the Keys – Classical Smackdown

April 2

Ferguson Center

The brainchild of acclaimed German piano virtuosi pianists Andreas Kern and Paul Cibis, Piano Battle sees the duo go head-to-head on stage, charming and enchanting the audience with a variety of classical pieces. The show is divided into several rounds, each featuring a certain musical style. The two artists, with distinctly different performance techniques, will even go so far as to improvise on the tunes audience members request. You decide the winner.

Escher String Quartet

Presented by Feldman Chamber Music Society

April 3

Chrysler Museum of Art

A former BBC New Generation Artist, the quartet has performed at the BBC Proms at Cadogan Hall and is a regular guest at Wigmore Hall. In its home town of New York, the ensemble serves as Artists of The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, this season presenting the complete Zemlinsky Quartets Cycle in a concert streamed live from the Rose Studio. In 2013, the quartet became one of the very few chamber ensembles to be awarded the prestigious Avery Fisher Career Grant. Program includes Beethoven’s Quartet No. 12 in E-flat, Op. 127, Webern’s  Five Pieces, Op. 5, and Debussy’s Quartet in G minor, Op. 10.

 

Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5

Virginia Symphony Orchestra

April 7 @ Ferguson Center

April 9 @ Sandler Center

Well-known to VSO audiences, composer Kenneth Fuchs brings us a world premiere. This is a continuation of more than 30 years of collaboration between Fuchs and Music Director JoAnn Falletta, beginning in 1985 when they were students at Juilliard. Written specifically for VSO Principal Cellist Michael Daniels and his brother David, this piece is based on the poems of artist and writer, Judith Wolf. The performance concludes with Tchaikovsky’s Fifth Symphony, a romantic staple with a heart-melting horn solo in the second movement, a favorite among musicians everywhere.

 

David Russell, Guitar

Presented by Virginia Arts Festival

April 12

Robin Hixon Theater

NPR calls this Grammy® Award-winning guitarist “a classical guitar god,” a title proven by the rush to the record store occasioned by his album releases. One of the most prolific and acclaimed classical guitarists performing today, David Russell has received shelves full of awards and honors; he’s even had a street named for him in Spain. Don’t miss this opportunity to hear one of the world’s great guitarists in the Festival’s intimate Robin Hixon Theater.

 

Itzhak Perlman: The Great Violin Scores

Presented by Virginia Arts Festival

April 13

Sandler Center

Undeniably the reigning virtuoso of the violin, Itzhak Perlman enjoys superstar status rarely afforded a classical musician. He has been awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, National Medal of the Arts, the Kennedy Center Honors, and 15 Grammy Awards as well as the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. He has performed for major film scores including Schindler’s List, Fantasia 2000, and Memoirs of a Geisha; in this eagerly anticipated Festival performance with the Virginia Symphony Orchestra, conducted by JoAnn Falletta, Perlman’s program will include moving and beautiful music for film. “An unforgettable night embodying true Hollywood romanticism…Mr. Perlman played with vulnerability and love, sweeping concertgoers away to faraway places” (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette).

 

International Bach Academy of Stuttgart: St. John Passion

Presented by Virginia Arts Festival

April 15

Sandler Center

One of the most glorious pieces of music ever written, Bach’s St. John Passion is a transcendent celebration of faith. Bach’s masterwork will be performed by the orchestra and chorus of this superb German ensemble — more than 60 performers — praised for their “emotional intensity, élan and virtuoso accuracy” (Opera News). From the explosive opening chorus that proclaims the glory of God, to the hushed and moving finale, Bach’s dramatic oratorio of the Passion story is the perfect addition to Easter weekend.

 

Les Violins du Roy

Presented by Virginia Arts Festival

April 21

Robin Hixon Theater

This acclaimed Montreal chamber orchestra has performed around the world, winning rave reviews for their musicianship and deeply researched, authentic performances of music from the 17th century to the contemporary. In their Festival debut, the orchestra will perform classics by Mozart, Stravinsky and more, with the renowned British violinist Anthony Marwood. Discover a “wondrous, elegant” ensemble The New York Times has called “a miracle of musical and dramatic inspiration.”

 

Scott Dettra, Organ

Presented by Virginia Arts Festival

April 23

Christ & St. Luke’s Church

Hailed as one of the leading American concert organists of his generation, Scott Dettra leads a vibrant music program as Director of Music and Organist at the Church of the Incarnation in Dallas, the country’s third largest Episcopal parish. Millions have heard him play on radio programs such as Pipedreams, Performance Today, and The New York Philharmonic This Week. Experience a virtuosic performance that is “dynamic and dazzling…pure euphoria for the audience” (The Washington Examiner).

 

Chanticleer

Presented by Virginia Arts Festival

May 3

Ferguson Center

Their soaring vocals thrill in ancient madrigals that echo with history and passion, seduce with unforgettable renditions of standards from the Great American Songbook, and rev up crowds with hits like Queen’s Somebody to Love. Close your eyes and you’ll scarcely believe this extraordinary sound comes from just a dozen male voices. “Otherworldly harmonies and aching, unresolved melodies. The adoring throng demanded an encore” (The New York Times).

 

Music of Star Wars

Virginia Symphony Orchestra

May 4

Chrysler Hall

Regularly performed by orchestras nationwide, John Williams’s music is a fixture of VSO performances, and this year is no exception as the VSO dedicates a concert to his Academy Award and Grammy-winning scores to Star Wars. John Williams is a fifty-time Oscar nominee for his music, and is well-known for his vast musical film credits spanning from Jaws to E.T. and Harry Potter. His score to George Lucas’s two Star Wars trilogies are widely celebrated.

 

Epic Revolutionaries

Presented by Symphonicity

May 7

Sandler Center

The final concert of the “Quest” season opens with the Danzon No. 2 by prominent Mexican composer Arturo Márquez. The Danzon dance form originated in Cuba, but is a distinctly Mexican dance form today. Violinist Solomiya Ivakhiv will be the soloist in the Violin Concerto of Dvo?ák, a work that is standard in the violin repertoire, and is full of Slavic folk-like melodies. Prokoviev stated that his Fifth Symphony was about the “grandeur of the human spirit,” that it was “intended as a hymn to free and happy Man, to his mighty powers, his pure and noble spirit.”

Maestro Theodore Kuchar has served as artistic director and principal conductor of two of Europe’s leading orchestras, the Janacek Philharmonic and the National Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine. He is one of the most prolifically recorded conductors of the past decade.

 

American String Quartet

Presented by Virginia Arts Festival

May 9

St. John’s Episcopal Church

Individually, the players of this renowned quartet are each stars in their own right, their resumes studded with orchestral and ensemble performances, competition victories, and accolades; together, they create a sound that has entranced some of the world’s most demanding critics. “They play together with a sense of ease that lets each piece of music unfold like a living organism,” wrote the Cleveland Plain Dealer. The American String Quartet is the Virginia Arts Festival chamber ensemble in residence in 2017.

 

Andre-Michel Schub, Piano

With American String Quartet

Presented by Virginia Arts Festival

May 10

Robin Hixon Theater

Artistic Director of the Festival’s Chamber Music Series, pianist André-Michel Schub has been described by The New York Times as “pianistically flawless.” A student of the great Rudolf Serkin, he was the 1981 grand prize winner of the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition; he has performed with the world’s most prestigious orchestras and is an artist member of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center.

 

Berlioz Requiem

Presented by Virginia Arts Festival

May 20

Chrysler Hall

In this towering masterwork, the huge orchestra is augmented with additional players in every section, plus brass choirs in the four corners of the hall and a chorus of 140 singers, making it a once-in-a-lifetime event for music lovers. Berlioz dreamed of creating an “awesome musical cataclysm…which will, I hope, live on as a great landmark in our art.” His music heightens the dramatic story, as the soul confronts the Day of Judgment and emerges in glory; the score shifts from a mighty wall of sound that engulfs the listener, to moments of utterly beautiful simplicity. Hear the Virginia Symphony Orchestra perform this great work for the first time!

 

Don’t Touch That Dial

Virginia Beach Chorale

May 20

Sandler Center

Be transported back to the days of early television through memorable TV series’ theme songs.

 

Olga Kern

Presented by Virginia Arts Festival

May 24

Wells Theatre

One of the most sought-after pianists performing today, Olga Kern’s star power is only exceeded by her extraordinary musical gifts. Her headline-making wins at the great piano competitions sealed her fate, from her triumphant First Prize at the Rachmaninoff International Piano Competition at the age of seventeen, to her Gold Medal at the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition — the first woman to take that prize in more than thirty years. Mark this performance down as one of the must-hear musical moments of the Festival. “Her electricity at the keyboard is palpable, as though she generates from the music itself, as it flows through her fingers it takes on fresh voltage that is unmistakably hers” (The Washington Post).

 

Olga Kern & Vladislav Kern, Piano

Presented by Virginia Arts Festival

May 25, 10:30 AM

Sandler Center

One of the most sought-after pianists performing today, Olga Kern’s star power is only exceeded by her extraordinary musical gifts. Her headline-making wins at the great piano competitions sealed her fate, from her triumphant First Prize at the Rachmaninoff International Piano Competition at the age of seventeen, to her Gold Medal at the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition — the first woman to take that prize in more than thirty years. Mark this performance down as one of the must-hear musical moments of the Festival. “Her electricity at the keyboard is palpable, as though she generates from the music itself, as it flows through her fingers it takes on fresh voltage that is unmistakably hers” (The Washington Post).

 

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