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April 2017

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April: Great Music from Beginning to End, AND, in the Middle, There's Always Room for Cello

Gail Wein
March 31, 2017

East meets West and music meets art on March 31 and April 1 at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
The Juilliard Orchestra premieres music by Tan Dun, the composer best known for his film score for Fighting Tiger Hidden Dragon. Even better: the composer conducts. The Met commissioned this new work by Tan Dun in conjunction with its exhibit featuring 2000-year old terracotta warrior sculptures. Tickets for sale via Met Museum's website.

It's a rare and exciting event when cellists from the New York Philharmonic, Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, Chamber Music Society and Juilliard get together. On a concert on April 23 at Alice Tully Hall, the Cellists of Lincoln Center will perform one of the most gorgeous works ever, the "Bachianas Brasileiras" by Villa-Lobos, as part of a full program of favorites. If that's not enough cello for you, then go to the 92nd Street Y the previous night, April 22, to hear Alisa Weilerstein perform all six suites for cello by JS Bach.

If you're in the mood for string quartets, the month of April has you covered. Attaca Quartet plays Johns Adams at National Sawdust in Brooklyn on the 2nd, Jupiter Quartet gives a free performance on the 10th at Music Mondays (Advent Lutheran Church on Broadway at 93rd Street), Takacs Quartet is at Lincoln Center on the 13th, and the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center presents the St. Lawrence String Quartet on April 25.

There are a number of notable orchestra performances coming up: St. Louis Symphony (March 31), Munich Philharmonic (April 3 and 5) and San Francisco Symphony (April 7 and 8), all at Carnegie Hall; The Knights at BRIC in Brooklyn (April 9 and 13) and the New York Philharmonic, which returns from their European tour, performs April 20 through mid-June.

Capping off the month of April is an entire day and night of music by Steve Reich, in honor of the composer's 80th birthday. It's the annual Wall to Wall concert at Symphony Space on April 30 and it's all free.

Early Music Springs up, Big-Name pianists and Blockbuster programs

Gail Wein
February 25, 2017

The month of March brings a flock of Big Name Pianists to our burg. At Carnegie Hall, Sir András Schiff plays an all-Schubert recital on March 9, Richard Goode is all about Bach and Chopin on March 15 and Mitsuko Uchida does Mozart and Schumann on March 30. Across town at 92nd Street Y, Rafa? Blechacz, the young superstar from Warsaw who won the Chopin International Piano Competition, performs Chopin (of course) and Beethoven on March 26, and over at Merkin Concert Hall on March 21, Young Concert Artists presents Dasol Kim in his New York recital debut.

There is something about early spring that brings many great early music performances to New York. No complaints here! Touring ensembles dropping by are Les Arts Florissants led by William Christie in the program Music for Marie Antoinette at Lincoln Center on March 15, Carnegie Hall presents Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin in the program Foreign Affairs: Characters of the Baroque, and Miller Theatre presents Orlando Consort on West 83rd Street on March 25, as well as in a free "Pop-up" concert at Miller Theatre itself on March 28. Outstanding regional ensembles specializing in early music are not to be missed: David Hill leads Juilliard415 and Yale Schola Cantorum in music by Bach and Rameau alongside a new work by  Reena Esmail at Alice Tully Hall on March 2, The Four Nations Ensemble performs Vivaldi, Alessandro Scarlatti and Bach cantatas and concertos at Merkin Hall on March 13, and House of Time brings chamber gems by Mozart and Haydn to Hudson View Gardens in Washington Heights on March 31 and to Holy Trinity Lutheran Church on April 1.

I can't help but mention a few blockbuster artists that I know you won't want to miss: Yo-Yo Ma with the New York Philharmonic March 15-18, the Boston Symphony at Carnegie Hall for three nights February 28 - March 2, Philadelphia Orchestra on March 7 and Orpheus Chamber Orchestra on March 18, both also at Carnegie. And, on April 2 at Le Poisson Rouge, there will be a celebration of what would have been the 100th birthday of Dorothy Delay, one of the most influential violin teachers of our time. Performances by the violinists Chee-Yun, Philippe Quint and Kurt Nikkanen are featured.

A Good Dilemma

Gail Wein
February 01, 2017

I love New York. But, I hate New York. Our culturally rich city forces me to make difficult choices almost every day, with regard to which concert to attend. I readily admit that this is a very good dilemma to be in, and is trivial in the light of all the world's real problems. Still, I'm hoping for rapid advances in technology that will allow us to be in two places at once.

Until then, it's at least good to know what the options are, so you can make informed choices. Here are just a few coming up.

On February 2, you can go to 92nd Street Y to hear the fabulous Latvian violinist Gidon Kremer with his ensemble Kremerata Baltica; Juilliard offers a recital with its world class faculty including violinist Catherine Cho and pianist Robert McDonald, Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center presents pianist Gilles Vonsattel in the intimate Rose Studio, rising stars of the Met Opera's Lindemann Young Artist program perform on the Park Avenue Armory's recital series, New York Philharmonic does an all-Tchaikovsky program with pianist Kirill Gerstein, and you can hear contemporary avant-garde gems by Beat Furrer at Miller Theatre on their composer portrait concert series.

February 26 is poses an equal if not greater dilemma. The Vienna Philharmonic performs Schubert's 'Great' Symphony No. 9 at Carnegie Hall, the London Philharmonic plays works by Chopin and Mahler at Lincoln Center, the early music ensemble Ars Longa from Havana delivers Cuban music composed by the descendants of African slaves at Corpus Christi Church, emotional works by Bach, Mendelssohn and Schumann are at Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, and members of the New York Philharmonic get together to perform chamber music by Schumann and Menotti at Merkin Concert Hall.

This is just the tip of the iceberg, so if you want to go hear a concert any time this month (or anytime this year, for that matter), you're sure to have a good number to choose from on any given day.

There are some other major highlights to mention: the violinist Leonidas Kavakos and pianist Yuja Wang form a dynamic duo on February 8 at Lincoln Center, the Guitar Marathon at 92Y is not to be missed - it goes all afternoon and evening on February 25, and two free string quartet concerts at Lincoln Center's Atrium: New Orford on February 9 and Catalyst on February 23.

On the shortest month of the year, we'll pack in as much live music as possible. Enjoy!

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