>>West Side Story: One thread in the HSO's current season is a celebration of music written by Leonard Bernstein. In this event Carolyn Kuan will conduct the "Symphonic Dances" from "West Side Story." Saturated in tunes that you will recognize, this music jumps off the page when it is performed live. The program also includes Rachmaninoff's "Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini" played by piano soloist Mariangela Vacatello. Vacatello was also a finalist in 2009 Van Cliburn Competition and blew audiences away in a solo recital offered by the Hartford Piano Society a few years ago. (Feb. 13-16 at the Belding Theater, The Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts.)
>>Michael Lankester Conducts Enigma Variations: Lankester was music director of the HSO from 1985-2000, and he returns to conduct a program centered on music of epic sweep and drama. The program consists of the "Enigma Variations" by Elgar and Bruckner's Symphony No. 3 in D minor. Elgar portrayed the musical personalities of several of his closest friends in the "Enigma Variations," but the Bruckner Symphony No. 3 also has a social element in its history. This was the symphony preferred by Wagner, of two that Bruckner showed him during a personal visit, and so Bruckner dedicated the symphony to Wagner. (March 20-23 at the Belding Theater, The Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts.)
>>Mozart's Requiem: The HSO will be joined by the Hartford Chorale and a rich palette of vocal soloists for Mozart's Requiem, and Leonard Bernstein's Symphony No. 1. Mozart's Requiem was left incomplete at his death, and was completed by a close associate shortly after Mozart's death. It is a work which speaks with incredible power in live performance. Bernstein's first symphony, nicknamed the "Jeremiah," was written when the composer was only 24 years old. The work is in three movements and concludes with haunted music featuring a mezzo-soprano solo in Hebrew singing from Jeremiah's Book of Lamentations. (April 10-13 at the Belding Theater, The Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts.)
>>Edward Cumming Conducts Brahms' Double Concerto: Cumming was music director of the Hartford Symphony from 2001-2011 and he rejoins the orchestra to conduct a program that includes the Double Concerto, written for both violin and cello soloists by Brahms. Concertmaster Leonid Sigal, an audience favorite, will play the violin solo part, and the cello soloist will be David Finckel who is currently director co-artistic director of The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, and former cellist with the Emerson String Quartet. The program also features the Dvorák Slavonic Dances and his Symphony No. 6 in D major. (May 8-11 at the Belding Theater, The Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts.
For tickets to HSO performances: call 860-244-2999 or order tickets online www.hso.org
Yale Opera 'La Bohème'
"La Bohème'' is the most popular opera in the repertoire for good reason. Puccini's music, and this tale of young bohemians is the perfect remedy for cold February weather. Yale Opera is known for vibrant productions with talented vocalists often on the edge of establishing major careers. This production will be directed by Michael Gieleta and conducted by Giuseppe Grazioli. The opera will be sung in Italian with projected English translations. Information: Feb. 14-16. Shubert Theater, 247 College Street. Tickets are available at the Shubert Theater box office, at 203-562-5666.
Horowitz Piano Series At Yale
We often go to concerts of classical music hoping to gain unique insights. When you attend a Boris Berman recital insight is a certainty. Berman is the artistic director of this series at Yale, performed on an instrument that belonged to the great Vladimir Horowitz. Berman will be performing late Brahms: Opp. 79, 116, 117, 118, and 119. (March 26 at Morse Recital Hall in Sprague Memorial Hall, 470 College St. For tickets contact 203-432-4158.
CONCORA'a annual Bach event, in the Immanuel Congregational Church in Hartford has long been a must-see concert. This year they will perform the iconic B-minor Mass. Since this concert will be the final appearance by beloved conductor Richard Coffey as Artistic Director of CONCORA, tickets will disappear quickly. Also note that CONCORA is offering a three-week "Bach Festival" prior to the event that will include master classes, community sings, lectures, and recitals. (Sunday March 30 at 4 p.m.; call for tickets at 860-293-0567 or email firstname.lastname@example.org)
Garmany Chamber Series: Sybarite5
This is an innovative quintet (a string quartet plus bass) whose style and energy can be sampled on their recording, "Everything in its Right Place" which is a remix of music by the visionary band Radiohead. The ensemble won the 2011 Concert Artists Guild Victor Elmaleh Competition and has not looked back. They are part of the redefinition of boundaries between musical styles that has enriched both the classical music and popular music scenes. (Feb. 6 at 7:30 p.m.. in Millard Auditorium on the University of Hartford's West Hartford campus. For tickets call 800-274-8587).
Garmany Chamber Series: Cantus
Fanfare Magazine called Cantus "the premier men's vocal ensemble in the United States." The nine-member ensemble also won the Margaret Hillis Award for Choral Excellence from Chorus America. This ensemble will charm, entertain and amaze. (March 27 at 7:30 p.m. in Hartt's Millard Auditorium on the University of Hartford's West Hartford campus; call 800-274-8587).