So-called "classical" music is everything at once: traditional and experimental, living and timeless, somber and festive, ready to grab your ears and scramble your brain waves — for a few hours, anyway. Here are six musical happenings that should be on your radar.
New Haven Symphony Orchestra: Conductor William Boughton leads the NHSO through a program of old (Mendelssohn's "Italian" Symphony and two Shostakovich Piano Concertos, featuring pianist Ilya Yakushev) and new works (a movement of Yale composer Hannah Lash's "Lash/Voynich Project") at the season opener. Sept. 29, 7:30 p.m., $15 to $74. Woolsey Hall, New Haven. 203-865-0831, newhavensymphony.org.
PRISM Quartet: The renowned saxophone quartet kicks off the Garmany Series with takes on Bach, Gesualdo, Domenico Scarlatti, Schumann and Gershwin, along with works by contemporary composers Michael Daugherty, Ken Ueno and Martin Bresnick. Oct. 6, 7:30 p.m., $25 to $35. Millard Auditorium, University of Hartford, West Hartford. 860-768-4100, hartford.edu.
Mozart and Man Ray: A Viennese classicist and a surrealist visual artist make strange bedfellows in the inaugural Sunday Serenade, featuring concertmaster Leonid Sigal and other HSO musicians. Oct. 23, 2 p.m., $25 to $30. Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford. 860-987-5900, thewadsworth.org.
Derek Gripper: A South African classical guitarist debuts interpretations of African kora music (transcribed by Toumani Diabaté, Ali Farka Touré and others) on his own instrument. Nov. 4, 8 p.m., $26 to $28. Crowell Concert Hall, Wesleyan University, Middletown. 860-685-2000, wesleyan.edu.
Beethoven Quartet Cycle, Parts 1 and 2: The Dover Quartet performs six quartets stretched over two concerts, from all periods of Beethoven's output. It's both a marathon and a sprint. Nov. 15 and 17, 7:30 p.m., $32 to $36 per night. Jorgensen Center for the Performing Arts, Storrs, 860-486-4226, jorgensen.uconn.edu.
HSO's Merry Mozart: Violin prodigy Sirena Huang returns to Hartford to perform Steven Mackey's Four Iconoclastic Episodes, with the composer on electric guitar. Other works include Mozart's Overture to Don Giovanni and Jupiter Symphony, Pablo de Sarasate's Zigeunerweisen, and a few holiday surprises. Dec. 9-11, 8 p.m. and 3 p.m., $38 to $62. The Bushnell, Hartford. 860-987-5900, hartfordsymphony.org.