Brian Wise covers the classical music business for WQXR, including aspects of performance, technology, philanthropy and institutional trends. He produces the Café Concerts series and the podcast/show Conducting Business. He manages the station's homepage and makes sure what you hear on air is what you see online. Follow him on Twitter at @Briancwise.
Fall 2003 Classical Music Preview
Many Ways to Enjoy Autumn in New York
Tuesday, August 26, 2003
Argentine composer Osvaldo Golijov, a hot property right now, returns to the Brooklyn Academy of Music with "Ainadamar," (Oct. 28-Nov. 2) a new chamber opera on a Lorca-inspired libretto written by playwright David Henry Hwang. The performance will be conducted by Peruvian maestro Miguel Harth-Bedoya, and feature soprano Dawn Upshaw and an ensemble and chorus from the Tanglewood Music Center. Additional highlights include "The New Yorkers" a multimedia production by Michael Gordon, David Lang, and Julia Wolfe and featuring cabaret singer Theo Bleckmann, the Michael Gordon Band, and string quartet Ethel.
Bam Web site
|Fiery conductor Valery Gergiev, who leads the season openers of both the Metropolitan Opera and Carnegie Hall.|
The Kirov Orchestra led by the ubiquitous and indefatigable Valery Gergiev gets things started in the main hall with three concerts rich in Russian masterworks. Recital highlights include baritone Thomas Quastoff in a program of lieder by Schumann and Schubert (Oct 11) and pianist Lang Lang making his Carnegie Hall recital debut (Nov. 7). Among the orchestral performances, James Levine and the Met Orchestra present works by Berlioz and Brahms with pianist Evegeny Kissin (Oct 12); Bernard Haitink leads the Boston Symphony in a concert version of Debussy's Pealleas et Melisande (Oct. 20); and the Berlin Philharmonic arrives for three concerts under the baton of Simon Rattle (Nov. 12-14). (See below for Zankel Hall highlights.)
Carnegie Hall Web site
The posh cabaret features an eclectic fall lineup with the Polygraph Lounge (Sept. 7), Luciana Souza (Sept. 12) and They Might be Giants in one of their "Quarterly Reports" at Joe's Pub, in which the band will be joined by a small brass ensemble of tuba, trombone and trumpet. (Sept. 28)
Joe's Pub Web site
Great Performers at Lincoln Center
The biggest guns--including a major festival devoted to Dutch composer Louis Andriessen--aren't slated until next spring. Still, there's plenty to hear in the meantime, including recitals by Leif Ove Andsnes (Oct. 26), Gil Shaham (Nov. 18), and Garrick Ohlsson (Nov. 23), plus a mini-festival devoted to the music of Janácek (Nov. 8) that includes a concert performance of the opera "From the House of the Dead" featuring the American Symphony Orchestra under Leon Botstein.
Lincoln Center Web site
|Dieter Dorn's production of Wagner's Tristan und Isolde at the Met.|
After its enormous new production of Berlioz's Les Troyens last season, the Met will continue its Berlioz bicentennial festivities with the company premiere of the composer's Benvenuto Cellini, directed by Andrei Serban (Dec. 4). Halevy's La Juive returns to the Met in a new production borrowed from the Vienna State Opera, with Soile Isokoski, Elizabeth Futral and Neil Shicoff (opening Nov. 6). Principal guest conductor Valery Gergiev will also be on the podium for the fall production of Verdi's La Traviata, which features Renee Fleming as Violetta opposite Ramon Vargas (opening Sept. 29). And Wagnerians can take heart as Ben Heppner and Jane Eagler reprise their title roles in Tristan und Isolde (opens Sept. 30).
Metropolitan Opera Web site
Metropolitan Museum of Art
For the 50th anniversary season of its venerable Concerts & Lectures series, the Met Museum is unveiling a newly formed resident chamber ensemble comprised of some of New York's top freelance musicians. The series begins with a program of chamber works by Schubert, Gubaidulina and Mozart (Oct. 9). Inaugurating a new series centered around a single musician, the Met will present "The Art of Menahem Pressler," the distinguished Beaux Arts Trio pianist who will be appearing with the ensemble (Oct. 18). Speaking of pianists, don't miss Russian Nikolai Lugansky in his New York debut recital (Dec. 14).
Met Museum Web site
Merkin Concert Hall
Though often in Lincoln Center's shadow, Merkin Hall fills an important niche in New York's concert scene. The fall season includes the Hilliard Ensemble performing Stephen Hartke's "Cathedral in the Crashing Rain" (Sept. 21), the Hoboken-based Elements String Quartet (Nov. 18), and New York's period-instrument powerhouse, the Queen's Chamber Band led by harpischordist Elaine Comparone (Dec. 3).
Merkin Hall Web site
Miller Theater's 15th anniversary season may pack fewer novelties than in season's past, yet it is arguably more focused. The Uptown presenter is expanding its focus on living composers, starting with a performance by the Eos Orchestra devoted to Peter Lieberson (Oct. 3) and continuing with evenings of Krzysztof Penderecki (Oct. 11) Henry Threadgill (Oct. 22), Ned Rorem (Oct. 24), and Sir Harrison Birtwistle (Dec. 5). And further downtown, Miller Theater executive director George Steel presents a free concert of John Cage's rarely heard works for carillon at St. Thomas Church on Fifth Avenue (Oct. 26). Whatever your views on Cage, Steel should no doubt bring a sense of passion and historical discovery to these performances.
Miller Theater Web site
New York City Opera
Since it created a stir with Giulio Cesare in 1966 the New York City Opera has built a tradition of presenting a Handel opera (or two) nearly every season. This year it presents Alcina starring Christine Goerke and directed by Francesca Zambello (opens Sept 9). The company also brings a new production of Donizetti's Lucia Di Lammermoor (opens Sept. 13) and two favorites: Madame Butterly in a co-production with Glimmerglass Opera (opens Sept. 12) and Carmen featuring the company debut of Hadar Halevy in the title role (opens Sept. 19).
New York City Opera Web site
|Lucky Pierre: French pianist Pierre-Laurent Aimard who returns to the New York Philharmonic.|
New York Philharmonic
The Philharmonic's Berlioz festivities continue when music director Lorin Maazel leads a starry cast in "Romeo et Juliette" (Oct. 2-4) and Sir Colin Davis leads a program of rarities and standards with mezzo-soprano Monica Group (Nov. 13-15). Later in the fall, two enterprising personalities, American conductor David Robertson and French pianist Pierre-Laurent Aimard, will join forces in a program of Debussy, Richard Strauss and Prokofiev (Nov 26-Dec. 2).
New York Philharmonic Web site
92nd Street Y
Since the arrival of a new programming team last season the Upper East Side concert hall has seen its artistic lineup flourish. The Tokyo String Quartet arrives this fall for the first installment of a three-season residency, exploring "Schubert's Bohemian Roots." In this series, the Quartet underscores the fact that while Schubert is most closely associated with the Austrian tradition, he was actually born to parents from Moravia and Silesia (Oct. 25). Other chamber music highlights include Kyung-Wha Chung performing works by Schumann and Bach (Nov. 2); and cellist Lynn Harrell appearing with members of the New York Philharmonic to contrast works by Taneyev and Tchaikovsky (including "Souvenir de Florence") (Dec. 14).
92nd Street Y Web site
Judy and Arthur Zankel Hall, the new 644-seat downstairs auditorium beneath Carnegie Hall welcomes an eclectic parade of musicians to try out the new space, among them Carnegie regulars like the Emerson Quartet, Emanuel Ax, Michael Tilson Thomas, Mitsuko Uchida, and Dawn Upshaw as well as names like Senegalese pop star Youssou N'Dour, the Fes Orchestra from Morocco, cellist Maya Beiser, the Theater of Voices and jazz crooner Dianne Reeves. No fewer than eight Carnegie Hall commissions will get their premieres there.
Carnegie Hall Web site