The Classical Sounds of Fall


Autumn is a great time for classical music in southern New England. Giving way to fanfare and season openers, the 2017-18 season offers many opportunities to hear unique and rare performances of obscure works as well as a healthy dose of familiar favorites. Read on to discover what’s happening this fall.

On Sat, Sep 16, The Rhode Island Philharmonic Orchestra opens its 2017-18 season with Tchaikovsky’s “Violin Concerto,” featuring violinist Simone Porter and guest conductor James Sommerville. Also on this program is Jennifer Higdon’s “Blue Cathedral” and Jean Sibelius’s “Symphony No. 2.” This is an important year for this group. This season’s eight classical concerts will each feature a different guest conductor, and each concert is an audition for the music director position (left vacant by Larry Rachleff’s recent departure). We all know how important it is to elect the right leader. And don’t miss their performance at Slater Park on Sep 9 as part of the Pawtucket Arts Festival’s Slater Park Fall Festival. For more information visit

Also on Sep 16, Odyssey Opera of Boston performs Tchaikovsky’s “The Maid of Orléans.” First premiered in Russia in 1881, this work is based upon the story of Joan of Arc. Odyssey Opera is known for presenting opera in concert format — minus the sets and lighting, with all the music. Performed in Russian with English subtitles, this concert takes place at Jordan Hall at the New England Conservatory, one of the region’s finest acoustic venues. For more information, visit

On Sep 22, the Boston Symphony Orchestra opens its season with an all-Bernstein Program. Featured on this concert is the music of “West Side Story,” “Divertimento” and several vocal selections sung by Frederica von Stade and Julia Bullock. Little needs to be said about the BSO’s world-class status and commitment to classical excellence. Hearing these incredible pieces performed by this orchestra in one of the most acoustically perfect concert halls in the US is well worth the price of a ticket. For more information, visit

On Sat, Sep 23, the New Bedford Symphony Orchestra opens its season with Bernstein’s “Serenade, after Plato’s Symposium” and Mahler’s “Symphony No. 1.” Also on the program is “Dust Dances by Derek Bermel.” This ambitious program may be worth the trip out along route 195. For more information visit

On Oct 7, the Hartford Symphony Orchestra opens its season with Beethoven’s “Eroica Symphony” and “Egmont Overture.” Also on the program is Kanno’s “Revive” for end-blown flute and koto, a Japanese stringed instrument. For more information, visit

On Fri, Oct 13, Ensemble Parallax presents an evening of contemporary works by Arnold Schoenberg, Enno Poppe and John McDonald. This concert takes place at Tufts University in Medford, Mass, at the Granoff Music Center. For more information, visit

On Sat, Oct 14, the Springfield Symphony Orchestra performs an ambitious program of music featuring Rossini’s “La Gazza Ladra,” Prokofiev’s “Piano Concerto No. 2” and Brahms’ “Symphony No. 2.” This concert is preceded by SSO President’s Opening Night Reception. It turns out there’s more to Springfield than the Basketball Hall of Fame. For more information, visit

On Fri, Oct 20, Boston Baroque presents Mozart’s “Requiem.” Under the baton of Martin Perlman and featuring soprano Amanda Forsythe, this promises to be a wonderful performance. For more information, visit

On Sat, Oct 21, the Eastern Connecticut Symphony Orchestra performs Wagner’s “Tanhauser Overture,” Prokofiev’s “Piano Concerto No. 3” and Beethoven’s “Symphony No. 3.” Performing at the Garde Arts Center in New London, this group is a cultural gem in the middle of nowhere. For more information, visit

On Nov 11 & 12, the Providence Singers opens its season with “Baroque Brilliance,” featuring the music of Purcell, Handel and Zelenka. One of the finest vocal ensembles in New England lives right here in Providence, and their concerts are always wonderful. For more information, visit

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