Spring Guide to Classical Music


Though the groundhog may have been a bit pessimistic this year, there are plenty of reasons to get out. The classical music world is booming with opportunities to take in a wide array of concerts and productions. Read on to see what’s in store for spring 2017.

The Rhode Island Philharmonic Orchestra presents four upcoming concerts of exciting music. On March 6, pianist Lang Lang will take the stage for Bela Bartok’s 2nd Piano Concerto. On March 18, violinist Augustin Hadelich returns to RI for an all Brahms program including the 2nd Violin Concerto. On April 7 and 8, pianist Joyce Yang performs Rachmanninoff’s 1st Piano concerto, along with the orchestra’s performance of Shostakovich’s 8th Symphony. This year’s season finale happens on May 5 and 6, featuring soprano Susan Lorette Dunn and the music of Richard Strauss, Claude Debussy and lesser known French composer Joseph Canteloube. This year marks the end of Larry Rachleff’s reign as music director. Be sure to catch a show before he leaves town forever! Tickets and more information available at riphil.com.

The Providence Singers present two themed concerts this spring. On March 11 and 12, “Music for Chorus and Percussion” features works by Eric William Barnum, Dominick DiOrio, Dan Forrest, Eric Whitacre and a new work by assistant conductor Michael Galib. On May 13 and 14, “Music of Scandinavia and the Baltics” features compositions by Ēriks Ešenvalds, Ola Gjeilo, Edvard Grieg, Leevi Madetoja, Wilhelm Peterson-Berger and Jean Sibelius. The singers are joined by Rhode Island’s own Aurea Ensemble for this performance. For more information, visit providencesingers.org

Sine Nomine choral ensemble presents “Pain, Pleasure, Passion & Resurrection,” featuring a cappella music of Pärt, Palestrina, Schütz, Casals and Bach. Performances are Saturday, April 29 at the Unitarian Universalist Society of Fairhaven, Mass, at 7:30, and Sunday, April 30 at St. Michael’s Episcopal Church in Bristol at 3pm. For more information, visit sinenominechoir.org.

The Chorus of Westerly performs Bach’s Mass in B-Minor on May 21 at George Kent Performance Hall in Westerly. For more information, visit chorusofwesterly.org

On April 29, The New Bedford Symphony Orchestra presents an all John Williams program. Williams has many awards under his belt, including 5 Oscars, 3 Emmys, 4 Golden Globes and 23 Grammys. Williams’ music has become synonymous with Hollywood’s movie and television culture, and his tenure as America’s most memorable soundtrack creator spans more than five decades. Hearing Williams’ music performed live is a rare and special treat, one we don’t get to experience terribly often within Rhode Island’s borders. Visit nbsymphony.org for tickets and information.

Our neighbors in Connecticut, The Hartford Symphony Orchestra, will perform three “Masterworks” classical concerts before summer hits: Franz Liszt’s “A Faust Symphony” on March 10 – 12, Gustav Holst’s “The Planets” on April 7 – 9 and on May 10 – 12, an all Russian program featuring music by Tchaikovsky, Borodin and Glazunov. For more information visit hartfordsymphony.org

Also in Connecticut, the Eastern Connecticut Symphony, based in New London, produces two concerts of interest. On March 25, a space-themed concert subtitled “The Final Frontier” presents music of Gustav Holst, John Williams and Jerry Goldsmith. On April 29, Beethoven’s 9th Symphony and Bartok’s Dance Suite will be performed. For more information, visit ectsymphony.com.

In western Massachusetts, the Springfield Symphony Orchestra offers three great performances to consider. On March 11, a concert subtitled “Scotland – A Celebration” includes music of Mendelssohn and Bruch. On April 8, another themed concert, “Nights in the Gardens of Spain,” features music of De Falla, Liszt, Saint-Saens and Rimsky-Korsakov. On April 29 is a concert featuring Beethoven’s 9th Symphony. For more information visit springfieldsymphony.org.

The Boston Modern Orchestra Project presents two concerts of contemporary music. “Boston Accent” on March 29 at Jordan Hall features the music of David Sanford, John Harbison, Eric Sawyer and Ronald Perera. “As the Spirit Moves” happens on April 22 at Sanders Theater, featuring music by Michael Tippett and Trevor Weston. For more information, visit bmop.org.

Odyssey Opera of Boston presents three opera performances based on the writings of Oscar Wilde. On March 17 and 18 is Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco’s The Importance of Being Earnest, on April 14 is Alexander von Zemlinsky’s The Dwarf, and on June 2 and 3 is Gilbert & Sullivan’s Patience; or Bunthorne’s Bride. For more information on this outfit and their continually adventurous programming, visit odysseyopera.org.

We’d be remiss not to give a nod to the Boston Symphony Orchestra, one of the top five orchestras in America, and a 2016 Grammy winner for their most recent recording of the music of Shostakovich. They perform four concerts weekly and are only an hour’s drive from Providence. Over the next eight weeks, one can hear the music of Sibelius, Busoni, Berlioz, Beethoven, Dvorak, Dutilleux, Lalo, Prokofiev, Roussel and a world premiere by German composer Matthias Pintscher. For more information visit bso.org

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