Spring Guide to Classical Music 2018


Spring in New England typically brings warmer temperatures, much needed rain and an occasional spot of sun. For 2018, it also appears to deliver a plethora of opportunities to hear classical music. Spanning from symphony to opera to choral to contemporary, read on to see what’s in store for the next few months.

The Rhode Island Philharmonic Orchestra has some exciting programming to watch for. On March 17, they perform Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7, Samuel Barber’s Essay No. 2 and Bernstein’s Symphony No. 2. The Bernstein piece is subtitled “The Age of Anxiety,” and although it was written in 1949, its theme is still relevant today. This is a very ambitious piece of music that seldom gets performed due to its large-scale instrumentation and inherent complexity. Pianist Spencer Myer is the guest soloist, and guest conductor Victor Yampolsky will take the podium. (Important to note that Yampolsky is auditioning for the still-vacant musical director’s chair.) Later this spring on April 7, they will perform Chris Rogerson’s Luminosity, Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet, Erich Korngold’s Violin Concerto and Arturo Marquez’s Danzón No.2. Finally, on May 5, they will perform Jessie Montgomery’s Starburst, Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto and Mahler’s Symphony No. 1. These final two concerts will feature guest conductors Jacomo Bairos and Edwin Outwater respectively, each also auditioning for the music director’s chair. For more information, visit riphil.com

On March 9 – 11, the Hartford Symphony Orchestra presents the music of Stravinsky and Tchaikovsky; on April 6 – 8 will be the music of American composers Aaron Copland and George Gershwin; on May 4 – 6 is an all Shostakovich program. Scattered in between its classical concerts are several interesting pops offerings, including Eileen Ivers and Celtic Spirit, the music of Harry Potter and the music of Fleetwood Mac. For more information, visit hartfordsymphony.org

On March 31, the New Bedford Symphony Orchestra presents its “Movie Night Pops Concert,” featuring music from popular films including Cinema Paradiso, Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast, Lord of the Rings, Back to the Future, Superman, Schindler’s List, Psycho, Vertigo, La La Land, The Godfather and Star Wars. On May 26, they will perform an all French program, featuring the music of Maurice Ravel, Claude Debussy and Guillaume Connesson. Concerts are held at the Zeiterion Peforming Arts Center. For more information, visit nbsymphony.org

On Saturday, March 24, the Eastern Connecticut Symphony presents Haydn’s Symphony No. 100 and Mahler’s Symphony No. 5 at the Garde Arts Center in New London. Closing its season on April 28, they will present Bernstein’s Candide in its entirety, in collaboration with Salt Marsh Opera. This group continues to impress with its ambitious programming and top-notch performances. For more information, visit ectsymphony.com

The Providence Singers presents two programs this spring. On March 10 and 11, a themed concert titled “Of the Sea and Sky” features the music of Johannes Brahms, Ralph Vaughan Williams, Eric Whitacre, Stephen Paulus, Ēriks Ešenvalds and Jake Runestad, among others. On May 19, “A Night At The Opera” delivers music of Donizetti, Handel, Puccini, Bizet, Verdi, Leoncavallo and Delibes. The singers always amaze and inspire with their incredible performances. For more information, visit providencesingers.org

The Rhode Island Civic Chorale presents two concerts this spring. On March 24 at the Cathedral of Sts Peter and Paul is Mozart’s Coronation Mass and music by Benjamin Britten and Gustav Holst; on June 2 at Immaculate Conception Church in Cranston will be two settings of Dona Nobis Pacem by Ralph Vaughn Williams and Esa-Pekka Salonen, and a world premiere by Geoffrey Gibbs. For more information, visit ricco.org

The Springfield Symphony Orchestra performs four ambitious programs of music this spring. On March 3, the music of “Star Trek;” on March 24, the music of Offenbach, Yoshimatsu, and Tchaikovsky; on April 28, the Verdi Requiem with the Springfield Symphony Chorus and UMass Amherst chamber choir; on May 19 an all Rachmaninoff program. It turns out there’s more to Springfield than the Basketball Hall of Fame. For more information, visit springfieldsymphony.org

On April 5 and 7, Odyssey Opera of Boston performs Giuseppe Verdi’s Giovanna d’Arco. First premiered in Italy in 1845, this work is based upon the story of Joan of Arc. Performed in Italian with English subtitles, this concert takes place at the Huntington Theatre, one of the region’s finest historic performance venues. For more information, visit odysseyopera.org

On April 13 and 15, Boston Baroque presents Beethoven’s opera Fidelio, a compelling story of political oppression, the fight for justice and the triumph of love. Under the baton of Martin Perlman and featuring soprano Wendy Bryn Harmer and tenor William Burden, this promises to be a wonderful performance. For more information, visit bostonbaroque.org

On May 5, Ensemble Parallax presents an evening of contemporary works by Toshio Hosokawa, Robert HP Platz, Gabriel Erkoreka, Gabriele Vanoni and Peyman Farzinpour, and features video art by Jessica Richmond and A-li-ce. This performance takes place at Machines With Magnets in Pawtucket. For the new music enthusiast, this concert promises to be an engaging experience. For more information, visit ensembleparallax.com

On May 11 and 12, Sine Nomine Choir presents “From Shapenote to Lauridsen – An American Pastiche.” Known for juxtaposing early music and contemporary works, this highly specialized chamber choir performs with precision and passion. With only two or three performances each season, they are well worth catching. For more information, visit sinenominechoir.org

The region’s flagship ensemble, the Boston Symphony Orchestra, offers weekly concerts on Thursday, Saturday and Tuesday evenings, as well as Friday matinees. Presented exclusively at Symphony Hall, one of America’s most perfect acoustic venues, one can hear the music of composers Sibelius, Debussy, John Adams, Berlioz, Chabrier, Prokofiev, Bizet, Mendelssohn, Wagner, Liszt, Dvorak, Tchakovsky, Bernstein and Strauss, to name just a few. Just one hour from Providence, the BSO is well worth the effort and travel for the discerning music listener. For more information, visit bso.org

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