It has been nearly two years since we’ve been able to report on classical music offerings in the region. Classical music was among the first of the performing arts to cease during the COVID-19 pandemic, due to the size of the audience and of the performing groups themselves. It is also one of the last forms of entertainment to return to normal. Due to the ever-evolving conditions of COVID-19, all listings are tentative and some programming remains undecided.
The Rhode Island Philharmonic Orchestra has two more free outdoor concerts: September 5 at Independence Park in Bristol, and September 19 at Slater Park in Pawtucket. Maestro Troy Quinn, the new Pops conductor for this group, brings a fresh approach and some adventurous programming to the age-old summer series. For the fall season, programming starts on September 18 with the music of Mahler and Brahms. On October 16, they perform Tchaikovsky’s “Sixth Symphony” and Sibelius’ “Violin Concerto” featuring soloist Jennifer Frautschi. Joan Tower’s “Fanfare for the Uncommon Woman” rounds out the program. On November 13, one can hear Maurice Ravel’s “Piano Concerto in G,” Serge Rachmaninoff’s “Symphony No. 2,” and a piece by little-known composer Florence Price titled “Dances in the Canebrakes.” Finally, on December 13, Handel’s “Messiah” will be performed with the Providence Singers. All performances are held at Veteran’s Memorial Auditorium, and will be streaming online. For more information, visit riphil.org.
The Narragansett Bay Symphony Community Orchestra opens its season on October 31 (see our profile on page XX). Newly appointed music director Kristo Kondakçi leads the ensemble in a concert featuring Tchaikovsky’s “Sixth Symphony,” Stephanie Ann Boyd’s “Dark Sky Soliloquy” and Mexican composer José Pablo Moncayo’s “Huapango.” On December 18, they present their holiday concert, which features Handel’s “Messiah” with a twist – it is being sung in Spanish! This concert is held at the Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul in Providence. For more information, visit nabsco.org.
The New Bedford Symphony Orchestra has a full season scheduled for 2021-22. Starting on September 18 with a concert they have nicknamed “Embark,” violinist Karen Gomyo is featured on Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto, along with Sibelius’s Fifth Symphony. On November 6, their “Disruption” concert features two (count ‘em) Beethoven symphonies, the sixth and seventh. Soloist Derrick Skye brings Balkan and Hindustani classical music to his composition “Prisms, Cycles, Leaps.” Also of note, this group offers monthly chamber music concerts throughout their season, programming TBD. For more information, visit nbsymphony.org
In New London, CT, The Eastern Connecticut Symphony under the direction of Toshi Shimada has tentative concerts scheduled for October 23 and November 20 at the Garde Arts Center. Programming for these concerts has not yet been finalized. For up-to-date information, visit ectsymphony.com.
Also in Connecticut, the Hartford Symphony Orchestra presents Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony on October 1, 2 and 3. Also on the program are Rossini’s “William Tell Overture” and Clarice Assad’s “É Gol!” On November 5, 6, and 7, they feature the music of “West Side Story” by Leonard Bernstein and the “Rodeo Suite” by Aaron Copland. All performances take place at the Bushnell Center in Hartford. For more information, visit hartfordsymphony.org.
The Providence Singers give two performances of Johannes Brahms’ “Requiem”: November 6 at St. Mary’s Parish in Bristol, and November 7 at the Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul in Providence. On December 12 they will perform Handel’s “Messiah” at Veterans Memorial Auditorium with the Rhode Island Philharmonic Orchestra. For more information, visit providencesingers.org.
The Chorus of Westerly presents its long-awaited summer pops concert on September 11 at 7pm, free and outdoors in Wilcox Park. This family-friendly concert is always fun to attend. For more information, visit chorusofwesterly.org.