It is the weekend of premieres in New York City. Pulitzer prize-winning composer Julia Wolfe created an immersive visual and musical event, which will premiere Thursday through Saturday with the New York Philharmonic as part of New York Stories: Threads of Our City. On Sunday, ECHOensemble will premiere One after two years of organic, physical research and exploration, which will include dancers and musicians.
In Philadelphia, the Philadelphia Orchestra continues its celebration of Leonard Bernstein's birth centenary with Music of Faith. This event, led by Yannick Nézet-Séguin, will include the Philadelphia Symphonic Choir and the Philadelphia Boys Choir.
In San Francisco, Alexander String Quartet plays Saturday morning as part of the San Francisco Performances, which has been bringing classical music to nontraditional, convenient places and times to appeal to all audiences. Meanwhile, two symphonies – San Francisco and Santa Cruz – play passionate and well-loved pieces with acclaimed musicians including cellists Johannes Moser and Jeremy Tai.
1. Metropolitan Opera: Pelléas et Mélisande
Yannick Nézet-Séguin conducts Debussy’s mesmerizing meditation on love and betrayal, which returns for the first time in almost a decade.
7:30 p.m. Friday, January 25
Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, 30 Lincoln Center Plaza, New York, NY 10023
Paul Appleby, Isabel Leonard, Kyle Ketelson; Yannick Nézet-Séguin, conductor
2. New York Philharmonic: Julia Wolfe’s Fire in my Mouth
Jaap van Zweden conducts Julia Wolfe’s immersive visual and musical event — featuring lights, chamber choir, video, and projection — that explores a seminal event in New York City, the devastating Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire of 1911 that killed more than 100 young immigrants. This is part of New York Stories: Threads of Our City with the New York Philharmonic.
7:30 p.m. or 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, January 24-26
David Geffen Hall, Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, 10 Lincoln Center, New York, NY 10023
Jaap van Zweden, conductor; Anthony McGill, clarinetist; The Crossing; Young People’s Chorus of New York City
3. ECHOensemble: One
One is an evening-length work of sound and movement. Together, dancers and musicians become resonant bodies, instruments of space, dissolving their mediums into one. The performers engage in a shared practice, conversing with space and time through repetition and natural evolution. This premiere comes out of two years of organic, physical research and exploration.
7 p.m. Sunday, January 27
Dixon Place, 161A Chrystie St., New York, NY 10002
Trombonist Kalun Leung, violist Sean Brekke, clarinetist/saxophonist Noah Becker, guitarist Jonah Udall, and dancers Allison Sexton, Mary McGrath, Erin Landers, Liana Kleinman and Dani Cole.
1. Philadelphia Orchestra: Music of Faith
The Philadelphia Orchestra continues its celebration of Leonard Bernstein's birth centenary with his dramatic, spiritual Symphony No. 3 (“Kaddish”), programmed with Rossini's Stabat Mater. The large vocal forces and Bernstein's inimitable writing create a powerful impact on listeners to the “Kaddish,” based on the Jewish prayer for the dead. No less moving is Rossini's Stabat Mater, rarely performed in Philadelphia.
2 p.m. Friday, January 25
Verizon Hall, The Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, Broad and Spruce Streets, Philadelphia, PA 19102
Yannick Nézet-Séguin, conductor; Charlotte Blake Alston, narrator; Nadine Sierra, soprano; Elizabeth DeShong, mezzo-soprano; John Osborn, tenor; Krzysztof Baczyk, bass; Philadelphia Symphonic Choir; Philadelphia Boys Choir
2. Philadelphia Chamber Music Society: Xavier Foley debut recital
Xavier Foley’s Philadelphia Chamber Music Society recital debut offers a wide-ranging program of well-known works alongside one of his own compositions, augmented by violinist Eunice Kim and pianist Sejoon Park. Xavier Foley and Sejoon Park are part of the Astral Artists roster list, which was awarded to both after a competitive National Auditions process in 2014.
7:30 p.m. Friday, January 25
Benjamin Franklin Hall, American Philosophical Society, 427 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19106
Xavier Foley, double-bass; Eunice Kim, violin; Sejoon Park, piano
3. War of the Romantics, Part One
In a two-part "concert with a touch of theater," relive a colorful narrative that occurred in the world of classical music during the 1800s over conflicting beliefs about the direction of new musical composition. Part One, “Musical Raptures,” explores music by Beethoven and onward from composers who admired each other, Brahms, Robert and Clara Schumann, Chopin and Liszt.
7:30 p.m. Saturday January 26
Ivy Hall, International Institute for Culture, 6331 Lancaster Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19151
Adelya Shagidullina, violin and viola; Rollin Wilber, piano; Katarzyna Salwinski, piano; Robert Edwin, baritone and narrator
1. San Francisco Symphony: Prokofiev’s Fifth
Brooding. Volcanic. Cathartic. Prokofiev’s Fifth Symphony symbolizes triumph over adversity. Also on the program, the spellbinding cellist Johannes Moser plays Lutosławski's celebrated Cello Concerto in its first performance at Davies Symphony Hall.
8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, January 24-26
Davies Symphony Hall, 201 Van Ness Ave. San Francisco, CA 94102
Johannes Moser, cello; San Francisco Symphony; Christian Reif, conductor
2. Alexander String Quartet
San Francisco Performances was an early pioneer of presenting concerts at convenient, nontraditional times in a casual atmosphere that appeals to audiences and fosters a close connection to the artists. The flagship of this trailblazing continues to be the tremendously popular Saturday morning series with the Alexander String Quartet and Robert Greenberg.
10 a.m. Saturday, January 26
St. John’s Presbyterian Church, 2727 College Ave., Berkeley, CA 94705
Zakarias Grafilo, violin; Frederick Lifsitz, violin; Paul Yarbrough, viola; Sandy Wilson, cello
3. Santa Cruz Symphony: Enlightenment
The Santa Cruz Symphony is proud to present a world premiere commission from acclaimed local composer John Wineglass in a new work. Young virtuoso Jeremy Tai, the most recent Klein International Competition grand prize winner, will perform Tchaikovsky's elegant Variations on a Rococo Theme.
7:30 p.m. Saturday, January 26; 2 p.m. Sunday, January 27
Santa Cruz Civic Auditorium, 307 Church St., Santa Cruz, CA 95060
Jeremy Tai, cello; John Christopher Wineglass, composer; Santa Cruz Symphony; Daniel Stewart, conductor