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The Classical Music Highlights You Shouldn't Miss This Season



The Cleveland Orchestra gets back to business at Severance Hall Sept. 29 with Franz Welser-Möst at the helm and Paul Jacobs at the E.M. Skinner for Aaron Copland's Organ Symphony.

From Oct. 6-9, fans can enjoy all three of Ottorino Respighi's Roman tone poems (Festivals, Fountains and Pines). Guest conductor Jakub Hrša and pianist Yuja Wang, a winning team in 2012, will return the weekend of Oct. 20 for Béla Bartók's first concerto. Canadian violinist James Ehnes makes his Cleveland debut the weekend of Oct. 27. That Sunday afternoon (Oct. 30) the Orchestra will don costumes for its annual Halloween Spooktacular, featuring Michael Daugherty's Metropolis Symphony, based on the exploits of Superman.

The Cleveland Orchestra chorus joins guest conductor Matthew Halls and popular mezzo-soprano Sasha Cooke for Maurice Duruflé's Requiem the weekend of Nov. 17. The same weekend, the Cleveland Orchestra Youth Orchestra will play the world premiere of Roger Briggs's Fountain of Youth on Nov. 18. And the splendid, world-hopping pianist Daniil Trifonov will be featured on Thanksgiving Weekend, Nov. 25-26.

Among our other orchestras, the Kent State University Orchestra will welcome its new conductor, Katherine Kilburn, in an Oct. 2 concert. The Akron Symphony will join with Tuesday Musical for a special appearance by So Percussion at E.J. Thomas Hall on Oct. 15. And on Oct. 19, CityMusic Cleveland will begin a five-concert series around Cleveland featuring a work by music director Avner Dorman.

Opera fans will find both old friends and unfamiliar titles on the fall schedule. Cleveland Opera Theater will produce Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro at the Masonic Performing Arts Center on Oct. 21 and 23. Oberlin Opera Theater plans a double-bill of Donizetti's Viva la mamma and Poulenc's Les Mamelles de Tirésias on Nov. 2, 4, 5 and 6. The following week, the Cleveland Institute of Music will mount another pair of one-acts, Puccini's Suor Angelica, and Menotti's Amelia al Ballo from Nov. 19-22. And Opera Circle Cleveland will stage Offenbach's Marriage by Lantern-Light and Mascagni's Zanetto, dates to be announced.

Turning to Cleveland's early music ensembles, Apollo's Fire will celebrate its 25th Anniversary season this year. Fall shows include "Resplendent Purcell — Music for Westminster Abbey" beginning on Oct. 6, "Love in Venice: A Multicultural Fiesta" to be launched on Nov. 17, and Handel's Messiah beginning on Dec. 9.

Quire Cleveland will present "Monteverdi: Mantuan Masterpieces" in a free concert at St. John's Cathedral on Sept. 30.

And Cleveland's French baroque ensemble, Les Délices, will stretch its repertoire into modern times on Oct. 15 and 16 when it explores torch songs by Baroque composers as well as Billy Strayhorn and Nina Simone.

Concert series abound in our region, and here are some highlights (in alphabetical order).

Arts Renaissance Tremont will begin its season at Pilgrim Church with Orchestra principal cello Mark Kosower and pianist Jee-Won Oh on Oct. 2.

Baldwin Wallace will feature its Cleveland Orchestra faculty members in a concert on Oct. 2 including Stravinsky's The Soldier's Tale.

The Belcea and Juilliard Quartets will continue the Cleveland Chamber Music Society's 67th season on Oct. 18 and Dec. 5, the Juilliard appearing with its new cellist, Astrid Schween.

The Cleveland Classical Guitar Society's fall roster includes Marcin Dylla on Oct. 15 and Jorge Caballero on Nov. 12 (Caballero playing a transcription of Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition).

French composer-conductor Pierre Boulez left us last January at the age of 90, but his legacy will be celebrated by the Cleveland Institute of Music in a series concerts this fall, continuing on Sept. 28, Oct. 5, 26 and 30.

The Cleveland Museum of Art's performing arts will feature the British viol ensemble, Fretwork, on Oct. 12, pianist Vijay Isler and the International Contemporary Ensemble on Oct. 19, and the Oberlin Contemporary Music Ensemble on Nov. 5 and Dec. 14.

Lorain Community College's cutting-edge Signature Series in Elyria will present violinist Francesca Anderegg and pianist Brent Funderburk on Oct. 20, solo cellist Deborah Pae on Nov. 3, and violinist Katha Zinn and pianist Illya Filshtinskliy on Nov. 21.

One of the oldest series in the region, Oberlin College's Artist Recital Series will bring the Zuckerman Piano Trio to Finney Chapel on September 30 and the St. Lawrence String Quartet on Nov. 11.

The free, Monday evening Rocky River Chamber Music Series will launch its season with the Brazilian Guitar Quartet on Oct. 3.

The also free Tri-C Classical Piano series will bring Simone Dinnerstein and Daniela Liebman to Gartner Auditorium at the Cleveland Museum of Art on Oct. 16 and Nov. 20, respectively.

Speaking of pianists, 2016 Cleveland International Piano Competition gold medalist Nikita Mndoyants will play on the Music from the Western Reserve series in Hudson on Oct. 16. And 2007 gold medalist Alexander Ghindin will be featured in a solo recital in Reinberger Chamber Hall at Severance Hall on Nov. 5.

Fans of organ music will want to make note of these visiting virtuosi: Hector Olivera at Dover UCC Church on Oct. 1, Frederick Swann at Fairmount Church in Cleveland Heights on Oct. 2, and Katelyn Emerson at St. John's Cathedral on Nov. 15.

And devotees of silent film with organ music can enjoy Nosferatu with an improvised score by Cleveland's own Todd Wilson at Severance Hall on Oct. 25.

Check the concert listings page at for details of these and many other classical music events.


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