Classical Music Events Not to Miss in Cleveland This Week


ChamberFest Cleveland launches its fourth season on Wednesday, June 17 under the direction of Franklin and Diana Cohen. “Crossing Borders” is the theme, and a first-class contingent of Cohen colleagues is descending on Cleveland from all points of the compass for eleven wildly-varied performances in several venues. If you don’t think chamber music is your thing, this festival could change your mind fast! Five of the events are on for this week, beginning with “Down the Danube” on Wednesday, June 17 at 8:00 pm at SPACES Gallery (and featuring Romanian composer Georges Enescu’s fearfully difficult String Octet). On Thursday, June 18 at 8:00 pm in Mixon Hall at the Cleveland Institute of Music, “Becoming Light” contrasts works of Shostakovich (the Piano Quintet) and Beethoven (the Septet) and throws British composer Thomas Adès’s arresting solo piano piece, “Darknesse Visible,” in as well.

The following evening, June 19 at 8:00 pm in CIM’s Kulas Hall, is devoted to co-director Franklin Cohen, who retires from The Cleveland Orchestra this summer after 39 seasons as principal clarinet. “Frank!” features himself in two of his favorite pieces, Brahms’s Clarinet Quintet and Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto (backed up by an “All-Star Orchestra”) and adds Steve Reich’s “New York Counterpoint” for amplified clarinet and tape.

On Saturday, June 20 at 2:00 pm, violinist Alexi Kenney, ChamberFest’s Young Artist in Residence, will play solo pieces by Franz Schubert, Richard Strauss and Johann Paul von Westhoff at the main Cleveland Public Library.

Then on Sunday, June 21 at 3:00 pm in Harkness Chapel at CWRU, ChamberFest will answer the question “Who’s Romantic?” with Mozart’s Piano Quartet, K. 493, and Schubert’s String Quintet. (Hint: Mozart was crossing a border here from classicism into romanticism.)

All events are ticketed except the Saturday library event. Order online here.

The Cleveland International Piano Competition isn’t just sitting around between its contests. This summer, CIPC is holding a series of free, 6:15 pm Wednesday evening concerts at the Beachwood Community Center. On June 18, the players will be violinist Ariel Clayton, cellist Andris Koh and pianist Emily Grabinski (who are often heard at Classical Revolution Cleveland events at the Happy Dog — next one scheduled for June 30 at 8).

The 1924 silent film, Epic of Everest, shot on a hand-cranked camera and recently restored by the British Film Institute, has been provided with a new musical score by Simon Fisher Turner. Epic chronicles the third attempt to scale Mount Everest by George Mallory and Andrew Irvine, who didn’t live to tell about the experience. The screening in Morley Lecture Hall at the Cleveland Museum of Art is scheduled for Friday, June 19 at 7:00 pm. Tickets are $9 ($7 for museum members, seniors and students). Watch a trailer here.

Apollo’s Fire morphs from a baroque ensemble into an Appalachian band in the summertime for its Countryside Concerts. They’ll give four performances of “Sugarloaf Mountain, an Appalachian gathering” this weekend (Friday, June 19 at 8:00 pm at Bath Church; Saturday, June 20 at 8:00 pm at Cain Park; and Sunday, June 21 at 7:00 pm at Music Box Supper Club). Hurry. Rumor has it that the concerts are selling out fast. Tickets can be reserved online. If you miss the show live, Apollo’s Fire has just released a CD you can order from their website.

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