"The Imaginary Orchestra" and 6 More Classical Music Events Not to Miss the Next Two Weeks

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Now that winter has finally arrived and the excitement of the holidays has subsided, it’s tempting to burrow in and hibernate for a few weeks. But there’s plenty to grab your attention and get you out of the house during January. Let’s have a look at some of what the first two weeks have to offer.

Franz Welser-Möst and The Cleveland Orchestra are back at work early in the month with a round of all-Beethoven concerts on Thursday, January 7 at 7:30 pm and Friday and Saturday, January 8 and 9 at 8:00 pm featuring the amazing pianist Yefim Bronfman in the third piano concerto. Bronfman and the Cleveland Orchestra Chorus will also collaborate in the Choral Fantasy (where you can hear the last movement of the ninth symphony taking shape in the composer’s mind as well as what one of his live improvisations must have sounded like). Soprano Barbara Hannigan will be featured in the U.S. premiere of Hans Abrahamsen’s let me tell you on Thursday, January 14 at 7:30 pm and Friday, January 15 at 8:00, sharing a program with Dmitri Shostakovich’s fourth symphony (tickets available online from the Severance Hall box office). Then on Saturday, January 16th at 7:00 pm, Robert Porco will lead the orchestra in its annual Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration (the concert is already sold out, but you can hear it live at 7:00 pm on WCLV, 104.9 FM, WCPN, 90.3 FM, or on wclv.com or wcpn.com). MLK observances continue with a free Severance Hall Open House on Monday, January 17th from 12 Noon to 5 pm. Community ensemble performances will be bracketed by the Cleveland Orchestra Youth Chorus (12:30) and Youth Orchestra (4:15).

A critical mass of faculty and guest violists (Lisa Boyko, Mark Jackobs, Stanley Konopka, Eliesha Nelson, Joanna Patterson Zakany, Lembi Veskimets, and Richard Waugh, all members of The Cleveland Orchestra) will appear onstage together at the Cleveland Institute of Music on Sunday, January 10 for a faculty and guest festival of chamber music featuring that tenor voice in the string family (Kulas Hall, free admission). On another faculty concert at CIM on Wednesday, January 13, violinists Sonja Molloy and Jeffrey Zehngut, violist Mark Jackobs, cellist Martha Baldwin, and pianist Alicja Basinska will offer Czech music by Smetana, Suk, and Dvořák (Mixon Hall, free but seating passes required — call 216.795.3211).

Baldwin Wallace faculty recitals include “Midcentury/Modern” on Wednesday, January 13 at 7:00 pm in Gamble Auditorium, featuring the Factory Seconds Brass Trio (Cleveland Orchestra members Jack Sutte, trumpet, Richard Stout, trombone, and Jesse McCormick, horn). No charge.

For many, Christmas isn’t over until the Three Kings show up. Mignarda (vocalist Donna Stewart and lutenist Ron Andrico) will present “Magi Viderunt Stellam” celebrating the arrival of the Wise Men from the East with medieval and renaissance music on Sunday afternoon, January 10 at 4:00 pm at Immaculate Conception Church (no charge, but a freewill offering will be received).

Les Délices’s “The Imaginary Orchestra” will feature duo-harpsichordists Michael Sponseller and Jacob Street — both Oberlin grads — in arrangements of operatic works by Rameau, Marais, Lully, and other French baroque luminaries in concerts at the Galleries at CSU on Saturday, January 16 at 8:00 pm, and at Plymouth Church in Shaker Heights on Sunday afternoon, January 17 at 4:00. Tickets are available at the door or online.

Most choirs are sung out after the holidays, but the singers of Good Company always save themselves for a January performance. Karen Weaver will lead the semi-professional vocal ensemble in a free concert entitled “The Spirit Uncaged” featuring music by Ralph Vaughan Williams, Sid Robinovitch, Ned Rorem, Ola Gjeilo & Lakewood-born composer David Conte on Sunday afternoon, January 10 at 4:00 pm at Lakewood Presbyterian Church.

Finally, in a category all by themselves, Russian Duo (Oleg Kruglyakov, balalaika and vocals and Terry Boyarsky, piano) will take off in a number of directions from their Russian roots in a set at Nighttown on Friday, January 15 at 8:30 pm. Tickets can be ordered online.

For details of these and other events, visit the ClevelandClassical.com concert listings page.


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