'The Nutcracker' and Five More Classical Music Events to Hit This Thanksgiving Weekend


Once the food coma passes, here are some post-Thanksgiving Day events to enjoy, some of them raising the curtain on the Christmas season.

Two interesting guests join The Cleveland Orchestra this week. Dallas Symphony music director Jaap van Zweden, soon to be music director of the New York Philharmonic, and Russian piano phenomenon Daniil Trifonov — who polished his art under Sergei Babayan at the Cleveland Institute of Music — will be featured in concerts at Severance Hall on Friday and Saturday, November 25 and 26 at 8:00 pm, and Sunday, November 27 at 3:00 pm. Trifonov will show his lyrical side in Mozart’s 23rd Piano Concerto, and van Zweden will go looking for new drama in Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony. The third piece is Benjamin Britten’s Sinfonia da Requiem, a weirdly-timed commission from the government of Japan in 1940 to celebrate the 2,600th anniversary of the dynasty of Emperor Hirohito. Britten gave them a rather melancholy piece which the Japanese rejected. It’s since been described as a stunningly powerful work. Tickets can be ordered online.

Baroque violinist Julie Andrijeski will reveal some of the discoveries she’s made during her Creative Workforce Fellowship from the Community Partnership for Arts and Culture in a free concert at the Church of the Covenant in University Circle on Sunday, November 27 at 4:00 pm. The “Wonder Chamber Project” includes curiosities by 17th-century composers which are just now seeing the light of day in modern times. Andrijeski will have a top-notch group of collaborators, including harpsichordist Joseph Gascho, gambist Jaap ter Linden, and theorbist Simon Martyn-Ellis.

Carl Topilow has assembled a whole company of guests for Cleveland Pops Orchestra’s Christmas show at the Connor Palace Theater in Playhouse Square on Sunday, November 27 at 8:00 pm. The Pops Chorus, the Contemporary Youth Orchestra, Dancing Wheels, and vocalist Helen Welsh will all be on hand to “Let the Merry Bells Keep Ringing.” Tickets can be ordered online from the PHS box office.

The Cleveland Orchestra and Philadelphia’s Pennsylvania Ballet will join forces for seven performances of George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker at the State Theatre in Playhouse Square beginning on Wednesday, November 30 at 7:00 pm. Brett Mitchell conducts these rare, full-orchestra performances of Pyotr Tchaikovsky’s delectable musical confection, which include the Cleveland Orchestra Children’s Chorus. More performances on Thursday, December 1 at 7:00 pm; Friday, December 2 at 11:00 am and 7:00 pm; Saturday, December 3 at 2:00 pm and 7:00 pm; and Sunday, December 4 at 2:00 pm. Tickets are available online.

And on Wednesday, November 30 at 8:00 pm in Kulas Hall at the Cleveland Institute of Music, Carl Topilow will conduct his other ensemble, The CIM Orchestra, in an at-home concert featuring pianist Jocelyn Lai in Beethoven’s Fifth Piano Concerto. The evening opens with Mozart’s Turkish-style Overture to The Abduction from the Seraglio and ends with one of Sergei Prokofiev’s Suites from Romeo and Juliet, Op. 64. There’s no charge for all that music.

For details of these and many other events, visit the ClevelandClassical.com Concert Listings page.

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