The St. Olaf Choir Comes to Severance Hall and the Rest of the Classical Music to Catch This Week

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PHOTO BY ROGER MASTROIANNI, COURTESY OF THE CLEVELAND ORCHESTRA
  • Photo by Roger Mastroianni, Courtesy of The Cleveland Orchestra
Our picks this week include classical Iraqi music, the premiere of a new opera, a quartet of orchestra concerts, string quartets both local and imported, a Chinese monodrama, jazz and classical fusion, and the 100th anniversary tour of a celebrated college choir.

Vocalist Hamid Al-Saadi brings traditional Iraqi music to the Cleveland Museum of Art Performing Arts Series in Gartner Auditorium on Wednesday, January 29 at 7:30 pm. He’ll join Amir ElSaffar, santur (zither), Dena ElSaffar, joza (bowed string instrument), George Ziadeh, oud, and percussionist Tim Moore in music that features sophisticated melodies, infectious rhythms, and eloquent poetry. Tickets here.



January 29 is also opening night for the premiere of Rachel Peters’ The Wild Beast of the Bungalow, with libretto by Royce Vavrek. Presented by Oberlin’s Winter Term Opera program, directed by Christopher Mirto, and conducted by Joseph Hodge, the 90-minute show begins at 7:30 pm in Warner Concert Hall. Later performances are on January 31 and February 1 and 2. Read a preview here and reserve your free tickets online.

Orchestral events include The Cleveland Orchestra’s concerts on Thursday, January 30 at 7:30 pm and Saturday, February 1 at 8:00 pm (Franz Welser-Möst conducts Prokofiev’s Symphony No. 6, Frank Bridge’s The Sea, and Dukas’ The Sorcerer’s Apprentice), and Sunday, February 2 at 2:00 pm (Vinay Parameswaran leads “The Bernstein Beat,” a one-hour family concert hosted by Bernstein’s daughter Jamie.) Tickets are available from the Severance Hall Box Office.



On Saturday, February 1, Daniel Meyer conducts BlueWater Chamber Orchestra in works by Chevalier de Saint-Georges, Beethoven, and Mozart with violin soloists Ken Johnston and Emily Cornelius, and soprano Laura Pedersen. Tickets for the 7:30 pm performance at Plymouth Church in Shaker Heights can be had here.

That same night at 8:00 pm at the Maltz Center, Buffalo Philharmonic music director JoAnn Falletta guest conducts the CIM Orchestra in Hindemith and Respighi. It’s free, but advance tickets are required.

The Amici String Quartet (Cleveland Orchestra members Takako Masame and Miho Hashizume, violins, Lynne Ramsey, viola, and Ralph Curry, cello) will continue their multi-season series of Beethoven Quartets on the Arts Renaissance Tremont series at Pilgrim Congregational Church on Friday, January 31 at 7:00 pm (not, as usual, on a Sunday). For this round, the Amici will tackle the Op. 74 and Op. 18, No. 1 quartets. A freewill offering will be appreciated.

That non-local ensemble we mentioned is the Apollon Musagète Quartet, formed in 2006 in Vienna by four Polish musicians, who will bring works by Haydn, Penderecki, and Dvořák to the Cleveland Chamber Music Society series on Tuesday, February 4 at 7:30 pm at Plymouth Church in Shaker Heights. Buy your tickets here, and come at 6:30 pm for a pre-concert talk by Nicholas Stevens.

Mezzo-soprano Hai-Ting Chinn and pianist Shuai Wang will perform Stephen Dembski’s operatic monodrama The Moon in the Mirror in Waetjen Auditorium at Cleveland State University on Friday, January 31 at 7:30 pm. Based on a Chinese folk tale (libretto by Zhang Er and Martine Bellen), the free show is produced by Andrew Rindfleisch, with stage direction by Christine McBurney and projection designed by Kasumi.

Trumpeter Dominick Farinacci and his young Spirit of the Groove musicians will join the CityMusic Cleveland String Quartet at the Bop Stop on Sunday, February 2 at 7:00 pm in a preview of their March residency with bassist, composer, and arranger John Clayton. Tickets here.

Making a stop on their current, 13-concert East Coast Tour, Minnesota’s 75-voice St. Olaf Choir will perform under conductor Anton Armstrong at Severance Hall on Monday, February 3 at 7:30 pm. The famous ensemble visited Cleveland a century ago on their first-ever tour in 1920, a decade before Severance Hall was built. Check out the program here. Tickets are available online.

For details of these and other classical concerts, see our Concert Listings page.

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