10 Classical Music Events You Shouldn't Miss This Week, Including the Cleveland Orchestra

The JACK Quartet’s second concert under the aegis of the Cleveland Museum of Art will feature two pieces by Turkish-born composer Cenk Ergün. On Wednesday, March 2 at 7:30 in Gartner Auditorium, violinists Christopher Otto and Ari Streisfeld, violist John Pickford Richards, and cellist Kevin McFarland will play Ergün’s Celare and Sonore (read Mike Telin’s interview with the composer here). Contemporary works by John Zorn (The Remedy of Fortune) and Caroline Shaw (Ritornello) share the program with Streisfeld’s arrangements of old music by 14th-century composer Guillaume de Machaut and selections from Claudio Monteverdi’s 17th-century opera L’Orfeo. The JACK players go boldly into repertoire that few string quartets dare to touch. Tickets can be reserved online.

Arnold Schoenberg’s 1912 Pierrot Lunaire (“Pierrot in The Moonlight”) is one of the classics of the 20th-century avant-garde. You can hear the piece — with its famous Sprechstimme, or pitched speech, delivered by soprano Janine Porter — in two different venues in the next week. On Wednesday, March 2 at 8:00 pm, Shuai Wang’s Ars Futura will perform it as part of a faculty recital in Mixon Hall at the Cleveland Institute of Music. The program will be repeated on Monday, March 7 at 7:30 pm in the Studio Theater at the Stocker Center of Lorain County Community College in Elyria.

There’s more on the program, too. Madeline Lucas Tolliver, flute, Benjamin Chen, clarinet, Jinjoo Cho and Yun-Ting Lee, violins, Daniel Pereira, cello, and James Ritchie, percussion, will also play Keith Fitch’s Dancing the Shadows (1994), Jeffrey Mumford’s Four Dances for Boris (2004), and Bright Sheng’s Tibetan Dance for Clarinet, Violin & Piano (2000). Pablo Devigo conducts, and both performances are free.

His settings of the biblical passion story are the closest Johann Sebastian Bach came to writing opera. Apollo’s Fire will present the first of Bach’s two extant narratives of the arrest and crucifixion of Jesus, the St. John Passion of 1724, in four venues around town. Director Jeannette Sorrell promises an intensely dramatic, semi-staged version of Bach’s striking piece, to be told by singers Nicholas Phan (Evangelist), Jesse Blumberg (Jesus), and Jeffrey Strauss (Pilate). Smaller roles and arias will be sung by Amanda Forsythe, soprano, Terry Wey, countertenor, and Christian Immler, baritone, while Apollo’s Singers will portray the raging crowd — as well as Bach’s Leipzig congregation, who reflect on the story through well-known Lutheran hymns.

The first performance is on Thursday, March 3 at 7:30 at Bath Church. The St. John will be repeated on Friday, March 4 at 8:00 pm at First Baptist in Shaker Heights, on Saturday, March 5 at 8:00 pm at Trinity Cathedral in downtown Cleveland, and on Sunday, March 6 at 4:00 pm at St. Christopher’s in Rocky River. Tickets are available online.

Severance Hall will house both The Cleveland Orchestra and the orchestral musicians of the future this weekend. TCO will join guest conductor Alan Gilbert (New York Philharmonic) and British pianist Stephen Hough on Thursday, March 3 at 7:30, Saturday, March 5 at 8:00, and Sunday, March 6 at 3:00 for rare performances of Antonín Dvořák’s Piano Concerto, sandwiched between Robert Schumann’s Overture to Manfred and Danish composer Carl Nielsen’s thrilling Symphony No. 4 (“The Inextinguishable”).

On Friday, March 4 at 8:00 pm, the Cleveland Orchestra Youth Orchestra and Youth Chorus will take over for Igor Stravinsky’s Petrouchka, Aaron Copland’s Canticle of Freedom, and Johannes Brahms’s Schicksalslied or “Song of Fate.” Brett Mitchell will conduct, and tickets for all four events can be ordered online.

The third edition of NEOSonicFest, a creation of the Cleveland Chamber Symphony and its allies in the cause of new music, runs from March 4-16. Two identical concerts by No Exit on Friday, March 4 (8:00 pm at SPACES Gallery) and Saturday, March 5 (8:00 pm at Heights Arts) 4 will feature flutist Carlton Vickers in music by Jason Eckardt, Marc Yeats, James Erber, and Brian Ferneyhough.
FiveOne Experimental Orchestra (a.k.a. 51XO) will play the world premiere of Jeremy Allen’s Manual Focus as well as works by Nico Muhly, Greg Pattillo, John HC Thompson, Buck McDaniel, and Sarah Kirkland Snider, plus a new “experiment” conceived of and led by 51XO’s bassist Tracy Mortimore. Check it out on Saturday, March 5 at 8:00 pm at Rising Star Coffee Roastery, 3617 Walton Avenue in Cleveland.

The festival will continue next week with performances by the Chamber Symphony (Wednesday, March 9 at 7:00 pm in Drinko Hall at CSU), the Contemporary Youth Orchestra (Saturday, March 12 at 7:00 pm, also in Drinko), the Cleveland Composers Guild (Sunday, March 13 at 3:00 pm at BW), and the Chamber Symphony will join Verb Ballets for music by David Lang (Wednesday, March 16 as part of BW’s focus festival). All events come with a requested donation of $10 at the door.

And Tri-C’s Classical Piano Series will wrap up its season with a free recital by Stanislav Khristenko, gold medalist in the 2014 Cleveland International Piano Competition, on Sunday, March 6 at 2:00 pm in Gartner Auditorium at the Cleveland Museum of Art. The Ukrainian-born pianist will play music by J.S. Bach, Robert Schumann, and Pyotr Tchaikovsky.

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