Martin Luther King Jr. Celebrations and the Rest of the Classical Music You Should Catch to Start the New Year

click to enlarge Martin Luther King Jr. Celebrations and the Rest of the Classical Music You Should Catch to Start the New Year
Courtesy Cleveland Orchestra
Classical music begins stirring from its long holiday nap during the first two weeks of January, revving up from adagio to allegro by mid-month.

The Westminster Choir — formerly the flagship ensemble of Westminster Choir College and now part of New Jersey’s Rider University, makes a stop at the Church of the Covenant in University Circle on Saturday, January 6 at 7:30 pm during its winter tour. Joe Miller conducts the ensemble in Frank Martin’s Mass for Double Choir (1926), György Ligeti’s Lux Aeterna (1966), and music by Joel Phillips, Tim Brent, Edward C. Bairstow, Ailo Alcala and Randall Thompson. No charge, but a freewill offering will be received.

Franz Welser-Möst and The Cleveland Orchestra will make a big splash the weekend of January 11 with Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No. 9 and a new work by Austrian composer Johannes Maria Staud. Stromab (“Downstream”) is inspired by what Staud calls “one of the finest horror stories of all time,” Algernon Blackwood’s The Willows, a tale of two young people who canoe down the Danube and discover a lonely island where weird things happen to them. Mahler 9, the composer’s last symphony, has been described by Herbert von Karajan as “music coming from another world, from eternity.” There are performances on Thursday the 11th at 7:30 pm and on Friday and Saturday the 12th and 13th at 8:00 pm. Tickets can be reserved online.

Cleveland’s French Baroque ensemble Les Délices visits earlier times this weekend for “Intoxicating,” a program of medieval music featuring Elena Mullins, soprano, Jason McStoots, tenor, Charlie Weaver, lute, Scott Metcalfe, harp and vielle, and director Debra Nagy in music by Machaut, Solage and others. You can catch the show on Saturday evening, January 13 at 8:00 pm at Lakewood Congregational Church, or on Sunday afternoon, January 14 at 4:00 pm at Herr Chapel at Plymouth Church in Shaker Heights (reserve tickets here.). The ensemble is also sponsoring a Medieval Dance Party — a 45-minute performance for children and their grownups — on Saturday, January 13 at 3:00 pm at Bop Stop. It’s free, but please register here.

Cleveland’s No Exit New Music welcomes its Twin Cities colleagues of Zeitgeist for a joint concert of intimate new solo and trio works at Heights Arts on Saturday, January 13 at 8:00 pm. The free concert will feature works by Morton Feldman, Andrew Rindfleisch, William Anderson, and a No Exit improvisation.

A rare Sunday afternoon performance on the Cleveland Museum of Art’s Holtkamp organ will feature Davide Mariano in works by Bach, Mozart, Schumann, Widor, and Guilmant on Sunday afternoon, January 14 at 2:00 pm. It’s free.

Three events will honor the memory of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on his birthday weekend. Victor Liva will lead the Cleveland Philharmonic in a free concert on Sunday, January 14 at 3:00 pm in Tri-C’s Metro Auditorium (but tickets are required: call 216.987.4805).

Franz Welser-Möst will preside over the annual MLK Celebration Concert in Severance Hall on Sunday, January 14 at 7:00 pm, a program featuring Ryan Speedo Green, bass-baritone, James Pickens Jr., actor & the Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Chorus, William Henry Caldwell, director. Free tickets are available through the Severance Hall Box Office (if any are left by the time you read this — but the event will be broadcast live over WCLV, 104.9 FM & WCPN, 90.3 FM).

And on Monday, January 15, Severance Hall opens its doors from 12:30 pm to 5:00 pm for its annual MLK Community Open House. Scheduled events include the Cleveland Orchestra Youth Chorus at 12:30 pm; Cleveland School of the Arts R. Nathaniel Dett Choir at 1:15 pm; El Sistema@Rainey at 2:00 pm; Cleveland Classical Guitar Society Students at 2:45 pm; Lafayette Carthon & Faith at 3:30 pm; and Cleveland Orchestra Youth Orchestra at 4:15 pm. It’s all free.

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