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PreViews & Features

Chagrin Concert Series: a chat with mezzo-soprano Lara Nie

by Daniel Hathaway

NIE-LaraNew York-based mezzo-soprano Lara Nie and her long-time keyboard collaborator, Brandt Fredricksen, will join violinist Hristo Popov for the final concert in this year’s Chagrin Concert Series at Valley Lutheran Church in Chagrin Falls on Sunday, April 26 at 3:00 pm. The concert is free, but donations are welcome.

“I wanted to sing pieces that move me, but are also related to one another,” Nie said in a telephone conversation. The title of the program, “Songs of Spring — Love and Life,” could embrace a vast range of music, but Nie has carefully chosen her repertoire and had some insightful remarks to share.

“I don’t often sing in English,” Nie said, who has been praised for her performances of Lieder and operatic roles. “But since I’m singing for an English-speaking audience, I thought I’d give them an all-English program.” [Read More…]

Conductor Susanna Mälkki to make her Cleveland Orchestra debut

by Mike Telin

Susanna_Malkki_Simon–Fowler_Photo1On Thursday, April 23 at 7:30 pm at Severance Hall, conductor Susanna Mälkki will be making waves during her Cleveland Orchestra debut with a program that will begin with Jean Sibelius’s tone poem The Oceanides. “It’s not performed very often, which is very surprising, because it is a jewel and personally one of my favorites of Sibelius,” the Finnish conductor said during a recent telephone conversation.

This week’s concerts will also mark pianist Jeremy Denk’s Cleveland Orchestra debut in performances of Bartók’s Piano Concerto No. 3. “Jeremy and I performed this concerto a few months ago in San Francisco,” Mälkki pointed out. “He plays it beautifully, so I’m very happy to be able to do it again with him.” The concert will also include Stravinsky’s complete ballet music to Pétrouchka. “It’s just incredible music and I’m so thrilled to be able to conduct it again.” The program will be repeated on Friday, April 24 in Finney Chapel as part of the Oberlin Artist Recital Series, and on Saturday, April 25 at Severance Hall. Both performances will begin at 8:00 pm. [Read More…]

Les Délices to feature gambists in “The Angel and the Devil”

by Mike Telin

WALHOUT-LEEThis week Les Délices, Cleveland’s French baroque music specialists, will present “The Angel and the Devil.” The program showcases music by the most famous pair of viola da gamba players of the eighteenth century, Marin Marais and Antoine Forqueray. Referred to respectively as The Angel and The Devil, their musical personalities will be brought to life by two modern-day gambists, Josh Lee and Emily Walhout. Oboists and recorder players Debra Nagy and Kathryn Montoya, baroque violinists Scott Metcalfe and Ingrid Matthews will join harpsichordist Michael Sponseller and the dueling gambists in music by Jean-Féry Rebel, François Couperin and Marc-Antoine Charpentier.

The concerts will be held on Thursday, April 23 at 7:00 pm at the Hudson Library and Historical Society, Saturday April 25 at 8:00 pm in William Busta Gallery in Cleveland, and Sunday, April 26 at 4:00 pm in Herr Chapel at Plymouth Church in Shaker Heights. (Musicologist Susan McClary will give a pre-concert lecture on Sunday beginning at 3:00 pm). A special, free performance designed for kids will be held on Saturday, April 25 at 3:00 pm at Plymouth Church.  [Read More…]

Verb Ballets to repeat Geoffrey Peterson’s Edmund Fitzgerald at John Knox Church

by Mike Telin

Edmund-FitzgeraldOn Friday, April 24 at 7:00 pm, the John Knox Performance Series will present Verb Ballets in a production of Geoffrey Peterson’s Edmund Fitzgerald, a concerto for piano and strings, choreographed by Richard Dickinson. The performance will be held in Trinity Hall at John Knox Presbyterian Church in North Olmsted. Seating reservations required: see our concert listings page for details.

Dickinson’s choreography of Peterson’s concerto was premiered during the 2014 NEOSonicFest. Prior to the premiere, spoke to Richard Dickinson and Geoffrey Peterson about the work. The following preview was originally published on March 26, 2014.

Geoffrey Peterson’s concerto chronicles the tragic shipwreck of The Edmund Fitzgerald in Lake Superior in November, 1975. Its four movements are entitled “Embarkment,” “The Gales,” “Six-Fathom Shoal” (‘We’re holding our own’) and “Entombment-Dirge.” [Read More…]

In Memoriam: William B. Slocum (1936-2015)

Special to ClevelandClassical

SLOCUM-WilliamThe Cleveland Philharmonic Orchestra sadly notes the recent death of former Music Director and Director Emeritus, William B. Slocum.

Mr. Slocum touched the lives of countless orchestra musicians, students, and colleagues in the Greater Cleveland area and in Northeastern Ohio beginning in the 1960s when he was a member of The Cleveland Orchestra under George Szell and a professor at Kent State University. This was followed by a long career at Youngstown State University (1972-2015) and his position as Music Director of the Cleveland Philharmonic Orchestra (1981-2007). [Read More…]

Cleveland Opera Theater to Present “Tosca”

by Mike Telin

TOSCA-posterOpera Per Tutti, founded by Andrea Anelli in 2006, made the bold announcement in December of 2014 that it would re-brand itself as Cleveland Opera Theater. The change was made with one purpose in mind: to create a sustainable model for an opera company in the 21st century in Cleveland. This is the first of three articles that will examine the many exciting endeavors the company is undertaking to make its vision to reality.

On Friday, May 8 at 7:30 pm and Sunday, May 10 at 3:00 pm at the Cleveland Performing Arts Center (formerly Masonic Auditorium), Cleveland Opera Theater will present its most ambitious production to date with Puccini’s Tosca. Performed with full orchestra, chorus, and costumes, the production will feature sets designed by renowned Cleveland architect Richard Fleischman. To learn more about Cleveland Opera Theater’s plans for the future, please visit their website.

In a recent conference call with COT’s music director Domenico Boyagian, artistic director Scott Skiba and education and outreach director Lisa Yanofsky, I asked the highly motivated and engaging conversationalists why Tosca is so wildly popular around the world, and why it made sense for the company to produce the opera at this time. [Read More…]

Cleveland Women’s Orchestra: a conversation with guest violinist Michael Ferri

by Daniel Hathaway

FERRI-MichaelThree years after his first solo appearance with the Cleveland Women’s Orchestra, violinist Michael Ferri will return to Severance Hall to help the ensemble celebrate its 80th birthday with a performance of Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto on Sunday, April 26 at 3:30 pm.

Born in Northern Italy and homeschooled in Cleveland, Ferri has studied with Paul Kantor and Jaime Laredo at the Cleveland Institute of Music. Last fall he began his first year at Rice University in Houston, where he has continued to study with Kantor. We spoke by telephone from his home in Cleveland, where he is taking a year off from his studies. [Read More…]