by Jarrett Hoffman
IN THIS EDITION:
•Today: Brahms love songs at Trinity Cathedral, organist Florence Mustric at Trinity Lutheran, Linking Legacies (pictured) in the galleries of CMA, and a double bill from Cleveland Uncommon Sound Project
•Announcements: applications open for Cleveland’s Transformative Arts Fund, this month’s schedule from Opus 216, and University Circle on the ballot for nation’s favorite arts district
•Interesting reads: Robert Spano named Music Director Designate at Washington National Opera
•Almanac: Lutosławski in Warsaw
Today’s noontime Trinity Brownbag Concert will look ahead to Valentine’s Day as inspiration. On the program are Brahms’ famous love songs, the Liebeslieder Waltzes, to be performed by vocalists Jacqueline Josten, Kira McGirr, Mark Vogel, and Edward Vogel, joined by pianists Adam Whiting and Lorenzo Salvagni. A freewill offering will be taken up.
At 12:15, Trinity Lutheran Church will present its Wednesday Noon Organ Concert by Florence Mustric. The program, “Two liturgical years,” will include excerpts from J.S. Bach’s Little Organ Book and from Jeanne Demessieux’s pieces based on Gregorian chant. Freewill offering.
At 6:00, the Linking Legacies collective, which celebrates Black composers and performers with local ties, will visit the Cleveland Museum of Art for the “Chamber Music in the Galleries” series. In Gallery 229, against the backdrop of Amy Sherald’s painting He was meant for all things to meet, violinist John McLaughlin Williams, violist Christopher Jenkins, cellist Khari Joyner, and tenor Cornelius Johnson will perform music by Adolphus Hailstork, Coleridge-Taylor Perkinson, and Joyner himself, as well as a cappella spirituals for tenor and a selection by Ralph Vaughan Williams. It’s free. Read a preview article here.
And at 8:00 at Convivium 33 Gallery, the Cleveland Uncommon Sound Project presents a double-bill of percussionist Joe Tomino and NYC-based quartet HYPERCUBE (Erin Rogers, saxophones, Jay Sorce, classical and electric guitar, Andrea Lodge, piano and accordion, and Chris Graham percussion). There will be a recommended donation of $15.
The city of Cleveland’s Transformative Arts Fund, a $3 million program providing grants for public art, will be managed by Assembly for the Arts, and applications are open through March 30. Read the story from cleveland.com and learn how to apply here.
Opus 216 has announced its schedule for the month of February, bookended by performances at the Van Aken District, and also including events at Debonnes Winery, Treelawn Music Hall, Mahall’s, Flight Wine Bar, the Happy Dog, and more. Head to their Instagram for details.
USA Today is holding a poll to determine the nation’s favorite arts districts, and University Circle is on the ballot, along with locales in Denver, Houston, Santa Fe, Seattle, Dallas, St. Louis, Milwaukee, Knoxville, Minneapolis, Providence, Pittsburgh, Richmond, Asheville, Phoenix, Memphis, Baltimore, Tulsa, Chicago, and Miami. Vote here.
Northeast Ohio native Robert Spano has been named Music Director Designate at Washington National Opera. His tenure as Music Director will begin in fall 2025, marking his first position leading an opera house.
“We all get our labels,” Spano told The Washington Post’s Michael Andor Brodeur in a recent interview, “and in the course of my life, I was always, I think, regarded as not an operatic conductor, but a symphonic conductor. And, of course, a lot of us are not interested in being one or the other. I was very lucky, because I managed to keep my operatic life alive the whole time with two or three productions a year. But this will be the first time with an opera house. It’s like a miracle.” Read the article here.
When you think of Polish composers, Chopin probably comes to mind first. But next in line would be names like Karol Szymanowski, Krzysztof Penderecki, and Witold Lutosławski — who died on this date in 1994 in Warsaw.
That city runs a powerful through-line in Lutosławski’s life, which makes for a complex biography politically due to the country’s occupation during WWII and, after the war, the restrictions of Soviet artistic “guidelines” taken up by the ruling party in Poland. We’ll focus today on the composer’s life up to the end of the war.
Warsaw was the site of Lutosławski’s birth in 1913, as well as his early piano and violin lessons, his studies at the Warsaw Conservatory and Warsaw University, and his performances at the city’s cafes to earn a living during the war (including of Polish music such as Chopin, in defiance of the Nazis). Sadly, after the failed Warsaw Uprising, the Nazis destroyed the city, and most of his music was lost.
A couple of exceptions to that: the Variations on a Theme by Paganini (a piece that had been performed in an early version at the cafes) and sketches for his First Symphony, which he finished after the war, and which did not put him in the favor of Stalinist authorities due to its “formalism.”
Let’s celebrate those early pieces that survived the destruction of war: the Variations here in a live performance by Martha Argerich and Evgeny Kissin at the Verbier Festival, and the Symphony here as performed by Antoni Wit and the Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra.