by Daniel Hathaway
After the gradual spinning down of the summer concert season, September can sneak up on you. Here’s a list of early season openers and one-off events that Northeast Ohio music lovers should be sure to jot down in their calendars.
Ars Organi at St. Paul’s, Cleveland Heights
Organist Karel Paukert has created a festival to celebrate the collection of organs (and a harpsichord) that grace the music program at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Cleveland Heights. The seven events in “Ars Organi” between September 15 and October 1 will feature the Walter Holtkamp Sr. instrument as well as the Vladimir Slajch chamber organ, the Gerhard Hradetzky Italian Baroque organ, and the Matthias Griewisch harpsichord — a fleet of keyboard instruments any church would be delighted to have at its disposal.
Performers include Prague organist Jaroslav Tuma (right) on Friday, September 15 at 7:30 pm and Saturday, September 16 at 4:00 pm (featuring his paraphrase of Smetana’s My Country); Oberlin professor James David Christie with members of Oberlin’s Collegium Musicum on Tuesday, September 19 at 7:30 pm; and University of Kansas professor James Higdon in a lecture and masterclass on Jehan Alain on Saturday, September 23 at 2:00 pm and a recital of Alain’s works on Sunday, September 24 at 4:00 pm.
A Hymn Festival on Friday, September 29 at 7:00 pm will be led by Richard Webster, music director of Trinity Church in Boston’s Copley Square. The closing concert on Sunday, October 1 at 4:00 pm will feature Karel Paukert in works by J.S. Bach, Ligeti, and Alain, and the Kent State University New Music Ensemble will join the organist in a reprise of Frank Wiley’s Labyrinths for three organs and vocal and instrumental ensembles. All events are free, thanks to grants from the Ingalls Foundation and the Charles H. Teare and Clifford K. Kern Music Fund at the Cleveland Foundation.
Akron’s Tuesday Musical Association will launch its 2017-2018 series with a Prelude Party at E.J. Thomas Hall on Saturday, September 16 at 5:30 pm. A 7:30 pm concert (part of the celebration but tickets can also be purchased separately) will include the world premiere of James Wilding’s new work for the Escher String Quartet. Other performers will be violinist Grace Brown of TMA’s Brahms Allegro Junior Music Club; recent Oberlin graduate and TMA scholarship winner, soprano Olivia Boen; and pianist Nikita Mndoyants, who won first prize at the 2016 Cleveland International Piano Competition. More information and online tickets here.
Cleveland Classical Guitar Society
Jeremy Collins, Stephen Aron, and the Gruca White Ensemble will perform at the Society’s free annual Showcase Concert at Plymouth Church in Shaker Heights on September 16 at 7:30 pm, introducing a season that will include Turkish guitarist Celil Refik Kaya (Turkey) on October 14, Sharon Isbin with guest artist Colin Davin on November 4, Les Frères Méduses (“The Jellyfish Brothers”) on February 24, Paul Galbraith on March 17, and Jason Vieaux with soprano Sasha Cooke on May 8 (the latter in collaboration with the Cleveland Chamber Music Society). Season ticket information here.
Music From the Western Reserve
In 2014, Cleveland Orchestra cellist Dane Johansen made the famous Spanish pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela, walking nearly 600 miles with his cello on his back and stopping to play Bach cello suites along the way (documented in the film The Walk to Fisterra). Johansen will open the Music from the Western Reserve Series at Christ Church in Hudson on Sunday, September 17 at 5:00 pm with a performance of three of those solo cello suites. Tickets can be purchased at the door, and season subscriptions are available online.
BlueWater Chamber Orchestra
The professional ensemble will be playing its season under guest conductors. First up is Octavio Más-Arocas, who will join concertmaster Ken Johnston and Cleveland Orchestra principal cello Mark Kosower in a concert that includes Haydn’s Second Cello Concerto, Saint-Saëns’s La Muse et Le Poète, and Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony at the Breen Center in Ohio City on Sunday, September 17 at 7:30 pm. Reserve tickets in advance here.
If you missed Yuval Sharon’s imaginative production of Janáček’s The Cunning Little Vixen at Severance Hall two seasons ago, you have three opportunities to make your acquaintance — or see it again. The Cleveland Orchestra will open its centennial season under the baton of Franz Welser-Möst on Saturday, September 23 at 8:00 pm with a revival of the opera featuring computer projections inspired by the newspaper cartoons that inspired the composer. Two more performances follow on Sunday, September 24 at 3:00 pm and Tuesday, September 26 at 7:30 pm. Watch a series of production diaries and interviews here, and reserve tickets through the Severance Hall Box Office.
Music Director Christopher Wilkins will lead the Akron Symphony in its season opener on Saturday, September 23 at 8:00 pm in E.J. Thomas Hall with a new concertmaster at his elbow. New York-based violinist Tallie Brunfelt replaces Alan Bodman, who held the position for 23 of the 30 years he played with the Orchestra. The Slavic program includes Tchaikovsky’s Marche slave, Shostakovich’s Cello Concerto No. 1 with Tony Rymer, and Dvořák’s Symphony No. 7. Tickets are available online.
And fans of organ recitals will need to make a tough choice on Sunday, September 25, when three important performances will coincide at exactly 4:00 pm. We already mentioned James Higdon at St. Paul’s in Cleveland Heights, but that afternoon also features Isabelle Demers at Fairmount Presbyterian, and William Kuhlman at Holy Trinity Lutheran in Akron. And they’re all free.
Published on ClevelandClassical.com August 29, 2017.
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