by Daniel Hathaway
The Astralis Chamber Ensemble plays a program of music by Arthur Foote, Philip Glass, Jacques Castérède, Paul Patterson and Jacques Ibert at Messiah Lutheran Church in Fairview Park tonight at 7, and at 7:30, the Chagrin Valley Studio Orchestra moves to Chagrin Valley Little Theatre to continue its run of Carousel performances.
Also at 7:30, Oberlin Conservatory begins a Fridays @ Finney series featuring its large ensembles in a new rotation plan. The first program brings the Oberlin Orchestra (pictured) and Contemporary Music Ensemble to the Finney Chapel stage for a program of recent music conducted by Rafael Jiménez and Timothy Weiss.
As Erich Burnett writes on the Conservatory website, at the heart of the change is “an emphasis on more — and more diverse — repertoire, greater flexibility in terms of ensemble sizes, and increased performance opportunities for students,” as well as “an intentional shift in repertoire selection to be less reliant on works from the traditionally recognized Western canon and more focused on newer works by composers of wide-ranging cultural backgrounds and experiences.” Attend in person (it’s free) or watch the live stream.
Details in our Concert Listings.
APOLLO’S FIRE IN NYC:
Jeannette Sorrell will lead Apollo’s Fire and Singers in four performances of Handel’s Messiah with members of the New York Philharmonic on December 14, 15, 17, and 18 at Riverside Church in New York City. Popular soprano Amanda Forsythe is among the soloists. Planning a visit? Click here for ticket details.
The pandemic has upset travel plans for countless musicians, among them the Danish String Quartet. Read a story in the Los Angeles Times about the ensemble’s recent harrowing experiences in obtaining the necessary P1 visa to tour the West Coast this month. The quartet, who visit the U.S. three or four times each year, is scheduled to perform on the Cleveland Chamber Music Society series in January, by which time (fingers crossed!) things should be operating more smoothly.
Exactly one year ago, the strings of The Cleveland Orchestra donned face masks and took their places behind widely-spaced individual music stands on the Severance Hall stage in a pre-recorded concert distributed on the Orchestra’s Adella streaming platform. Last night, the Orchestra gave their first in-person performance in the newly-named Mandel Hall since the pandemic shut public concerts down. Another step toward normality.
Speaking of concert halls, two celebrated performance venues opened their doors on October 15: Boston Symphony Hall in 1900, and the War Memorial Opera House in San Francisco in 1932, the first municipally-owned opera house in the country. When San Francisco audiences return, they’ll be more comfortable, the management having replaced the original seats with more spacious ones to accommodate the bodies of 21st-century patrons.
Organists should take note of the birth on this date in 1868 of Hamilton C. MacDougall, who founded the American Guild of Organists in 1896 while teaching at Wellesley College from 1900-1925. With some 275 chapters and 12,000 members throughout the United States and abroad, the AGO has recently invested its energies into the recruitment and training of young musicians. Click here to watch Oberlin graduate Katelyn Emerson’s video A Reason to Practice, which she wrote, recorded, and produced for the American Guild of Organists’ Virtual Pipe Organ Encounter 2021.
Fans of new music in Latin America should celebrate the debut of Puerto Rican composer Rafael Apont-Ledée, born on this date in 1938. He studied in Madrid, and moved on to Buenos Aires to work with Alberto Ginastera before returning to his native Caribbean Island in 1965 to become one of the leaders in the new music movement of the 1960s. Listen to a compilation of four of his works here.
And on this date in 1964, Broadway mourned the final curtain call of composer and lyricist Cole Porter, who created both book and music for more than 20 musicals — mostly in the 1930s, but his late career hit, Kiss Me, Kate revived the popularity of a composer renowned for his witty, urbane lyrics. During his undergraduate days at Yale, Porter wrote some 300 songs, one of which is sung here by the Whiffenpoofs, of which he was a member.