20 Concerts To Hear This Fall

Your One-Stop Guide to Autumn Musical Events

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Musicians of the London Symphony Orchestra Musicians of the London Symphony Orchestra

Think of fall as spring—but for the brain. It’s the season of fresh ideas, new cultural excitement after a lazy (or in this case rainy) hiatus. And so it is this year. The Metropolitan Opera returns to the "Ring," Valery Gergiev probes Tchaikovsky's symphonies, the London Symphony offers epic choral music and Lincoln Center celebrates spiritual sounds. Here are 20 reasons why you won’t miss summer.

Sept. 14-16. James Dillon’s Nine Rivers
Miller Theater
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If your brain is feeling mushy from the summer, James Dillon’s Nine Rivers may provide just the mental jump-start. This four-hour-long orchestral, choral and electronic piece was written over the course of 18 years and was finally performed in its entirety in the composer’s hometown of Glasgow last November. The work focuses on the relationship between “the flow and turbulence of time” and involves everything from a cappella choir to drumming and electronics.

Oct. 5-11. Valery Gergiev and the Mariinsky Orchestra
Carnegie Hall
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The peripatetic Russian maestro brings his Mariinsky Orchestra to town for the opening night of Carnegie Hall, with Yo-Yo Ma, followed by a cycle of Tchaikovsky’s six symphonies. Of particular note is the Oct. 11 concert featuring 20-year-old Russian pianist Daniil Trifonov, the most recent winner of the International Tchaikovsky Competition. He’ll perform Tchaikovsky’s First Piano Concerto. Also on the program are Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet and Shostakovich’s First Symphony.

Oct. 6. Pianist Sara Davis Buechner and Violinist Stephanie Chase
Bargemusic
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With the new Brooklyn Bridge Park bringing greenery to a once-industrial landscape, there are yet more reasons for a trip to Bargemusic on the East River. For this program, the versatile pianist Sara Davis Buechner and violinist Stephanie Chase explore Spanish-flavored works by Maurice Ravel (the Tzigane and Habanera) and Joaquin Turina (Ten Gypsy Dances, Books 1 & II, Sonata Espanola No. 2).

Oct. 12. Brooklyn Philharmonic
World Financial Center
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This once-moribund orchestra strives to get back on its feet after losing its subscriber base, its permanent home and much of its funding. Yet if anyone can inspire artistic -- and perhaps by extension, financial -- results, it may be Alan Pierson. In this program, the conductor leads Derek Bermel’s arrangements of rapper Mos Def’s songs, 19th-century Shape Note singing, and works by David T. Little, Frederick Rzewski and Lev Zhurbin.

Oct. 20. Yuja Wang, piano
Carnegie Hall

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The 24-year-old Chinese pianist Yuja Wang, known for her powerhouse technique, probing musicality and head-turning outfits, makes her New York recital debut. Three heavyweight pieces are on tap: Beethoven’s Sonata No. 13 in E-flat Major, Prokofiev’s Sonata No. 6 in A Major, Op. 82 and Liszt’s Sonata in B Minor.

Oct. 22 Gidon Kremer
Alice Tully Hall
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The Latvian violinist also made waves this summer by withdrawing from the Verbier Festival in Switzerland after publicly criticizing its "misguided fixation with glamour and sex appeal.” However merited his argument, the episode shows why Kremer remains one of classical music’s true mavericks. As part of Lincoln Center’s “White Light Festival," he joins cellist Giedre Dirvanauskaite and pianist Andrius Zlabys in works by Bach, Gubaidulina, Silvestrov and Shostakovich.

Oct. 23 Britten’s War Requiem. London Symphony Orchestra
Avery Fisher Hall
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Britten’s War Requiem was composed in 1962 for the reopening of England’s Coventry Cathedral, after it was destroyed by bombing in World War II. The piece has gone on to become a defining concert work to rally against the horrors of war. Italian conductor Gianandrea Noseda leads the LSO and a starry cast that includes soprano Sabina Cvilak, tenor Ian Bostridge and baritone Simon Keenlyside.

Oct. 27. "East Meets West." Daniel Hope, violin
92nd Street Y
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Daniel hope was a protégée of the violinist Yehudi Menuhin, who in the 1960s teamed with Ravi Shankar for the seminal crossover album “West Meets East.” For this program, Hope reinvents the original concept with sitar player Gaurav Mazumdar, tabla player Vishnal Nagar and pianist Simon Crawford-Phillips. They’ll play Ravel, Bartok, Falla and others.

Oct. 27, Nov. 1, 5 Siegfried
Metropolitan Opera
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Following Robert Lepage's productions of Wagner's Das Rheingold and Die Walküre last season, the Met raises the curtain on Lepage's Siegfried, the third in the composer’s “Ring" tetralogy. With James Levine sidelined due to injury, Italian conductor Fabio Luisi will conduct a cast featuring tenor Gary Lehman in the title role, Deborah Voigt as Brünnhilde and Bryn Terfel as the Wanderer.

Oct. 31. Brooklyn Rider
Carnegie Hall
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This string quartet has been frequently compared to rock bands by virtue of its dynamic, high-energy concerts. Now the group has composed a piece just as a rock act would, by hashing out parts together in the studio to fashion something collaboratively. On Halloween, they share the results, along with pieces by Zorn, Glass and Beethoven.

Nov. 2-3 Koyaanisqatsi Live. New York Philharmonic
Avery Fisher Hall
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As part of a celebration of his 75th birthday, the Philharmonic will perform Phillip Glass's pulsing, swirling score to Godfrey Reggio's 1982 cult environmental flick "Koyaanisqatsi," while the film is screened in real time. This will be the first performance of a Glass piece by the Philharmonic. Magic mushrooms not included.

Nov. 3 Schola Cantorum de Venezuela
Alice Tully Hall
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This Caracas-based chorus has become a familiar presence in New York, partly through its participation in the Argentine composer Osvaldo Golijov’s Pasión Según San Marcos, heard at BAM and Lincoln Center in recent years. Yet that’s hardly their only gig: here they present a program of spiritual music from Spanish-language cultures, ranging from Renaissance motets to contemporary South American works.

Nov. 9-19 Nico Muhly’s Dark Sisters. Gotham Chamber Opera
Gerald W. Lynch Theater
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The Gotham Chamber Opera jumps in ahead of the Met to present the American opera debut of hot young composer Nico Muhly. Dark Sisters, with a libretto by Stephen Karam, is about the women of a fundamentalist, polygamous sect, inspired by the stories of real-life raids on compounds in 1953 and 2008. Expect reactions to fall strongly on either side of this one.

Nov. 10. Spem in Alium. Huelgas Ensemble
Fourth Universalist Church
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As part of Lincoln Center's "White Light Festival," the Belgian early-music group arrives with a pair of concerts exploring a cappella polyphonic Renaissance works. The first night includes Thomas Tallis’s 40-part Spem in Alium, a mind-blowing motet from 1570, as well as works by Josquin, Gabrieli and others.

Nov. 12. Angelika Kirchschlager and Jean-Yves Thibaudet
Zankel Hall
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The Austrian mezzo-soprano and the French pianist first performed together for the singer’s American debut recital back in 1995 and something clearly clicked. Both share a similar attention to color and nuance that transcends national differences. This evening focuses on the songs of Brahms, many well-known, and those of Liszt, which are far more off the beaten path.

Nov. 19. Honegger’s Jeanne d'Arc au Bûcher. Baltimore Symphony
Carnegie Hall
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Marin Alsop leads Arthur Honegger's rarely performed dramatic oratorio Jeanne d'Arc au Bûcher ("Joan of Arc at the Stake"). Premiered in 1938, the oratorio depicts the meteoric career of the historical Joan, who led France to victory over the English in 1428 at Orleans and was burned at the stake as a heretic, all while still a teenager.

Dec. 1-3. Mahler Symphony No. 10. New York Philharmonic; Daniel Harding, conductor
Avery Fisher Hall
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Daniel Harding, a 36-year-old British conductor who is increasingly known for his tackling of sprawling, high-drama scores, leads the perhaps the least-known of Mahler’s works, the unfinished Symphony No. 10. The concert features the Deryck Cooke realization. [Read our 2010 interview with Harding]

Dec. 10. Karita Mattila, soprano; Martin Katz, piano
Carnegie Hall
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The seemingly ageless Finnish soprano Karita Mattila is known for her intense performances on the opera stage, including the role of Emilia Marty in The Makropulos Case, which comes to the Met in April. Here she focuses on the more intimate art of the song recital (albeit in 2,800-seat Carnegie). Scheduled are songs by Poulenc, Debussy, Marx and Aulis Sallinen.

Dec. 15. Orchestra of St. Luke’s; Robert Spano, conductor
Carnegie Hall
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A certain predictably inevitably sets over the concert scene in December but thankfully, there are exceptions like this program by the Orchestra of St. Luke’s. Robert Spano conducts Bach’s "Brandenburg" Concerto No. 3 and Magnificat, BWV 243, plus Messiaen’s Trois petites liturgies de la Présence Divine. Joining the group along with several respected soloists is the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Chamber Chorus.

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