Classical Music Sampler: December 2010

December classical music offerings range from a recital by 20-year-old Haochen Zhang, who won last year’s Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, to The MIT Chamber Music Society presentation of a free, two-piano concert, and the Boston Modern Orchestra Project taking on, without charge, an evening of music by three women composers.

Composer Jenny Olivia Johnson: Boston Modern Orchestra will present the world premiere of her composition LIVING IN SIN.

By Caldwell Titcomb.

December 1, 8, 15, 22, and 29: The Church of St. John Evangelist continues its free Wednesday afternoon concerts as follows. December 1: Organist Jeffrey Mills presents music by J. S. Bach, Pachelbel, Jongen, and Schroeder. December 8: Mezzo-soprano Ellen Oak will perform the music of the medieval, German abbess Hildegard von Bingen (1098–1179). December 15: Shimru L’Adonai, Jewish liturgical music performed by cantor Randall Schloss and countertenor Yaakov Zamir, with a chorus conducted by Carol Marton. December 22: Mezzo-soprano Ellen Oak and cellist Aristides Rivas offer a seasonal program. December 29: Pianist Artem Belogurov plays a program to be announced. At Church of St. John Evangelist, 35 Bowdoin Street, Beacon Hill, Boston, MA, 5:30 p.m.

December 2–4: The Boston Symphony Orchestra, conducted by James Levine (health permitting), plays MIT composer John Harbison’s Symphony No. 2; Mozart’s Violin Concerto No. 3 in G (K.216), with Nikolaj Znaider as soloist; and Schumann’s Symphony No. 2, whose slow movement is the composer’s finest orchestral piece. At Symphony Hall, 301 Massachusetts Avenue, Boston, MA, 8 p.m. on Thursday and Saturday and 1:30 p.m. on Friday.

December 3: The Celebrity Series offers a recital by 20-year-old Haochen Zhang, who won last year’s Van Cliburn International Piano Competition. His program includes all four Chopin Ballades, Brahms’s half dozen piano pieces, Op. 118, and Alberto Ginastera’s 1952 Piano Sonata No. 1, Op. 22. At Jordan Hall, 290 Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA, 8 p.m.

December 5: The MIT Chamber Music Society sponsors a free, two-piano concert played by Bogdan Fedeles and Alvin Cheung. The program features Bartók’s marvelous Sonata for Two Pianos and Percussion (with percussionist Simone Ovsey). At MIT’s Kresge Auditorium, Cambridge, MA, 7 p.m.

December 6: The New England Conservatory’s free “First Monday” series presents Dvorák’s String Sextet in A, Op. 48; the late Morton Feldman’s “The Viola in My Life, Parts II &III”; and Mozart’s Piano Quartet in E-Flat Major, K. 493. At Jordan Hall, 290 Huntington Street, Boston, MA, 8 p.m.

December 7: The Boston Conservatory’s “Piano Masters Series” presents award-winning faculty pianist Max Levinson in three of the Romantic era’s greatest works: the Chopin Ballade No. 2 in F-Major; Schumann’s Fantasy in C-Major, Op. 17; and Liszt’s B-Minor Sonata. At Seully Hall, 8 The Fenway, Boston, MA, 8 p.m.

December 11: Part of the Boston Modern Orchestra Project’s activities this year is to serve as an ensemble-in-residence at Wellesley College. In this guise, it presents without charge music by three women composers: Chen Yi, Judith Weir, and Wellesley faculty member Jenny Olivia Johnson, whose “Living in Sin” will received its world premiere. At Houghton Chapel, Wellesley Campus, 106 Central Street, Wellesley, MA, 8 p.m.

Yale University Professor Thomas Murray seated at the Newberry Memorial Pipe Organ in Woolsey Hall. This month he will play a recital at the newly installed and restored Skinner organ at Harvard

December 12: The Boston Chamber Music Society presents a concert of three superb Beethoven works: the String Quartet, Op. 95; the “Spring” Violin Sonata, Op. 96; and the “Archduke” Trio, Op. 97. At Pickman Hall, Longy School of Music, 1 Follen Street, Cambridge, MA, 3 p.m.

December 14: Prof. Thomas Murray of Yale visits Harvard to play the free Organ Dedication Recital on the newly installed and restored Skinner organ, Op. 793. At Memorial Church, One Harvard Yard, Cambridge, MA, 8 p.m.

December 18: The Oriana Consort, led by Walter Chapin, offers a varied program: William Byrd’s Mass for Four Voices, Samuel Barber’s famous “Adagio for Strings” arranged for chorus, Leonard Bernstein’s “Hashkiveinu,” and J.S. Bach’s cantata “Schwingt freudig” (BWV 36) and motet “Komm, Jesu” (BWV 229). At First Lutheran Church, Berkeley and Marlborough Street, Boston, MA, 8 p.m.

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