Classical Music Sampler: February 2013

A strong month featuring performances from the celebrated Borromeo String Quartet, vocal group A Far Cry, and new music from Sound Icon.

By Jonathan Blumhofer and Susan Miron.

Violinist Baiba Skride performs with the Boston Symphony Orchestra this month.

Boston Symphony Orchestra. February 2 and 5.

Andris Nelsons makes his belated Symphony Hall debut in an all-Russian program, with violinist Baiba Skride performing the Shostakovich Violin Concerto no. 1.

Boston Lyric Opera. February 6, 7, 9, and 10.

James MacMillan hasn’t exactly been scarce on Boston-area programs over the last few years and, though I haven’t heard much by him that I actually like (yet), the BLO’s new production of his opera, Clemency, at least looks intriguing. Based on the biblical account of Abraham and Sarah and the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, the MacMillan will be prefaced by Schubert’s song, “Hagar’s Lament.”

Boston Symphony Orchestra. February 7-9, 12.

The main draw here is the BSO debut of French violinist Renaud Capuçon, playing Sibelius’s Violin Concerto. Framing it is the solid (if uninspired) pairing of Brahms’s Variations on a Theme by Haydn and Beethoven’s evergreen Symphony no. 5; Christoph von Dohnányi conducts.

A Far Cry. February 9.

The JP-based group premieres a newly commissioned piece by Ted Hearne and presents a typically varied program of works by Shostakovich, Boccherini, and assorted English composers.

Boston Musica Viva.February 10.

BMV’s annual Family Concert features two pieces this year: Bernard Hoffer’s inimitable Ma Goose and the world premiere of Sam Hedrick’s new ballet The New Kid.

Sound Icon will perform at the ICA this month. Photo: Michele McDonald

Boston Modern Orchestra Project. February 15.

The viola is the focus of BMOP’s second orchestral concert of the season. This program features four soloists (Wenting Kang, Susan Ung, Kate Vincent, and Lizhou Liu) in pieces by George Pearle, Chinary Ung, Donald Crockett, and Chen Yi; Gordon Jacobs’s Suite for Eight Violas kicks things off.

Boston Philharmonic. February 21, 23, and 24.

Mahler’s majestic, grimly tragic Sixth Symphony is the focus of the BPO’s third program of the season. James Levine’s towering account of this piece in 2008 was one of the highlights of his BSO tenure, and it will be interesting to hear Benjamin Zander’s take on it with memories of the earlier performance still so strong.

Sound IconFebruary 22.

The Institute for Contemporary Art features Sound Icon in two local premieres: Fausto Romitelli’s Professor Bad Trip and Salvatore Sciarrino’s Infinito Nero, the latter featuring the superb Janna Baty.

— JB

Chamber Music/ Early Music

Wednesday Concert Series. At the Church of St. John Evangelist, 35 Bowdoin Street, Boston, MA, every Wednesday, 5:30 p.m, free.

February 6: Julian Drummond (piano) will perform works by Bach, Beethoven, Chopin, and Shostakovich.

February 13: Tyler St. Clare (flute), with Karen Fanale (soprano) and Zach Pearson (guitar), will present Pleasantries of the Peasantry, tavern songs of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries to warm a mid-winter night.

February 20: Aaron Larget-Caplan (guitar) with Nora Karakousoglou (cello), Olav Chris Henriksen and Berit Strong (guitars), Faith Jones (viola), and Nicole Parks and Farley Kelly-Masterton (violins) will present Bach to the 21st Century, featuring the music of Bach, Ferranti, and Elliott Carter plus new works by James Dalton and Thomas L. Read.

February 27: Yakov Zamir (counter-tenor) will perform works by Handel and praise songs of Esther.

Guitarist Aaron Larget-Caplan performs solo and chamber music with fellow Boston Conservatory faculty members this month.

Chameleon Arts Ensemble. February 2 at 8 p.m. and February 3 at 4 p.m.

The program music such as spirits love features works of Leoš Janáček, Thea Musgrave, Fang Man (“Larkspur” for flute, viola, and harp), and Brahms’s String Sextet #2 in G Major.

Borromeo String Quartet with Donald Palma. February 3, 1:30 p.m.

The program includes the Dvorak String Quartet in E-flat Major and String Quintet No 2 in G Major (Dvorak Project Part III).

Women Making Music: Honoring the Work of Judith Tick. February 3, 3:30 p.m., free.

Musicologist Judith Tick speaks on her groundbreaking anthology, Women Making Music, and recent work on Ella Fitzgerald. Reception with jazz performance to follow. For reservations email

Women Making Music Gala Concert. February 3, 7 p.m.

A concert that celebrates historical and contemporary musical works by women. The terrific line-up of performers includes Gabriella Diaz, Sarah Bob, mezzo-soprano Pamela Dellal, Vivian Montgomery, Daniel Stepner, Scott Woolweaver, and La Donna Musicale.

Pianist Ya-Fei Chuang. Presented by Boston Conservatory’s Piano Master Series. February 12, 8 p.m.

A performance that promises to be excellent, featuring works by Rachmaninoff, Liszt (the ubiquitous Sonata in b minor), Schubert, and Liszt/Wagner (Tannhäuser).

“Mythos/Melos”: The intertwining Threads of Music and Narrative. February 9, 8 p.m.

Duo pianists Lois Shapiro and Randall Hodgkinson play Stravinsky’s Petroushka and The Firebird. Also on the program is a world premiere of Martin Brody’s True Pete; guest artists include mime Colin Gee.

Music for Food. February 18, 8 p.m.

The third of this season’s concerts led by violist Kim Kashkashian. On the program are Dvorak’s Miniatures for Two Violins and Viola and his Second String Quintet and Tcherepnin’s Duo for Violin and Cello (James Buswell, violin, Carol Ou, cello). The other strings are an all-star team: Kashkashian (a Grammy nominee this year for her recording of Kurtag and Ligeti), viola; Dmitiri Murath, viola; Lucy Chapman and Yura Lee, violin; Marcy Rosen, cello; and Donald Palma, bass. Admission is a monetary contribution (check or cash) to the Greater Boston Food Bank or canned goods. Great musicians, great music, and a great cause.

Guitarist Aaron Larget-Caplan. February 22, 8 p.m.

An eclectic recital by the excellent guitarist and some impressive guests. Aaron Larget-Caplan performs solo and chamber music with fellow Boston Conservatory faculty members Berit Strong and Olav Chris Henriksen (guitar), Sharon Leventhal (violin), and Boston Conservatory students Nicole Parks and Farley Kelly-Masterton (violins), Faith Jones (viola), and Nora Karakousoglou (cello). The program includes four works specially written for Larget-Caplan, including two by Boston Conservatory faculty members Jim Dalton and Kevin Siegfried.

Harpist Elizabeth Hainen will perform a solo recital this month in Cambridge, MA.

Kalichstein-Laredo-Robinson Trio. Presented by Celebrity Series of Boston. February 24, 3 p.m.

The musical offerings include trios by Mozart, André Previn, and Tchaikovsky (the majestic A minor piano trio).

Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. February 24, 1:30 p.m.

The program includes works of Poulenc, Ligeti, Milhaud (Suite for Woodwind Quintet), and Mozart (Quintet for Piano and Winds).

Elizabeth Hainen. February 27, 8 p.m.

The principal harp of the Philadelpia Orchestra plays a recital in Cambridge, MA.

Emmanuel Music: Free Thursdays. February 28, 12 p.m.

Tenors Jason McStoots (always worth hearing) and Ryan Turner join organist Charles Sherman in a program entitled The Venice Connection: Late 17th century Italianate devotional music from Southern and Northern Europe.

— SM

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