Columbus, Ohio is a city filled with arts organizations and for those of us interested in listening to classical music, it provides us with a wealth of options. The classical music concert season is starting in the next few weeks and whether you’re a veteran of going to see the symphony or looking to venture out for the first time, I’ve put together a list of what I think are some must-see concerts.
For those of you who might be new symphony goers, the classical music concert season follows the school year, so it starts in the fall a few weeks into football season and goes through collegiate finals weeks in May. After that, it usually takes a few weeks off before starting the summer pops season. Plenty of music – all year long!
This is not an all-encompassing list – heck, the Columbus Symphony Orchestra has 15 classical music series concerts this year alone – but it does offer up a nice sampling of things to try in the coming months. Check this out – there’s something for everybody. Maybe we’ll even see each other at some of these. I sure hope so because there’s some great music on upcoming programs and the musicians are fabulous!
Mahler’s Symphony #2 – Resurrection – Friday, October 5. at the Ohio Theatre
Includes the Columbus Symphony orchestra playing alongside the Columbus Symphony Chorus. Canadian soprano Dominique LaBelle, who sang at last year’s season opener of Beethoven’s 9th, will again be one of the soloists. And if you thought Beethoven’s 9th was good, you shouldn’t miss this! Be sure to listen for the French horns!
Beethoven’s 5th – Friday/Saturday, November 15-16 at the Ohio Theatre
Who didn’t love the movie Immortal Beloved with Gary Oldman as Ludwig von Beethoven? Everyone recognizes his well-known 5th Symphony – heard anywhere from in the movie to the Google Chrome commercials and by everyone else who marks a dramatic moment by singing these four notes: DA DA DA DAAAAAAAA!
Rhapsody in Blue – Saturday, February 8 at the Ohio Theatre
Want a chance to hear that fabulous clarinet glissando at the beginning of Rhapsody in Blue? Here’s your chance – in an evening of nothing but music by George Gershwin. One of the premier interpreters of Gershwin, pianist Peter Nero plays a variety of music such as Rhapsody in Blue, S’Wonderful, Someone to Watch Over Me, etc. I bet that if you close your eyes, you’ll even be able to picture Gene Kelly singing and dancing!
Mozart’s Requiem – Friday/Saturday, April 11-12 at the Ohio Theatre
Speaking of movies, Mozart’s Requiem, left unfinished at the time of his death in 1791, but later finished by one of his students, is probably (in this writer’s humble opinion) the most beautiful piece of music ever written in the entire history of man. (No pressure, CSO!) It was the piece of music depicted at the end of the 1984 movie Amadeus that was being dictated by a very sick Mozart to an awed Antonio Salieri. Whether what happened on film was really true doesn’t matter as it’s a beautiful beautiful beautiful piece of music that you should see performed live if you possibly can.
Not enough Mozart for you? Never fear – there are two other concerts earlier in the season (November and February) that also feature his music.
Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto in E Minor – Saturday/Sunday, November 9-10 at the Southern Theatre
Violinist Vadim Gluzman, who played the Alban Berg violin concerto with the CSO last May, is back to play one of Felix Mendelssohn’s most famous pieces. While it gets a lot of play time on the radio, a live performance should not be missed!
Mozart Mass in C-Minor – Saturday/Sunday, February 22,23 at the Pontifical College Josephinum/Southern Theatre
Not to keep referring to movies, but if you have the Amadeus soundtrack, then you’re familiar with the Kyrie from this mass by W.A. Mozart, featuring soprano, Felicity Lott. In the movie, it was in the scene when Mozart’s wife took some of his music to Maestro Salieri and was being played at the point he dropped all the manuscripts on the floor because he couldn’t believe what he was seeing. Beautiful! This live version features the Lancaster Chorale under the direction of newly appointed music director, David Danzmayr.
Madama Butterfly – Friday/Sunday, November 22, 24 at the Southern Theatre
Puccini’s most beloved opera about how a Japanese maiden falls in love with an American Naval officer. Originally a flop when premiered in Milan back in 1904 it has since become one of the most highly performed operas around the world. Featuring Priti Ghandi as Cio-Cio San and Harold Meers as Pinkerton, this is performed in collaboration with the Ohio State University.
The Pirates of Penzance – Saturday/Sunday, March 8-9 at the Southern Theatre
Considered “light opera,” this Gilbert and Sullivan work features the character, Frederic, who is mistakenly apprenticed to the pirates through his 21st birthday – something made more challenging because of his having been born on February 29th! With a constant theme of duty, everything works out in the end with this fun story.
Swan Lake – October 18-20 at the Ohio Theatre, October 25-27 at the Aranoff Theatre
Tchaikovsky’s beautiful ballet about a princess who is turned into a swan by an evil sorcerer’s curse only able to return to life as a princess if a prince swears his love to her.
The Nutcracker – December 12-24 at the Ohio Theatre
Don’t miss an opportunity to see Clara and her Nutcracker prince for yet another wonderful Tchaikovsky ballet. With two weeks’ worth of performances, there’s a chance for everyone to see one!
Twelfth Night – Saturday/Sunday, January 4-5 at the First Congregational Church
The Early Interval will perform music from the 12th -17th centuries in France, Italy, Spain and North Africa on traditional instruments such as the recorder, bass dulcian, crumhorns, medieval lute, chitarone, rebecs, violin and pipe and tabor. Don’t know what some of those are? No worries. Neither do I, but I look forward to finding out in this celebration of music marking the end of the Christmas season and welcoming in the new year.
Vaughan Williams’ Symphony No. 1 – Saturday, May 10 at Fritsche Theatre in Cowan Hall – Otterbein University
Didn’t get enough of the high seas with the Pirates of Penzance? Great! This symphony is actually titled “A Sea Symphony: A Song for All Seas, All Ships” and has text from Walt Whitman’s “Leaves of Grass.” It will be performed next spring along with vocalists from a variety of choral ensembles at Otterbein University.
Dvorak Quintet in A Major, Op 81 – Saturday, November 16 at the Southern Theatre
The Pacifica Quartet plays along with pianist Marc-André Hamelin, who played just beautifully last year with the CSO. They’ll be performing quintets by Shostakovich, Dvorak and Ornstein.
Ravel and Mozart – Saturday, January 18 at the Southern Theatre
The Escher String Quartet will be playing Ravel’s quartet in F Major, Mozart’s Quartet in G Major, K.387 and Ainsi la Nuit by Henri Dutilleux.
Beethoven’s 9th Symphony – Sunday, October 13 at the Jeanne B. McCoy Community Center for the Arts
If you didn’t get to see the 9th, Ode to Joy, last year with the CSO, then don’t miss your chance to see it next month in New Albany, OH with the New Albany Symphony Orchestra, featuring the Capital University Chapel Choir.
Looking for some great Christmas music? Most of these ensembles offer up some great music sometime in December that allows for audience participation and enjoyment. Don’t worry, I’ll post it all later on, but between various pops concerts, the Nutcracker and more traditional music, I promise you’ll have plenty of options. If you’d like, you can go ahead and get a head start by checking out their complete schedules linked above.
French Horn Week – coming up the week of September 23-27 here on Giocosity!