Letter V
Clarke Bustard
The Virginia Classical Music Blog
1068 Entries

Classical performances in and around Richmond, with selected events elsewhere in Virginia and the Washington area. Program information, provided by presenters, is updated as details become available. Adult single-ticket prices are listed; senior, student/youth, group and other discounts may be offered.

* In the spirit of the season: It’s all good . . . 

Several programs, though, look especially good: The Bohemian String Quartet sampling folk and classical music from the Balkans, Russia and India, Dec. 2 at the Williamsburg Regional Library Theatre. . . . Steven Isserlis, Raphael Bell and Steven Doane in a rare three-cello program, including the premiere of Olli Mustonen’s Triptych, Dec. 6 at the Paramount Theater in Charlottesville. . . . The Tallis Scholars singing William Byrd and more, Dec. 9 at the Ferguson Arts Center of Christopher Newport University in Newport News. . . . James Wilson and Beiliang Zhu playing Bach’s six cello suites on 4- and 5-string baroque instruments, Dec. 16 at the Episcopal Church of the Holy Comforter in Richmond.


Dec. 1 (7:30 p.m.)
Camp Concert Hall, Modlin Arts Center, University of Richmond
UR Chamber Ensembles
program TBA
free
(804) 289-8980
www.modlin.richmond.edu

Dec. 2 (7:30 p.m.)
Dec. 3 (7:30 p.m.)
Vlahcevic Concert Hall, Singleton Arts Center, Virginia Commonwealth University, Park Avenue at Harrison Street, Richmond
choral concerts
performers TBA 
program TBA 
$7 in advance, $10 day of event
(804) 828-6776
www.arts.vcu.edu/music

Dec. 2 (8 p.m.)
Williamsburg Regional Library Theatre, 515 Scotland St.
Chamber Music Society of Williamsburg:
Bohemian String Quartet
trad. Bulgarian: “Sweet Rakia,” “Hungarian Suite,” “Romanian Suite”
trad. Romanian: “Sirba,” “Briul,” “Geamparele”
trad. Indian: Kaylan Raga 
trad. Russian: “Horses of the Troika”
Janos Bihari: “Bihari Verbunkos”
trad. Bulgarian: “Grozdanka i Bogdan, Voivoda,” “Koichovoto Horo”
trad. Romanian: “Tribal Dances”
Brahms: Hungarian Dance No. 5
Dinicu: “Hora Staccato”
Hubay: “Scene of the Csarda” (“Waves of the Balton”)
Enescu: Doina
Brahms: Hungarian Dance No. 1
Dinicu: “Hora Martisorlui”
Brahms: Hungarian Dance No. 3
Hubay: “Scene of the Csarda” (“Hejre Kati”)
Dinicu: “Lark”
$15 (waiting list)
(757) 229-0385
www.chambermusicwilliamsburg.org

Dec. 2 (7:30 p.m.)
Old Cabell Hall, University of Virginia, Charlottesville
Tuesday Evening Concerts:
Alessio Bax, piano
Beethoven: Sonata in A flat major, Op. 110 
Mussorgsky-Rachmaninoff: “Sorochinsky Fair” – Hopak 
Rachmaninoff: Prelude in G major, Op. 32, No. 5
Rachmaninoff: Prelude in G minor, Op. 23, No. 5
Kreisler-Rachmaninoff: “Liebeslied”
Kreisler-Rachmaninoff: “Liebesfreud”
Mussorgsky: “Pictures at an Exhibition”
$12-$33
(434) 924-3376
www.tecs.org

Dec. 3 (7:30 p.m.)
Camp Concert Hall, Modlin Arts Center, University of Richmond 
UR Symphony Orchestra
Alexander Kordzaia conducting
Handel: “Messiah”– “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion”
Erin Vidlak, soprano
Louise Chaminade: Concertino, Op. 107
Marie Fernandez, flute 
Saint-Saëns: “The Muse and the Poet”
Leslie Kinnas, violin
Kevin Westergaard, cello
Rimsky-Korsakov: “Scheherazade” (excerpts)
Elgar: “Enigma Variations” (excerpts)
free
(804) 289-8980
www.modlin.richmond.edu

Dec. 3 (7:30 p.m.)
Ferguson Arts Center, Christopher Newport University, Newport News
Mark O’Connor, fiddle
“An Applachian Christmas” 
$27-$42
(757) 594-8752
www.fergusoncenter.org

Dec. 3 (8 p.m.)
Regent University Theater, 1000 Regent University Drive, Virginia Beach
Dec. 4 (8 p.m.)
Crosswalk Community Church, 7575 Richmond Road, Williamsburg
Dec. 5 (8 p.m.) 
Harrison Opera House, 160 E. Virginia Beach Boulevard, Norfolk
Dec. 6 (8 p.m.) First Baptist Church, 12716 Warwick Boulevard, Newport News
Virginia Symphony
Benjamin Rous conducting
Handel: “Messiah”
Clara Rottsolk, soprano
Kirsten Sollek, alto
Zach Finkelstein, tenor
Andrew Garland, baritone
Virginia Symphony Chorus 
Robert Shoup directing
$25-$107
(757) 892-6366
www.virginiasymphony.org

Dec. 4 (7 p.m.)
Glen Allen branch, Henrico County Public Library, 10501 Staples Mill Road
Short Pump Symphonette
holiday program TBA
free
(804) 290-9500
www.henricolibrary.org

Dec. 4 (7:30 p.m.)
Vlahcevic Concert Hall, Singleton Arts Center, Virginia Commonwealth University, Park Avenue at Harrison Street, Richmond
VCU Symphony Orchestra
Daniel Myssyk conducting
VCU Women’s Choir
program TBA
$7 in advance, $10 day of event
(804) 828-6776
www.arts.vcu.edu/music

Dec. 4 (7 p.m.)
Dec. 5 (8 p.m.)
Dec. 6 (8 p.m.) 
Kennedy Center Concert Hall, Washington
National Symphony Orchestra
Helmuth Rilling conducting
J.S. Bach: Suite No. 3 in D major, BWV 1068 
J.S. Bach: Concerto in C minor, BWV 1060 
Nicholas Stovall, oboe
Marissa Regni, violin
J.S. Bach: Cantata 110, “Unser Mund sei voll Lachens”
J.S. Bach: Cantata 63, “Christen, ätzet diesen Tag”
Julia Sophie Wagner, soprano
Anke Vondung, alto
Nicholas Phan, tenor
Michael Nagy, baritone
University of Maryland Concert Choir
Edward Maclary directing
$10-$85
(800) 444-1324
www.kennedy-center.org

Dec. 5 (7:30 p.m.)
Vlahcevic Concert Hall, Singleton Arts Center, Virginia Commonwealth University, Park Avenue at Harrison Street, Richmond
VCU Holiday Gala
faculty and student performers & ensembles
program TBA
$10; proceeds benefit VCU/MCV Hospitality House
(804) 828-6776
www.arts.vcu.edu/music

Dec. 5 (8 p.m.)
Old Cabell Hall, University of Virginia, Charlottesville
Dec. 13 (8 p.m.)
First Presbyterian Church, 500 Park St., Charlottesville
Virginia Glee Club 
Frank Albinder directing
Christmas program TBA
$15
(434) 924-3376 
www.music.virginia.edu

Dec. 5 (8 p.m.)
Dec. 6 (4 p.m.)
UVa Chapel, University of Virginia, Charlottesville
Virginia Women’s Chorus
KaeRenae Mitchell directing
Anastasia Jellison, harp
“Candlelight Concerts”
Holst: “Choral Hymns from the Rig Veda,” group 3
holiday music TBA 
$15
(434) 924-3376
www.music.virginia.edu

Dec. 5 (7:30 p.m.)
Salem Civic Center, 1001 Roanoke Boulevard
Dec. 6 (4 p.m.)
Center for the Arts, Virginia Tech, 190 Alumni Mall, Blacksburg
Dec. 7 (7 p.m.)
Martinsville High School auditorium, 351 Commonwealth Boulevard
Roanoke Symphony Pops
David Stewart Wiley conducting 
Roanoke Symphony Chorus 
Roanoke Valley Children’s Choir 
Ariana Wyatt, soprano
“Home for the Holidays”
$15-$52
(540) 343-9127
www.rso.com

Dec. 5 (8 p.m.)
Dec. 6 (2 p.m.)
Center for the Arts, George Mason University, Fairfax
Virginia Opera
Adam Turner conducting
Gilbert & Sullivan: “H.M.S. Pinafore”
Jake Gardner (Sir Joseph Porter)
Christopher Burchett (Captain Corcoran) 
Cullen Gandy (Ralph Rackstraw)
Matthew Scollin (Dick Deadeye) 
Brian Mextorf (Bill Bobstay)
Keith Brown (Bob Becket)
Shannon Jennings (Josephine)
Courtney Miller (Cousine Hebe)
Margaret Gawrysiak (Little Buttercup)
Nicola Bowie, stage director
in English, English captions 
$44-$98 
(888) 945-2468 (Tickets.com)
www.vaopera.org

Dec. 5 (8 p.m.)
Coolidge Auditorium, Library of Congress, First Street at Independence Avenue N.E., Washington
Chiara String Quartet
Simone Dinnerstein, piano 
Jefferson Friedman: “The Heart Wakes” (premiere)
Irving Fine: String Quartet 
Mozart: Quartet in C major, K. 465 (“Dissonance”)
free; tickets required 
(703) 573-7328 (Ticketmaster)
www.loc.gov/concerts

Dec. 6 (8 p.m.)
Dec. 7 (3 p.m.)
Carpenter Theatre, Richmond CenterStage, Sixth and Grace streets
Richmond Symphony Pops
Richmond Symphony Chorus 
Erin R. Freeman conducting
“Let It Snow!”
$10-$78
(800) 514-3849 (ETIX)
www.richmondsymphony.com

Dec. 6 (8 p.m.)
Paramount Theater, 215 E. Main St., Charlottesville
Steven Isserlis, Raphael Bell & Steven Doane, cellos
Connie Shih, piano 
Jean Barrière: Sonata in G major for cello duo
J.S. Bach: Sonata in G major, BWV 1027, for viola da gamba and keyboard
Schumann: “Fantasiestücke,” Op. 73 
Olli Mustonen: Triptych for three cellos (premiere)
David Popper: Requiem, Op. 66, for three cellos and piano
Beethoven: Sonata in A major, Op. 69, for cello and piano 
$29.50
(434) 979-1333
www.theparamount.net

Dec. 6 (8 p.m.)
Dec. 7 (3:30 p.m.) 
Old Cabell Hall, University of Virginia, Charlottesville
Charlottesville Symphony at the University of Virginia
Michael Slon conducting
UVa University Singers
Chris Owens, vocalist
holiday program TBA 
$10-$45
(434) 924-3376
www.music.virginia.edu

Dec. 6 (4 p.m.)
Music Center at Strathmore, 5301 Tuckerman Lane, North Bethesda, MD
Baltimore Symphony Orchestra
Ken Lam conducting
Step Afrika! dancers
Tchaikovsky-Duke Ellington: “The Nutcracker”
$20-$40
(877) 276-1444 (Baltimore Symphony box office)
www.strathmore.org

Dec. 6 (8 p.m.)
Music Center at Strathmore, 5301 Tuckerman Lane, North Bethesda, MD
Baltimore Symphony Orchestra
Edward Polochick conducting
Handel: “Messiah” 
Sydney Mansacola, soprano
Daniela Mack, mezzo-soprano 
Ross Hauck, tenor 
Sidney Outlaw, bass-baritone
Concert Artists of Baltimore Symphony Chorale 
$32-$95 
(877) 276-1444 (Baltimore Symphony box office)
www.strathmore.org

Dec. 7 (4 p.m.)
Trinity Lutheran Church, 2315 N. Parham Road, Richmond
Richmond Choral Society
Markus Compton directing
City Singers Youth Choirs
Leslie Dripps directing
Christmas program TBA
$15 in advance, $17.50 at door 
(804) 353-9582
www.richmondchoralsociety.org

Dec. 7 (5 and 8 p.m.)
Cannon Memorial Chapel, University of Richmond
UR Schola Cantorum 
UR Women’s Chorale
Virginia Girls’ Choir
Jeffrey Riehl & David Pedersen directing
“Festival of Lessons and Carols”
free
(804) 289-8980
www.modlin.richmond.edu

Dec. 7 (7 p.m.)
Carpenter Theatre, Richmond CenterStage, Sixth and Grace streets
Richmond Symphony Youth Orchestra Program:
Youth Concert Orchestra
Amy Birdsong conducting
Camerata Strings
Rebecca Jilcott conducting
String Sinfonietta
Christie-Jo Adams conducting
Tchaikovsky: “The Nutcracker” (excerpts) 
holiday music TBA
free
(804) 788-4717
www.richmondsymphony.com

Dec. 7 (8 p.m.)
River Road Church, Baptist, River and Ridge roads, Richmond
River Road Church Chancel Choir & orchestra
Robert Gallagher conducting
Handel: “Messiah” – Part 1
soloists TBA
Corelli: Concerto in G minor, Op. 6, No. 8 (“Christmas Concerto”)
free
(804) 288-1331
www.rrcb.org

Dec. 7 (5 p.m.)
Walnut Hills Baptist Church, 1014 Jamestown Road, Williamsburg 
Cantori
Agnes French directing
“Light Came Down”
Christmas works TBA by John Rutter, Eleanor Daley, Stephen Main, Stephen Caracciolo, Andrew Carter, others
donation requested
(757) 220-5900
www.cantoriwilliamsburg.org

Dec. 9 (7:30 p.m.)
Ferguson Arts Center, Christopher Newport University, Newport News
The Tallis Scholars
Peter Phillips directing
William Byrd: “Vigilate”
Josquin Desprez: “Missa Gaudeamus”
Byrd: “Laetentur caeli”
Byrd: “Plorans ploravit”
Byrd: “Ye sacred muses”
Byrd: “Ne irascaris Domine”
Edmund Turges: Magnificat
$27-$42
(757) 594-8752
www.fergusoncenter.org

Dec. 9 (8 p.m.)
Old Cabell Hall, University of Virginia, Charlottesville
“Messiah” Sing-In
Donald Loach directing
vocal, orchestral scores provided
$10
(434) 924-3376 
www.music.virginia.edu

Dec. 9 (7:30 p.m.)
Terrace Theater, Kennedy Center, Washington
Young Concert Artists:
Stephen Waarts, violin
Chelsea Wang, piano
Beethoven: Sonata in G major, Op. 30, No. 3
Bartók: Sonata for solo violin
Ravel: Sonata in G major
Ravel: “Pièce en forme de Habanera”
Bizet-Waxman: “Fantasy on Themes from ‘Carmen’ ”
$35
(800) 444-1324
www.kennedy-center.org

Dec. 10 (7:30 p.m.)
Terrace Theater, Kennedy Center, Washington 
Vocal Arts DC:
John Brancy, baritone 
Peter Dugan, piano
“Silent Night: a World War I Centenary Tribute in Song”
songs TBA from England, Germany, Austria, France and America
$50
(800) 444-1324
www.kennedy-center.org

Dec. 11 (7 p.m.)
Shaftman Performance Hall, Jefferson Center, 541 Luck Ave., Roanoke
Roanoke Symphony Baroque Orchestra
David Stewart Wiley conducting
Handel: “Messiah” – Part 1 and “Hallelujah” Chorus
Amy Williamson, soprano
Leah Malfi, alto
Scott Williamson, tenor
bass/baritone TBA
Roanoke Symphony Chorus
Karl Jenkins: “Palladio”
C.P.E. Bach: Sinfonia in C major
$32-$52
(540) 343-9127
www.rso.com

Dec. 11 (7 p.m.)
Dec. 12 (8 p.m.)
Dec. 13 (2 and 8 p.m.)
Kennedy Center Concert Hall
National Symphony Orchestra Pops
Steven Reineke conducting
Cirque de la Symphonie 
“Happy Holidays!”
$20-$98
(800) 444-1324
www.kennedy-center.org

Dec. 11 (7:30 p.m.)
Terrace Theater, Kennedy Center, Washington
Anonymous 4
“On Yoolis Night”
medieval Christmas music from British sources
$65
(800) 444-1324 
www.kennedy-center.org

Dec. 11 (8 p.m.)
Music Center at Strathmore, 5301 Tuckerman Lane, North Bethesda, MD
Baltimore Symphony Orchestra Pops
Jack Everly conducting
Baltimore Choral Arts Society
Tom Hall directing
Baltimore School for the Arts dancers
“Holly Jolly Pops”
$31-$94
(877) 276-1444 (Baltimore Symphony box office)
www.strathmore.org

Dec. 12 (7 p.m.)
Trinity Lutheran Church, 2315 N. Parham Road, Richmond
Dec. 14 (5 p.m.)
Episcopal Church of the Holy Comforter, Monument Avenue at Staples Mill Road, Richmond
James River Singers
David Pedersen directing
Christopher Martin, organ
Pachelbel: Magnificat in G major
Lauridsen: “Midwinter Songs”
Palestrina: “Alma redemptoris Mater”
Mendelssohn: “There Shall a Star”
Hassler: “Verbum catro factum est”
Rachmaninoff: “Bogoroditse Devo”
Whitacre: “Lux aurumque” 
Christmas carols TBA
$15
(757) 814-5446
www.jamesriversingers.org

Dec. 12 (8 p.m.)
Center for the Arts, George Mason University, Fairfax
The 5 Browns, pianos
“Holiday Celebration”
$30-$50
(888) 945-2468 (Tickets.com)
www.cfa.gmu.edu

Dec. 13 (2 p.m.)
Gellman Room, Richmond Public Library, First and Franklin streets
Richmond Boys Choir
holiday program TBA
free
(804) 646-7223
www.richmondpubliclibrary.org

Dec. 13 (7 p.m.)
Chesterfield Towne Center, Midlothian Turnpike at Huguenot Road, Midlothian
Dec. 14 (3 p.m.)
Virginia Center Commons, U.S. 1 north, Glen Allen
Central Virginia Wind Symphony
Mike Goldberg directing
Rex Richardson, trumpet
Kat Simons, host (Dec. 13)
Lorenzo Hall, host (Dec. 14)
holiday program TBA
free
(804) 342-8797
www.thewindsymphony.com

Dec. 13 (8 p.m.)
Carpenter Theatre, Richmond CenterStage, Sixth and Grace streets
Richmond Symphony
Keitaro Harada conducting
Handel: “Messiah”
Sari Gruber, soprano
Magdalena Wór, mezzo-soprano
David Portillo, tenor
Calvin Griffin, baritone
Richmond Symphony Chorus
Erin R. Freeman directing
$20-$50
(800) 514-3849 (ETIX) 
www.richmondsymphony.com

Dec. 13 (4:30 and 7 p.m.)
Paramount Theater, 125 E. Main St., Charlottesville
Ash Lawn Opera
Kate Tamarkin conducting
Menotti: “Amahl and the Night Visitors”
Georgia Castleman (Amahl) 
Brandy Lynn Johnson (Mother)
Benjamin Bunsold (King Kaspar)
Hyung Yun (King Melchior)
Kenneth Kellog (King Balthazar)
Gideon Dabi (Page)
Andrea Dorf McGray, stage director
in English
$27-$45
(434) 979-1333
www.theparamount.net

Dec. 13 (8 p.m.)
Center for the Arts, George Mason University, Fairfax
American Festival Pops Orchestra
Anthony Maiello conducting
“Holiday Pops: Songs of the Season” 
$30-$50
(888) 945-2468 (Tickets.com)
www.cfa.gmu.edu

Dec. 14 (3 p.m.)
Grace Baptist Church, 4200 Dover Road, Richmond 
Dec. 19 (7:30 p.m.)
River Road Church, Baptist, River and Ridge roads, Richmond
Dec. 21 (2 p.m.)
Duncan Memorial United Methodist Church, 201 Henry St., Ashland
Central Virginia Masterworks Chorale & orchestra
David Sinden conducting
Vivaldi: Gloria
holiday music TBA
$10 in advance, $15 at door
(800) 838-3006
www.cvam.org

Dec. 14 (4 p.m.)
Bon Air Presbyterian Church, 9201 W. Huguenot Road, Richmond
Second Sunday South of the James: 
“Messiah” sing-along
Anne Carr Regan directing
Karen Floyd Savage, soprano
Ellen Broen, mezzo-soprano 
Aaron Jones, tenor
Chase Peak, bass
rehearsal at 1 p.m. Dec. 13 
donation requested
(804) 272-7514 
www.bonairpc.org

Dec. 14 (7 p.m.)
Ginter Park Presbyterian Church, Seminary and Walton avenues, Richmond
Ginter Park Presbyterian Adult Choir
Doug Brown directing
“Moravian Love Feast”
Chrstmas carol arrangements by John Rutter
sweet buns and hot chocolate served in pews 
free
(804) 359-5049
www.ginterparkpc.org

Dec. 14 (2 and 5 p.m.)
Dec. 20 (4 p.m.)
Dec. 22 (7 p.m.)
Kennedy Center Concert Hall, Washington
The Washington Chorus
Julian Wachner directing
“A Candlelight Christmas”
$15-$70
(800) 444-1324
www.kennedy-center.org

Dec. 14 (7:30 p.m.)
Terrace Theater, Kennedy Center, Washington
Pro Musica Hebraica:
Ariel Quartet
“Zion’s Muse: Three Generations of Israeli Composers”
Ben-Haim: Prelude for string quartet (based on a traditional Sephardic tune)(1973) 
Ben-Haim: String Quartet No. 1 (1937)
Kopytman: String Quartet No. 3 (1969)
Wiesenberg: “Between the Sacred and the Profane” (1998)
$44
(800) 444-1324
www.kennedy-center.org

Dec. 15 (7 p.m.)
Dec. 21 (7 p.m.)
Dec. 24 (1 p.m.)
Kennedy Center Concert Hall, Washington
Choral Arts Society of Washington
Scott Tucker conducting
Jeff “Skunk” Baxter, guitar
“A Capital Christmas”
$15-$75
(800) 444-1324
www.kennedy-center.org

Dec. 16 (7:30 p.m.)
Episcopal Church of the Holy Comforter, Monument Avenue at Staples Mill Road, Richmond
Chamber Music Society of Central Virginia:
James Wilson & Beiliang Zhu, baroque cellos
J.S. Bach: 6 suites for solo cello
$25
(804) 519-2098
www.cmscva.org

Dec. 16 (7:30 p.m.)
Altria Theater, Main and Laurel streets, Richmond
Richmond Pops Band
Mark W. Poland directing
Richmond Choral Society
Markus Compton directing
holiday program TBA
free
(804) 275-5253
www.altriatheater.com

Dec. 18 (7 p.m.)
Dec. 19 (8 p.m.)
Dec. 20 (8 p.m.)
Dec. 21 (1 p.m.)
Kennedy Center Concert Hall, Washington
National Symphony Orchestra
Nicholas McGegan conducting
Handel: “Messiah”
Sherezade Pantaki, soprano
Jay Carter, countertenor
Thomas Cooley, tenor
Christopher Purves, baritone
The Washington Chorus
Julian Wachner directing
$10-$85
(800) 444-1324
www.kennedy-center.org

Dec. 18 (8 p.m.)
Coolidge Auditorium, Library of Congress, First Street at Independence Avenue N.E., Washington
St. Lawrence String Quartet
Hsin-Yun Huang, violin
Erwin Schulhoff: “Five Pieces for String Quartet”
Mozart: String Quintet in G minor, K. 516
Beethoven: Quartet in C sharp minor, Op. 131
sold out; Rush/tickets distributed at 6 p.m.
(703) 573-7328 (Ticketmaster) 
www.loc.gov/concerts

Dec. 19 (8 p.m.)
Sandler Arts Center, 201 S. Market St., Virginia Beach
Dec. 20 (8 p.m.)
Chrysler Hall, 215 St. Paul’s Boulevard, Norfolk
Virginia Symphony Pops 
Robert Shoup conducting
Virginia Symphony Chorus
Raleigh Ringers
other guest artists TBA
holiday program TBA 
$25-$93
(757) 892-6366
www.virginiasymphony.org

Dec. 20 (2:30 and 7:30 p.m.)
Paramount Theater, 215 E. Main St., Charlottesville
Oratorio Society of Central Virginia
Michael Slon directing
Monticello High School Vocal Jazz
Janet Whitmore directing
Charlottesville High School In One A-Chord
Will Cooke directing
“Christmas at the Paramount”
Daniel Pinkham: “Christmas Cantata” 
other holiday music TBA
$25
(434) 979-1333
www.theparamount.net

Dec. 20 (8 p.m.)
Dec. 21 (4 p.m.) 
Center for the Arts, George Mason University, Fairfax
Vienna Choir Boys
David Srebnik directing
“Christmas in Vienna”
$30-$50
(888) 945-2468 (Tickets.com)
www.cfa.gmu.edu

Dec. 20 (1 p.m.) 
Kennedy Center Concert Hall, Washington
Choral Arts Society of Washington 
Scott Tucker directing
“A Family Christmas” 
$15-$45
(800) 444-1324
www.kennedy-center.org

Dec. 20 (8 p.m.)
Dec. 21 (3 p.m.)
Music Center at Strathmore, 5301 Tuckerman Lane, North Bethesda, MD
National Philharmonic
Stan Engebretson conducting
Handel: “Messiah”
Rosa Lamoreaux, soprano 
Margaret Mezzacappa, mezzo-soprano
Matthew Smith, tenor
Kevin Deas, bass
National Philharmonic Chorale 
$28-$84
(301) 581-5100
www.strathmore.org

Dec. 23 (8 p.m.) 
Kennedy Center Concert Hall, Washington
“Messiah” sing-along (parts 1 and 2)
Kennedy Center Opera House Orchestra
Barry Hemphill conducting
soloists TBA 
free; tickets distributed at 6 p.m. in Hall of Nations
(800) 444-1324
www.kennedy-center.org

Dec. 23 (7:30 p.m.)
Music Center at Strathmore, 5301 Tuckerman Lane, North Bethesda, MD
The Washington Chorus
Julian Wachner directing
“A Candlelight Christmas”
$15-$70
(301) 581-5100
www.strathmore.org

Dec. 31 (8:30 p.m.) 
Kennedy Center Concert Hall, Washington 
National Symphony Orchestra Pops
Steven Reineke conducting
Ozomatli, guest stars
“New Year’s Eve at the Kennedy Center”
dancing follows concert
$55-$120
(800) 444-1324
www.kennedy-center.org
4 months ago | |
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University of Richmond students will be on Thanksgiving break, so the show expands to three hours. In honor (sic) of Brown Thursday, the jumping of the gun on Black Friday pre-Christmas sales, we’ll sample the season’s bounty of new and recent classical recordings for gift-givers and -getters.

Nov. 27
noon-3 p.m. EST
1700-2000 UTC/GMT
WDCE, University of Richmond
90.1 FM
www.wdce.org

Tchaikovsky: “Nutcracker” Suite
Chicago Symphony Orchestra/Claudio Abbado (Sony Classical)

Barber: Violin Concerto
Anne Aikiko Meyers, violin
London Symphony Orchestra/Leonard Slatkin (eOne)

Anna Thorvaldsdottir: “Tactility”
Duo Harpverk
(Deutsche Grammophon)

Gaspar Cassadó: Suite
for solo cello
Alisa Weilerstein, cello (Decca)

Beethoven: Quartet in E minor, Op. 59, No. 2 (“Razumovsky”)
Cypress String Quartet (Avie)

Chopin: Prelude in D flat major (“Raindrop”)
Alain Lefèvre, piano (Analekta)

J.S. Bach: Concerto in
C minor, BWV 1060R
Gonzalo X. Ruiz, oboe; Monica Huggett, violin & director
Portland Baroque Orchestra (Avie)

Brahms: Clarinet Quintet
in B minor, Op. 115
Anthony McGill, clarinet; Pacifica Quartet (Cedille)

traditional: “Ding Dong Merrily on High”
traditional: “Good King Wenceslas”
Depue Brothers Band
(Beat the Drum Entertainment)
4 months ago | |
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The Richmond Symphony has received a $500,000 challenge grant for the acquisition and operation of a mobile performance space that will enable the orchestra to stage large-scale outdoor concerts.

The new structure, which will be used for classical and pops concerts, advances the symphony’s strategic plan “to expand our footprint . . . to serve new audiences,” says David Fisk, the orchestra’s executive director. “It is a ‘big-tent’ approach to music-making in every sense.”

The grant, from the Mary Morton Parsons Foundation, will finance the purchase of a Warner Shelter Systems Limited SA-80 Arabesque tent, large enough to accommodate the full 70-member complement of Richmond Symphony musicians, the 150 singers of the Symphony Chorus and guest soloists. It will be one of the largest mobile concert structures in the eastern U.S.

Matching funds from the grant, which must be raised by November 2015, will finance operation of the unit for its first five years.

The symphony is exploring partnerships with local governments, other non-profit organizations and civic groups to stage concerts using the mobile stage, potentially as soon as September 2015.
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Virginia Opera
Adam Turner conducting
Nov. 21, Richmond CenterStage

Virginia Opera’s current production of the Gilbert & Sullivan operetta “H.M.S. Pinafore,” in the first of two Richmond performances, proved rather slow in achieving lift-off.

That’s partly the fault of its creators, who devote much of the first act to introduction of lovelorn and otherwise
put-upon characters. “Pinafore” doesn’t really get going until the arrival of Sir Joseph Porter, the buffoonish First Lord of the Admiralty (“ruler of the Queen’s Navee”), accompanied by his sisters, his cousins and his aunts, who helpfully flesh out what had been an all-male chorus.

Jake Gardner makes a hearty meal of the role of Porter, relishing the character’s pomposity and cluelessness, and injecting the first real jabs of satire into a show that pokes merciless fun at Victorian Britain’s class consciousness, jingoism and the presumption that figures of authority never – well, hardly ever – get things wrong.

On the lovelorn front: Cullen Gandy, as Ralph (pronounced “Rafe”) Rackstraw, the young sailor smitten with the captain’s daughter, and Shannon Jennings, as the daughter, Josephine, who is just as smitten with Ralph but can’t bring herself to commit to someone so low-born, even though the alternative is marriage to the preposterous Porter, complement each other nicely, both in earnestness of character (garnished with a bit of slyness on Josephine’s part) and purity of vocal tone.

Christopher Burchett, as Captain Corcoran, and Margaret Gawrysiak, as the peddler woman Little Buttercup, carry on their clandestine mutual affection more indirectly, yet bumptiously. Burchett seems a bit too intent on playing the straight man; Gawrysiak is less shy about bringing out the comic aspects of Buttercup.

The show’s putative heavy, Dick Deadeye, gets earnestly grumpy treatment from Matthew Scollin. He should be having more fun with this role.

The men of the Virginia Opera Chorus acquit themselves credibly, if not especially lustily, as the “Pinafore” crew. The female choristers (sisters, cousins and aunts) bring a welcome liveliness to the show’s later choruses.

Stage director Nicola Bowie crafts an unfussy staging that has the right look and makes the right moves, but somehow seems too dutiful to rollick.

Adam Turner, the company’s resident conductor, keeps the show moving, although at a more moderate than ideal pace, and obtains fine playing from the pit orchestra.

Virginia Opera’s “H.M.S. Pinafore” repeats at 3 p.m. Nov. 23 at the Carpenter Theatre of Richmond CenterStage, Sixth and Grace streets. Tickets: $20.33-$105.93. Details: (800) 514-3849 (ETIX). The show concludes its run with performances at 8 p.m. Dec. 5 and 2:30 p.m. Dec. 6 at George Mason University’s Center for the Arts in Fairfax. Tickets: $44-$98. Details: (888) 945-2468 (Tickets.com). More information: www.vaopera.org
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In a comment appended to Norman Lebrecht’s post on the death of James Erb, Steven Edwards recalls a conversation he had with the University of Richmond chorusmaster about his famous “Shenandoah” arrangement (scroll down to fourth comment):

http://slippedisc.com/2014/11/an-american-chorus-composer-has-died-aged-88/

In the various conversations I had with Erb about “Shenandoah” over the years, he never disclosed that his arrangement was inspired in part by György Ligeti’s “Lux Aeterna,” the rarified, at the time avant-garde, choral work made famous by its use, as a master-of-creation motif, in the soundtrack of Stanley Kubrick’s film “2001: a Space Odyssey.”

“Shenandoah” seems to be light years (so to speak) from “Lux Aeterna;” but such leaps of musical imagination would have been entirely in character for Jim Erb.
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Composer and music blogger Suby Raman surveys gender representation in the 20 largest U.S. symphony orchestras, finding that women form a minority of less than 40 percent in 15 of the ensembles. Only one of the 20, the St. Louis Symphony, has a majority of female musicians:

http://subyraman.tumblr.com/post/102965074088/graphing-gender-in-americas-top-orchestras

The Richmond Symphony (not in Raman’s survey) has 29 women on its 2014-15 roster of 65 musicians (not counting those on leave of absence), or about 45 percent. Among the majors, only the orchestras of St. Louis (53 percent) and Indianapolis (46 percent) have larger shares of female players. Women account for 44 percent of the rosters of the New York Philharmonic and San Diego Symphony and 40 percent of the Baltimore Symphony’s.

Raman also drills down to female representation in orchestral sections, with unsurprising findings that women are more highly represented among violinists and violists than cellists and double-bassists, dominate the ranks of flutists and harpists, and are sparsely represented among brass instruments other than French horns.

Other old news: Few female conductors work with big orchestras in this country. Marin Alsop of the Baltimore Symphony is the only music director of a top-20 orchestra. JoAnn Falletta, music director of the lower-ranked Buffalo Philharmonic and Virginia Symphony, has guest-conducted a number of larger ensembles, and so presumably figures in Raman’s tabulation.

It would be interesting – and revealing? – to see comparative numbers for major orchestras elsewhere in the Western Hemisphere and in Europe and Asia.
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In a comment appended to Norman Lebrecht’s post on the death of James Erb, Steven Edwards recalls a conversation he had with the University of Richmond chorusmaster about his famous “Shenandoah” arrangement (scroll down to fourth comment):

http://slippedisc.com/2014/11/an-american-chorus-composer-has-died-aged-88/

In many conversations I had with Erb about “Shenandoah,” he never disclosed that his arrangement was inspired in part by György Ligeti’s “Lux Aeterna,” the rarified choral piece made famous by its use, as a kind of masters-of-creation motif, in the soundtrack of Stanley Kubrick’s film “2001: a Space Odyssey.”

“Shenandoah” seems to be light years (so to speak) from “Lux Aeterna;” but such leaps of musical imagination were entirely in character for Jim Erb.
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A special program: The first hour features interviews with soprano Erin Vidlak, flutist Marie Fernandez, violinist Leslie Kinnas and cellist Kevin Westergaard, winners of the 2014 University of Richmond Student Concerto Competition, who will be performing with the University Orchestra, Alexander Kordzaia conducting, on Dec. 3 at UR’s Modlin Arts Center. To go with the interviews, recordings of the works the young artists will play in the concert.

Nov. 20
noon-2 p.m. EST
1700-1900 UTC/GMT 
WDCE, University of Richmond
90.1 FM
www.wdce.org

“Mr. Newman:” Sonata III in D major
Alexander Reinagle: “ ‘Lee Rigg,’ a Scots Tune with Three Variations and a Gigg” in A major
Olivier Baumont, harpsichord (Erato)

Handel: “Messiah” – “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion”
Lynne Dawson, soprano
Brandenburg Consort/
Stephen Cleobury (Argo)

Cécile Chaminade: Concertino, Op. 107
André-Gilles Duchemin, flute; Mario Duchemin, piano (CBC)

Saint-Saëns: “The Muse and the Poet”
Patrice Fontanarosa, violin; Gary Hoffman, cello
Orchestral Ensemble de Paris/Jean-Jacques Kantorow (EMI Classics)

Past Masters:
Bizet: “Carmen” Suite
London Philharmonic/
Thomas Beecham
(Dutton Laboratories)
(recorded 1939)

Mozart: Piano Concerto No. 21 in C major, K. 467
Fazil Say, piano
Zürich Chamber Orchestra/Howard Griffiths (Naïve)

Mason Bates: “String Band”
Claremont Trio (Tria)
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A celebration of the life of James Erb will be held at 11 a.m. Dec. 20 in Cannon Memorial Chapel at the University of Richmond.

Erb, the former music professor and choral director at the university and founding director of the Richmond Symphony Chorus, died on Nov. 11.

The memorial service will include congregational singing, with music provided to those who wish to join, as well as quiet time for reflection.

Following the service, a reception will be held at River Road Church, Baptist, River and Ridge roads, near the UR campus.

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Nov. 15, Virginia Commonwealth University

If I were to hear a recording of the St. Lawrence String Quartet’s performances of Haydn and Beethoven from this Rennolds Concerts program, I would probably say, “Holy moly, that’s raw!”

Violinists Geoff Nuttall and Mark Fewer, violist Lesley Robertson and cellist Christopher Costanza italicized just about every tonal, technical and expressive gesture in Haydn’s “Emperor” (Op. 76, No. 3) and Beethoven’s third “Razumovsky” (Op. 59, No. 3) quartets. Slashing accents; brisk, going on headlong, tempos; high-relief voicings of individual string parts; turbulent phrasing; flourishes and climaxes almost spinning out of control – anything and everything, it seemed, to convey passion, excitement and immersion in the music.

Nuttall conveyed that engagement physically, as well, writhing and dancing at the edge of his seat through much of the concert. The lanky violinist’s movements and facial expressions at times looked like Lyle Lovett channeling Jim Carrey. That, plus the tone of his onstage comments, plus the hipster silver shoes, made it clear that Nuttall is determined to blow away the stuffy stereotypes of chamber music. Mission accomplished.

This wasn’t a recording, but a concert performance, and in such a one-off experience most of the St. Lawrence’s excesses proved persuasive, even captivating.

More so in the Beethoven than in the Haydn: The former is full of high tension, stormy outbursts and unsettled calms, concluding in a famously frenzied fugue; the latter expresses its passions with less overt volatility, and with soulful nobility in the “Emperor’s Hymn” variations of its slow movement.

Those qualities, missing in the “Emperor,” came out gratifyingly in the concert’s encore, the slow movement from Haydn’s Quartet in E flat major, Op. 20, No. 1.

The ensemble settled down, physically and expressively, in Osvaldo Golijov’s “Qohelet,” which the Argentine-born composer wrote for the St. Lawrence Quartet in 2011.

According to Golijov, this two-movement work was “inspired by some of the teachings and poetic images in Ecclesiastes.” The piece is largely meditative, built of layered, repetitive figures; like most such music, it either insinuates itself into the listener’s consciousness or seems to meander uneventfully toward an innocuous destination. The quartet performed with intense concentration and commanding quiet.

If this evening was representative of the way the St. Lawrence presents itself and makes music, then the group has joined the ranks of classical performers whose artistry is unparalleled but often untidy. Distinguished company, to be sure – the likes of Cortot, Mengelberg, Elman, Casals, Furtwängler, Callas and Bernstein; but you don’t really get what they’re about unless you see and hear them live.
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