Haitian Creole music, Orchestre Métropolitain, Market Street Music, and more

BSR Classical Interludes, February and March 2024

4 minute read
Group portrait shot. Jin has a cello, Yamazaki is between them, Mazzochi has a violin, as they look up at the camera
Pyxis Piano Trio, Jennifer Jie Jin (cello), Hiroko Yamazaki (piano), Luigi Mazzocchi (violin). (Photo by Shannon Woodloe.)

For the next few weeks, music in the region spans the globe! There are songs from Haiti and the American Civil War, music from old Philadelphia and Latin America now, and works that range from the 16th all the way to the 21st centuries. There are big orchestra offerings by Rachmaninoff and Sibelius, and a fine piano trio plays Shostakovich and Brahms. You certainly have a lot to choose from—it’s a musical feast.

Tempesta di Mare: A Song’s Journey
Friday, February 23, 7pm
Paul Robeson House, 4951 Walnut Street, Philadelphia

Saturday, February 24, 5pm
Woodmere Art Museum, 9201 Germantown Avenue, Philadelphia

Sunday, February 25, 3:30pm
Christ Church Neighborhood House, 20 North American Street, Philadelphia

This intriguing concert blankets Philadelphia with a world of music. Jean Bernard Cerin (baritone), Joyce Wei-Jo Chen (keyboards), and Eve Miller (cello) offer a concert that explores (among other things) the history of “Lisette quitté la plaine,” the oldest extant song text in Haitian Creole. Their globe-spanning program also features operatic literature from early Haiti, anthem parodies from the American Civil War and the Haitian Revolution, virtuosic keyboard works from Louisiana and modern Haiti, and music from 18th-century Philadelphia.

West Jersey Chamber Music Society: String Music from Latin America
Sunday, February 25, 7:30pm
First Presbyterian Church of Moorestown, 101 Bridgeboro Road, Moorestown

Here’s a tantalizing string quartet concert that features a lush collection of dances and other works from Argentina, Brazil, Cuba, Colombia, Mexico, and Peru. Luigi Mazzocchi and Joseph Kauffman (violins), Kathleen Foster (viola), and Vivian Barton Dozor (cello) will offer works by Heitor Villa-Lobos, Carlos Eleta Almarán, Astor Piazzolla, and Jose Valdés. And if you’re not able to attend, the good news is that the concert will be broadcast live on the Chamber Music Society's website.

Pyxis Piano Trio: Color and Connection
Wednesday, February 28, 7:30pm
Delaware Art Museum, 2301 Kentmere Parkway, Wilmington

Pyxis has been the resident classical ensemble at the Delaware Art Museum since 2009, but with this concert, their 15-year tenure there draws to a close. They open with the virtuosic Handel/Halvorsen Passacaglia, here arranged for violin and cello (a work they played in their very first season at the museum), as well as the fiery Piano Trio No. 2 in E minor by Shostakovich and Johannes Brahms’s majestic Piano Trio in B Major. The group—violinist Luigi Mazzocchi, cellist Jennifer Jie Jin, and pianist Hiroko Yamazaki—will continue to concertize regionally, but this concert marks their finale at the museum.

Market Street Music: The New Consort: Return/Revive
Saturday, March 2, 3pm
First & Central Presbyterian Church, 1101 North Market Street, Wilmington

This busy regional presenter opens the spring season with an appearance by the New Consort. The program by this New York-based a cappella vocal chamber ensemble is a meditation on grief, hope, and community in mercurial times. It’s structured around two major works: the Lamentations of Robert White—a 16th-century contemporary of Thomas Tallis and William Byrd who was lost to the Black Death at just 36 years old—and a world premiere by ensemble member Jonathan Woody that celebrates our ability to transform adversity into hope and joy, awarded Chamber Music America’s Classical Commissioning Grant.

Ensemble Arts Philly: Orchestre Métropolitain
Tuesday, March 5, 7:30pm
Verizon Hall, Kimmel Cultural Campus, 300 South Broad Street, Philadelphia

Philadelphians proudly claim Yannick Nézet-Séguin, the resident (albeit globe-trotting) conductor of the Philadelphia Orchestra. But one of Nézet-Séguin's other musical loves is the elegant Orchestre Métropolitain from his hometown of Montréal, an ensemble where, as artistic director and principal conductor, he holds a lifetime post. The Orchestre Métropolitain is now on tour, and one of their stops—along with Mechanics Hall in Worcester, Massachusetts, and New York City’s Carnegie Hall—is in Verizon Hall. Pianist Tony Siqi Yun returns for Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2. The program also features cellist Cris Derksen’s Controlled Burn, uniting electronic and classical music with the worldview of the Indigenous Cree Nation, and Sibelius’s turbulent and triumphant Symphony No. 2, often connected to Finland’s struggle for independence.

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