Music rising in time for Easter

BSR Classical Interludes: March 22-28, 2024

3 minute read
Two portraits spliced together of two Black men in formal black suit jackets and white buttonups, both with wind instruments
Brothers Demarre McGill (left) and Anthony McGill (right) perform at the American Philosophical Society this month. (Photos by Denver Rispel, Todd Rosenberg.)

Coming up to the Easter holiday, there’s lots of music to see and hear. You’ll find some favorites, some intriguing new works, a chance to spend a whole day with the Kimmel’s magnificent Fred J. Cooper Memorial Organ, and concerts from two presenting organizations that are likely new to you.

Liberty City Arts: Lieder in the Liberties
Friday, March 22 and Saturday, March 23, 6pm
Northern Liberties Community Center, 700 North 3rd Street, Philadelphia

This new presenting organization is offering its inaugural event, a concert of classical German song. Tenor Samual Keeler has founded Liberty City Arts to support local artists and foster the Northern Liberties artistic community. The ensemble for this hour-long concert features Rachael Long (soprano), Amanda Staub (mezzo), Colin Doyle (tenor), and Robert Flora (baritone), accompanied by Michael Lewis and Ting Ting Wong.

Musica Tevere: Choral Stations of the Cross
Friday, March 22, 7pm
St. Patrick’s Church, 242 South 20th Street, Philadelphia

Sunday, March 24, 3pm
St. Colman Church, 11 Simpson Way, Ardmore

Another relatively new ensemble, Musica Tevere is named for the Trastevere section of Rome that houses the shrine of St. Cecilia, patron saint of music. The group debuted with an impressive concert last October. For their sophomore outing, they’ll perform a concert of meditations on the Stations of the Cross by Saint John Henry Newman accompanied by sacred music of the Easter season by Charpentier, Bach, Victoria, and others. The chamber ensemble will consist of voices, continuo organ, strings, and flute, with Musica Tevere’s artistic director Rebecca Ostermann conducting.

Open Organ Day at the Kimmel
Saturday, March 23, 11:30am-6pm
Kimmel Cultural Campus, 300 South Broad Street, Philadelphia

It’s been an incredible week for organ music here, capped by this weekend’s Open Organ Day, this year a collaboration with the new Philadelphia Organ Festival. This free, all-day family-friendly event highlights the Kimmel’s Fred J. Cooper Memorial Organ, the largest mechanical-action concert hall organ in the US. The day begins with a Philadelphia Orchestra performance conducted by Austin Chanu and featuring organist Paul Jacobs (note that reservations are required for this concert). Events packed throughout the day include the Organ Festival’s John Walthausen and Jay Fluellen performing a work for four hands, the Philadelphia Ballet, organ accompaniment to a Laurel and Hardy silent film, and a closing event where guests are invited to leave their seats and lay on the stage to experience the power of the instrument.

Philadelphia Chamber Music Society: McGill, Overton & Catalyst Quartet
Thursday, March 28, 7:30pm
American Philosophical Society's Benjamin Franklin Hall, 427 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia
Streaming live on YouTube

This intriguing concert brings together virtuoso brothers Anthony and Demarre McGill, the only siblings to win the prestigious Avery Fisher Career Grant. Anthony is principal clarinet of the New York Philharmonic, and Demarre is principal flute of the Seattle Symphony. They are joined by the Grammy-winning Catalyst Quartet and harpist Charles Overton in new works by Jeff Scott and Brian Raphael Nabors, Saint-Saëns’s Fantaisie for Flute and Harp, and Ravel’s Introduction et Allegro. This concert will also be live-streamed on the PCMS website for a pay-what-you-will contribution.

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