Classical music to start the new year right

BSR Classical Music Interludes: January 2023

3 minute read
Four players outside with cello and violins—Three laughing looking at each other, with one player smiling towards the camera
Dali Quartet will play in the first of the Artcinia concerts coming up this month. (Photo by Ryan Brandenberg.)

To start the new year, there’s so much great music for you that we’re again dividing up the month. Here are some suggested offerings to get a classical start to a (hopefully great) new year, something we all need! The Philadelphia Orchestra, Ama Deus Ensemble, Artcinia, and more decorate the first part of January. Additionally spanning the month are symphony concerts from Delaware Symphony and Curtis Symphony, focusing on two special instruments—horn and viola.

Philadelphia Orchestra – Lunar New Year Concert
Friday, January 6, 7:30pm
Verizon Hall, Kimmel Cultural Campus, 300 South Broad Street, Philadelphia

Lio Kuokman conducts this concert that welcomes in the Year of the Rabbit and also commemorates the 50th anniversary (wow!) of the Philadelphia Orchestra’s historic 1973 tour of China. Young soloists and choristers from the pioneering iSING! Suzhou International Young Arts Festival will perform 16 vocal works titled “Echoes of Ancient Tang Poems” in a North American premiere. Tickets begin at $10.

Amadeus Ensemble – Gershwin & More
Thursday, January 12, 8pm
Perelman Theatre, Kimmel Cultural Campus, 300 South Broad Street, Philadelphia

Vox Amadeus presents its different programs with differing ensembles. For their traditional (and popular) January concert, renowned British pianist Peter Donohoe joins the Amadeus Ensemble Orchestra in favorite Gershwin works (Variations on “I Got Rhythm” and Rhapsody in Blue, among others). This appealing full-length concert will also feature works by composers as varied as Duke Ellington, Aaron Copland, and Henry Mancini.

Artcinia – A Winter’s Night Series
January 15, February 12, and March 5, 7pm
Abington Art Center, 515 Meetinghouse Road, Jenkintown

The relatively new presenter Artcinia—whose motto is “Music in Your Neighborhood”—begins A Winter’s Night Series at Jenkintown’s Abington Art Center. On January 15, the Dalí String Quartet kicks off the three concerts with works ranging from Haydn to Villa-Lobos. A February 12 string trio program features Luigi Mazzocchi, Hannah Rose Nicholas, and Thomas Kraines, who will insert contemporary short pieces between the six movements of Mozart's Divertimento (KV563). And the series concludes on March 5 with an eclectic concert from the Artcinia Winds (Antonello DiMatteo, Erin Banholzer, Zach Feingold, Karen Schubert, and Brendan Dooley.)

Delaware Symphony – Classic Romance
Friday, January 20, 7:30pm
The Grand, 818 North Market Street, Wilmington

Conductor David Amado and the Delaware Symphony trumpet in the new year with Mozart’s Symphony No. 2, one of the first works to bring the horn—an outdoor instrument used by hunters and postmen—into the concert hall. The DSO will feature Leelanee Sterrett, acting associate principal horn of the New York Philharmonic. Bookending the Romantic era, the orchestra offers another Symphony No. 2, Rachmaninoff’s sprawling work that’s both classical and forward-looking.

Curtis Symphony – Perry, Tchaikovsky, and Sheng
Sunday, January 29, 2pm
Verizon Hall, Kimmel Cultural Campus, 300 South Broad Street, Philadelphia

Later in the month, the Curtis Symphony under conductor Miguel Harth-Bedoya will present an afternoon of firsts and favorites—and this concert is highlighting the viola. Along with Julia Perry’s Study for Orchestra (1952) and Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 4, the ensemble will present the world premiere of Pulitzer-Prize-winner Bright Sheng’s Of Time and Love, a concerto that will feature Curtis president and acclaimed violist Roberto Díaz.

Mastersingers of Wilmington – Rejoice in the Lamb
Saturday, January 21, 3pm; online February 6-19
First & Central Presbyterian Church, 1101 North Market Street, Wilmington

Presented by Market Street Music, this popular Wilmington chorus will be conducted by founder David Schelat and accompanied by Philadelphia organist Thomas Gaynor. The ensemble will sing the seldom-performed Messe Solonnelle by Jean Langlais, a work evoking French cathedrals. The concert also features Shaker songs and works by Benjamin Britten, including his Rejoice in the Lamb, with Christopher Smart’s poetic text. And beginning in February, the concert will be available for online viewing. (Disclosure: I am a member of Mastersingers.)

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