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April might be the cruelest month (per T.S. Eliot), but October is National Arts Month, and our classical musicians are taking that to heart. Rivaling the holiday season, this busy time called for two Interludes previews. So, here’s a look at a few of the region’s many musical offerings in the first half of the month.
This vocal ensemble (seven singers this year) opens with Discord and Design, featuring guest violinist Min-Young Kim. The concert explores loss and longing via (among other works) J. S. Bach’s Chaconne for violin, composed after the death of his first wife and interwoven with “hidden” chorales, at St. Mary’s Church (Hamilton Village) and Chestnut Hill Friends Meeting. Before the October 1 Chestnut Hill concert, there’s a 50-minute meditative session (separately ticketed) focused on the building’s noted Skyspace by artist James Turrell.
Thursday, October 6
Conducted by Mark Loria, ¡Conexions! Cuba will feature the work of five Cuban and Cuban American composers: Ernesto Abelardo Valdés, Tania León, Ileana Perez Velázquez, Leo Brouwer, and Paquito D'Rivera. The adventurous orchestra focuses on music of the 20th and 21st centuries, and this year’s ¡Conexions! series highlights the island nation of Cuba. You can attend this season opener in person at North Philadelphia’s Teatro Esperanza or join via livestream.
Philadelphia Viola Quartet
Friday, October 7
As part of their festive After Hours series, the Woodlands—the 18th-century West Philadelphia mansion and Victorian cemetery—will present an outdoor offering by the personable Philadelphia Viola Quartet. The group (in their second year) will play spooky seasonal favorites ranging from Schubert and Strauss to Lin-Manuel Miranda and the Beatles. The evening is free for Woodlands members, but anyone can purchase a ticket to the family-friendly event.
Choral Arts Philadelphia
Friday, October 7
Choral Arts opens its 40th anniversary year by partnering with the American Bach Society in a concert titled Bach and Authority. This offering at Church of the Holy Trinity at Rittenhouse will explore J.S. Bach's famously unique relationship with authority—he wasn’t always the most popular with his patrons or employers—in performances of two works, Trauerode and Peasant Cantata.
Tempesta di Mare
October 8-9 and 22-23
This redoubtable early music group kicks off their eight-concert season with two October offerings. First, the intimate Artist Series (October 8 and 9) features cellist Eve Miller and Richard Stone (lute) at Chestnut Hill Friends Meeting and the Museum of the American Revolution. #thatgiglife of the 18th-century Cellist explores the life of a colonial Philadelphia musician via music the Founding Fathers would have heard. On October 22 and 23, the chamber players offer Expats and Immigrants—music from western Europe, China, and the New World—in both Philadelphia (Trinity Center for Urban Life) and Wilmington (Christ Church Christiana Hundred).
The Barn at Flintwoods, an intimate venue in a bucolic setting just outside Wilmington, is the home of this early music group led by harpsichordist Karen Flint, who plays from her historic collection. To open the season, Flint leads six regional and national instrumentalists with soprano Laura Heimes and historian John Burkhalter in Gainsborough and His Musical Circle of Friends. The 18th-century artist’s pals included Johann Christian Bach and other noted musicians of the time. Advance tickets only. The website also features a substantial video archive.
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