Encore! The season for the delightful strains of classical music is upon us, and conductors and musicians cannot wait to inspire live audiences with their passion and technical precision. Here are our Top 10 don’t-miss events for this season. (Tickets are available through presenters and venues.)
Miami Symphony Orchestra – Grand Season Opening
Eduardo Marturet conducts this stunning opener featuring Rodner Padilla on electric bass and Yoonie Han on piano that kicks off with the incomparable John Adams’ “Short Ride in a Fast Machine.” Two world premieres follow: Padilla’s “Concerto for Electric Bass and Orchestra” with an exotic blend of tradition and modernity, and the beautifully melodic “Piano Concerto” by Karen LeFrak. The all-time favorite “Symphony No. 4” by Brahms brings the evening to an exhilarating conclusion.
Oct. 23, Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts.
A Spooky Symphony
Here’s the perfect way to sneak an appreciation of classical music into your little ones’ consciousness. Dress up in full Halloween gear and enjoy an afternoon of beautiful scary music in this kid-friendly concert by the Alhambra Orchestra, conducted by Daniel Andai, and the Greater Miami Youth Symphony, conducted by Huifang Chen. The program features themes from the “Jurassic Park,” “Gladiator” and “Avengers” sagas, plus creepy classics like “Danse Macabre” and music from “Wicked.” And it’s free!
Oct. 30, Miami-Dade County Auditorium.
FIU Music Festival
Florida International University has got a good one in its Ensemble-In-Residence, the Amernet String Quartet, which has been praised by the New York Times for its “intelligence” and “immensely satisfying” playing. The group teams up with violist Milena Pajaro-van de Stadt, pianist Anton Nel and cellist Bion Tsang for a two-day, all-Brahms program featuring the best of the German Romantic composer.
Nov. 4 and 5, Wertheim Performing Arts Center.
Palm Beach Symphony
Scintillating season-opener features Maestro Gerard Schwarz conducting one of the foremost violinists of our time, Sarah Chang, who has performed with all the major orchestras across America and is the youngest person to receive the Hollywood Bowl’s Hall of Fame award. Gramophone magazine raved: “To listen to Sarah Chang is to be bathed in the sheer beauty of her sound. It can yield some sublime moments.” Program includes works by Bruch, Diamond and Brahms.
Nov. 6, Kravis Center for the Performing Arts.
Israel Philharmonic Orchestra
In its 85 years, the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra has featured classical music icons including Italian conductor Arturo Toscanini, American conductor Leonard Bernstein, Indian-born conductor Zubin Mehta and Spanish opera singer Plácido Domingo. Today, the IPO is led by energetic pianist Lahav Shani, 33, who will make his Florida debut. “It scarcely seems possible to have a greater beauty of sound and joy in performance than that offered by Lahav Shani,” wrote Berliner Morgenpost.
Nov. 10, Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts.
New World Symphony
It’s a titanic team-up, as NWS joins forces with the mesmerizing Miami vocal group Seraphic Fire, led by conductor Patrick Quigley, for an unforgettable performance of Carl Orff’s epic cantata “Carmina Burana,” whose 13th-century songs about fate and fortune have permeated the world’s stages and pop culture. Also, rising-star pianist Isata Kanneh-Mason gives a “high-voltage” performance of her musical heroine Clara Schumann’s Piano Concerto, while Ralph Vaughan Williams’ Serenade to Music is also featured.
Jan. 14, Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts.
The Philadelphia Orchestra
Since its formation in 1900, the Philadelphia Orchestra has made history many times, becoming the first orchestra to capture its music in an electrical recording and the first orchestra to perform on national television. It also recorded the soundtrack to Disney’s groundbreaking animated film “Fantasia,” and it has presented premieres by composers such as Mahler, Berg, Shostakovich and Wynton Marsalis. Now, it makes history again by featuring guest conductor Nathalie Stutzmann, who recently was named the new music director of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, making her only the second woman to lead a top American orchestra. In Miami, she’ll be joined onstage by Gil Shaham, who “is in the highest echelon of American violinists,” according to The Washington Post.
Feb. 15, Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts.
Miami International Piano Festival
If you like passion with your piano, this show is for you, as Italian pianist Francesco Libetta takes over the stage. Raved Pulitzer Prize-winning chief music critic for The New York Times Harold Schonberg about Libetta: “Fury, demonically charged and technically staggering. Here is big piano playing in its most unfettered and dangerous state.” Lecturer-in-residence Professor Frank E. Cooper offers a pre-concert introduction.
Feb. 26, Aventura Arts & Culture Center.
Florida Grand Opera
Puccini’s “Tosca,” one of the most-performed operas of all time, premiered in 1900 and is both a political thriller and a timeless romance. Join Floria Tosca, Puccini’s fieriest heroine, as she loves ferociously, speaks truth to power, and triumphs as only a diva can.
March 18, 19 and 21 at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts; April 13 and 15 at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts.
South Florida Symphony Orchestra
South Florida Symphony Orchestra offers up a contrast in styles, with works by Russian Romantic pianist and composer Sergei Rachmaninoff (Piano Concerto No. 3 in D minor, Op. 30, featuring Svetlana Smolina, piano); and dissonant, radical Austrian composer Anton Bruckner (Te Deum, featuring the South Florida Symphony Chorus with soloists Catalina Cuervo, soprano; Neil Nelson, bass-baritone; Rehanna Thelwell, mezzo-soprano; and Andrés Lasaga, tenor).
April 26, Parker Playhouse.