2019-20 season overview

It’s violin season, and they’re not all kids. That’s the top line on 2019-20 classical events in Richmond.

The season’s highlight is the Yehudi Menuhin International Violin Competition, a biennial event for violinists 21 and younger, running from May 14 to 24 at venues throughout the Richmond area.

The opening and closing concerts of the Richmond Symphony’s Masterworks series feature Menuhin winners past and present. Virginia Commonwealth University’s Rennolds Chamber Concerts series opens with a Menuhin alumnus, violinist Inmo Yang (also performing in the symphony opener) and closes with a concert by the competition’s judges, violinists Pamela Frank and Noah Bendix-Balgley, violist Joji Hattori, cellist Ralph Kirshbaum and pianists Anton Nel and Gordon Back.

Also performing in Menuhin concerts are classical violinists Ray Chen, Elena Urioste, Ning Feng, Christian Li and Chloe Chua (the last two are the competition’s most recent winners); jazz violinist Regina Carter and her quartet; and the folk fiddle-and-guitar duo Mark and Maggie O’Connor.

One of Yehudi Menuhin’s most stellar protégés, violinist Daniel Hope, is joined by the Zurich Chamber Orchestra in a tribute to his old master in the classical series of the University of Richmond’s Modlin Arts Center.

The season’s string-centricity extends well beyond Menuhin-related events. Cellist Julian Schwarz is featured in the symphony’s Masterworks series, and its Metro Collection series spotlights the orchestra’s concertmaster, Daisuke Yamamoto, principal violist Molly Sharp and principal cellist, Neal Cary, among other symphony principals performing as soloists or duo partners.

Modlin Center concerts feature violinist Soovin Kim, performing with the Shanghai Quartet and pianist Orion Weiss, and cellist Matt Haimovitz in a duo concert with pianist Simone Dinnerstein. Cellist Paul Watkins joins pianist Alessio Bax in a Rennolds concert at VCU. Among the highlights of the Chamber Music Society of Central Virginia’s season are Bach programs featuring violinist Johnny Gandelsman and viola da gamba player Anna Steinhof. And violinist Amram Ganz, a noted solo and chamber musician on the European circuit, joins pianist Alexander Paley in his fall festival.

String-quartet performances, in addition to the Shanghai’s, include the Dover and Catalyst quartets at VCU, and the Takács Quartet in a return engagement at UR.

Amid all this fiddling, the symphony will welcome one of its most prominent conducting alumni, Marin Alsop, for its season-opening concert, followed by five candidates – Roderick Cox, Ankush Kumar Bahl, Laura Jackson, Valentina Peleggi and Farkhad Khudyev – seeking to become the orchestra’s next music director.

Several of the season’s most stellar visiting artists are not string players. The British tenor Ian Bostridge performs with pianist-composer Brad Mehldau at UR. Anthony McGill, principal clarinetist of the New York Philharmonic, will be featured with the symphony. Two eminent pianists present solo concerts: Jon Nakamatsu at VCU and Yefim Bronfman at UR.

The Richmond Symphony Chorus sings in a two rarely heard works, Alexander Zemlinsky’s setting of Psalm 23 and Sergei Rachmaninoff’s “The Bells,” a cantata based on the Edgar Allan Poe poem, and will be led by George Manahan, the former symphony music director, in the orchestra’s annual performance of Handel’s “Messiah.”

Another major choral event is a performance of J.S. Bach’s Mass in B minor by the Cathedral Schola Cantorum and Three Notch’d Road Baroque Ensemble at the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart.

Virginia Opera stages two repertory staples, Puccini’s “Tosca” and Verdi’s “Aïda,” along with Rossini’s “La Cenerentola” (“Cinderella”) and Daniel Catán’s “Il Postino,” a 2010 work based in part on the 1997 film “The Postman.”

As it often does, eighth blackbird, UR’s resident new-music sextet, offers the season’s wild-card entry: Joined by the percussion ensemble beyond this point and composer Matthew Burtner, the ’birds will present “Transient Landscapes,” described as an “interactive performance installation” on the theme of environmental change and its consequences, on sites around the UR campus.

As for conflicting concert dates, the season starts with one, on Sept. 15, when the opening of VCU’s Rennolds series, with violinist Inmo Yang and pianist Sahun Hong, and the first ticketed concert by the Chamber Music Society at UR’s Perkinson Hall occur on the same afternoon. Events from those same presenters butt up against each other on Feb. 23, as cellist Paul Watkins and pianist Alessio Bax perform at VCU and the Chamber Music Society stages a concert at UR.

Another conflict, on Oct. 11, pits organist Daryl Robinson, performing in the American Guild of Organists’ Repertoire Recital Series at River Road Presbyterian Church, against the Atlantic Chamber Ensemble, playing at the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart.

On Oct. 20, attending an afternoon symphony concert at Randolph-Macon College and an evening program by Bostridge and Mehldau at UR would require a quick dinner and long commute.

For ensembles and presenters looking to stay out of the way of previously announced concerts, their best bet is January, whose calendar is empty except for symphony events (one of them a morning LolliPops family concert) on three weekends.

Here’s a thumbnail calendar of 2019-20 events by Richmond’s major classical presenters. (* Indicates a free concert or one open by donation; admission arrangements for some Menuhin Festival events have yet to be announced.) The calendar will be updated as other events are announced. For program and ticket details, click on the links following the calendar.

SEPTEMBER
*14 – Chamber Music Society of Central Virginia: Mary Boodell, flute; Diana Cohen, violin; James Wilson, cello; Roman Rabinovich, piano; Chioke l’Anson, speaker (Gellman Room, Richmond Public Library)
15 – Chamber Music Society of Central Virginia: Mary Boodell, flute; Diana Cohen, violin; James Wilson, cello; Roman Rabinovich, piano (Perkinson Recital Hall, University of Richmond)
15 – Inmo Yang, violin; Sahun Hong, piano (Singleton Arts Center, Virginia Commonwealth University)
21-22 – Richmond Symphony, Marin Alsop conducting; Inmo Yang, violin; Richmond Symphony Chorus (Carpenter Theatre, Dominion Energy Center)
*27 – Alexander Paley, piano (St. Luke Lutheran Church)
*28 – Alexander Paley, piano; Amiram Ganz, violin (St. Luke Lutheran Church)
*29 – Alexander Paley & Pei-wen Chen, piano duo (St. Luke Lutheran Church)

OCTOBER
2 – Shanghai Quartet; Soovin Kim, violin; Orion Weiss, piano (UR Modlin Center)
5 – Richmond Symphony Pops, Chia-Hsuan Lin conducting; Michael Cavanaugh, guest star: “The Music of Elton John” (Carpenter Theatre, Dominion Energy Center)
6 – Dover Quartet (VCU Singleton Arts Center)
*11 – American Guild of Organists: Daryl Robinson, organ (River Road Presbyterian Church)
*11 – Atlantic Chamber Ensemble (Cathedral of the Sacred Heart)
12 – Chanticleer (River Road Church, Baptist)
16 – Simone Dinnerstein, piano; Matt Haimovitz, cello (UR Modlin Center)
*18 – Ingrid Keller, piano; Jonathan Ruck, cello (UR Perkinson Recital Hall)
18/20 – Virginia Opera: “Tosca” (Carpenter Theatre, Dominion Energy Center)
20 – Ian Bostridge, tenor; Brad Mehldau, piano (UR Modlin Center)
20 – Richmond Symphony, Roderick Cox conducting; David Lemelin, clarinet (Randolph-Macon College Blackwell Auditorium)
26 – Richmond Symphony, Roderick Cox conducting; Brandie Sutton, soprano (Carpenter Theatre, Dominion Energy Center)
27 – Richmond Philharmonic, Peter Wilson conducting; Charles Staples, piano (Henrico High School)

NOVEMBER
2 – Richmond Symphony LolliPops, Chia-Hsuan Lin conducting: “Wild Wild West” (Carpenter Theatre, Dominion Energy Center)
3 – Catalyst Quartet (VCU Singleton Arts Center)
4 – Chamber Music Society of Central Virginia: Carsten Schmidt, harpsichord; Anna Steinhof, viola da gamba; Meg Owens, oboe (Branch House)
*8-9 – Third Practice Electroacoustic Music Festival: eighth blackbird, other artists TBA (UR, various venues)
10 – Richmond Symphony, conductor TBA; Neal Cary, cello (Blackwell Auditorium, Randolph-Macon College)
15 – Daniel Hope, violin; Zurich Chamber Orchestra (UR Modlin Center)
16-17 – Richmond Symphony, Chia-Hsuan Lin conducting; Eduardo Rojas, piano (Carpenter Theatre, Dominion Energy Center)
*17 – American Guild of Organists: Aaron Tan, organ (First Presbyterian Church)
22/24 – Virginia Opera: “Il Postino” (Carpenter Theatre, Dominion Energy Center)
30 – Richmond Symphony LolliPops, Chia-Hsuan Lin conducting: “The Snowman” (Carpenter Theatre, Dominion Energy Center)

DECEMBER
2 – Commonwealth Catholic Charities benefit: Richmond Symphony, et al. (Cathedral of the Sacred Heart)
6 – Richmond Symphony, George Manahan conducting; Richmond Symphony Chorus; soloists TBA: Handel: “Messiah” (Carpenter Theatre, Dominion Energy Center)
7-8 – Richmond Symphony Pops, Chia-Hsuan Lin conducting; Richmond Symphony Chorus: “Let It Snow!” (Carpenter Theatre, Dominion Energy Center)
*8 – UR Schola Cantorum & Women’s Chorale, Jeffrey Riehl & David Pedersen directing: Festival of Lessons and Carols (UR Cannon Memorial Chapel)
*9 – Forgotten Clefs (Cathedral of the Sacred Heart)
*13 – Musicians of Cathedral of the Sacred Heart: Festival of Lessons and Carols (Cathedral of the Sacred Heart)
*14 – Chamber Music Society of Central Virginia: Christina Day Martinson & Johnny Gandelsman, violins; Jason Amos, viola; James Wilson, cello; Mary Boodell, traverso flute; Tricia van Oers, recorder; Carsten Schmidt, harpsichord (Gellman Room, Richmond Public Library)
15 – Chamber Music Society of Central Virginia: Johnny Gandelsman, violin (Wilton House Museum)
16 – Chamber Music Society of Central Virginia: Christina Day Martison, Johnny Gandelsman & Jessie Montgomery, violins; Jason Amos, viola; James Wilson, cello; Jessica Powell Eig, double-bass; Mary Boodell, traverso flute; Tricia van Oers, recorder; Sara Huebsch, oboe & recorder; Mary Bowden, trumpet; Carsten Schmidt, harpsichord (Holy Comforter Episcopal Church)
18 – Vienna Choir Boys (First Baptist Church)

JANUARY
11 – Richmond Symphony, Ankush Kumar Bahl conducting; Anthony McGill, clarinet (Carpenter Theatre, Dominion Energy Center)
18 – Richmond Symphony Pops, Ankush Kumar Bahl conducting: “Journey into the Cosmos” (Carpenter Theatre, Dominion Energy Center)
25 – Richmond Symphony LolliPops, Chia-Hsuan Lin conducting: “It’s a Symphony Sing-along!” (Carpenter Theatre, Dominion Energy Center)

FEBRUARY
1 – Richmond Symphony, Laura Jackson conducting; Julian Schwarz, cello (Carpenter Theatre, Dominion Energy Center)
7 – National Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine, Volodymyr Sirenko conducting; Volodymyr Vynnyetsky, piano (Carpenter Theatre, Dominion Energy Center)
9 – Richmond Symphony, Laura Jackson conducting; Daisuke Yamamoto, violin; Molly Sharp, viola (Blackwell Auditorium, Randolph-Macon College)
21/23 – Virginia Opera: “La Cenerentola” (Carpenter Theatre, Dominion Energy Center)
*22 – Chamber Music Society of Central Virginia: Nurit Pacht & Suliman Takelli, violins; Drew Alexander Forde & Dana Kelley, violas; James Wilson, cello (Gellman Room, Richmond Public Library)
23 – Chamber Music Society of Central Virginia: Nurit Pacht & Suliman Takelli, violins; Drew Alexander Forde & Dana Kelley, violas; James Wilson, cello (UR Perkinson Recital Hall)
23 – Paul Watkins, cello; Alessio Bax, piano (VCU Singleton Arts Center)
28 – Takács Quartet (UR Modlin Arts Center)
29 – Richmond Symphony Pops, Chia-Hsuan Lin conducting; Jeans ’n Classics, guest stars: “The Apollo Hall of Fame” (Carpenter Theatre, Dominion Energy Center)

MARCH
7-8 – Richmond Symphony, Valentina Peleggi conducting; Angela Cheng, piano (Carpenter Theatre, Dominion Energy Center)
14 – Richmond Symphony LolliPops, Valentina Peleggi conducting; School of the Richmond Ballet: “Appalachian Spring” (Carpenter Theatre, Dominion Energy Center)
15 – Richmond Philharmonic, Peter Wilson conducting; Aaron Clay, double-bass (venue TBA)
*22 – Doris Wylee-Becker, piano (UR Modlin Center)
27/29 – Virginia Opera: “Aïda” (Carpenter Theatre, Dominion Energy Center)
*30 – Bruce Stevens, organ (UR Cannon Memorial Chapel)
31 – Chamber Music Society of Central Virginia: Mary Boodell, flute; Sivan Magen, harp; Melissa Reardon, viola (UR Perkinson Recital Hall)

APRIL
4 – Jon Nakamtsu, piano (VCU Singleton Arts Center)
16 – Yefim Bronfman, piano (UR Modlin Center)
18-19 – Richmond Symphony, Farkhad Khudyev conducting; Richmond Symphony Chorus; soloists TBA (Carpenter Theatre, Dominion Energy Center)
*18 – eighth blackbird; beyond this point; Matthew Burtner, composer & ecoacoustician (UR, venues TBA)
*24 – American Guild of Organists: Clara Gerdes, organ (St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church)
26 – Richmond Symphony, Farkhad Khudyev conducting; Mary Boodell, flute; Lynette Wardle, harp (Blackwell Auditorium, Randolph-Macon College)

MAY
*1 – Cathedral Schola Cantorum; Three Notch’d Road Baroque Ensemble: J.S. Bach: Mass in B minor (Cathedral of the Sacred Heart)
3 – Chamber Music Society of Central Virginia: Diane Pascal, violin; James Wilson, cello; Carsten Schmidt, piano (UR Perkinson Recital Hall)
6 – Richmond Symphony members: “Voices of Hope – Instruments that Survived the Holocaust” (Cathedral of the Sacred Heart)
14 – Menuhin Competition: Richmond Symphony, Jahja Ling conducting; Christian Li, Chloe Chua & Soyoung Yoon, violins (Carpenter Theatre, Dominion Arts Center)
15 – Menuhin Competition: Chloe Chua & Christian Li, violins; Gordon Back, piano (Thomas Dale High School)
16 – Menuhin Competition: Richmond Symphony Youth Orchestra, Daniel Myssyk conducting; Ning Feng, violin (Carpenter Theatre, Dominion Arts Center)
17 – Pamela Frank & Noah Bendix-Balgley, violins; Joji Hattori, viola; Ralph Kirshbaum, cello; Gordon Back & Anton Nel, piano (VCU Singleton Arts Center)
18 – Menuhin Competition: Regina Carter Quartet (November Theater, Virginia Repertory Center)
19 – Menuhin Competition: Ning Feng, violin; Anton Nel, piano (UR Perkinson Recital Hall)
20 – Menuhin Competition: Mark & Maggie O’Connor, fiddles/violins & guitar (Byrd Theatre)
21 – Menuhin Competition: Sphinx Virtuosi; Elena Urioste & Joji Hattori, violins (UR Modlin Center)
22 – Menuhin Competition: Sphinx Virtuosi; junior competition finalists, violins (Carpenter Theatre, Dominion Arts Center)
23 – Menuhin Competition: Richmond Symphony, Andrew Litton conducting; senior competition finalists, violins (Carpenter Theatre, Dominion Energy Center)
24 – Menuhin Competition: Richmond Symphony, Andrew Litton conducting; Sphinx Virtuosi; Ray Chen, violin; junior & senior competition winners, violins (Carpenter Theatre, Dominion Energy Center)

* * *

Richmond Symphony 2019-20 season:
http://wordpress.com/post/letterv.blog/4167

Virginia Opera 2019-20 season:
http://wordpress.com/post/letterv.blog/4249

UR Modlin Center 2019-20 season:
http://wordpress.com/post/letterv.blog/4813

VCU Rennolds Chamber Concerts 2019-20 season:
http://wordpress.com/post/letterv.blog/4825

Chamber Music Society of Central Virginia 2019-20 season:
http://wordpress.com/post/letterv.blog/4828

Alexander Paley Music Festival 2019:
http://wordpress.com/post/letterv.blog/5047

Menuhin Competition 2020 public events schedule:
http://wordpress.com/post/letterv.blog/4687

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