You think groceries and gas are expensive?

The “Da Vinci ex-Seidel” Stradivarius violin is expected to fetch a record bid of $20 million when it goes on auction next month.

If you’re a fan of classic films, you’ve probably heard this instrument. It belonged to Toscha Seidel (1899-1962), a Ukrainian-born émigré who was a film-studio musician during Hollywood’s glory years. He is known to have played his Strad in the soundtracks of “Intermezzo” and “Melody for Three,” and he may have been the violinist who accompanied Judy Garland as she sang “Over the Rainbow” in “The Wizard of Oz.”

Seidel was one of the group of Jewish violinists born in the tsarist Russian Empire, a contemporary of Jascha Heifetz, Nathan Milstein, Mischa Elman and Efram Zimbalist Sr. – all students of the great pedagogue Leopold Auer – who profoundly influenced modern violin technique and performance, especially in the US.

Dating from 1714, the Strad was named for Leonardo da Vinci by an auction house in the 1920s. Seidel purchased it in 1924 for $25,000, telling The New York Times that he and the instrument “precisely suit each other, and I am convinced it is one of the finest examples of the famous violin maker.” (The article in which he was quoted ran on The Times’ front page. They don’t make violins or news editors like that anymore.)

Although Seidel was a celebrity in his time – he gave Albert Einstein violin lessons, performed in many concerts and was host of a CBS Radio show, as well as playing for films – “today he is all but forgotten,” Smithsonian Magazine’s Antonia Mufarech writes in an article on the coming sale of the famous fiddle:

http://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/this-308-year-old-violin-could-mark-a-new-world-record-180980051/

(via http://www.artsjournal.com)

Here’s Seidel playing his Strad, with pianist Max Rabinowitsch, in a 1927 recording of the “Méditation” from Jules Massenet’s “Thaïs.”

Navajo composer wins Pulitzer for music

Raven Chacon, an Albuquerque, NM-based artist and composer who is a member of the Navajo Nation, has been awarded this year’s Pulitzer Prize for Music for “Voiceless Mass,” a piece for pipe organ with strings, winds and percussion.

The work, which was introduced in November 2021 at the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist in Milwaukee, is described by Chacon as “giving voice to the voiceless, when ceding space is never an option for those in power.”

In an interview with The New York Times’ Javier C. Hernández, the composer said that he was able during the Covid-19 pandemic “to focus on some of the cries of people who were feeling injustices around them. Lockdown was this time of quietness where there was an opportunity for those sounds and cries to emerge.”

The Pulitzer judges describe “Voiceless Mass” as “a mesmerizing, original work for organ and ensemble that evokes the weight of history in a church setting, a concentrated and powerful musical expression with a haunting visceral impact.”

The prize “was an unexpected honor for an artist who has worked across genres – music, video, printmaking – to shine light on the struggles facing Indigenous people,” Hernández writes in a profile of Chacon:

May calendar

Classical performances in and around Richmond, with selected events elsewhere in Virginia and the Washington area. Program information, provided by presenters, is updated as details become available. Adult ticket prices are listed; senior, student/youth, military, group and other discounts may be offered.

Each listing includes primary Covid-19 safety protocols for the event. Contact presenters and venues for updated, modified requirements.

May 1 (2:30 p.m.)
River Road Church, Baptist, River and Ridge roads, Richmond
John Tibbetts, baritone
Raymond Chenault, piano

program TBA
free; ticket reservation required
masks recommended
(804) 288-1131
http://rrcb.org/e-carl-freeman-concert-series/

May 1 (3 p.m.)
Blackwell Auditorium, Randolph-Macon College, 205 Henry St., Ashland
Richmond Symphony
Nicholas Hersh conducting

Haydn: Symphony No. 60 in C major (“Il Distratto”)
Mozart: Bassoon Concerto in B flat major, K. 191

Thomas Schneider, bassoon
Anna Clyne: “Sound and Fury”
Alberto Ginastera: “Variaciones concertantes”

$22.50
masks recommended
(800) 514-3849 (ETIX)
http://www.richmondsymphony.com

May 1 (4 p.m.)
Vlahcevic Concert Hall, Singleton Arts Center, Virginia Commonwealth University, Park Avenue at Harrison Street, Richmond
VCU Opera
VCU Symphony
Daniel Myssyk conducting

Mozart: “The Impresario”
Gian Carlo Menotti: “The Old Maid and the Thief”

casts TBA
free
live online stream accessible via http://go.vcu.edu/concerthall
masks recommended
(804) 828-1169
http://arts.vcu.edu/events

May 1 (2 p.m.)
Paramount Theater, 215 E. Main St., Charlottesville
Cavalier Symphony Orchestra
conductor TBA
“Song and Dance”
program TBA

$15
masks recommended
(434) 979-1333
http://theparamount.net

May 1 (2:30 p.m.)
Shaftman Performance Hall, Jefferson Center, 540 Luck Ave., Roanoke
Opera Roanoke:
Lawrence Brownlee, tenor
Tyshawn Sorey, piano & percussion
Terrance Hayes, poet

“Cycles of My Being”
$20-$120
masks recommended
(540) 982-2742
http://operaroanoke.org

May 2 (8 p.m.)
Old Cabell Hall, University of Virginia, Charlottesville
Digitalis Festival
computer-generated & audio-visual works TBA
free
masks required
(434) 924-3052
http://music.virginia.edu/events

May 4 (7:30 p.m.)
KingsWay Community Church, 14111 Sovereign Grace Drive, Midlothian
Richmond Symphony
Chia-Hsuan Lin conducting

Beethoven: “Coriolan” Overture
Wieniawski: Violin Concerto No. 2 in D minor

Sungu Flottman, violin
Louise Farrenc: Symphony No. 3 in G minor
free
masks recommended
(804) 788-4717
http://richmondsymphony.com

May 5 (8 p.m.)
Music Center at Strathmore, 5301 Tuckerman Lane, North Bethesda, MD
Baltimore Symphony Orchestra
Christian Reif conducting

Heinz Werner Henze: “The Bassarids” – “Mänadentanz”
Mozart: Symphony No. 39 in E flat major, K. 543
Jessie Montgomery: Piano Concerto

Awadagin Pratt, piano
Richard Strauss: “Der Rosenkavalier” Suite
$35-$90
proof of vaccination & masks required
(301) 581-5100
http://strathmore.org

May 6 (7:30 p.m.)
Cathedral of the Sacred Heart, Laurel Street at Floyd Avenue, Richmond
Cathedral Schola Cantorum
Three Notch’d Road: the Virginia Baroque Ensemble
Daniel Sañez conducting

J.S. Bach: Mass in B minor
free; ticket registration required via http://eventbrite.com
masks recommended
(804) 359-5651
http://richmondcathedral.org/concerts/

May 6 (8 p.m.)
May 7 (2 & 7 p.m.)
Kennedy Center Concert Hall, Washington
National Symphony Orchestra Pops
Steven Reineke conducting
Christy Altomare, Susan Egan, Courtney Reed, Syndee Winters & Adam J. Levy, guest stars

“Disney Princess – the Concert”
$29-$99
proof of vaccination, photo ID & masks required
(800) 444-1324
http://kennedy-center.org

May 7 (11 a.m.)
Carpenter Theatre, Dominion Energy Center, Sixth and Grace streets, Richmond
Richmond Symphony LolliPops
Chia-Hsuan Lin conducting
Really Inventive Stuff’s Michael Boudewyns, narrator

Prokofiev: “Peter and the Wolf”
$10-$20
masks recommended
(800) 514-3849 (ETIX)
http://www.richmondsymphony.com

May 7 (3:30 p.m.)
Marburg House, 3102 Bute Lane, Richmond
Belvedere Series:
Karen Johnson, violin
Danielle Wiebe Burke, viola
Schuyler Slack, cello
Ingrid Keller, piano

“Rückblick”
John Corigliano: “Fancy on a Bach Air”
Bohuslav Martinů: Viola Sonata
Brahms: Piano Quartet in C minor, Op. 60

$30
masks required
(540) 604-0689 (Marburg House)
http://belvedereseries.org

May 7 (4 p.m.)
Carpenter Theatre, Dominion Energy Center, Sixth and Grace streets, Richmond
Richmond Symphony Youth Orchestra
Daniel Myssyk conducting
Youth Concert Orchestra
Sandy Goldie conducting
String Sinfonietta
Christie-Jo Adams conducting
Camerata Strings
Melissa Jones conducting
Samantha & Sungu Flottman, violins

program TBA
free
masks recommended
(800) 514-3849 (ETIX)
http://www.richmondsymphony.com

May 7 (7:30 p.m.)
Berglund Performing Arts Theatre, Orange Avenue at Williamson Road, Roanoke
Roanoke Symphony Orchestra
David Stewart Wiley conducting

Arthur Benjamin: “Jamaican Rhumba”
Brahms: Double Concerto in A minor

Akemi Takayama, violin
Zuill Bailey, cello

Dvořák: Symphony No. 9 in E minor (“From the New World”)
$34-$56
masks recommended
(540) 343-9127
http://rso.com

May 7 (8 p.m.)
Music Center at Strathmore, 5301 Tuckerman Lane, North Bethesda, MD
National Philharmonic
Piotr Gajewski conducting

Chopin: “Fantasia on Polish Airs”
Chopin: “Rondo à la krakowiak”

Brian Ganz, piano
Henryk Górecki: Symphony No. 3 (“Symphony of Sorrowful Songs”)
Aleksandra Kurzak, soprano
$64-$89
proof of vaccination & masks required
(301) 581-5100
http://strathmore.org

May 8 (4 p.m.)
Christ & St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, 560 W. Olney Road, Norfolk
Virginia Arts Festival:
Amanda Mole, organ
program TBA
masks recommended
$25
(757) 282-2822
http://vafest.org

May 8 (3 p.m.)
Music Center at Strathmore, 5301 Tuckerman Lane, North Bethesda, MD
Annapolis Symphony Orchestra
José-Luis Novo conducting

Jessica Hunt: work TBA (premiere)
Tchaikovsky: Piano Concerto No. 1 in B flat minor
Olga Kern, piano
Rachmaninoff: Symphonic Dances
$10-$64
proof of vaccination & masks required
(301) 581-5100
http://strathmore.org

May 12 (7 p.m.)
May 13 (8 p.m.)
May 14 (8 p.m.)
Kennedy Center Concert Hall, Washington
National Symphony Orchestra
Cristian Măcelaru conducting

Rimsky-Korsakov: “The Tale of Tsar Sultan” Suite
Mason Bates: “Philharmonia Fantastique”
Dvořák: Symphony No. 6 in D major

$15-$99
proof of vaccination, photo ID & masks required
(800) 444-1324
http://kennedy-center.org

May 13 (8 p.m.)
May 14 (8 p.m.)
May 15 (2 p.m.)
Harrison Opera House, 160 E. Virginia Beach Boulevard, Norfolk
Virginia Arts Festival:
Virginia Symphony Orchestra
Rob Fisher conducting

Rodgers & Hammerstein: “The Sound of Music”
Mikaela Bennett (Maria Rainer)
Edward Watts (Captain Georg von Trapp)
Aundi Marie Moore (Mother Abbess)
Carlyn Connolly (Elsa Schraeder)
David Foley Jr. (Max Detweiler)
Kiara Lee (Liesl von Trapp)
Stephen Culpepper (Friedrich von Trapp)
Alitheia West (Louisa von Trapp)
Rhys West (Kurt von Trapp)
Avelyn Bollen (Brigitta von Trapp)
Rainier Treviño (Marta von Trapp)
Stormie Treviño (Gretl von Trapp)
Conor Crowley (Rolf Gruber)
Matt Kunkel, stage director

in English
$29.25-$110
masks recommended
(757) 282-2822
http://vafest.org

May 13 (7:30 p.m.)
Academy Center for the Arts Historic Theater, 600 Main St., Lynchburg
Lynchburg Symphony Orchestra
David Glover conducting
Charles Billingsley, vocalist

“The Shadow of Your Smile”
American pop standards TBA

$40-$60
masks recommended
(434) 845-6604
http://lynchburgsymphony.org

May 13 (7:30 p.m.)
May 15 (2:30 p.m.)
Shaftman Performance Hall, Jefferson Center, 540 Luck Ave., Roanoke
Opera Roanoke Orchestra & Chorus
Steven White conducting

Verdi: Requiem
soloists TBA
$20-$120
masks recommended
(540) 982-2742
http://operaroanoke.org

May 13 (8 p.m.)
Coolidge Auditorium, Library of Congress, East Capitol and First streets SE, Washington
Johnny Gandelsman, violin
J.S. Bach: Cello Suite No. 3 in C major, BWV 1009 (transcribed for violin)
Olivia Davis: “Steeped”
Clarice Assad: “O”
Anjna Swaminathan: “Surrender to the Adventure”
Rhiannon Giddens: “New to the Session”
Marika Hughes: “From J with Love”

free; registration required at http://host.nxt.blackbaud.com/registration-form
masks required
(202) 707-5502
http://loc.gov/concerts

May 13 (7:30 p.m.)
May 15 (2 p.m.)
Music Center at Strathmore, 5301 Tuckerman Lane, North Bethesda, MD
Maryland Lyric Opera
Louis Salemno conducting

Verdi: “Don Carlo” (concert presentation)
Arturo Chacón-Cruz (Don Carlo)
Elaine Alvarez (Elisabetta)
Andrea Silvestrelli (King Filippo)
Mark Delavan (Rodrigo)
Catherine Martin (Princess Eboli)
Kenneth Kellogg (Grand Inquisitor)

in Italian, English captions
$25-$150
proof of vaccination & masks required
(301) 581-5100
http://strathmore.org

May 14 (2 p.m.)
Gellman Room, Richmond Public Library, First and Franklin streets, Richmond
Chamber Music Society of Central Virginia:
artists TBA
“Our Pictures”
works TBA by Antonio Garcia, Anthony Smith, Zachary Wadsworth, Donovan Williams
(premieres)
free
masks recommended
(804) 646-7223
http://cmscva.org

May 14 (8 p.m.)
Center for the Arts, George Mason University, Fairfax
Fairfax Symphony Orchestra
Christopher Zimmerman conducting

Jonathan Leshnoff: Symphony No. 4 (“Heichalos”)
Beethoven: Symphony No. 9 in D minor (“Choral”)

Danielle Talamantes, soprano
Daryl Freedman, mezzo-soprano
Cameron Schutza, tenor
Mark S. Doss, bass-baritone
Fairfax Choral Society
Morgan State University Choir

$45-$70
proof of vaccination & masks required
(703) 993-2787
http://cfa.gmu.edu

May 14 (7 p.m.)
May 15 (2 p.m.)
May 16 (7 p.m.)
May 20 (7:30 p.m.)
May 22 (2 p.m.)
May 25 (7:30 p.m.)
May 27 (7:30 p.m.)
May 28 (7 p.m.)
Kennedy Center Opera House, Washington
Washington National Opera
Evan Rogister conducting

Bizet: “Carmen”
Isabel Leonard (Carmen)
Michael Fabiano (Don José)
Ryan Speedo Green (Escamillo)
Vanessa Vasquez (Micaëla)
Francesca Zambello, stage director

in French, English captions
$25-$299
proof of vaccination, photo ID & masks required
(800) 444-1324
http://kennedy-center.org

May 15 (3 & 7:30 p.m.)
Altria Theater, Main and Laurel streets, Richmond
Richmond Symphony
Chia-Hsuan Lin conducting

“Star Wars: the Empire Strikes Back,” film with live orchestral accompaniment
$40-$100
masks recommended
(800) 514-3849 (ETIX)
http://www.richmondsymphony.com

May 15 (4 p.m.)
First Unitarian Universalist Church, 1000 Blanton Ave. at the Carillon, Richmond
Chamber Music Society of Central Virginia:
Suliman Tekalli & Christopher Whitley, violins
Celia Hatton, viola
Seth Parker Woods, cello
Andrew Sommer, double-bass
David Lemelin, clarinet
Thomas Schneider, bassoon
Kevin Newton, French horn

Shuying Li: “Eight Immortals and the Sea” (premiere)
Schubert: Octet in F major, D. 803
$30
masks required
(804) 304-6312
http://cmscva.org

May 15 (4 p.m.)
Ryan Recital Hall, St. Christopher’s School, Fergusson and Henri roads, Richmond
Richmond Philharmonic
Peter Wilson conducting

Kevin Puts: “Millennium Canons”
Beethoven: Symphony No. 9 in D minor (“Choral”)

Anne O’Byrne, soprano
Erin Stuhlman, alto
Lynn Atkins, tenor
Joshua Michael Brown, bass
Central Virginia Masterworks Chorale
Richmond Concert Chorale

free
masks recommended
pre-concert talk by Wilson & Mike Goldberg, 3 p.m.
(804) 556-1039
http://richmondphilharmonic.org

May 15 (8 p.m.)
Gallery5, 200 W. Marshall St., Richmond
Classical Revolution RVA
program TBA
donation requested
proof of vaccination & masks recommended
(804) 678-8863
http://classicalrevolutionrva.com/events

May 15 (2 & 4 p.m.)
Kennedy Center Concert Hall, Washington
National Symphony Orchestra
Cristian Măcelaru conducting

Mason Bates: “Philharmonia Fantastique,” with animated film
Jim Capobianco, animator
Gary Rydstrom, director

$18-$20
proof of vaccination, photo ID & masks required
(800) 444-1324
http://kennedy-center.org

May 18 (7 p.m.)
Seacobeck Hall, University of Mary Washington, Fredericksburg
ArtsLive! Chamber Music Festival:
Peter Zazofsky & Julia Glenn, violins
Nathaniel Farny, viola
Sara Stalnaker, cello
Carol Wincenc, flute
Pavel Nersessian, piano

J.S. Bach: Sonata in B minor, BWV 1030, for flute and piano
Beethoven: String Trio in C minor, Op. 9, No. 3
Brahms: Piano Quartet in G minor, Op. 25

$35
masks recommended
(540) 374-5040
http://artsliveva.org

May 19 (7 p.m.)
Seacobeck Hall, University of Mary Washington, Fredericksburg
ArtsLive! Chamber Music Festival:
Peter Zazofsky & Julia Glenn, violins
Nathaniel Farny, viola
Sara Stalnaker, cello
Carol Wincenc, flute
Kathleen Reynolds, bassoon
William Schamburg, French horn
Pavel Nersessian, piano

Carl Stamitz: Trio in E flat major for horn, violin and cello
Beethoven: Trio in G major, WoO 37,
for piano, flute and bassoon
Dvořák: Piano Quartet in E flat major, Op. 87

$35
masks recommended
(540) 374-5040
http://artsliveva.org

May 19 (7 p.m.)
May 20 (11:30 a.m.)
May 21 (8 p.m.)
Kennedy Center Concert Hall, Washington
National Symphony Orchestra
Louis Langrée conducting

Debussy: “Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun”
Joan Tower: “A New Day”

Alisa Weilerstein, cello
Ravel: “La valse”
Ravel: “Boléro”

$15-$99
proof of vaccination, photo ID & masks required
(800) 444-1324
http://kennedy-center.org

May 21 (8 p.m.)
May 22 (3 p.m.)
Carpenter Theatre, Dominion Energy Center, Sixth and Grace streets, Richmond
Richmond Symphony
Valentina Peleggi conducting

Valerie Coleman: “Umoja”
Joel Thompson: “An Act of Resistance”
Beethoven: Symphony No. 9 in D minor (“Choral”)

April Martin, soprano
Stephanie Foley Davis, mezzo-soprano
Rodrick Dixon, tenor
Damien Geter, bass-baritone
Richmond Symphony Chorus

$10-$100
masks recommended
(800) 514-3849 (ETIX)
http://www.richmondsymphony.com

May 21 (3:30 p.m.)
private home, Fredericksburg
ArtsLive! Chamber Music Festival:
Bayla Keyes & Peter Zazofsky, violins
Nathaniel Farny, viola
Sara Stalnaker, cello
Paul Glenn, double-bass
David Jones, clarinet
Kathleen Reynolds, bassoon
William Schamburg, French horn

Bartók: duos for two violins
Beethoven: Septet in E flat major, Op. 20,
for strings & winds
$50
masks recommended
(540) 374-5040
http://artsliveva.org

May 21 (7:30 p.m.)
Academy Center for the Arts Historic Theater, 600 Main St., Lynchburg
Lynchburg Symphony Orchestra
David Glover conducting

“That’s Entertainment: Sounds from the Cinema”
film music TBA

$40-$60
masks recommended
(434) 845-6604
http://lynchburgsymphony.org

May 21 (3 p.m.)
Herter Hall, Garth Newel Music Center, 403 Garth Newel Lane, Hot Springs
Lucia Brighenti, piano
Scarlatti: Sonata in D minor, K. 1
Scarlatti: Sonata in G major, K. 427
Scarlatti: Sonata in A major, K. 113
Rossini: “Pèches de Vieillesse” – “Une caresse à ma fémme,” “Mon Prélude hygienique du matin,” “Une pensé à Florence”
Liszt: “Années de Pèlerinage: Italie” – “Sposalizio,” “Sonetto 47 del Petrarca”
Liszt: “Réminiscences de ‘Lucia di Lammermoor’ ”
Chopin: Ballade in F minor, Op. 52
Nino Rota: 15 préludes – Nos. 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 10, 13

donation requested
masks recommended
(540) 839-5018
http://garthnewel.org

May 21 (8 p.m.)
Music Center at Strathmore, 5301 Tuckerman Lane, North Bethesda, MD
Baltimore Symphony Orchestra
Peter Oundjian conducting

Vivian Fung: “Dust Devils”
Debussy: Nocturnes
Holst: “The Planets”

women of University of Maryland Concert Choir
$35-$90
proof of vaccination & masks required
(877) 276-1444
http://strathmore.org

May 23 (7 p.m.)
Kennedy Center Concert Hall, Washington
Choral Arts Society of Washington
Resonance Ensemble
NEWorks Voices of America & Philharmonic
Nolan Williams Jr. conducting

Damien Geter: “An African American Requiem”
Jacqueline Echols, soprano
Karmesha Peake, mezzo-soprano
Kenneth Overton, baritone

$15-$69
proof of vaccination, photo ID & masks required
(800) 444-1324
http://kennedy-center.org

May 25 (7:30 p.m.)
Hixon Theater, Barr Education Center, 440 Bank St., Norfolk
Virginia Arts Festival:
Olga Kern, piano
Alexandre Da Costa, violin
Thomas Mesa, cello

Debussy: Cello Sonata
Brahms: Violin Sonata No. 3 in D minor, Op. 108
Ravel: “Ma mère l’Oye”
Brahms: Piano Trio in E flat major, Op. 40

$26.25-$35
masks recommended
(757) 282-2822
http://vafest.org

May 25 (8 p.m.)
May 26 (8 p.m.)
Kennedy Center Concert Hall, Washington
National Symphony Orchestra Pops
Vince Mendoza conducting
Renée Fleming, Lalah Hathaway, Raul Midón, Aoife O’Donovan & Moses Sumney, vocalists

“Love: a Joni Mitchell Songbook”
$29-$89
proof of vaccination, photo ID & masks required
(800) 444-1324
http://kennedy-center.org

May 26 (7 p.m.)
May 27 (8 p.m.)
Westminster Presbyterian Church, 4103 Monument Ave., Richmond
Commonwealth Concert Opera
James Taylor conducting

Mozart: “Così fan tutte” (semi-staged presentation)
George Revill (Ferrando)
James Myers (Guglielmo)
Chris Mooney (Don Alfonso)
Sarah Kate Walston (Fiordiligi)
Hannah Magnelli (Dorabella)
Keely Borden (Despina)
Doug Brown, piano
Reese Williams, narrator

$15
masks recommended
(804) 355-6885
http://commonwealthconcertopera.com

May 26 (10:30 a.m.)
Ferguson Arts Center, Christopher Newport University, Newport News
Virginia Arts Festival:
Brendon Elliott & Maithena Girault, violins
Beverly Kane Baker, viola
Sterling Elliott, cello
Vladislav Kern, piano

Dvořák: Quartet in F major, Op. 96 (“American”)
Johan Halvorsen: Passacaglia
Beethoven: Violin Sonata in A major, Op. 47 (“Kreutzer”)

$15-$20
masks recommended
(757) 282-2822
http://vafest.org

May 26 (7:30 p.m.)
Terrace Theater, Kennedy Center, Washington
NOW (New Orchestra of Washington)
Alejandro Hernandez-Valdez conducting

Takashi Yoshimatsu: “Threnody to Toki”
Joseph Turrin: “Equinox”

David Rockefeller Jr., narrator
Turrin: “That, which makes the vastness bearable”
Laura Choi Stuart, soprano
Copland: “Appalachian Spring”
$29-$59
proof of vaccination, photo ID & masks required
(800) 444-1324
http://kennedy-center.org

May 27 (10:30 a.m.)
Hennage Auditorium, Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg, 325 Francis St. E
Virginia Arts Festival:
Olga Kern, piano
Alexandre Da Costa, violin
Thomas Mesa, cello

Debussy: Cello Sonata
Brahms: Violin Sonata No. 3 in D minor, Op. 108
Brahms: Piano Trio in E flat major, Op. 40

$20
masks recommended
(757) 282-2822
http://vafest.org

May 27 (7:30 p.m.)
Williamsburg Community Chapel, 3899 John Tyler Highway
Williamsburg Symphony Orchestra
Chia-Hsuan Lin conducting

Carlos Simon: “Fate Now Conquers”
Barber: Violin Concerto

Paul Huang, violin
John Keltonic: “Our Wings Have Caught the Wind”
Bernstein: Symphonic Dances from “West Side Story”

$55 (in person), $25 (view from home)
masks optional
(757) 229-9857
http://williamsburgsymphony.org

May 27 (5 p.m.)
May 28 (5 p.m.)
Herter Hall, Garth Newel Music Center, 403 Garth Newel Lane, Hot Springs
Garth Newel Piano Quartet
Kathryn Votapek, viola

Rebecca Clarke: Piano Trio
Schumann: Piano Quartet in E flat major, Op. 47

$25 (concert), $44-$64 (concert with meal [May 28 only])
masks recommended
(540) 839-5018
http://garthnewel.org

May 28 (7 p.m.)
Chimborazo Park, 3215 E. Broad St., Richmond
Richmond Symphony
VCU Health Orchestra
Richmond Symphony Chorus
Valentina Peleggi conducting

Beethoven: Symphony No. 9 in D minor – IV. Finale (“Ode to Joy”)
other works TBA

free
rain date: 7 p.m. May 29
masks recommended
(804) 788-4717
http://richmondsymphony.com

May 29 (2 p.m.)
Herter Hall, Garth Newel Music Center, 403 Garth Newel Lane, Hot Springs
Teresa Ling, violin
Isaac Melamed, cello
Jeannette Fang, piano

Beethoven: Piano Trio in B flat major, Op. 97 (“Archduke”)
$25 (concert), $15-25 (meal added)
masks recommended
(540) 839-5018
http://garthnewel.org

May 29 (3 p.m.)
Kennedy Center Concert Hall, Washington
U.S. Air Force Orchestra
Memorial Day Festival Chorus
Craig Jessup & Col. Donald Schofield conducting

2022 National Memorial Day Choral Festival
patriotic choral works TBA

free; tickets required
proof of vaccination, photo ID & masks required
(800) 444-1324
http://kennedy-center.org

June 2 (7 p.m.)
June 3 (8 p.m.)
June 4 (8 p.m.)
Kennedy Center Concert Hall, Washington
National Symphony Orchestra
Gianandrea Noseda conducting

Nino Rota: “La Strada” Suite
Borodin: Symphony No. 2 in B minor
Borodin: “Polovtsian Dances”

$15-$99
proof of vaccination, photo ID & masks required
(800) 444-1324
http://kennedy-center.org

June 2 (7:30 p.m.)
June 3 (7:30 p.m.)
Terrace Theater, Kennedy Center, Washington
Opera Lafayette
Ryan Brown conducting

André Grétry: “Silvain”
Victor Sicard (Silvain)
Camille Ortiz (Helene)
Teresa Castillo (Lucette)
Samantha Louis Jean (Paulette)
Jehú Otero (Bazile)
Nathan Berg (Dolmon)
Tania Hernández Velesaco, stage director

in French
$30-$135
proof of vaccination, photo ID & masks required
(800) 444-1324
http://kennedy-center.org

June 3 (7:30 p.m.)
June 5 (4 p.m.)
Attucks Theater, 1010 Church St., Norfolk
Virginia Arts Festival:
John Duffy Institute for New Opera
conductor TBA
Nkeiru Okoye & Carmen Moore: “Bre’r Rabbit”
Rachel J Peters: “Companionship”

casts TBA
in English
$10-$25
masks recommended
(757) 282-2822
http://vafest.org

June 4 (7:30 p.m.)
Chrysler Hall, 215 St. Paul’s Boulevard, Norfolk
Virginia Arts Festival:
Virginia Symphony Orchestra
Eric Jacobsen conducting

“The Goode Project: a Symphonic Celebration of Water”
works TBA, with poetry and spoken word readings

$25-$75
masks recommended
(757) 282-2822
http://vafest.org

June 5 (2 p.m.)
Terrace Theater, Kennedy Center, Washington
Kennedy Center Chamber Players:
Ying Fu, violin
Daniel Foster, viola
David Hardy, cello
Lambert Orkis, piano

André Previn: Piano Trio No. 2
Poulenc: Violin Sonata
Brahms: Piano Quartet in G minor, Op. 25

$36
proof of vaccination, photo ID & masks required
(800) 444-1324
http://kennedy-center.org

June 5 (3 p.m.)
Music Center at Strathmore, 5301 Tuckerman Lane, North Bethesda, MD
National Philharmonic
Piotr Gajewski conducting

Beethoven: “Missa solemnis”
Esther Heideman, soprano
Claudia Chapa, mezzo soprano
Norman Shankle, tenor
Kerry Wilkerson, bass-baritone
National Philharmonic Chorale

$69-$94
proof of vaccination & masks required
(301) 581-5100
http://strathmore.org

Radu Lupu (1945-2022)

Radu Lupu, the eminent Romanian pianist whose introspective performances of Brahms, Schubert and other music in which expressive depth outweighs virtuosity, has died at 76.

A pupil of Florica Musicescu, the teacher of Dinu Lipatti, and Heinrich Neuhaus, whose students also included Emil Gilels and Sviatoslav Richter, Lupu launched an international career after winning top prizes in two major competitions, the Van Cliburn in 1966 and the Leeds in 1969.

“He is somewhat different from the regulation contest winner, in that he is not primarily a brilliant and impeccable technician,” wrote Raymond Ericson in The New York Times after Lupu’s Carnegie Hall debut in 1967, a review quoted in David Allen’s obituary in The Times. “Mr. Lupu reportedly said that he would have liked to have made a career playing ‘nothing but slow movements,’ ” Allen writes.

Lupu maintained a high-profile but limited performance schedule, and was disinclined to make recordings. His discography of concertos and solo and chamber works, filling fewer than two dozen compact discs, most recorded in the 1970s and ’80s, is among the smallest of major pianists’ of his generation.

Suffering from chronic ill health, he retired in 2019.

Allen’s Times obituary:

For Easter, Amsterdam’s ‘St. Matthew Passion’

Johann Sebastian Bach wrote most of his religious music for St. Thomas Church in Leipzig, where he served as cantor from 1723 until his death in 1750. It was for St. Thomas that Bach wrote most of his cantatas and other choral works, including that Easter staple, the “St. Matthew Passion,” believed to have been introduced on Good Friday in 1727.

The most distinguished tradition of modern revivals of the work belongs to Amsterdam, where Easter-season performances date back to the 1870s. Annual presentations by the city’s Concertgebouw Orchestra were inaugurated in 1899 by its longtime conductor, Willem Mengelberg, and have continued ever since.

For this Easter weekend, here’s the 2012 Concertgebouw “St. Matthew Passion,” conducted by Iván Fischer:

Review: Richmond Symphony

Erin R. Freeman conducting
Maria Brea, soprano
Miles Mykkanen, tenor
Michael Dean, bass-baritone
Richmond Symphony Chorus

April 9-10, Carpenter Theatre, Dominion Energy Center
(reviewed from online stream, posted April 13)

Erin R. Freeman began wrapping up 15 years as director of the Richmond Symphony Chorus (doubling as the orchestra’s associate conductor for the first seven of those years) with a staple of the choral-orchestral repertory that, despite its stature, is not often programmed by symphony orchestras: Joseph Haydn’s “The Creation.”

The work had been scheduled last season to mark the 50th anniversary of the Symphony Chorus, but was delayed because of the pandemic.

During Haydn’s visits to England in the early 1790s – occasions for his 12 “London” symphonies, plus a pile of chamber and vocal works – he heard performances of Handel’s oratorios “Messiah” and “Israel in Egypt,” which inspired him to write an oratorio of his own.

He returned to Vienna with “The Creation of the World,” an English text by an unknown author, drawn from the biblical Book of Genesis and Psalms and John Milton’s “Paradise Lost.” Haydn gave the text to Gottfried van Swieten, a prominent composers’ patron who was fond of oratorios – in 1789, he had commissioned Mozart to produce a re-orchestrated, German-language version of “Messiah.” Van Swieten translated “The Creation” into German (“Die Schöpfung”) and advised Haydn on its composition. The work was introduced in 1798 and published two years later, with both German and English texts.

These performances, in English, boasted one of the finest ensembles of solo voices to perform with the orchestra and chorus in recent years: soprano Maria Brea, tenor Miles Mykkanen and bass-baritone Michael Dean, portraying the angels Gabriel, Uriel and Raphael, respectively, in parts 1 and 2, and Adam (Dean) and Eve (Brea), with Mykkanen in a narrative (recitative) role, in Part 3.

Well-balanced in duets and trios, the singers conveyed distinctive vocal characters in their solos. Brea’s bright coloratura was heard to best effect in ornamented numbers such as “The marv’lous work beholds amazed.” Mykkanen’s leaner, more focused tone and characterful projection of texts enhanced every piece in which he sang. Dean, whose tone production was consistently fine from deep bass to near-tenor, proved to be a commanding yet nuanced angelic narrator (some of those nuances may not have carried to the back rows of the Carpenter Theatre), as well as a contented spouse when he and Brea repaired to the Garden of Eden in Part 3.

The Symphony Chorus, whose full complement hasn’t had many chances to perform in the two years of the pandemic, sounded warmly expressive but rather soft-grained in massed vocal texture, at least as it came across in the audio of the online stream. Even with microphones in place and an audio mix made for the stream, the chorus sounded almost as distant relative to the orchestra as it so often does to listeners in the hall.

The ensemble’s best work came in numbers with more differentiated voice parts, notably the fugal “Glory to His name forever” that concludes Part 2 of the oratorio.

Freeman set moderate tempos and sounded to concentrate more on melody than drama or evocations of nature – not, to my ears, the way to do full justice to this work. Haydn wrote some good tunes, but none of his best made it into “The Creation.” The representational effects in his orchestration and his emotively assertive solo-vocal and choral writing are the qualities that sell this piece. Here, they were mostly undersold.

The orchestra, more populated than usual with substitute musicians, played like a capable pick-up ensemble, turning in a dutiful account of Haydn’s score – all the right notes at the right times, but without much inflection or animation.

The stream of the program remains accessible through June 30. Single-concert access: $30. Full Masterworks season access: $180. Details: (800) 514-3849 (ETIX); http://www.richmondsymphony.com

It’s a bird! . . . no, maybe it’s Maude

One of the most memorable music broadcasts of all time – a rendition of the “Londonderry Air” (“Oh, Danny Boy”) played by cellist Beatrice Harrison, accompanied by a nightingale’s bird-calls – was faked, the BBC now admits, nearly a century after the fact.

The 1924 radio transmission – the BBC’s first from an outdoor location, the garden of Harrison’s home in Surrey – “was a magical nocturnal event that captivated the nation, inspiring a million listeners, tens of thousands of fan letters and repeat broadcasts every year until 1942,” Dalya Alberge writes in The Guardian.

“Nightingales may have been scared off by the crew trampling around the garden with heavy recording equipment. As this was live, the back-up plan was an understudy – thought to have been Maude Gould, a whistler or siffleur known as Madame Saberon on variety bills.”

While birds are known to sing along with music, believed to respond to musical sounds as “competition,” ornithologists and bird-fanciers have wondered for years whether the cellist’s broadcast featured a real nightingale, Alberge reports:

http://www.theguardian.com/media/2022/apr/08/the-cello-and-the-nightingale-1924-duet-was-faked-bbc-admits

Harrison (1892-1965) worked closely with Edward Elgar, Frederick Delius, John Ireland and other British composers of her time. She was especially well-known for her performances of Elgar’s Cello Concerto in E minor, and recorded the piece twice: a 1920 acoustical recording of an abridged version and a 1928 electrical recording, the first of the full concerto, both with the composer conducting.

After the 1924 broadcast, Harrison issued recordings of the “Londonderry Air,” Rimsky-Korsakov’s “Chant Hindu” and Dvořák’s “Songs My Mother Taught Me” with nightingale accompaniment. Alberge’s article does not address the authenticity of the bird-calls on those discs.

Jean M. Fearnow (1936-2022)

Jean M. Fearnow, who for years was the Richmond area’s leading advocate for early music, has died at 86.

Fearnow, a singer from childhood (a charter member of the Red Feather Girls, who gave benefit concerts for the charity that became the United Way), worked with her late husband, Edgar B. Fearnow, in renovating historic houses in Richmond’s Church Hill neighborhood. That work “must have inspired me to get into historic preservation of music,” she said in a 1992 interview with the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

After studying early music and its vocal and instrumental techniques locally and in summer workshops at Dominican College in San Francisco, Fearnow organized two ensembles, the Finnsbury Minstrel Guild and Coventry Consort, which introduced several generations of Richmonders to live performance of Renaissance and early baroque music, played on instruments of those periods.

Her home in Richmond’s Northside became a repository of pre-modern instruments such as the psaltery, hurdy gurdy, otttavina and crumhorn, and scores of the music played on them.

Her ensembles played regularly in the Richmond Public Library’s Gellman Room concert series and at hospitals, schools and other venues, sometimes in re-creations of the balls, pageants and processionals for which early instrumental music was created.

Fearnow also served for 25 years as artist in residence in the Richmond Public Schools.

“We don’t just teach music. We teach history,” she said in the 1992 interview. “Once you’ve heard Shakespearean English sung and played, it’s that much easier to understand Shakespeare as spoken drama.”

New chamber series opens in Richmond

The Belvedere Series, a new chamber-music venture in Richmond, launches on May 7 and will present five concerts in the 2022-23 season.

The opening program, “Rückblick,” will feature violinist Karen Johnson, violist Danielle Wiebe Burke, cellist Schuyler Slack and pianist Ingrid Keller playing works by Brahms, Bohuslav Martinů and John Corigliano, at 3:30 p.m. May 7 at Marburg House, 3102 Bute Lane in the Carillon/Byrd Park district of Richmond. A 7 p.m. repeat performance is sold out.

Belvedere Series concerts scheduled in the coming season, all at 7 p.m. at Marburg House, will offer chamber-music standards such as Robert Schumann’s Piano Quartet and Dvořák’s “Dumky” Piano Trio alongside a number of contemporary solo, chamber and vocal pieces, as well as a “Schubertiade” of chamber and vocal works by Franz Schubert and a program prominently featuring female composers.

General-admission tickets are $30 per concert for adults, $10 for students. For more information, visit http://belvedereseries.org/concerts-and-tickets

Dates, artists and programs:

May 7
Karen Johnson, violin
Danielle Wiebe Burke, viola
Schuyler Slack, cello
Ingrid Keller, piano

“Rückblick”
John Corigliano: “Fancy on a Bach Air”
Bohuslav Martinů: Viola Sonata
Brahms: Piano Quartet in C minor, Op. 60

Sept. 24
Natalie Rose Kress, violin
Danielle Wiebe Burke, viola
Jonathan Ruck, cello
Ingrid Keller, piano

“Transformation and Inspiration”
J.S. Bach: Suite No. 6 in D major, BWV 1012, for solo cello
Handel-Halvorsen: “Sarabande con variazioni”
Robert Schumann: Piano Quartet in E flat major, Op. 47

Oct. 29
Domenic Salerni, violin & composer
Danielle Wiebe Burke, viola
Schuyler Slack, cello
Sam Suggs, double-bass & composer
Mary Boodell, flute
Ingrid Keller, piano
Paul Wiancko, composer

“Distant Lands”
Wiancko: “American Haiku”
Erwin Schulhoff: Concertino for flute, viola & double-bass
Salerni: Piano Trio No. 1
Suggs: “Postlude”
Dvořák: Piano Trio in E minor, Op. 90 (“Dumky”)

Feb. 12
Domenic Salerni & Meredith Riley, violins
Danielle Wiebe Burke, viola
Schuyler Slack, cello
Tiffany Valvo, clarinet
Ingrid Keller, piano
Elisabeth Marshall, soprano

“Schubertiade: An die Musik”
Schubert: Violin Sonata in A minor, D. 385
Schubert: “The Shepherd on the Rock”
Schubert: Quartet in A minor, D. 804 (“Rosamunde”)

March 26
Jonathan Stinson, baritone & composer
Ingrid Keller, piano

“The Evolving Song Cycle”
Beethoven: “An die ferne Geliebte,” Op. 98
Mahler: “Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen”
Stinson: “Uncivil Relief”

May 13
Jessica Xylina Osborne, piano

“So She Wants to Write a Fugue?”
J.S. Bach: “The Well-Tempered Clavier,” Book 1 – Prelude and Fugue in B minor
Clara Wieck Schumann: “Three Preludes and Fugues,” Op. 16
Lera Auerbach: “Chorale, Fugue and Postlude”
Shostakovich: Prelude and Fugue No. 15 in D flat major
Beethoven: Sonata in A flat major, Op. 110
Irene Britton-Smith: Passacaglia
Grazyna Bacewicz: Sonata II