The Spring Arts Preview 

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CLASSICAL MUSIC

Gerald Finley, who made a name for himself in this town two years ago singing "Batter My Heart" as Oppenheimer in the Met's production of Doctor Atomic, comes to Carnegie Hall for a recital of songs and other vocal works by Schumann, Ravel, Barber, and Ives—and, thankfully, no Adams! (March 20)

Less than a week later, Michael Tilson-Thomas, one of Leonard Bernstein's torch-bearers, brings his Carnegie HallSan Francisco Symphony to the same venue for two nights: one will feature a new piece by Victor Kissine, accompanied by Tchaikovsky, Ravel and Liszt works; the other will be devoted to Mahler, one of Bernstein's pet causes, and his second symphony. Way to stand in your master's shadow, Tilson-Thomas. (March 25-26)

April promises to be an exciting month for classical music, thanks to the New York Philharmonic. Pop-culture favorite Joshua Bell, one of the classical world's pretty people, arrives at Avery Fisher for a weekend early in the month to lead the orchestra in a violin concerto by Max Bruch, a program otherwise bookended by repertoire stalwarts: Mozart's Thirty-First, Brahms' Fourth. (April 8-10)

The following week, the Contact! series highlights world premieres of three new orchestra commissions by Sean Shepherd, Matthias Pintscher and up-and-comer Nico Muhly. Baritone Thomas Hampson, also the orchestra's current artist-in-residence, will appear, and music director Alan Gilbert himself will conduct the performances at Symphony Space, followed by an encore at the Met[ropolitan Museum of Art]. (April 16, 17)

The remainder of the month, and even some of May, finds conductor Valery Gergiev in town—after leading Shostakovich's The Nose at the Met in March—commanding the orchestra in a six-part Stravinsky festival that will tackle classics like The Firebird as well as many less frequently heard pieces. The Rite of Spring won't be heard, presumably to prevent rioting. (Honestly, Lorin Maazel lead the Phil in a performance so revelatory in 2007 that we kinda never want to hear the piece again.) (April 21-May 8)

Otherwise in April, Signal, an ensemble of young NY musicians, will play several Philip Glass pieces, including the NY debut of Glassworks, at (Le) Poisson Rouge. Which means, essentially, they're playing one Philip Glass piece, since they all sound the same. (April 11)

The following week, that venue partners with Carnegie Hall to celebrate composer Louis Andriessen, Carnegie's composer-in-residence this year, with a program of chamber works performed by pianist Eric Huebner and the American Contemporary Music Ensemble. (April 18)

The Brooklyn Philharmonic, like many non-profit arts organizations, was hit hard by the economic crisis and canceled much of its season. But members of its string section will perform string quartets by Russia's Big Five composers—Balakirev, Cui, Mussorgsky, Rimsky-Korsakov and Borodin—at two public libraries in Brooklyn on a Sunday afternoon in May. Libraries? Classical? Dress your nerdiest. (May 2)

Two weeks later, the orchestra's composer-fellow, Ryan Brown, offers a program called 2010, featuring art and music created in the last decade, including the world premiere of Brown's Extended Family, for electric guitar and amplified string quartet. At the end of its season, The Metropolitan Opera sneaks in three performances of Alban Berg's four-hour Lulu, considered a "modernist masterpiece," which might not be a good thing. (May 8, 12, 15)

In June, work by the Philharmonic's composer-in-residence Magnus Lindberg features in two of the orchestra's programs: his Arena can be heard with works by Sibelius and Brahms (June 10-15), while a new work will premiere on a season-ending program with Beethoven's Missa solemnis mass. (June 23-26)

In late May, the Grand Street Community Band takes the auditorium at Grand Street Campus High School for its seasonal concert, which will include, incidentally, two of our favorite pieces: Jupiter, from Holst's The Planets (basically the ur text for every film score ever) and Bernstein's Symphonic Dances from West Side Story. (Oh please let it include "Mambo"!) Oh, and some other stuff. (May 23)

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