THE CLEVELAND ORCHESTRA / THE PHILADELPHIA ORCHESTRA / DANIIL TRIFONOV & SERGEI BABAYAN
Carnegie Hall Stern Auditorium (Cleveland Orchestra: Oct. 3 & 4) / (Philadelphia Orchestra: Oct. 15) / (Trifovov & Babayan: Oct. 16)
An autumn cornucopia of great concerts at Carnegie Hall commences with the Opening Night Gala on October 3, featuring the Cleveland Orchestra and soloist Anne-Sophie Mutter in a program that also launches the hall’s yearlong celebration of Beethoven’s 250th birth anniversary. The Clevelanders return the following night for a performance of Mahler’s Symphony No. 5 (which famously contains whispers of Beethoven’s 5th Symphony), alongside contemporary German composer Jörg Widmann’s Trauermarsch (Funeral March) performed by the artist he wrote it for, Yefim Bronfman, on piano.
The Philadelphia Orchestra then drops in for an Alpine-themed evening, lugging nearly 130 instruments — including wind and thunder machines — to whip through Strauss’s Eine Alpensinfonie; Béla Bartók’s eloquently unfinished Piano Concerto No. 3 — completed after his death in 1945 — performed by the plangently expressive pianist Hélène Grimaud; and a New York Premiere, American composer Valerie Coleman’s Umoja. Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin conducts.
Electrifying pianistic fireworks follow in a duo recital by Daniil Trifonov and Sergei Babayan, including Schumann’s Andante and Variations in B-Flat; Prokofiev’s 12 Movements from Romeo And Juliet; Rachmaninoff’s Symphonic Dances; and Ravel’s Rapsodie Espagnole.
IAN BOSTRIDGE & BRAD MEHLDAU
Zankel Hall (Oct. 24)
One of our greatest singers of lieder takes on Schumann’s Dichterliebe song cycle, accompanied by one of our great jazz pianist/composers, in an intriguing melding of musical cultures. Bostridge will also sing the New York premiere of a new Mehldau work commissioned by Carnegie Hall.
NEW YORK PHILHARMONIC: SYMPHONIE FANTASTIQUE / ŠU & ALSO SPRACH ZARATHUSTRA/EMANUEL AX
David Geffen Hall (Symphonie fantastique (Oct. 3-5) / (Su (Oct. 18, 19 & 22) / (Emanuel Ax October 24, 25 & 26)
Music Director Jaap van Zweden pairs Berlioz’s Symphonie fantastique with Sibelius’s Violin Concerto, bowed by the Grammy Award-winning Augustin Hadelich.
Susanna Mälkki, Chief Conductor of the Helsinki Philharmonic, then returns as guest conductor to lead the Philharmonic through Korean-born composer Unsuk Chin’s Šu, written for Sheng — the ancient Chinese mouth organ instrument that Mälkki has long championed — here played by Sheng virtuosos Wu Wei in his Philharmonic debut. Strauss’s supremely thunderous Also sprach Zarathustra and Haydn’s gently jesting “Philosopher” Symphony No. 22 round out the program.
Emanuel Ax joins the Philharmonic for Beethoven’s First Piano Concerto, conducted by Stéphane Denève, alongside two works by French composers — Albert Roussel’s Symphony No. 3. and Ravel’s torturously sublime La Valse — plus a contemporary work, blue cathedral, by the American Pulitzer Prize-winning Jennifer Higdon.
Stanley H. Kaplan Penthouse (October 5)
Who wouldn’t want to spend after-hours in the company of Laurie Anderson and a few of her favorite performance artists? The opportunity presents itself courtesy of the Philharmonic’s Nightcap series, curated this night by Ms. Anderson, in the breathtaking Kaplan Penthouse.
THE METROPOLITAN OPERA: TURANDOT / LA BOHÈME
(Turandot Oct. 3, 6, 9, 12, 19, 23, 26, 31) / (La Bohème Oct. 25 & 30)
Alongside its acclaimed new production of Porgy and Bess, the Met revels this month in the last two remaining productions in its repertoire mounted by Franco Zeffirelli, who died this summer. His luxe Turandot will feature Christine Goerke in the title role and Met Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin in the pit. Zeffirelli’s teeming La Bohème will this month feature 2012 Richard Tucker Award-winner Ailyn Pérez as Mimì.