Spring Arts Preview 2014: Music

Maestro Lorin Maazel will conduct the Boston Symphony Orchestra in three Russian classics. (Credit Chris Lee)
Maestro Lorin Maazel will conduct the Boston Symphony Orchestra in three classic pieces for their final program. (Credit Chris Lee)

This spring season, there’s plenty of music to be heard in Boston. Let writer Matthew Dinaro guide you through.


Evgeny Kissin
March 16, 5 p.m.
Symphony Hall
301 Mass. Ave., Boston
$60-$105, 617- 482-2595

Russian pianist Evgeny Kissin was a child prodigy, and if he can no longer, at 42, be considered precocious, he can still be considered amazing and quite entertaining to watch. He puts his whole body into his playing, and his unkempt hair gives him a slightly mad scientist air. At this concert he’ll perform works by Schubert and Scriabin.

Flamenco Festival 2014: Tomatito
March 16, 7 p.m.
Berklee Performance Center
136 Mass. Ave., Cambridge
$30-$48, 617-876-4275

Spanish Flamenco guitarist Tomatito, real name José Fernández Torres, is a member of the Romani people. The influence of gypsy jazz shows in his playing, which is full of the sort of crazy fast runs Django Reinhardt used to toss off without even thinking. He’s certainly a free spirit musically, claiming that over half of his shows are pure improv. Awesome.

Yo-Yo Ma and Katherine Stott
March 21, 8 p.m.
Symphony Hall
301 Mass. Ave., Boston
$60-$95, 617- 482-2595

You’ll occasionally hear classical music snobs saying Yo-Yo Ma is overrated as a cellist. Well, they can have their holier-than-thou opinions, so long as we can have their Yo-Yo Ma tickets. His collaborator for this concert, pianist Katherine Stott, has been working with Ma for more than two decades and the two have an almost psychic chemistry that’s charming to watch.

March 14 through March 23
Citi Shubert Theater
265 Tremont St., Boston
$30-$225, 866-348-9738

The Boston Lyric Opera presents Verdi’s tragic opera about a hunchbacked court jester, Rigoletto, who’s determined to protect his daughter Gilda from the lecherous clutches of the local duke. So long as she’s safe, he’s happy to see the duke scoop up anyone else’s daughter, which eventually leads another father to place a curse on both him and the duke.

Arditti Quartet
March 23
Institute of Contemporary Art
100 Northern Ave., Boston
$10-$20, 617-478-3100

Founded in 1975 by violinist Irvine Arditti, the Arditti Quartet are one of the most celebrated contemporary string quartets. In fact, a significant amount of the modern string quartet and chamber music repertoire — hundreds of pieces — has been specifically written for them. For their 40th anniversary, they’ll be performing some of the best of these works.


‘Mendelssohn’s Library’
April 4 and April 6
Jordan Hall
30 Gainsborough St., Boston
$20-$84, 617-266-3605

Violinist Aisslinn Nosky leads the Handel and Haydn Society’s period instrument orchestra in a program of works from Mendelssohn’s own personal music library, including Handel, J.S. Bach and C.B.E. Bach, plus one of his own, showing the continuity of influence from one generation to the next. Not discussed: Mendelssohn’s bookshelf but we like to imagine it loaded with almost nothing but YA vampire fiction.

Marc-Andre Hamelin and Emanuel Ax
April 13, 3 p.m.
Symphony Hall
301 Mass Ave., Boston
$40-$105, 617-482-2595

It’s enough of a treat to see either of these two piano masters on their own, but to see them together is something else. The program includes Brahms’ sonata for two pianos as well as his 3rd piano sonata, which no less an authority than Schumann called “an entirely brilliant performance that made the piano into an orchestra of lamenting and jubilant voices.”

Mussorgsky, Rachmaninoff and Tchaikovsky
April 22 and April 24
Symphony Hall
301 Mass Ave., Boston
$30-$104, 888-266-1200

Those three names suggest drama if nothing else, and the final program of the Boston Symphony’s season ends things with a bang. Lorin Maazel leads the orchestra through Mussorgsky’s wonderfully spooky and monstrous “Night on the Bald Mountain,” Rachmaninoff’s “Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini,” featuring Uzbek pianist Behzod Abduraimov and Tchaikovsky’s 5th symphony.

Huun Huur Tu
April 25, 8 p.m.
First Church in Cambridge
11 Garden St., Cambridge
$28, 617-876-4275

This group comes from the tiny nation of Tuva, a part of Russia on the border with Mongolia most famous globally for Tuvan throat singing, a technique that permits a vocalist to sing three notes at once. There are actually several sub-techniques within the umbrella of Tuvan throat singing; Huun Huur Tu are masters of the most popular type, “khoomei.”

Chick Corea
April 13
Wilbur Theater
246 Tremont St., Boston
$39-$75, 800-745-3000

As a member of Miles Davis’ band in the late ‘60s, jazz keyboardist Chick Corea was instrumental (pun sort of intended) in the invention of jazz-fusion. Never one to rest on his laurels, he later dabbled in free jazz, Latin sounds and much, much more, having demonstrated himself over his career to be capable of pretty much anything.


May 2 and May 4
Symphony Hall
301 Mass. Ave., Cambridge
$20-$86, 617-266-3605

For their season finale, the Handel and Haydn Society performs Handel’s epic oratorio “Samson,” which tells the story of the famous Biblical strongman whose only weakness was his bodacious hairdo — cut it off, and away goes his super-strength. Then again, maybe his real weakness was falling for his wife, Delilah. After all, she’s the one who does the cutting.

‘I Puritani’
May 2 through May 11
Citi Shubert Theater
265 Tremont St., Boston
$30-$225, 866-348-9738

The Boston Lyric Opera presents Bellini’s last opera, which takes place during the English Civil War. Our heroine, Elvira, descends into madness when she comes to believe her true love has abandoned her for someone else. He actually didn’t, though — in fact, he was under the impression that the woman he absconded with was Elvira! And it only gets more complicated from there.

Alasdair Fraser and Natalie Haas
May 3, 8 p.m.
First Parish Unitarian
3 Church St., Cambridge
$28, 617-876-4275

Alasdair Fraser is a master of Scottish fiddling, and Natalie Haas is a cellist keen on pushing the boundaries of her versatile instrument beyond its classical home and occasional forays into pop. Her Celtic cello is a revelation, and its combination with Fraser’s virtuosity makes for a remarkable depth and breadth of sound from just two people.

‘Light, Wind and Sound’
May 10, 8 p.m.
Edward M. Pickman Concert Hall
27 Garden St., Cambridge
$10-$30, 617-354-6910

Boston Musica Viva closes out its season with a program designed to evoke the experience of sensation. An eccentric highlight is Brian Robinson’s “A Field Guide to American Car Alarms,” which, from what we can gather, is more or less just what it sounds like. More natural sensations are favored otherwise, from Julie Rowhein’s “Borne on the Wind” to Sean Shepherd’s “Lumens.”

Il Divo
May 16, 7:30 p.m.
Citi Wang Theater
270 Tremont St., Boston
$40-$129, 800-745-3000

Simon Cowell-masterminded operatic pop quartet Il Divo tackles Broadway for this show, a live version of their most recent album, “A Musical Affair.” Considering the camp perfection of their already hyper-dramatic approach to pop tunes, it’s surprising they waited almost a decade to put out a Broadway record, but it’s surely all the better for the wait.


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