Fall Arts Preview

Critic’s picks: Classical music

Andris Nelsons debuts as BSO music director designate Oct. 17.
Essdras M Suarez/Globe Staff/file
Andris Nelsons debuts as BSO music director designate Oct. 17.

ISABELLA STEWART GARDNER MUSEUM The museum’s Sunday concert series begins with pianist Jeremy Denk’s performance of Bach’s “Goldberg Variations” (Sept. 15), and its Thursday-night “Avant Gardner” series opens with the violinist Tim Fain playing works by Philip Glass, Nico Muhly, William Bolcom, and others (Oct. 17). 617-278-5156,

ODYSSEY OPERA This newly established opera company debuts with the local premiere of Wagner’s “Rienzi,” performed in a concert version led by Gil Rose, its artistic and general director (Sept. 15). Lithuanian tenor Kristian Benedikt makes his US debut in the demanding title role. Jordan Hall. 617-585-1260,

BOSTON SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA The subscription season begins with an all-Brahms program led by Christoph von Dohnanyi on Sept. 21. Additional fall highlights should include Andris Nelsons’s first program as music director designate (Oct. 17); Britten’s “War Requiem” (Nov. 7); and composer Thomas Adès’s return to the podium (Oct. 10-12). Symphony Hall. 617-266-1200,


A FAR CRY The dynamic self-directed chamber orchestra performs a program titled “Tapas,” with selections by Hindemith, Grieg, Rossini, and Corelli intermixed with Francaix’s Six Preludes. Sept. 21 at St. John’s Church in Jamaica Plain, Sept. 22 at Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum.

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HANDEL AND HAYDN SOCIETY Harry Christophers kicks off H&H’s 199th season with Bach’s remarkable B minor Mass (Sept. 27). The fall will also bring a return visit from former music director Grant Llewellyn (Nov. 1). Symphony Hall. 617-266-3605,

BOSTON CLASSICAL ORCHESTRA Works by Mozart and Beethoven under Steven Lipsitt’s baton are slated for BCO’s season opener (Sept. 28), and later this fall, the admired Wagnerian soprano Jane Eaglen sings Wagner’s “Wesendonck Lieder” (Nov. 16). Faneuil Hall. 617-423-3883,

BOSTON PHILHARMONIC Benjamin Zander begins the new season with Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony (Sept. 30 in Symphony Hall) and continues with an all-Russian program featuring works by Glinka, Prokofiev, and Tchaikovsky (Oct 24). 617-236-0999,

BOSTON LYRIC OPERA BLO begins with Leon Major’s new English-language adaptation of Mozart’s “Magic Flute” (Oct. 4-13 at the Shubert Theatre) and continues with a new chamber version of Jack Beeson’s opera “Lizzie Borden” (Nov. 20-24 at the Castle at Park Plaza). David Angus conducts both. 617-542-4912,


BOSTON EARLY MUSIC FESTIVAL BEMF’s fall series begins with Sarasa joined by soprano Dominique Labelle (Oct. 18), and continues with the BEMF debut of Ensemble Plus Ultra singing music of the Spanish Renaissance (Nov. 9). The annual chamber opera program in Jordan Hall will be devoted to musical highlights culled from productions of the last five seasons (Dec. 1). 617-661-1812,

DISCOVERY ENSEMBLE Courtney Lewis’s adventurous orchestra opens its sixth season (Oct. 20) with works by Sibelius, Mozart, and Ligeti and follows up with an intriguing program (Nov. 24) devoted to music of Thomas Adès, Rameau, and Beethoven. Jordan Hall, 617-800-7588,

BOSTON BAROQUE Martin Pearlman opens his ensemble’s 40th season with a performance of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony on period instruments (Nov. 8 in Jordan Hall), and starts up his New Directions chamber series with works by Falla, Rameau, Clerambault, and himself (Oct. 19 in Pickman Hall). 617-987-8600,

CHAMBER PLUS In addition to its street piano festival (see accompanying story) and other events, Celebrity Series of Boston is presenting recitals this fall by pianists Andras Schiff, Yuja Wang, and Benjamin Grosvenor; Andover Chamber Music Society opens with a night of modern tangos (Sept. 21); Emmanuel Music opens with an all-Beethoven program featuring the Triple Concerto with pianist Robert Levin, violinist Heather Braun, and cellist Rafael Popper-Keizer (Sept. 28); Concord Chamber Music Society presents the Parker Quartet (Sept. 29); Radius Ensemble has music by Piazzolla, Rota, Brahms, and Luna Pearl Woolf (Oct. 5); Chameleon Arts Ensemble offers Chopin, Copland, Mendelssohn, and Feldman (Oct. 5); Boston Symphony Chamber Players open with Adès and Ravel (Oct. 13); members of Boston Chamber Music Society play Schubert and Walton (Oct 27). 617-482-6661 or; 978-474-6222 or; 617-536-3356 or; 978-371-9667 or; 617-792-7234 or; 617-427-8200 or; 617-266-1200 or; 617-349-0086 or

NEW MUSIC PLUS Guerilla Opera stages a new production of Andy Vores’s “No Exit” (Sept. 19); Sound Icon opens its season with Olga Neuwirth’s “Torsion” and more (Sept. 28); Dinosaur Annex opens with the premiere of a work by Eric Chasalow (Oct. 5); Boston Musica Viva has a premiere by Martin Brody (Oct. 5); Opera Brittenica, another new opera company, debuts with Britten’s “Rape of Lucretia” (Oct. 18); New England Philharmonic has John Harbison’s Cello Concerto (Oct. 26); and BMOP begins with a concert performance of Virgil Thomson’s opera “Four Saints in Three Acts” (Nov. 16). 866-615-2723 or;;; 617-354-6910 or; 617-575-9610 or; 617-353-8725 or; 781-324-0396 or


CHORAL BOSTON The Cantata Singers kick off their 50th anniversary season with Bach cantatas (Sept. 20); Cappella Clausura presents “Rebecca Clarke and her Circle” (Oct. 5); Blue Heron sings Robert Jones’s “Missa Spes Nostra” (Oct. 19); Musica Sacra has English sacred music by Byrd and Morley (Oct. 26); Boston Camerata revives its “Carmina Burana’’ program (Oct. 27); Boston Cecilia is led by new music director Nicholas White (Nov. 2); Back Bay Chorale has Wagner and Verdi (Nov. 3); Chorus Pro Music has a program titled “Heaven on Earth” (Nov. 3); and Masterworks Chorale pairs Mozart with Salieri (Nov. 15). Information on many local choruses is available at

MUSIC AT THE SCHOOLS Longy’s annual SeptemberFest begins with works by Stravinsky and Copland (Sept. 20); New England Conservatory students perform the North American premiere of Tan Dun’s Concerto for Orchestra (Sept. 25) as part of an expansive multi-genre festival called “Music: Truth to Power”; Boston University’s Fringe Festival has Nico Muhly’s one-act opera “Dark Sisters” (Oct. 11); at Harvard, the Chiara Quartet takes on works by Haydn, Dvorak, and Adorno (Oct. 25); and Boston Conservatory’s students perform Janacek’s “Cunning Little Vixen” (Nov. 21).,,,,

jeremy eichler

Jeremy Eichler can be reached at