Classical Notes

New relationships enhance Gardner’s music series

Ian Watson and Aisslinn Nosky will codirect when the Handel and Haydn Society performs Bach’s six Brandenburg Concertos at Gardner Museum Dec. 7.
James Doyle (left); Stu Rosner
Ian Watson and Aisslinn Nosky will codirect when the Handel and Haydn Society performs Bach’s six Brandenburg Concertos at Gardner Museum Dec. 7.

The first concert in a new collaboration with the Handel and Haydn Society is among the fall offerings at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. Also forthcoming are both new artist projects and the continuation of series begun in the spring.

Members of H&H will perform Bach’s six Brandenburg Concertos at the last of the season’s Sunday afternoon concerts, on Dec. 7. H&H concertmaster Aisslinn Nosky and harpsichordist Ian Watson will codirect the concert, with each leading three concertos. The concert is the first entry in a partnership that “will fill in one of our greatest needs, an ongoing collaboration in that repertoire with a first-class organization,” Scott Nickrenz, the museum’s music director, wrote in an e-mail.

According to a representative for H&H, the plan is for the ensemble to perform twice a year at the Gardner. The Brandenburg program will recur each fall, while the program for the spring concert will change from year to year. The first spring concert will take place on March 22; repertoire is still being finalized.


Also new this fall is a Monday afternoon series called “In and Out Concerts,” which the museum describes as having a “leisurely, come and go atmosphere.” Visitors can stay for any portion of the performances, which will take place on all four Mondays in November. The program for each concert will be the same: Terry Riley’s “In C,” celebrating the 50th anniversary of that epoch-making minimalist work. It will be directed by Stephen Drury, artistic director of the Callithumpian Consort.

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The Sunday afternoon series begins Sept. 7 with A Far Cry, the Gardner’s resident chamber orchestra, playing a serenade-themed program of Biber, Stravinsky, Mozart, and Tchaikovsky. One notable outing brings the outstanding tenor Mark Padmore to the museum on Oct. 12 with pianist Jonathan Biss, who has played a number of impressive concerts there in the past. Their program includes Schumann’s “Liederkreis,” Op. 24, as well as songs by Tippett and Fauré.

Also on Sundays, another Gardner mainstay, the Borromeo String Quartet, begins a series intertwining string quartets by Tchaikovsky and Shostakovich, with the former’s First Quartet and the latter’s Third (Sept. 21). Finnish pianist Paavali Jumppanen continues his cycle of works by Schumann and Stockhausen (Nov. 30). Other returning ensembles include the Eroica Trio (Sept. 14), Musicians from Marlboro (Oct. 19), and the New York Festival of Song, which brings a Viennese program of songs by Wolf, Mahler, Schoenberg, and Strauss (Nov. 9).

A Far Cry also performs in the Gardner’s Thursday-evening avant-garde series, Stir, on Oct. 2. Additional Stir entries include the Callithumpian Consort (Sept. 11), a collaboration between film artist Luisa Rabbia and composer/DJ Fa Ventilato (Nov. 6), and “WOODSLIPPERCOUNTERCLATTER,” a project from poet Susan Howe and composer David Grubbs, rescheduled from this spring (Dec. 4).

Tickets are currently on sale to museum members, and become available to the general public Aug. 13.

More new seasons


A host of organizations have recently announced their 2014-15 concert lineups. The Boston Camerata gets off to an early start on Aug. 10 with “Verdant Grove,” a gathering of early-American song. The centerpiece in fall is “The Play of Daniel,” an exploration of the biblical hero in music from the Middle Ages (Nov. 21 and 23). This year’s holiday offering is “An American Christmas,” one of its most popular programs (Dec. 18-20). The group has a residency at MIT, with a March 6 concert, and reprises its interfaith program, “A Sacred Bridge,” on March 29.

Among the highlights of New England Conservatory’s offerings is a Dec. 10 performance of Act III of Wagner’s “Die Walküre” with soprano Jane Eaglen (an NEC faculty member), baritone Greer Grimsley, and conductor Robert Spano. A reconstructed version of the late Leon Kirchner’s Music for Flute and Orchestra will be performed by its dedicatee, Paula Robison, and led by conducting faculty chair Hugh Wolff (Nov. 5). Wolff will also lead the NEC Philharmonia in Esa-Pekka Salonen’s “LA Variations” on Oct. 1 and Mahler’s Ninth Symphony on April 29. And on Nov. 4, the composer John Zorn will curate a retrospective of his work in partnership with faculty pianist Anthony Coleman, in a project that will mobilize a number of the school’s ensembles.

Rockport Music begins its non-summer concerts with a recital by guitarist Sharon Isbin on Sept. 6. Also on the bill are performances by the St. Lawrence String Quartet (Oct. 25) and Brentano String Quartet (Feb. 28). Sergey Schepkin, a renowned Bach pianist, will present the six composer’s Partitas in a Nov. 16 concert.

Finally, the early-music ensemble Musicians of the Old Post Road will begin its season with a sonic exploration of period and modern instruments (Oct. 24 and 26). Its most noteworthy offering is a rare chance to hear “Ariadne auf Naxos,” a one-act melodrama by the 18th-century Czech composer Georg Benda (April 11-12).

David Weininger can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @davidgweininger.