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Classical Notes

Gunther Schuller tributes are highlight of NEC’s fall concert series

Works by Gunther Schuller will be on New England Conservatory concert programs this fall.MICHAEL J. LUTCH FOR THE NEW YORK TIMES/file/Michael J, Lutch

Homages to the late Gunther Schuller, a towering presence at New England Conservatory until his death in June at 89, are among the highlights of the school’s fall concert series.

Among the tributes is a Nov. 19 all-Schuller concert curated by John Heiss, director of NEC’s Contemporary Ensemble, that spans the composer’s career: Quartet for Double Basses (1947), “Sandpoint Rag” (1986), “Headin’ Out, Movin’ In” (1994), and the Grand Concerto for Percussion and Keyboards (2005). Also on the program is the premiere of “Gunther,” by longtime NEC pianist Ran Blake. The school will also present a series of reminiscences and remembrances of Schuller on Nov. 22. And NEC’s Philharmonia orchestra will play Schuller’s “Dreamscape” (2012) on its Sept. 30 program, which also includes Mahler’s Fifth Symphony. Other Philharmonia concerts include Beethoven’s Eighth Symphony and David Lang’s “International Business Machine” (Nov. 4) and Haydn’s Symphony No. 100 and Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 8 (Dec. 2).


NEC is also initiating a new series with the Boston Symphony Orchestra called “Do You Hear What I Hear,” hybrid performance-discussions with composers who are having works premiered by the orchestra. The inaugural event in the series will center around Korean composer Unsuk Chin, whose “Mannequin” will be given its US premiere at Symphony Hall on Nov. 5. The “Do You Hear” event on that date will precede the performance and include some of Chin’s other works and a discussion with the composer.

NEC will also offer two student workshops tied to the 2016 premiere of the operatic trilogy “Ouroboros.” The trilogy’s first opera, “Naga,” will be workshopped on Oct. 30 and Nov. 1, and the third opera, “Gilgamesh,” on Nov. 22 and 23.

The school’s “First Monday” series of faculty chamber music concerts enters its 31st season. Its Nov. 2 program, unusually, features two NEC students: violinist Alexi Kenney and pianist George Li, the latter of whom recently took the silver medal at the 15th International Tchaikovsky Competition. Both will play in Schumann’s Piano Quartet. Two pianist-improvisers on the faculty will celebrate 60th birthdays: Anthony Coleman (Sept. 21) and Fred Hersch (Oct. 29). Blake, a faculty member for more than 45 years, will mark his 80th birthday with a Nov. 13 concert featuring a variety of students, faculty, and special guests.


Information at www.nec

Familiar names at the Gardner

The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum opens its fall season on Sept. 13 with a visit by one of its most familiar guest ensembles, the Claremont Trio. It will be the third entry in its Brahms Project, which surrounds the composer’s trios with works of his contemporaries and predecessors, as well as contemporary voices. The season opener brings Brahms’s Horn Trio (Op. 40) with hornist Chad Yarbrough, along with Smetana’s Piano Trio in G minor and New York-based composer Judd Greenstein’s “A Serious Man.” The fourth iteration in the series comprises trios by Brahms and Haydn and the premiere of a new work by Robert Paterson (Nov. 15).

Of special interest in the fall season is a two-concert traversal of the Beethoven cello sonatas from cellist Steven Isserlis and former Harvard music professor Robert Levin at the fortepiano. (Oct. 25 and Nov. 1). Those comprehensive explorations are a signature of the Gardner’s approach to programming, and this season is no exception: One of its most frequent guest pianists, Paavali Jumppanen, will play both books of Debussy’s Preludes on Nov. 29. Another core Gardner ensemble, the Borromeo String Quartet, plays all six Bartok quartets to end the fall season on Dec. 20.


Other Gardner mainstays returning include Musicians From Marlboro (Oct. 11), the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center (Nov. 22), and the New York Festival of Song (Nov. 8). A Far Cry, the museum’s resident chamber orchestra, performs three times, twice in the Sunday concert series (Sept. 27, Dec. 6) and once in the Thursday avant-garde series Stir (Oct. 1). Other Stir entries include a Nov. 5 performance by the Callithumpian Consort and Sarah Kirkland Snider’s song cycle “Penelope,” one of three upcoming Gardner projects from opera producer Beth Morrison (Dec. 3).

Information: www.gardnermuseum.org

An earlier version of this story misstated the dates for workshops of “Naga” and “Gilgamesh.”

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

Correction: Because of incorrect information provided to the Globe, an earlier version of this story misstated the dates for two New England Conservatory opera workshops.