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Winter Arts Guide 2017

Classical picks

Igor Levit will make his Boston debut in February.
Igor Levit will make his Boston debut in February.Felix-Broede

BOSTON SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA BSO music director Andris Nelsons takes over the podium for the entire month of February, beginning with a performance of Bach’s glorious B Minor Mass featuring the Tanglewood Festival Chorus (Feb. 2-7). Other highlights include multiple performances with pianist Emanuel Ax (Feb. 14-21), and the world premiere of Sofia Gubaidulina’s Triple Concerto for violin, cello, and bayan, a chromatic button accordion (Feb. 23-28). Symphony Hall. 617-266-1200, www.bso.org

BOSTON EARLY MUSIC FESTIVAL The festival proper doesn’t start until June, but there’s no need to wait to experience world-class early music in Boston. In February, BEMF brings Hespèrion XXI to Sanders Theatre with a potpourri of European dance music for viol consort. Later that month, conductorless British vocal consort Stile Antico comes to St. Paul Church with a program for which each singer selected a favorite piece. Feb. 5, Feb. 24. 617-661-1812,


IGOR LEVIT This inventive young pianist makes his Boston debut in an intimate recital at Longy School of Music’s Pickman Hall, presented by Celebrity Series of Boston. This marks a rare chance to witness his coiled-spring intensity up close: He’s already been featured at the Royal Albert Hall and with the BSO at Tanglewood, and his star shows no sign of dimming. Feb. 8,
8 p.m. Longy School of Music. 617-482-2595, www.celebrityseries.org

MEREDITH MONK AND ANNE WALDMAN Meredith Monk teams up with poet, playwright, and activist Anne Waldman, with a multimedia reading by Waldman, Monk’s vocal ensemble performing several of her own pieces, and a collaboratively created duet between Monk and Waldman. Feb. 24-25, 8 p.m. Institute of Contemporary Art. 617-478-3103, www.icaboston.org

SKYLARK VOCAL ENSEMBLE As outlined in Plato’s “Republic,” music is a subdivision of mathematics, and it was taught as such for centuries. Skylark Vocal Ensemble comes to MIT to sing its way through mathematically formulated works from the Renaissance to the present. March 3, 7:30 p.m, Killian Hall, MIT. www.skylarkensemble.org


HUB NEW MUSIC Hub New Music presents the Boston premiere of its geopolitically rooted multimedia program, “Blue,” featuring music by Laura Kaminsky and Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor Evan Ziporyn and dance film projections from The Wilder Project. Free with museum admission. March 9, 6 p.m. Museum of Fine Arts. www.hubnewmusic.org

BOSTON BAROQUE Boston Baroque concertmaster Christina Day Martinson gives a rare complete performance of Heinrich Biber’s Mystery Sonatas, a work she has been delving into for more than a decade. This mental and physical tour-de-force work bends the violin’s tuning into a different configuration with every movement. March 10, 8 p.m. Jordan Hall. www.bostonbaroque.org

“THE RAKE’S PROGRESS” Boston Lyric Opera presents Stravinsky’s madcap dark comedy, with newcomer Ben Bliss singing the title role. American Repertory Theater resident director Allegra Libonati directs a cast including Anya Matanovic as Anne Trulove and Kevin Burdette as the devilish Nick Shadow. Unique to this staging, the role of the composer himself is danced by former Boston Ballet principal Yury Yanowsky. March 12-19. Cutler Majestic Theatre. 617-542-6772, www.blo.org

ROOMFUL OF TEETH WITH A FAR CRY Boston’s conductorless string orchestra A Far Cry and Grammy-winning vocal mavericks Roomful of Teeth join forces at Sanders Theatre. The contemporary program incorporates works by Ted Hearne and Roomful member Caroline Shaw, the youngest ever winner of the Pulitzer Prize for music. April 13, 8 p.m. Sanders Theatre. 617-482-2595,


MA, MEYER, THILE: BACH TRIOS This collaboration between bluegrass mandolin dynamo (and new “Prairie Home Companion’’ host) Chris Thile and classical mainstays Yo-Yo Ma and Edgar Meyer arose out of the crossover album “The Goat Rodeo Sessions.” The three bring their shared love of Bach to Symphony Hall with a program that will include excerpts from the Art of Fugue and keyboard pieces adapted for the trio’s unconventional instrumentation: mandolin, cello, and bass. April 21,
8 p.m. Symphony Hall. 617-482-2595, www.celebrityseries.org

Zoë Madonna

Zoë Madonna can be reached at zoe.madonna@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @knitandlisten. Madonna’s work is supported by the Rubin Institute for Music Criticism, San Francisco Conservatory of Music, and Ann and Gordon Getty Foundation.