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Boston’s 15 must-see classical music groups for fall

Brookline-based chamber group Mistral Music will perform works that inspired Marcel Proust’s “In Search of Lost Time.”
Brookline-based chamber group Mistral Music will perform works that inspired Marcel Proust’s “In Search of Lost Time.” Seungoh Ryu

A FAR CRY This Jamaica Plain-based string orchestra operates without a conductor or artistic director, so all programs are decided by the players. When they play with passion, it’s the real deal. The “Criers” tackle their biggest piece ever with Beethoven’s Violin Concerto featuring Soovin Kim (Sept. 13), explore music the Nazis didn’t want anyone to hear (Sept. 29), and then showcase Jewish refugee composers who fled Europe for Hollywood (Nov. 1). 617-553-4887, www.afarcry.org

BOSTON SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA The Leipzigers are coming, the Leipzigers are coming! BSO music director Andris Nelsons’s other outfit across the pond, the Gewandhaus Orchestra, visits for “Leipzig Week in Boston,” which includes a grand gala, joint performances with the BSO, and two programs of its own (Oct. 27-Nov. 2). Outside of that, Nelsons leads six more programs, heavy on the German and Russian classics with a few new pieces scattered here and there. Guest conductors this fall include Dima Slobodeniouk, Andras Schiff, and Susanna Mälkki — with three vivid French pieces and the American premiere of Dieter Ammann’s new piano concerto, Mälkki’s program looks especially interesting (Oct. 24-26). Starting Sept. 19. Symphony Hall. 888-266-1200, www.bso.org


ODYSSEY OPERA Try not to lose your head; this season, Odyssey Opera is presenting an astounding five operatic rarities and one world premiere about the Tudor dynasty. (Donizetti? Who’s that?) The tradition of opening the season with a grand opera continues with Saint-Saens’s “Henry VIII” in concert at Jordan Hall (Sept. 21). Up next, a fully staged production of Pacini’s “Maria, Regina d’Inghilterra” at the Huntington Avenue Theatre. (Nov. 1 and 3) 617-826-1626 www.odysseyopera.org

MISTRAL MUSIC From this Brookline-based chamber group directed by Julie Scolnik, hear some of the music that inspired Marcel Proust’s “In Search of Lost Time,” including Beethoven, Debussy, and Fauré (Sept. 20-22). Then: musicians from Mistral, the Boston Symphony Orchestra, A Far Cry, and more unite at Jordan Hall under the baton of Simon Rattle for “Hope and Harmony,” a non-subscription benefit concert to raise funds for underserved women battling breast cancer. (Nov. 17) 978-474-6222, www.mistralmusic.or g


KOYAANISQATSI LIVE Philip Glass and his namesake ensemble perform along with Godfrey Reggio’s chillingly ever-relevant film portrait of environmental destruction and consumerism. It’s “life out of balance,” and it seems the scales have just tipped further since its 1982 release. Presented by Global Arts Live. Sept. 20, 8 p.m. Orpheum Theatre. 617-876-4275, www.globalartslive.org

ALARM WILL SOUND This cutting-edge chamber group brings in a hard-hitting program: Queens-based artist Eartheater’s “When Fire Is Allowed to Finish,” and the concert version of Irish composer Donnacha Dennehy’s “The Hunger,” a modern “docu-cantata” based on accounts of the Great Irish Famine, featuring soprano Katherine Manley and sean-nós singer Iarla Ó Lionáird. All net proceeds will be donated to Oxfam. Sept. 20, 8 p.m. Jordan Hall. 617-585-1260 www.alarmwillsound.com

ASHMONT HILL CHAMBER MUSIC This fall’s offerings from the Dorchester-based series sound like they’re worth a long Red Line ride. The season starts with an all-Bach concert featuring bass-baritone Dashon Burton, the Ashmont Boy Choir, and more (Sept. 22). Next, the Claremont Trio plays music by Haydn, Dvořák, and Judd Greenstein (Oct. 20). Then, youngest-ever Sphinx Concerto Competition winner Randall Goosby, violinist, gives a recital with pianist Zhu Wang (Nov. 10). 617-827-7857, www.ahchambermusic.org

SHELTER MUSIC BOSTON Most of this group’s performances take place in homeless shelters and recovery centers and thus not open to the public, but it’s reprising this fall’s offering for the wider world at its benefit program: a performance of “Florence Comes Home,” a chamber opera about American composer Florence Price commissioned by the ensemble and written by Francine Trester. Oct. 17, 6 p.m. The Dane Estate, Chestnut Hill. 617-605-3415, www.sheltermusicboston.org


CELLISTS CELEBRATE CASALS A weekend in October honors the venerable cellist Pablo Casals and his lasting legacy. An all-star lineup of nine cellists (including Casals’ godson and NEC string chair Lluís Claret, and BSO principal Blaise Déjardin) performs music from Casals’ Boston debut, at Union United Methodist Church (Oct. 18). Then, over 50 cellists crowd onto the stage at the Wimberly Theatre at Boston Center for the Arts, for a free cello orchestra extravaganza (Oct. 20). 617-482-2595, www.celebrityseries.org

HANDEL + HAYDN SOCIETY It’s mostly Mozart this fall for H+H. Artistic director Harry Christophers starts things off, leading a Mozart celebration including concert arias, “Eine kleine Nachtmusik,” and the Great Mass in C (Oct. 4 & 6). Then, guest Bernard Labadie returns to H+H to conduct Mozart’s Symphony No. 41, “Jupiter,” in a program also including C.P.E. Bach’s Cello Concerto, featuring principal cellist Guy Fishman (Nov. 8 & 10). 617.266.3605, www.handelandhaydn.org

BOSTON MODERN ORCHESTRA PROJECT Theremin isn’t exactly the most popular solo instrument for concertos (wonder why?) but at BMOP’s Roaring ’20s-themed season kickoff, you can hear Carolina Eyck play not one, but two pieces for theremin and orchestra — Joseph Schillinger’s “First Aerophonic Suite” (1929) and the world premiere of Dalit Warshaw’s “Sirens.” The program also includes music by John Alden Carpenter and Kurt Weill. Oct. 4, 8 p.m. Jordan Hall. 781-324-0396, www.bmop.org


FRETWORK The English viol consort stops in Boston on its American tour, joined by countertenor Iestyn Davies. The program covers ground from Elizabethan England, to Bach and Handel, to songs by contemporary British composer Michael Nyman. Oct. 20, 1:30 p.m. 617-278-5156, www.gardnermuseum.org

BOSTON EARLY MUSIC FESTIVAL Some of the world’s most exciting early music performers visit Boston courtesy of BEMF. To start off the concert season, Vancouver’s Pacific Baroque Orchestra rolls through with soprano Karina Gauvin to transport audiences to 18th-century Russia (Oct. 27). Later that week, Belgium’s Vox Luminis follows up its standout debut at this June’s festival with a program of motets by the Bach family up to Johann Sebastian (Nov. 2). 617-661-1812, www.bemf.org

BOSTON CAMERATA An election-season program at historic Faneuil Hall promises music from when America was young: anthems, hymns, dance tunes, anti-slavery songs, and more. Nov. 8, 8 p.m. 617-262-2092, www.bostoncamerata.org

RICHARD GOODE A heady program from the thoughtful pianist Richard Goode for his 13th Celebrity Series appearance promises music by Bach, Chopin, Janáček, and Debussy. Nov. 9, 8 p.m. Jordan Hall. 617-482-2595, www.celebrityseriespc.org

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. 60