Brian Taylor is a musician and writer. He resides in New York City.

PREVIEW: April in New York

PREVIEW: April in New York


  • Saturday, April 6, acclaimed baritone Tyler Duncan stars in Leonardo, a new chamber opera by Jonathan Berger with a libretto drawn entirely from da Vinci’s own notebooks, and “stunning designs” by Gabriel Calatrava.

  • The Berlin-based Artemis Quartet plays Barber’s original version of his famous Adagio, a Britten Quartet, and Schubert’s “Death and the Maiden” in their 92Y debut, Tuesday, April 9.

  • Sunday, April 28, Garrick Ohlsson, the great virtuoso, plays an all-Brahms recital.



  • Two interesting piano recitals are happening on the barge: April 6 at 6:00 pmAlexandra Joan plays Schumann’s Papillons, Op. 2, Schoenberg’s Sechs kleine Klavierstücke, Op. 19, Carter’s Two Diversions (1999), and Rachmaninoff’s Sonata Op. 36, in B-flat minor, No. 2.

  • April 12 at 7:00 pm, Gleb Ivanov plays three terrific Prokofiev Sonatas, Nos. 1, 2, and 7. 

Carnegie Hall

Carnegie Hall continues to be the center of the universe in classical music. The month of April is chock full with variety, including the ongoing Migrations: The Making of America festival. 

Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center 

The highlight here is American Icon: George Crumb at 90 which will include the world premiere of the iconic composer’s KRONOS-KRYPTOS for Percussion Quintet (a CMS co-commission), the first commission he accepted in more than 15 years. Two evenings, April 14 and 16, will feature all-Crumb programs, including his classics Vox Balaenae (Voice of the Whale) for Three Masked Players from 1971 (April 14) and Black Angels (Thirteen Images from the Dark Land) for Electric String Quartet from 1970, and 1974's Music for a Summer Evening (Makrokosmos III) for Two Amplified Pianos and Percussion (April 16).  Pianist Gilbert Kalish, associated with Crumb's music, will perform. 

National Sawdust

New York Philharmonic

The Philharmonic's great year continues apace, with a just-right balance of classics, new music, and outreach. 

  • In an event called Phil the Hall, April 4 - 6, the Philharmonic will "welcome an array of New Yorkers to these special performances, bringing together the noble doers, dreamers, and everyday heroes of our great and diverse city. We extend a warm invitation to all those on whom we depend — first responders, volunteers, and other service professionals." Teachers and other service workers are invited to buy $5, for a welcoming program of music that seems designed to begin a lifelong addiction to going to the symphony. The program is nicely assembled -- entertaining and uplifting. Think the Overture to Candide and Beethoven's "Ode to Joy" alongside some unexpected surprises.

  • April 11 - 13, Jaap van Zweden leads the orchestra in Mahler's massive, deeply rewarding Sixth Symphony, "The Tragic." 

  • April 24-30, Thomas Larcher's Symphony No. 2, Kenotaph, will receive its US premiere, alongside Brahms's Fourth Symphony, under the baton of Semyon Bychkov, Russian conductor of the Czech Philharmonic. Mr. Larcher was commissioned to write Symphony No. 2 by the central bank of Austria (Oesterreichische Nationalbank) to mark its 200th anniversary, and it is dedicated to Mr. Bychkov, who conducted the UK premiere in 2016. (See the video below.) In 2018, Mr. Larcher was awarded the Fondation Prince de Monaco’s €75,000 Musical Composition Prize for this symphony. He also won the City of Vienna’s 2018 Ernst Krenek Prize for Symphony No. 2.

St. Thomas Church

  • I'm hoping this is not an April Fool's Joke -- on April 1, The Choir of King's College, Cambridge -- gives a concert at St. Thomas Church. They are performing a comprehensive program ranging from Monteverdi, Tallis, and Palestrina to Britten and Vaughn Williams. There are works for organ by Bach and Vierne. 

  • The St. Thomas forces perform Bach's dramatic, moving masterpiece, the St. John Passion on April 11

The Shed

April 5th, 2019 marks the opening of a new arts venue in NYC, on the grounds of Hudson Yards, which flung its doors open this last week for shoppers, diners, and stair-climbers. The programming at The Shed looks to be ambitious and diversity-minded.

  • The inaugural event is called Soundtrack of America,a five-night concert series celebrating the unrivaled impact of African American music on contemporary culture with performances by today’s most exciting emerging musicians. Conceived and directed by Turner Prize-winning artist and Oscar-winning filmmaker Steve McQueen, and developed with music visionaries and academic experts, Soundtrack traces a musical “family tree” of spirituals and blues, jazz and gospel, R&B, rock and roll, house, hip hop, and trap that has inspired a new generation of artists who continue to develop that legacy.”

  • Also of interest, in The Shed’s 500-seat Theater, actor Ben Whishaw and soprano Renée Fleming star in “an exploration of the lives and myths of Marilyn Monroe and Helen of Troy, a partly spoken, partly sung performance piece by poet, essayist, and scholar Anne Carson (Eros the Bittersweet: An Essay; Autobiography of Red: A Novel in Verse; Nox; Float), intimately and powerfully staged by Katie Mitchell, whom the Guardian calls “Britain’s greatest living theater director.”’ April 6 – May 19, 2019.


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