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

PREVIEW: September's Classical Music in NYC

PREVIEW: September's Classical Music in NYC

It’s almost time to put away our summer whites and knuckle down for the Fall season in New York. Here is CadenzaNYC’s curated list of this month’s highlights in the city’s art music scene.

New York City Opera celebrates its 75th Anniversary with a free concert in Bryant Park. A large company of singers, conductors, chorus, and orchestra will perform excerpts from European opera connected to the history of the company as well as music representing the company’s rich history of performing American opera, including the moving finale to NYCO’s recent world premiere Stonewall. Monday, Sept. 9 at 6PM.

Downtown, Trinity Church Wall Street presents a long weekend of events “Celebrating Ten Years of Musical Innovation.” Sept. 12, in St. Paul’s Chapel, NOVUS NY and The Choir of Trinity Wall Street under the direction of Julian Wachner present a program including Philip Glass, David Lang, and Julia Wolfe’s Pulitzer Prize winning work “Flowers” from Anthracite Fields (2015).

Uptown, at the Guggenheim Museum, Weds. Sept 15 (3pm) as part of the “Works & Process” series, the National Ballet of Canada brings excerpts and discussion of Orpheus Alive, a new retelling of the Orpheus myth with choreography by Robert Binet and music by Missy Mazzoli. Compare and contrast with the hit Broadway take on the story, Hadestown.

The Metropolitan Opera says goodbye to summertime with Gershwin’s “Summertime.” Porgy and Bess, in a new production directed by James Robinson, conducted by David Robertson, starring Angel Blue and Eric Owens, opens the season on Sept. 23. Two days later, Anna Netrebko and Plácido Domingo are slated to perform Verdi’s Macbeth — but given Domingo’s recent #metoo problems, I won’t hold my breath.

The New York Philharmonic dives into its popular The Art of the Score, performing live film scores. John Williams’s classic score for Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Sept. 11-12, and Bernard Hermann’s inimitable string writing for Psycho, Sept 13-14, are inspired choices. Classically-trained Broadway soprano Kelli O’Hara — the best of the best — should shed new light on Barber’s haunting Knoxville: Summer of 1915, presented alongside a Philip Glass world premiere, King Lear Overture, and selections from Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet. Sept. 18-21.

Prominent organist Paul Jacobs, whom The Economist dubbed “America’s leading organ performer,” presents a series celebrating The Great French Organ Tradition — newly relevant in the wake of the Notre-Dame fire beginning Tuesday Sept. 10 at Juilliard, with installments following Tuesday Sept. 17 at Church of St. Mary the Virgin and Tuesday Sept. 24 at St. Ignatius.

Little Italy celebrates the Feast of San Gennaro Festival in September; renowned concert organist Renée Anne Louprette will include works by Italian composers in a concert featuring both the 1868 Henry Erben and the 1859 Hall & Labagh organs in the Basilica of St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral (in Little Italy) on Fri., Sept. 20.

Your immersion in the pipe organ can continue Friday, Sept. 27 at Saint Thomas Church, when new music director Jeremy Fisell commences his duties with an organ recital in “a program reflecting the Saint Thomas legacy he inherits while highlighting some of the French twentieth century virtuoso repertoire for which he has become best known.”

Further uptown, Crypt Sessions, a heavenly series in the crypt of a Neo-Gothic church in Harlem, presents cellist Joshua Roman and Conor Hanick at the piano in a program titled The Instant and the Eternal featuring transcendent pieces by Arvo Pärt and Alfred Schnittke. Weds., Sept. 18.

Thursday, Sept. 19, Ecstatic Music Festival at the Kaufman Music Center’s Merkin Hall celebrates its tenth season with Donnacha Dennehy's The Hunger which “concerns itself with the Great Irish Famine of 1845–52, which transformed Irish society irrevocably,” and Queens-based artist Eartheater's When Fire is Allowed to Finish.

In Brooklyn, Roulette, incubator of the avant-garde since 1978 and full-fledged Artists’ Space located in a brilliantly renovated Art Deco YMCA auditorium, presents the Resonant Bodies Festival 2019, in which vocalists are encouraged to experiment, Sept. 3-5. Conrad Tao, one of New York’s most exciting composer/pianists, appears with collaborator Charmaine Lee, vocalist, on Sept. 3 in a work “using site-specific spatialization, live signal processing, and fixed media, the piece will explore a variety of sonic environments—each a meditation on both the mechanical and human qualities of vocal and electronic sound.”

National Sawdust, in bustling Williamsburg, opens its fifth season celebrating its roots as a women-led institution. Friday, September 27, an army of performers, from Nico Muhly to the newly formed National Sawdust Ensemble, present A Night of Women Composers: From Clara Schumann to Meredith Monk.

Also in Brooklyn, Bargemusic has a number of compelling offerings. Brooklyn-based composer and pianist Timo Andres fascinates, with a program on Sept. 6 featuring a work of his own, alongside etudes of Glass interspersed with Impromptus of Schubert called Moving Etudes.

Finally, deep in the catacombs of Brooklyn’s storied Greenwood Cemetery — The Angel’s Share presents a rare complete performance of Franz Liszt’s Poetic and Religious Harmonies, Sept. 24-27. Keyboard stars Adam Tendler and Jenny Lin divide up the labor.

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