Lots of recession-distracting concerts ahead
Last weekend, Baltimore shut down musically, even more than usual for Passover/Easter. But the scene roars back to life this weekend, providing lots of opportunities to put your recession woes away and soak up some interesting music.
In addition to the Baltimore Symphony program featuring concertmaster Jonathan Carney (I've got more about him due to run in my Thursday column in the paper), the Peabody Symphony Orchestra with Leon Fleisher conducting, enticing chamber music concerts by Pro Musica Rara and the Cylburn Trio, and two productions from UM's Maryland Opera Studio, there will be whole lot of other things well worth a listen nearly anywhere you turn.
Speaking of opera, two talented local singers, soprano Sara Stewart and tenor Farrar Strum (he was excellent in Baltimore Opera's swan-song, Norma), will join pianist James Harp (invaluable artistic staffer at the ill-fated Baltimore Opera) on Thursday for a program called "Opera a la Carte," part of the cabaret series at Germano's.
An die Musik has at least three classical events this weekend, including another appearance by its artists-in-residence, the Monument Piano Trio, which can be counted on to deliver stylish music-making. On Sunday, violinist Igor Yuzefovich, cellist Dariusz Skoraczewski and pianist Michael Sheppard will perform works by Haydn and Ravel, as well as two British composers, Bax and Bridge.
Christopher Shih, a gastroenterologist who enjoys an extra career as a pianist, will give a recital for the Candlelight Concert Society on Saturday. Last year, Shih won the Van Cliburn Foundation's first contest for amateur pianists conducted entirely on YouTube. He has triumphed in other amateur pianist competitions, too. He'll play a hefty program of works by Chopin, Liszt, Brahms, Debussy and Bartok. Here's a video of Shih at a competition in Paris he won last year, tearing through Liszt's Totentanz, which will be on Saturday's program.
And Sunday's concert crush includes a free presentation at Catonsville Presbyterian Church by several BSO players -- David Coombs (bassoon), Marica Kamper (flute), Jane Marvine (oboe), Edward Palanker (clarinet), Mary Woehr (piano) -- who will perform a colorful program of works for woodwinds alone and woodwinds with piano.
And speaking of BSO players, one of the orchestra's fine cellists, Bo Li, will play a recital on Sunday for the Music in the Great Hall series. His 20th century program includes works by Stravinsky and Poulenc.
PHOTOS: Farrar Strum, courtesy of Germano's; BSO Chamber Players, courtesy of Catonsville Presbyterian Church Concert Series.