If you're like a lot of people I know, you'd love to go hear a classical music performance now and again. But saying you'd like to go hear some art music and actually remembering to do so are two different animals. Before you know it, Friday happy hour turns into Sunday brunch and you haven't made it to the grocery store, let alone the Meyerson Symphony Hall.
Dallas has some of the world's best performing arts venues (not to mention some crazy talented and hard working musicians) and, like any genre, classical music is best served live. The fall concert season is gearing up and there are a lot of great performances that are not to be missed. Here are my top ten picks for the next few months.
September 13: Really Old Music at SMU's Meadows Museum Since this concert takes place in an art museum, it's basically a cultural doubleheader. SMU harpsichord and organ professor Larry Palmer will perform centuries old music on an incredibly rare instrument. The Oldovini single-manual organ was built in Portugal in 1762 by Pascoal Caetano Oldovini and it's the only Oldovini in extant outside the Iberian Peninsula. The concert is at 5:30 p.m., so you can catch it on your way home from work and check out the Meadows' renowned Spanish art collection as well. Oh, and the concert is free. More info here.
September 15: Sounds Modern's Music From Freud's London Another twofer: If you haven't made it over to the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth's Lucien Freud: Portraits exhibit, September 15 would be a great Saturday to do so. The Sounds Modern series is presenting a musical counterpart to the Freud exhibit that features experimental and abstract music originally performed at the same time Freud was painting. While you'll have to pay for the art, the 2 p.m. concert is free and open to the public. More info here.
September 27-30: Garrick Ohlsson Plays the Rach 3 with The Dallas Symphony Rachmaninoff's third piano concerto is generally considered one of the world's most technically challenging works. It's also stunningly beautiful. You might recognize it from when Geoffrey Rush played it over and over (and over and over) in the movie Shine. If an amazing pianist is playing it in your city, you should probably go hear it. Check out the DSO website for more info.
September 28: The Orchestra of New Spain's Authentic Salon Traditionally, chamber music (played by small groups of two to ten musicians) was performed in intimate settings like small halls and wealthy patrons' living rooms. For $50, you can hear an authentic and intimate concert in a beautiful home in the Dallas area. Christopher Hammer will play on an original pianoforte, which predates the piano, and German flautist Dorothea Seel will join him in performances of music by Donizetti, Hummel, and Schubert. The concert starts at 6:30 p.m. and tapas and wine will be served. Kind of a steal for $50 when you consider the opportunity for voyeurism as you listen to music in a rich lady's house. Purchase tickets here.
October 6 and November 17: Sound Bites Gets You Drunk Voices of Change is a local group of classical musicians dedicated to performing contemporary art music (read: music by living people rather than dead dudes). Starting at 4 p.m. at Times Ten Wine Cellars , the organization brings you the opportunity to taste new art music as well as some wine. The concert is free and is a pretty great way to spend a Saturday afternoon.
October 30: Soundings Presents Midori at the Nasher Soundings: New Music at the Nasher is another great way to hear new works of art music. The series, now in its third season, is one of Dallas' best and most innovative musical offerings and the Nasher Sculpture Center is an amazing place to hear a concert. Midori is celebrating her 30th year as an all-star violinist and will be joined by pianist Özgür Aydin. During this recital they will preview their upcoming Carnegie Hall concert. Tickets are on sale.
October 26, 28, 31 and November 3, 9, and 11: The Dallas Opera's Aida Guiseppe Verdi's hugely popular romantic drama centers on the tribulations of a young Ethiopian princess captured and enslaved by Egyptians. The set and production are huge and, despite being set in ancient Egypt, include automated sets at the Winspear Opera House for the first time. In addition to full cast, chorus and orchestra, the production requires 54 supernumeraries (paid non-singing extras). If you have dramatic leanings, would like to experience opera from an entirely different perspective (i.e. the stage), or are overly confident in your ability to walk like an Egyptian and have free time in the evenings for rehearsals and performances, call Suzanne Calvin at (214) 443-1014 to sign up as a supernumerary.
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November 1-4: Hillary Hahn and Beethoven's 5th with the Dallas Symphony A hot girl killing it on the violin and the world's most famous symphony conducted by America's best conductor in a world-class concert hall? It doesn't get better than this.
November 16: Jessye Norman at the Majestic Theatre With this concert, The Texas Performing Arts Society brings Dallas an incredible evening of music at a great venue. In addition to being one of only four opera/classical music singers to be awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award for Classical Music by the Grammy Awards, Jessye Norman is a serious diva. She can sing. You're crazy if you don't take this chance to hear one of the world's best living voices.
November 18: The Blue Hula at City Performance Hall This is a great opportunity to check out Dallas' new City Performance Hall as well as new art music presented by Voices of Change. Tobias Picker's Blue Hula is only one of the contemporary classical works that will be presented. Tickets are $25 pre-sale and $30 at the door.