The Best Classical Concerts in Dallas this September

Olivier MessiaenEXPAND
Olivier Messiaen
Photo courtesy Youtube

Summer's fading, and fall's creeping around the corner, which means the classical season is underway — almost. While in many ways the season proper won't hit its stride until October, there are plenty of performances to look forward to this month. These are the events we're most excited about in September.

Sept. 4-6, 11-13: the DSO and Texas Ballet Theater perform Dracula at the Winspear Opera House
If reputation is any indication, this could be one of the most celebrated events of the year. Otherworldly, immersive and lavishly detailed, Ben Stevenson's Dracula is the sort of production patrons speak about in hushed tones and with twitchy enthusiasm. In this case the lip-service is genuine and thoroughly warranted. Bodies fly, shadows slither, arrangements thrill and Franz Liszt's music takes visceral, haunting shapes in what has become one of most popular ballets in recent memory. It's worth the cliché and a faux pas to say that this is a do-not-miss occasion. For tickets and additional info visit

Sept. 11, 12: the DSO ReMixes Debussy's Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun
Light on decorum but heavy on entertainment, the DSO’s ReMix series continues this month with Debussy’s Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun. Painterly, dreamy and haunting, Debussy’s symphonic poem — alongside an appearance from Dallas Black Dance Theatre II — should make for another interesting installment in what is one of the city’s most buzzed-about concert series. An exquisite setting, artistically astute modern dance and intoxicating sounds conspire for what promises to be a memorable event. The music of Hindemith, Ibert and Dalbavie completes the program. Karina Canellakis conducts. Catch performances at the Dallas City Performance Hall (2520 Flora St.) at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Tickets start at $19 and include a complimentary cocktail and appetizers. More info at

Sept. 14: SMU Meadows presents the music of Olivier Messiaen at Caruth Auditorium
There's fear and courage, utter despair and illuminating hope. There are melodies that flip your guts upside down, textures that take you through the graveyard of the mind and back. It's a music from the other place, that rarely ventured space of the imagination reserved for true human brokenness and archetypal redemption — both sickening and edifying in a way felt deep down in your person. Messiaen's Quartet for the End of Time finds its inspiration in these qualities — not in literature or empathy, but in lived, first-person experience. In 1940, lost in the hell of WWII, Messiaen was captured by the German army and found himself a prisoner of war. It was in this context that the composer would sketch and then perform Quartet for the End of Time, the beauty of which would aid in Messiaen's eventual release. This month, SMU Meadows' own Matt Albert (violin), Liudmila Georgievskaya (piano), Paul Garner (clarinet) and distinguished, award-winning alumnus Francesco Mastromatteo (cello) aim to breath life once more into this remarkable composer and his most storied work. As a no less exciting bonus, Messiaen’s Fantasy for Violin and Piano opens the performance. Admission is free. More info at

Sept. 20: Itzhak Perlman and Emanuel Ax in recital at the AT&T Performing Arts Center
You'd be hard-pressed to find a name with more weight in the classical community than Perlman's; expression, artistry, proficiency, charm — the man who stands as arguably the world's finest violinist has it all. Part of the AT&T Performing Art Center's Classical Criterion series, this recital featuring two of contemporary classical's most unassailable talents will be one of the hottest tickets of the season, and fittingly so. Don't sleep on snagging a seat for this one or you might just miss out. Tickets and more information at

Sept. 26: the DSO season-opening gala concert: Beethoven's Seventh
The DSO Gala concert is notorious for its glitz and glamor, its after-party and flowing spirits, and, yes, its stature as cultural currency. Perhaps it's appropriate then that this year's event will host what's been called Beethoven's “drunken” symphony — what the composer himself (rightly) believed to be one his very best compositions. Kinetically feverish and uniquely animated in comparison to Beethoven's other major works, the Seventh no doubt makes 2015's Gala worth the trek, even for those who view glittery gowns and penguin suits as impediments rather than welcome signposts of social opportunity (the open bar doesn't hurt either). The guest soloist, lauded violinist Pinchas Zukerman, will help open proceedings with Beethoven's beloved Violin Concerto. Jaap van Zweden conducts. More info at

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