There's a lot of Beethoven in the bloodstream this month. Just in time too. In the wake of summer's blast-furnace oppression, a whole lot of Beethoven is just the ice bath we need to ready ourselves for another season of classical offerings. We have prodigies, a world-class violinist, some Shostakovich, an ambitious composer-in-residence and we use the word Cliburn a lot, so you know it's going to be a good few weeks here in Dallas.
Sept. 6: Cliburn Gold Medalist Alexander Kobrin and former DSO concertmaster Emanuel Borok perform Beethoven sonatas Big things are afoot at SMU. As part of the Meadows School's Faculty Artist and Distinguished Alumni Recital Series, Alexander Kobrin and Emanuel Borok - presently Distinguished Artist-in-Residence in violin at the Meadows School of the Arts - perform the first in a series of three concerts centered on Beethoven's 10 sonatas for violin and piano. This first leg of the three will exhibit four sonatas from Beethoven's early period (Sonata in D major, op. 12, Sonata in E flat major, op. 12, Sonata in A minor, op. 23, Sonata in G major, op. 30). The final two installments will take place on March 7 and May 11 respectively. With a maximum ticket price of no more than $13, you'd be remiss to pass this one up. Additional information, including extensive bios of the performers, can be found at sum.edu/meadows. Sept. 12, 13 and 14: Anna Clyne's Rewind It's not everyday DFW sees electro-acoustic composers at work. Composer-in-residence for the Fort Worth Symphony (concurrently Chicago Symphony's Mead Composer-in-Residence), Anna Clyne presents Rewind, her frenetic composition "inspired by the image of analog video tape rapidly scrolling backwards with fleeting moments of skipping, freezing, and warping." Originally composed for orchestra and tape, and created with the gestures of choreographed dance in mind, Rewind is sure to be one of the most memorable moments in Dallas arts this year. Beethoven's Triple Concerto and Tchaikovsky's tragic-triumphant Symphony No. 4 complete the program. Tickets and details at fwsymphony.org. Sept. 16: Alex McDonald, with Oscar Garcia Montoya, performs Shostakovich To discover Shostakovich is to have a fire permanently lit in your belly. If you've yet to make his acquaintance, plan on starting here. Chaos meets humor meets elegance in the ever-enigmatic composer's compositions, even when the signposts are bubbling far below the surface. Dallas Chamber Symphony presents a rendition of the master's Piano Concerto No. 1, performed by experienced Julliard-trained pianist and educator Dr. Alex McDonald alongside trumpeter Oscar Garcia Montoya. Heavy parodies of Beethoven are strung throughout the work, as are several self-referential quotations and sarcastic nods to both Haydn and folk tunes--it's classic Shostakovich from sprightly start to manic finish. Dvorak's Serenade for Strings closes the evening. For tickets and more information at dallaschambersymphony.org.
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Sept. 20: Cliburn Gold Medalist Haochen Zhang performs Beethoven's Concerto No. 5, Emperor, at Eisemann Center. Considering his performance at opening night last year was met with a boisterous embrace, it should come as no surprise that The Plano Symphony Orchestra has welcomed back the young and decorated Haochen Zhang to open their 2014-15 season as well. The night opens with Glinka's Ruslan and Ludmila Overture and closes with Dvorak's Symphony No. 8; Beethoven's poetic final piano concerto stands as the evening's centerpiece. With slithering lines, and the necessity of a strong voice amidst the heft of the orchestra, it takes a gifted figure to properly navigate the piece. For the moment, it seems the PSO has chosen wisely. Tickets and more information can be found at planosymphony.org. Sept. 25-28: Hilary Hahn performs Beethoven at The Meyerson In debut, it took a virtuoso to perform Beethoven's lone Violin Concerto; it's no different today. Enter two-time Grammy winner Hilary Hahn, inarguably one of the world's greatest living violinists. Monumental in scale, delicate yet bristly and above all else sublime, the Violin Concerto is a difficult task to say the least. But with Hanh set to let the strings sing, the night is sure to be as dazzling as it is majestic. Jaap van Zweden conducts an event that also includes Haydn's Symphony No. 98 and the Bach-Webern Ricercar from "The Musical Offering," the last of which sees a radical modern spirit embrace the fluidity of classicism. Tickets available at mydso.com.
Sept. 30: Cliburn Concerts presents pianist Beatrice Rana in recital at Bass Performance Hall. Named "One to Watch" by International Piano magazine, Beatrice Rana is currently one of the most in-demand performers in the world. Famed for her rich feats of emotional expression and superb recordings, Rana is rumored to have first started playing scales at only six months old. She's just the sort of artist you hope to catch in a recital session. Bach Partita No. 1, Chopin Sonata No. 2, op. 35, and Prokofiev's Sonata No. 6 make the bill. Tickets and details at cliburn.org.