By Steve Weinstein
By Bryan Bierman
By Lindsey Rhoades
By Chaz Kangas
By Ben Westhoff and Sarah Purkrabek
By Jena Ardell
By Jesse Sendejas Jr.
By Katherine Turman
OK, let's be honest: You probably don't have tickets for this, and you probably also know it's totally sold-out. But when the electro-synth (or whatever your hyphenates of choice are) innovators play a residency at MOMA that is focused, chronologically, on albums one through eight, you're morally allowed to pay Craigslist markup. There's also some art installation stuff promised—but honestly, you'll take whatever kind of view you can get, right? MOMA, 11 West 53rd Street, moma.org
Ahmir 'Questlove' Thompson: 'Shuffle Culture'
Among his half-dozen or so other music gigs in New York, the Roots' Questlove takes a turn DJ'ing every now and again. Now BAM has given him the space and the budget to work an evening-long mix out of his Rolodex. Thus: "Shuffle Culture," described as "a kinetic mix of songs and sounds from unexpected musical bedfellows—that celebrates and reflects our current shuffle culture." OK, technology-cum-conceptual blah blah: check. More concretely, we'll hear Questo playing with the likes of indie-rockers Deerhoof, avant-jazz pianist D.D. Jackson (featured on the Roots' recent album undun) . . . and Sasha Grey for some reason! BAM Howard Gilman Opera House, 30 Lafayette Avenue, Brooklyn, bam.org
'The Makropulos Case'
April 27–May 11
The biggest opera house in the U.S.A. has had a bad artistic year. Shiny new Met productions have flopped, one after the other; the governing aesthetic seems to be suffering from sclerosis. But this revival of a work by Czech composer Leos Janácek—one of the 20th century's finest, most striking operas (get thee to Wikipedia)—probably can't miss. First of all: It's just a great piece, the sort of modernist triumph the Met doesn't do often enough. And this cast features Finnish soprano Karita Mattila, who has made herself a home in Janácek's music. (People still talk about her Jenufa.) If you're an opera newbie but a modern-art fan, this is a good choice. Nosebleed seats (where the sound is actually best) are nearly sold out for the run. But remember: There are always day-of opportunities to rush the orchestra section or snag standing-room tix. Metropolitan Opera, Lincoln Center Plaza, metoperafamily.org
Spring for Music
One of the best events to happen at Carnegie Hall last year was also one of the cheapest. Now it's back. But because classical music has difficulty with marketing, this festival is still a little slept-on. Here's the deal: Tickets are $25; orchestras from all over compete for a Carnegie Hall invitation by coming up with innovative programs nobody could ever sell on his or her own. So you get hungry musicians playing their asses off, all for the benefit of edgy material. That means Nashville Symphony playing a new piece by Big Boi's favorite minimalist, Terry Riley, along with some Charles Ives. It means New Jersey Symphony playing a Kurt Weill work next to modernist heavyweight Edgard Varèse's "Nocturnal." It means don't get intimidated by "classical culture" or class markers—and just go experience. Carnegie Hall, 881 Seventh Avenue, carnegiehall.org, springformusic.com
Ende Tymes Festival
Having never been before, I can't speak to past versions of this festival—which describes itself as an "annual celebration of noise, experimental music, and video art." But if you program minimalist drone-master Phill Niblock as a headliner, you've earned a certain level of respect. Ohio noisemaker Mike Shiflet should also show local would-be enfants-terrible how it's done. Overall, this looks to be an efficient way to learn about a form of music that rarely gets (or even wants) much in the way of press attention. Bring cash for the merch table's limited-edition cassettes and the like. Secret Project Robot, 389 Melrose Street, Brooklyn, secretprojectrobot.org; Outpost Artist Resources, 1665 Norman Street, Queens, outpostedit.org
Mary Halvorson Quintet
The composer-guitarist's albums as a bandleader have gained more fans (and press) with each subsequent release. By blending the sonics of avant-rock with the rhythmic complexity of contemporary jazz, Halvorson has hit on a winning formula—the latest example of which is her forthcoming album with her quintet, Bending Bridges, for which this date serves as the release party. The whole band—which includes Ches Smith (sometime of Xiu Xiu) on drums and rising trumpet star Jonathan Finlayson—is top-notch. Cornelia Street Café, 29 Cornelia Street, corneliastreetcafe.com