Classical Music



Bard College, Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts, Annandale-on-Hudson, New York, 845.758.7900,

JULY 8-AUGUST 22: This summer’s performing arts festival in and around Frank Gehry’s delicious new theater building concentrates on Russia, specifically emphasizing Shostakovich and Gogol. There will be concerts, plays, operas, films, late-night cabaret, and early-morning panels. The music starts July 22 with Mel Marvin’s new chamber opera about the Isaiah Berlin-Anna Akhmatova love affair. Then Shostakovich’s comic Gogol opera, The Nose, begins a run July 28 as staged by Francesca Zambello, who also directs a cabaret version of Shostakovich’s musical comedy about housing corruption, Moscow: Cherry Tree Towers, August 11 through 15. The final two weekends of SummerScape bring the 15th annual exploration by Bard and its president, Leon Botstein, into the work and influences of a single composer. This year, surprise, it’s Shostakovich, and concerts, panels, and arguments concerning his and compatriots’ music will abound.


149 Girdle Ridge Road, Katonah, New York, 914.232.1252,

JUNE 26-AUGUST 14: It’s a mix of symphonic and chamber music, opera, song recitals, pop, and jazz, mostly on weekends and outdoors under tents. Pay particular attention to:

JULY 8: Several fine musicians play or sing Barber, Gershwin, Joan Tower, Griffes, Derek Bermel, Copland, and Menotti.

JULY 9: Today’s most riveting mezzo, Lorraine Hunt Lieberson, and others do songs by several Spanish composers and Spain-inspired numbers by Schumann and Wolf.

JULY 10: Will Crutchfield conducts a semi-staging of Gluck’s exquisite opera Paride ed Elena.

JULY 18: The opera Cendrillon, by the legendary singer Pauline Viardot, gets a rare performance.

JULY 23: The U.S. premiere of Francesco Conti’s Don Quixote in Sierra Morena, a 1719 hit that satirizes heroic opera.

AUGUST 8: The great pianist and teacher Russell Sherman plays a spectacular Liszt recital.


June 16-August 8, Prospect Park Bandshell, 9th Street and Prospect Park West, Brooklyn, 718.855.7882, ext. 45,

JULY 10: Brooklyn Philharmonic Orchestra to perform Ellis Island: Dream of America with readings by Blair Brown and Barry Bostwick


Alice Busch Opera Theater, 7300 State Highway 80, Cooperstown, New York, 607.547.2255,

JULY 1-AUGUST 24: Here’s an opera festival where the beauty of central New York State competes with fresh yet experienced vocal and production talents. My favorite Puccini, La Fanciulla del West, gets 11 performances July 1 through August 23, with the intense Emily Pulley as the heroine. The G&S gem Patience shows up 12 times from July 2 through August 24. Handel’s sophisticated rarity, Imeneo, appears 11 times July 17 through August 21. And July 24 through August 22, Richard Rodney Bennett’s 1965 thriller, The Mines of Sulphur, takes the stage nine times in its first professional U.S. production. (Juilliard did nicely by it about 35 years ago.)


Various venues at Lincoln Center, Broadway and 65th Street, 212.875.5766,

JULY 6-25: This year’s July binge is stingy about “serious” music, although the Frederick Ashton centennial tribute will help, and for that turn to this guide’s dance page. Meanwhile, non-Ashton “serious” begins on July 17 at Avery Fisher Hall, where the Brooklyn Philharmonic plays the North American premiere of Elvis Costello’s (yes!) ballet score, Il Sogno, which holds jazzy, folky, and slightly modern musical mirrors up to Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

JULY 6-25: On July 22 through 24 in the Clark Studio Theater, 165 West 65th Street, there’s Nicholas Brooke’s Tone Test, a chamber opera based on Thomas Edison’s debatable demostrations of how closely his phonograph cylinders matched the human singing voice. But the biggest to-do will probably be the North Anerican premiere of militant mystic John Tavener’s seven-hour The Veil of the Temple, in which choruses, organ, and Eastern instruments take over Avery Fisher Hall, July 24 at 10:30 p.m., and finish at sunrise, when food awaits you on Josie Robertson Plaza.


August 10-30, Damrosch Park, 62nd Street and Amsterdam Avenue; South Plaza, 62nd Street behind New York State Theater; North Plaza, north of Metropolitan Opera House; Josie Robertson Plaza, Columbus Avenue and 64th Street; 212.875.5766,

AUGUST 10 ‘Taiwan Thunder’: Ju Percussion Group (North Plaza)

AUGUST 11 ‘An Evening With Tibet’: Nawang Khechog+Mystical Arts of Tibet’s Drepung Loseling Monastery Choir (Damrosch Park Bandshell)

AUGUST 15 ‘Ensemble East’: Shakuhachi and Koto (North Plaza)

AUGUST 18 Gerard Edery Ensemble & George Mgrdichian (North Plaza)

AUGUST 18 Fujian Xuan Zhou Gaojia Opera Group (Damrosch Park Bandshell)


Various venues, 212.362.6000,

JUNE 15-26: The Met’s annual series of free, no- tickets-needed concert performances begins with two nights on Central Park’s Great Lawn. First is Verdi’s Nabucco, with Mark Delavan in the title role. June 16 brings Julius Rudel conducting an experienced cast in Puccini’s Madama Butterfly. These operas alternate, with some cast changes, in Brookdale Park, Montclair, New Jersey; Buccleuch Park, New Brunswick, New Jersey; Pelham Bay Park, Bronx; Cunningham Park, Queens; Marine Park, Brooklyn; and Richmond County Bank Ballpark, Staten Island.


Avery Fisher Hall and other venues at Lincoln Center, Broadway and 65th Street, 212.875.5766,

JULY 29-AUGUST 28: For the first time in many years, this festival is indeed mostly Mozart, with a lively but not overbearing variety of Bach, Haydn, Schubert, and so on. Staged opera returns with Jonathan Miller’s latest concept of Mozart’s sublime Così fan tutte (August 10, 12, and 14). There’s once again modern dance to Mozart and others (August 19 through 28). But a new element is a series of films showing great 20th-century pianists dealing mostly with Mozart (August 16 and 23 at the Walter Reade Theater).


Various venues, 212.875.5709,

JULY 13-19: David Robertson, California’s gift to the front ranks of today’s most dynamic and adventurous conductors, leads all these events except the July 18 all-brass jamboree in Snug Harbor, Staten Island. Otherwise, Robertson conducts William Schuman’s orchestration of Ives’s Variations on “America, Barber’s Violin Concerto, and John Adams’s massive Harmonielehre July 13 in Prospect Park, Brooklyn; July 14 on Central Park’s Great Lawn; July 15 in Cunningham Park, Queens; and July 16 in Van Cortlandt Park, Bronx. He leads Mendelssohn’s Hebrides Overture and Violin Concerto, Debussy’s Nuages and Fêtes, and Richard Strauss’s Zarathustra July 17 in Heckscher State Park, East Islip, New York, and Smetana’s Bartered Bride Overture, Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto, and Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade back on the Great Lawn July 19. Leonidas Kavakos solos in the violin concertos. All concerts start at 8 and end with probably redundant fireworks. Phone 212-875-5709 for rain dates and travel advice. Also: July 18 at Snug Harbor, Staten Island.


Pace University, Schimmel Center for the Arts, 1 Pace Plaza, 212.346.1715,

MAY 27-SEPTEMBER 11: These 500 or so events are mostly free and mostly pop, but here are some free concerts by mostly very young musicians, co-presented with Pace University and Classical Action at Pace’s Schimmel Center, where you must get your free tickets. These 7:30 p.m. concerts happen July 12, 19, and 26, and August 2 and 9.


297 West Street, Lenox, Massachusetts, 888.266.1200,

JULY 1-AUGUST 29: Aside from all the conventional concerts by the Boston Symphony Orchestra, star soloists, and semi-star guest conductors, you’ll find a lot of surprises worth traveling to, thanks largely to the talented young instrumentalists, singers, and composers studying at the Tanglewood Music Center. Staged opera returns on July 29 and 31 with Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream under TMC’s aegis. The center’s annual Festival of Contemporary Music holds forth August 12 through 16. Phone the above number for up-to-date programs and travel directions.


July 6-27, Washington Square Park, West 4th and MacDougal streets, 212.252.3621

JULY 6 Laila Maria Salins

JULY 13 David Oei

JULY 20 William Schimmel & Lutz Rath