There has been a profound change in the world of classical music over the past two or three years when it comes to programming. Although South Florida will still welcome touring orchestras bearing gifts of symphonic favorites, the post-George Floyd world has had a bracing effect on the kinds of music presented to today’s concertgoers.
Programs now feature more Black and Asian composers, and more women. And they’re not just adding music by young Americans such as Jessie Montgomery. Musicians are going back into the past to find overlooked creators such as the American Florence Price and the 18th-century Creole French violinist-composer Joseph Bologne, Chevalier de Saint-Georges.
This season’s classical music lineup has more new voices than ever before, which should make concertgoing that much more special for the first back-to-normal post-pandemic season since 2020.
October: The music series at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Delray Beach opened the month Oct. 2 with the two most important clarinet quintets in the literature, those by Mozart and Brahms. Clarinetist Stojo Miserlioski is the soloist with the Con Brio Quartet, a Southwest Florida-based foursome. The middle of the month sees the opening of the 35th season of concerts at the New World Symphony in Miami Beach (Oct. 15-16). The Austrian violinist and conductor Christoph Koncz is joined by the breakout Trinidadian soprano Jeanine De Bique for selections from Weber’s Die Freischütz, the first great German Romantic opera, rarely seen here. Also on the program is the Brahms Third, Strauss’s Till Eulenspiegel, and a world premiere by Stephan Koncz, Christoph’s brother, a cellist in the Berlin Philharmonic: Fanfares from Uhrovec, referring to the town in Slovakia. On Oct. 23, the Master Chorale of South Florida offers a program of music by Brahms (Schicksalslied, Nänie), Bach (Loben den Herrn), and Black spirituals as arranged by Harry Burleigh; the concert, directed by Brett Karlin, is set for St. Mark Greek Orthodox Church in Boca Raton. Over the weekend of Oct. 29-30, the Lynn Philharmonia, the student orchestra at Boca’s Lynn Conservatory, plays Tchaikovsky’s Fifth and is joined by faculty pianist Lisa Leonard in the Brahms Piano Concerto No. 1; Guillermo Figueroa conducts. Back at St. Paul’s on Oct. 30, the Delray String Quartet is joined by the Ukrainian-born pianist Marina Radiushina for quintets by Dvorak and Dohnanyi. Also that Sunday, the Zimmermann’s Café Chamber Music series at St. Andrew’s Episcopal in Lake Worth Beach presents contemporary music by South Florida composers Kevin Wilt, Thomas Sleeper, Marlene Woodward-Cooper, Allan Webber and Clare Shore.
November: The Palm Beach Symphony, led by the veteran Gerard Schwarz, opens its season Nov. 6 at the Kravis Center with violinist Sarah Chang in Max Bruch’s Violin Concerto No. 1. Brahms’s Second and Copland’s Billy the Kid are on the same program. That same day, the great Miami concert choir Seraphic Fire, directed by founder Patrick Dupré Quigley, opens its season at St. Gregory’s Episcopal in Boca Raton with an afternoon of works devoted to the theme of love and war: Excerpts from Monteverdi’s Madrigals of War and Love are featured along with works by Vaughan Williams, Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, Ileana Perez and Paul Crabtree. On Nov. 9, the Israel Philharmonic stops by the Kravis with two First Symphonies by Jewish composers: Gustav Mahler and Paul Ben-Haim, a German-born composer who emigrated to what became Israel in 1933; the young Lahav Shani conducts. On Nov. 13, the Symphonia Boca Raton opens its season at St. Andrew’s School in western Boca with guest conductor Andres Cardenes, who will solo with the group in Mozart’s Violin Concerto No. 5. Also to be heard are Haydn’s Symphony No. 59 (Fire) and the American composer Russell Peck’s Signs of Life II. The Chamber Music Society of Palm Beach gets underway Nov. 17 with the Mozart and Brahms clarinet quintets featuring the Spanish clarinetist José Franch-Ballester at the Norton Museum of Art in West Palm Beach. The Duo Beaux Arts, the husband-wife piano team of Tao Lin and Catherine Lan, returns to St. Paul’s Nov. 27 for music by German Romantics, including works by Schubert, Beethoven and Mendelssohn. On Palm Beach, the Society of the Four Arts begins its classical season Nov. 30 with a visit from the San Francisco-based male choir Chanticleer, which will present a Christmas program.
December: The eminent American pianist Garrick Ohlsson kicks off the month Dec. 1 with the Palm Beach Symphony at the Kravis with the Beethoven Emperor Concerto; works by Sibelius and Saint-Saëns (the Organ Symphony) also are planned. The Symphonia Boca Raton, led by principal conductor Alastair Willis, presents two 21st-century works, Syrian composer Kinan Amzeh’s Suite for Improviser and Orchestra, and composer-conductor Christophe Chagnard’s multimedia symphony Terra Nostra, in a concert Dec. 4. The Canadian Brass ventures to the Society of the Four Arts on Dec. 7, and that same day at the Norton Museum, soprano Susanna Phillips, violist Paul Neubauer and pianist Anne-Marie McDermott (the SPA Trio), present songs by Rachmaninov, Gounod and Schumann, as well as folksongs from the British Isles and Italy. The rising American pianist George Li is in recital Dec. 11 at the Kravis in music by Schumann, Ravel and Stravinsky’s Petrushka. Seraphic Fire offers its annual Christmas concert Dec. 13 at St. Gregory’s in Boca, led by James Bass, and the Master Chorale of South Florida offers its holiday program Dec. 17 at St. Mark Greek Orthodox in Boca.
January: The Delray String Quartet returns to St. Paul’s on Jan. 4 for a “concert in the round” featuring music by Beethoven, Schubert and Brahms, and pianist Emanuel Ax is at the Four Arts on Jan. 8. The Concerto Budapest Symphony Orchestra of Hungary arrives at the Kravis on Jan. 10 with pianist Zoltan Fejervari, who will play Bartok’s Third Piano Concerto; conductor Andras Keller also directs Liszt’s Les Preludes and Dvorak’s Eighth. That night at the Norton, CMSPB director and violinist Arnaud Sussmann is joined by seven superlative musicians for string octets by Mendelssohn and Bruch. The Classical Café series at the Duncan Theatre on the campus of Palm Beach State College in Lake Worth Beach begins Jan. 11 with the young Ulysses Quartet, soon to be in residence at Louisiana State University. Pianist Tom Borrow is the soloist in Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 4 with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra on Jan. 13 at the Kravis; conductor Kazem Abdullah has also scheduled Charles Ives’s early Symphony No. 1. At the Four Arts on Jan. 15, it’s the Calidore String Quartet in music by Shostakovich, Smetana and Wynton Marsalis; on Jan. 16 at the Kravis Center’s Rinker Playhouse, the Young Artists Classical Series welcomes Vision Duo, a twosome of violinist Ariel Horowitz and percussionist Britton-René Collins. On Jan. 18, violinist Paul Huang is joined by pianist McDermott for music by Mozart, Prokofiev, Arvo Pärt and John Corigliano.
The Romeros Guitar Quartet visits the Four Arts on Feb. 22, while conductor Franz Welser-Möst brings his Cleveland Orchestra to the Kravis on Jan. 23 for two hugely popular symphonic staples, Schubert’s Unfinished Symphony, and the Pathétique Symphony of Tchaikovsky. On Jan. 25, the Fort Pierce-based Atlantic Classical Orchestra returns to the Eissey Campus Theatre in Palm Beach Gardens with the Korngold Violin Concerto, played by soloist Leonid Sigal; conductor David Amado also had planned the Dvorak Ninth and a suite from Leonard Bernstein’s musical On the Town; earlier that day, the young, Naumburg-winning Merz Trio is in concert at the Duncan Theatre with a program yet to be announced. At the Lynn Conservatory on Jan. 28-29, it’s the finals of the third Elmar Oliveira International Violin Competition; that Sunday the 29th the stellar Emerson String Quartet visits the Four Arts for a stop on its farewell tour as it ends its 47-year run. On Jan. 30 at the Kravis, soprano Susan Graham joins the Palm Beach Symphony for arias by Mozart, Berlioz and Lehar, plus songs from the Great American Songbook; Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 10 also is on the program. The next day (Jan. 31) at the same venue, violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter’s student Mutter Virtuosi offer an evening of Bach, Vivaldi, Joseph Bologne, and the contemporary Korean composer Unsuk Chin.
February: The Delray String Quartet kicks off the month at St. Paul’s with music by Haydn, Borodin and Shostakovich, while on Feb. 5 the Munich Symphony Orchestra is on stage at the Kravis with violinist Robert McDuffie, who will play the Brahms Violin Concerto. The Flagler Museum on Palm Beach opens its Tuesday night music series Feb. 7 with the Viano String Quartet in music by Haydn, Bordin and Schumann. The energetic Dutch piano duo of brothers Lucas and Arthur Jussen are at the Four Arts on Feb. 12 with music by Mozart, Ravel, Schubert, Debussy and Rachmaninov; that same day at St. Paul’s, members of the Astralis Chamber Ensemble present music for Valentine’s Day. The Philadelphia Orchestra comes to the Kravis on Feb. 13 and 14 for two concerts; on the 13th, violinist Gil Shaham plays the Brahms Violin Concerto on a bill with the same composer’s First Symphony, all led by Nathalie Stutzmann; on the 14th, she conducts Dvorak’s Ninth and the Bruch Double Concerto for Clarinet and Viola with clarinetist Richard Morales and violist CJ Chang. Also on the 14th, violinist Simone Porter, joined by pianist Rohan De Silva, presents a recital of music by Biber, Beethoven and Franck, as well as American composer Andrew Norman, at the Flagler Museum.
The Atlantic Classical Orchestra is joined by pianist Drew Petersen on Feb. 15 in Palm Beach Gardens for the Chopin Piano Concerto No. 2. Also scheduled are pieces by Mendelssohn and Ravel. That same day at the Norton, violinist Charles Yang and pianist Peter Dugan play a concert titled “Bridges: Ravel to the Beatles.” Cellist Oliver Herbert is joined by pianist Xiaohui Yang at the Rinker Playhouse on Feb. 16, and the Georgia-based Summit Piano Trio plays trios by Haydn, Beethoven and Mendelssohn at the Flagler on Feb. 21. On Feb. 22, the Telegraph Quartet plays the Duncan’s Stage West; Also on the 22nd, the Miró Quartet welcomes clarinetist David Shifrin for a tribute to the jazz master Benny Goodman at the Four Arts. The Delray String Quartet plays Mendelssohn, Mozart and Schubert at St. Paul’s on Feb. 26, the same day that Seraphic Fire brings excerpts from Bach’s Christmas and Ascension oratorios to St. Gregory’s in Boca Raton. The fine German-Canadian cellist Johannes Moser is the soloist in the Schumann Cello Concerto on Feb. 27 at the Kravis with Britain’s Academy of St. Martin in the Fields, which also will play music by Schubert, Tchaikovsky and Finland’s Aulis Sallinen. Closing out the month on Feb. 28 at the Flagler is Cuarteto Latinoamericano, which has scheduled music by Purcell, Turina, Villa-Lobos and the late-Romantic Spanish composer Ruperto Chapi.
March: The Kravis Center’s Rinker Playhouse is the venue March 2 for the young Indonesian pianist Janice Carissa, playing on the Young Artists series. On March 5 at the Four Arts, artistic adviser Wu Han presents the first of three programs with New York’s Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center examining the music of Schubert. Also that afternoon, the Palisades Virtuosi, a trio of piano, flute and clarinet, visit St. Paul’s for music by Beethoven, Franzetti, Webster, Perillo, Albert and Lampkin. The Naeve Trio comes to the Flagler on March 7 for music by Josef Suk, Ravel and England’s Ethel Smyth, followed on March 8 by the second of the “Schubert Revealed” programs at the Four Arts. Soprano Joelle Harvey is in the spotlight March 9 with an all-star lineup of chamber musicians at Palm Beach’s Bethesda-by-the-Sea Episcopal Church; she’ll sing Bach’s Wedding Cantata and music by Handel for the CMSPB. The final installment of the Four Arts Schubert concerts is March 12, and on March 13, the New World Symphony journeys up from Miami Beach for pianist Michelle Cann in the Concerto No. 2 by Florence Price; conductor David Robertson also plans Kodaly’s Dances of Galanta and Beethoven’s Second Symphony. Veteran pianist Misha Dichter is the soloist March 13 at the Kravis for Gershwin’s Concerto in F with Schwarz and the Palm Beach Symphony, which has commissioned a new work by American composer Joseph Schwantner for the concert; also scheduled is Stravinsky’s Firebird suite.
Boston’s Balourdet Quartet closes out the Duncan’s Classical Café series on March 15; later that night in Palm Beach Gardens, trumpeter Ansel Norris plays the Hummel Trumpet Concerto with Amado and ACO, which also has scheduled Haydn’s Symphony No. 90 and the Linz Symphony of Mozart. The 15th is a busy day for classical concerts, because that same day at the Four Arts, Lincoln Center chamber musicians present a concert called “Voices of the Americans,” featuring music by Copland and Gershwin. Lynn Philharmonia’s concert series continues March 18 and 19 with double bassist Timothy Cobb in the Concerto No. 2 of Bottesini; also on the program led by Figueroa is Mendelssohn’s Italian Symphony and the Mahler First Symphony. Also on the 19th, violinist Daniel Hope and the Zurich Chamber Orchestra come to the Kravis for an all-American program of music by Copland, Weill, Gershwin and Philip Glass. Philadelphia Orchestra concertmaster David Kim leads the Symphonia Boca Raton on March 26 at St. Andrew’s School; he’ll play Piazzolla’s Four Seasons of Buenos Aires on a concert bill featuring two works by Mozart and Voodoo Dolls, by the young American violinist and composer Jessie Montgomery. Longtime NPR classical correspondent Martin Goldsmith’s book The Inextinguishable Symphony, the story of his musician parents’s escape from Nazi Germany, is the inspiration for a concert March 29 at the Four Arts featuring a winds-and-piano chamber group in music including composers killed in the Holocaust. The fine Italian pianist Alessio Bax is at the Norton on March 30 with cellist Herbert and violinist Sussmann for a CMSPB concert of chamber music.
April: The Master Chorale of South Florida and the Lynn Philharmonia join forces April 1 and 2 for two performances of Verdi’s monumental Requiem at the Wold Performing Arts Center on the Lynn campus; Karlin conducts. Also on April 2, the Sitkovetsky Trio comes to the Four Arts for music by Ravel, Tchaikovsky and a new work by the young Irish composer Sam Perkin. Harpist Bridget Kibbey is the soloist April 12 with the ACO and Amado in the Brazilian composer Joao Rezende Lopes’s Harp Concerto, which was composed for her; the program at the Eissey Campus Theatre also includes Wagner’s Siegfried Idyll and Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony. That same evening at the Four Arts, the young Finnish pianist Juho Pohjonen is at the Four Arts for a recital (program TBA).
Violinist Joshua Bell brings the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto to the Kravis on April 16 with Schwarz and the Palm Beach Symphony, which also will play Mahler’s Fifth Symphony. The CMSPB wraps its season April 21 at the Rinker Playhouse with the Jerusalem Quartet, which has scheduled music by Mendelssohn, Tchaikovsky and Webern. The Symphonia ends its season April 30 at St. Andrew’s School with Willis leading the band in Ethel Smyth’s overture to her opera The Wreckers; Willis also has scheduled Anthony DiLorenzo’s Jabberwocky and the Beethoven Pastoral Symphony. Also ending the season that day is Seraphic Fire at St. Gregory’s in Boca, which commemorates its 20th anniversary with Tallis’s Spem in Alium along with music by Shawn Crouch, Sydney Guillaume, Alvaro Bermudez and Tawnie Olson.
May: Portuguese pianist Maria Joao Pires joins the Palm Beach Symphony and Schwarz on May 15 for Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 23, on a program at the Kravis that also features Franck’s once-ubiquitous Symphony in D minor, and trombonist Domingo Pagliuca in Monuments, a work for trombone and string orchestra by the American composer Adolphus Hailstork.