Scott Cantrell, The Dallas Morning News
Published: 03 September 2015 09:51 AM
Donald Krehbiel leads the Orpheus Chamber Singers.
1. Dallas Symphony Orchestra ReMix, Sept.11-12, Dallas City Performance Hall.
2. Academy of St. Martin in the Fields Chamber Ensemble, Oct. 5, Caruth Auditorium on the Southern Methodist University campus.
3. Dallas Symphony Orchestra, Oct. 15, 16 and 18, Meyerson Symphony Center, Dallas.
4. Orpheus Chamber Singers, Oct. 18, Dallas City Performance Hall. Led by Donald Krehbiel, this 24-voice professional ensemble is a guarantee of highly polished choral singing. The season-opening program ranges from William Byrd, Giovanni Gabrieli and Bach via Mendelssohn to modern works by Dominick Argento and Daniel Eder. $15-$25; discounts for students, seniors. 214-546-1252. orpheuschambersingers.org.
5. The Dallas Opera: Great Scott, Oct. 30- Nov. 15, Winspear Opera House, Dallas.
Once again, the Orpheus Chamber Singers are at the top of the Dallas Morning News ‘Best Classical Performances Of The Year”!!!! Congrats on the lead listing and photo for the article for 2013!
After several recession-damped years, 2013 brought good news on the classical-music scene. The Dallas Symphony Orchestra triumphed on a European tour, renewed music director Jaap van Zweden’s contract through 2019 and ended last season with its first balanced budget since 2004-2005. Dallas Opera music director Graeme Jenkins called it quits after two decades — a sad loss — but the company snagged the excellent Frenchman Emmanuel Villaume as successor. And the quadrennial Van Cliburn International Piano Competition had an obvious winner in the formidable Ukrainian Vadym Kholodenko.
Orpheus Chamber Singers, Nov. 10: Amid some strained artistic observances of the 50th anniversary of President Kennedy’s Dallas assassination, our professional chamber choir presented a program than couldn’t have left a dry eye. Video images and quotations from Kennedy’s speeches and memoirs tellingly linked music that at first looked like an odd hodgepodge. Artistic director Donald Krehbiel conducted eloquent performances, and the Dallas City Performance Hall supplied dream acoustics for choral music. Too bad about the corny “America the Beautiful” arrangement at the end.
Dallas Symphony Orchestra, van Zweden, Bax, Sept. 26: Now in his sixth season as music director, Jaap van Zweden has the DSO playing on a level of brilliance and finesse unimaginable just a few years ago. A fastidiously paced, finely detailed Mahler Fourth Symphony was prefaced by an electric account of Samuel Barber’s Prokofiev-goes-to-Hollywood Piano Concerto, with flair aplenty from pianist Alessio Bax.
Joshua Bell, Sam Haywood, Feb. 18: Even as a mop-topped 20-year-old, violinist Joshua Bell was playing with the unassuming mastery of a veteran. Still boyish and mop-topped at 45, Bell and pianist Sam Haywood delivered music-making lovingly plotted and proportioned in a Cliburn Concerts recital at Bass Performance Hall.
Dallas Opera: The Aspern Papers: A quarter century after giving the world premiere of American composer Dominick Argento’s Henry James-based opera, the company revived it in a haunting new staging by Tim Albery. Not, perhaps, the greatest masterpiece, it was certainly arresting start to finish, with a star-studded cast including Susan Graham, Alexandra Deshorties, Nathan Gunn and Joseph Kaiser. Music director Graeme Jenkins got amazing playing from the orchestra.
Dallas Symphony Orchestra, Netopil, Oct. 31: Any number of other DSO concerts led by van Zweden would have been worth a spot on the top 10, but a standout among guest conductors was Tomás Netopil. Hailing from the Czech Republic, he worked wonders in an all-Czech program of Dvorák and his son-in-law Josef Suk. Prepared by Joshua Habermann, the Dallas Symphony Chorus sang stunningly in the rarely heard Dvorák Te Deum.
Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra, Chen, Oct. 5: In a return gig with the FWSO, conductor Mei-Ann Chen was again distractingly flamboyant on the podium. But in the Dvorák Violin Concerto and MendelssohnScottish Symphony, she demonstrated a sophisticated balance of overview and nuance, and the orchestra played elegantly. Benjamin Beilman was the fine soloist in the Dvorák.
Mimir Chamber Music Festival, July 7: Just like our lawns, the area classical-music scene really dries up in the summer. Even reduced to only one week this year, though, the Mimir Chamber Music Festival, at Texas Christian University, again supplied enterprising repertory and some first-rate performances. Musicians pulled together from a variety of orchestras and chamber ensembles served up accomplished accounts of rarely-heard string quartets by Dvorák (Op. 71) and Britten (No. 3).
New York Polyphony, Dec. 2: Presented by the Dallas Chamber Music Society, this excellent male vocal quartet brought great finesse to repertory ranging from medieval carols to Renaissance polyphony to recent arrangements by the singers themselves.
Meadows Symphony Orchestra, Phillips, Chee-Yun, Nov. 1: Paul Phillips continues to work wonders with Southern Methodist University’s student orchestra, which can bear comparison with many a professional counterpart. It was nice to see him honored, too, with a new endowed professorship, thanks to patrons Martha and Preston Peak. Phillips led vividly characterized performances of Beethoven’s PastoralSymphony and, with fellow faculty member Chee-Yun, the Sibelius Violin Concerto.
Chamber Music International, Sept. 27: With musicians assembled from hither and yon, concerts in this series don’t always jell. But, apart from pianist Meng-Chieh Lu’s tendency to overplay, this one was a winner, with violinist Nai-Yuan Hu, violist Scott Lee and, especially, cellist Bion Tsang. It was also another demonstration of the acoustical marvels of the Dallas City Performance Hall.