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Club Free Time Blog

Wonderful Women on Stage


Gail Wein
November 03, 2017

There are some phenomenal concerts are coming up this month, and the best of the best just happen to be women

The Park Avenue Armory has built a reputation for unusual presentations and star-power performers. The much-ballyhooed soprano Barbara Hannigan is giving her US recital debut in the building’s intimate Board of Officers Room. The Viennese program on November 16 features works by Schoenberg, Zemlinsky and Alma Mahler, and the November 18 program is entirely music by Erik Satie.

On November 21 at Le Poisson Rouge, the fabulous violinist Lara St. John recreates the historic Central Park concert given by the tango king, Astor Piazzolla. Piazzolla died in 1992, but his pianist, Pablo Ziegler, carries on the tradition with his Quartet for New Tango. Admission is free if you have an LPR membership (well worth it), otherwise, tickets are available online and at the door.

Another spectacular violinist, Leila Josefowicz, performs at 92nd Street Y with the pianist John Novacek. The program includes music by Prokofiev, Sibelius and John Adams. That’s on November 4. Just a few days later, on November 8, the pianist Angela Hewitt takes the stage at 92Y for a program of Bach partitas. It’s part of her exploration of all of Bach’s keyboard works, a herculean task that the Canadian pianist - well-known for her bach interpretations - is executing with panache.

The pianist Jenny Lin performs at Lincoln Center on Sunday morning, November 12. After her tribute to Valentin Silvestrov – featuring the visionary Ukrainian composer’s lyrical meditations on Mozart, Schubert, Chopin – the audience will enjoy coffee and pastries at the post-concert reception. The concert is part of Lincoln Center’s White Light Festival.

I am very excited that Sweet Honey in the Rock will be performing at Symphony Space on November 3. This is an a capella ensemble of women, a group rooted in African American history and culture. Their programs incorporate vibrant song, dance, and storytelling.

One more performance not to be missed: the Israel Philharmonic led by Zubin Mehta at Carnegie Hall on November 7 (featuring the pianist Yefim Bronfman) and November 8 (Mahler’s Symphony No. 3).

And, finally, the New York Philharmonic gives us a respite from leftover turkey on Thanksgiving weekend. The storied Italian conductor Gianandrea Noseda, the new music director of the National Symphony Orchestra, delivers a filling program: Rachmaninoff’s Symphony No. 3 and the Saint-Saens Violin Concerto with the NY Phil’s concertmaster, Frank Huang as soloist. November 22, 24 and 25 at Lincoln Center.

There is much to be thankful for this month, and live classical performances are at the top of my list.


October Rhapsody


Gail Wein
October 03, 2017

Bernstein is the man of the moment, as celebrations of his centennial come into full swing. Everyone’s getting into the act, especially the New York Philharmonic - Bernstein led our hometown band as music director in the 1960s, and appeared as Laureate Conductor many many times in the decades that followed.

October 25-31, the violinist Joshua Bell is featured in a program that includes Bernstein’s Serenade and his Symphony No. 1. The festivities continue November 2-4 with Bernstein’s “Age of Anxiety” Symphony paired with Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue, and the conductor Leonard Slatkin is on deck November 9-14 leading the NY Philharmonic in Bernstein’s Symphony No. 3. On the small ensemble side, the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center offers a program featuring Bernstein’s Arias and Barcarolles on October 29.


The Emerson String Quartet turned 40 (40!) last year, and they perform two programs of Beethoven and Shostakovich at Lincoln Center this fall, on October 24 and November 28. Another great...make that phenomenal...quartet is Takacs, appearing in two programs at Carnegie on October 12 and 14. One of my favorite string quartets, Brooklyn Rider, make their only NYC concert appearance on October 19 at Roulette in (of course) Brooklyn.

Gordon Getty is known as one of the richest people in the US. But he’d like to be known as a composer. In fact, the 85-year old is no hack – he has been writing music for many years, some of it to critical acclaim. Two one-act operas, Usher House and The Canterville Ghost, will be performed at the Kaye Playhouse at Hunter College on October 19 and 21.

Two more upcoming performances stand out. The glamorous soprano Renee Fleming is in recital at Carnegie Hall on October 23. And the Grammy-nominated a cappella group Sweet Honey In The Rock bring their unique blend of blues, jazz and gospel to Symphony Space on November 3.

There’s an insane number of fantastic concerts this month – so go crazy, my friend!


Another Opening, Another Show


Gail Wein
August 27, 2017

Pack away your shorts and sandals, and haul out your Going Out duds. It’s time for opening night in New York.

New York Philharmonic gets its season underway on September 19. The incoming music director Jaap Van Zweden leads our hometown band in the powerful and majestic Symphony No. 5 by Gustav Mahler. The following week, on September 25, the Metropolitan Opera presents its glitzy and glam opening night performance: Bellini’s bel canto masterpiece Norma, featuring Sondra Radvanovsky in the title role. Previous opening nights have been simulcast on Lincoln Center Plaza and in Times Square; keep your eye out for announcements.

Carnegie Hall serves up its opening night on October 4 with an all-American program by the Philadelphia Orchestra, Yannick Nézet-Séguin conducting. Lang Lang and Chick Corea are featured soloists in a special two-piano version of Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue, plus music from Bernstein’s ever-popular West Side Story.

September 15-24, the Met Museum offers ten performances of “Farewell My Concubine” performed by the Shanghai Peking Opera. Its a classic tale of love and suicide, presented in a one-hour performance at The Met's Astor Court. The venue is small, and the tickets are quite pricey, but this is a unique opportunity to see this Chinese masterpiece in an intimate setting.

The Resonant Bodies Festival, which celebrates contemporary vocal music, returns to Roulette on September 5, 6 and 7. Each night features three sets by different performers, including Theo Bleckmann, the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), the legendary vocalist Joan La Barbara and Kamala Sankaram.

And last but not least, the violinist/composer Elektra Kurtis and her Ensemble Elektra give two concerts in New York: September 5 at Cornelia Street Café and September 19 at Symphony Space. Both are part of Kurtis’s “Rituals for Peace” series, and both feature her unique blend of classical and jazz traditions, drawing from Polish, Greek and Arabic origins.


Complimentary Tickets

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Play | Broadway actress in a holiday comedy

Regular Price: $95
CFT Member Price: $0.00

Musical | Rock musical tribute to a famous fantasy series

Regular Price: $55
CFT Member Price: $0.00
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