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Fanfare: Deutsche Grammophon celebrates a milestone, and more

Welcome to Fanfare — our weekly guide to live classical music in the Philadelphia area. Subscribe now to get the weekly mailing delivered straight to your inbox. To let us know about an event on the horizon, or share other feedback, drop us a line!

Spotlight: Deutsche Grammophon 125th Anniversary Celebration — Saturday, Verizon Hall, Kimmel Cultural Campus

If you collect classical albums in any format, you probably know the gold label that comes with recordings from Deutsche Grammophon, one of the most famous record labels associated with classical music. They’re the oldest surviving label in any genre, and some of their artists will be celebrating the label’s 125th anniversary this Saturday, headlined and conducted by The Philadelphia Orchestra’s own Yannick Nézet-Séguin. He’s joined by the orchestra, pianist Hélène Grimaud (part of a weekend-long reunion), violinist Maria Dueñas, and electronic musician Moby, who has recently released orchestrations of his most popular songs on DG — some of those are on the program along with shorter works and excerpts by Florence Price, Maurice Ravel, Sergei Rachmaninoff, Fritz Kreisler, and Igor Stravinsky. It feels like a great way for a new listener to sample the repertoire.

Dec. 9 at 8 p.m., Verizon Hall, Kimmel Cultural Campus, 300 S. Broad Street, $25-181; tickets and information.

courtesy of the artist
Pianist Veena K. Kulkarni-Rankin and baritone Jean Bernard Cerin, who perform as Kuwento Mizik.

Kuwento Mizik — Tuesday, Benjamin Franklin Hall

Kuwento Mizik is a combination of the Filipino word Kuwento, for “story,” and the Haitian Creole word Mizik, for “music.” It’s the name of a duo comprising Indian-Filipina-American pianist Veena K. Kulkarni-Rankin and Haitian baritone Jean Bernard Cerin, and the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society brings them to the American Philosophical Society’s Benjamin Franklin Hall on Tuesday. The duo has created various recital programs — they’ll be bringing Krik! Krak!, which uses Brazilian and Haitian folk songs as well as Indian and Persian love songs to frame stories about a magical fish from Haiti and a butterfly from the Philippines.

Dec. 5 at 7:30 p.m., Benjamin Franklin Hall, 427 Chestnut Street, $25; tickets and information.

Black Composers Project — Wednesday at Curtis, Saturday at All Hallows Church in Wyncote

Violist Dillon Scott, currently a student at the Curtis Institute of Music, was a senior finalist of the Sphinx Competition last January. In line with the Sphinx Organization’s mission (and a good direction for classical music in general), he’s organizing two performances of his own curated programs of chamber music, all by Black composers: David Baker, George Walker, Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, and Eleanor Alberga. Scott and 15 other Curtis students have performed this program at high schools around Philadelphia, and will bring them to Curtis’s Field Concert Hall on Wednesday and All Hallows Episcopal Church in Wyncote on Saturday.

Dec. 6 at 7:30 p.m., Curtis Institute of Music, 1726 Locust Street, free with RSVP; Dec. 9 at 7 p.m., All Hallows Episcopal Church, 262 Bent Road, Wyncote, PA, free with encouraged donation.

courtesy of the artist
The Jasper String Quartet

Jasper String Quartet — Thursday, Chestnut Hill Friends Meeting

The Jasper String Quartet are the Professional Quartet-in-Residence at Temple University's Center for Gifted Young Musicians. In addition to their work at Temple, they tour across the country, and here in Philly, they perform many community concerts, as well as private concerts and performances at senior living centers — in fact, residents at Beaumont and Foulkeways at Gwynedd will get an advance hearing of their program they’ll perform at their usual public concert home, Chestnut Hill Friends Meeting. On the bill are William Grant Still’s “Lyric Quartette”, Vivian Fung’s “String Quartet No. 2”, and Beethoven’s opus 130, which closes with the massive Grosse Fuge, a musical summation of Beethoven’s last years, his creativity unencumbered by the ability to hear.

Dec. 7 at 7:30 p.m., Chestnut Hill Friends Meeting, 20 East Mermaid Lane, free with suggested donation; more information.

Your second weekend of Christmas concerts — Friday through Sunday, multiple venues

We are into December, and that means the holiday programs are ramping up. Starting off this weekend is Piffaro, performing their annual Christmas concert series. This year’s program takes audiences to southern Germany, especially the music-making centers of Nuremberg, Augsburg, and Heidelberg. There will be new pieces and arrangements along with old Piffaro favorites on the program.

Dec. 8 at 7:30 p.m., Philadelphia Episcopal Cathedral, 19 South 38th Street; Dec. 9 at 7:30 p.m., Presbyterian Church of Chestnut Hill, 8855 Germantown Avenue; Dec. 10 at 3 p.m., Christ Church Christiana Hundred, 505 Buck Road, Wilmington, DE; $21-54; tickets and information.

Mendelssohn Chorus presents 'A Feast of Carols,' featuring a program of classic Christmas carols along with plenty of new music — the chorus commissioned a new work by Marques L. A. Garrett, and they will also premiere four new Postcard Carols commissioned last season for loved ones composed by MC Artistic Director & Conductor Dominick DiOrio. Timberdale Brass joins the chorus along with organist Andrew Kotylo and pianist Ting Ting Wong.

Dec. 9, 2 p.m. and 5 p.m., St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, 22 East Chestnut Hill Avenue, $25-45; tickets and more information.

Singing City has a new Director, Temple’s own Rollo Dilworth, and he leads the choir in his first Christmas program with the group at Arch Street Presbyterian. Headlining the program is John Rutter’s Gloria along with Robert Ray’s Gospel Magnificat, which features a jazz/gospel soloist, piano, bass, and drums. Rounding out the program are works by Randall Thompson, C.L. Alwes, Jennifer Lucy Cook, Andrea Ramsey, and others.

Dec. 10 at 3 p.m., Arch Street Presbyterian Church, 1724 Arch Street, $15-30; tickets and more information

courtesy of the artist
Pianist Satoko Fujii

Satoko Fujii and Kappa Maki — Saturday, University Lutheran

It wouldn’t feel like my week if I didn’t give you a recommendation that pushed the boundaries a bit. This Saturday, Bowerbird presents composer/pianist Satoko Fujii and trumpeter Kappa Maki (Natsuki Tamura) at University Lutheran. Both expert improvisers, their combined sound sometimes has a clear jazz idiom, but is also right in line with what some new classical composers and improvisers are doing these days — both also incorporate elements of folk music into their style. The evening will open with an improvisation by Jesse Kudler at the church’s organ.

Dec. 9 at 8 p.m., University Lutheran, 3637 Chestnut Street, $12-20; tickets and more information.

What else I’m looking forward to: Kassel Jaeger and Stephen O’Malley (Dec. 11), Kaleidoscope Chamber Collective (Dec. 13), Vivaldi’s Gloria and Evan Williams (Dec. 15 and 17).

John T.K. Scherch (JohnTK@wrti.org) shares the morning’s musical and other offerings weekdays on WRTI 90.1. Previously, he was the first new host on WBJC in Baltimore in nearly 20 years, hosting the evening, Sunday afternoon, and request programs, and he is also an alumnus of U92, the college radio station of West Virginia University and a consecutive national Station of the Year winner.