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Víkingur Ólafsson plays Bach, and the Philadelphians finesse Brahms

Welcome to Fanfare — our guide to live classical music in the Philadelphia area. Subscribe now to get Fanfare delivered right to your inbox every Sunday.

Spotlight: Víkingur Ólafsson - Friday, Perelman Theater

This Icelandic pianist is a regular on the airwaves, and rightfully so, as his profound musicianship and precise playing makes him an artist to watch (and listen to). He recently recorded Bach’s monumental Goldberg Variations, and his entire touring schedule in 2023-2024 is dedicated to performing this work around the world. This is an opportunity to hear a thoughtful artist present a work he has immersed himself in — a rarity in these days of fast-paced soundbites.

Jan. 26 at 7:30 p.m., Perelman Theater, Ensemble Arts Philly, 300 South Broad Street. Sold out, but call 215-569-8080 or email boxoffice@pcmsconcerts.org to join the waiting list; more information.

The Philadelphia Orchestra - A German Requiem - Friday through Sunday, Verizon Hall

I never miss a chance to hear Brahms’ exquisite A German Requiem live whenever possible. Devastated by the loss of his mother, Brahms poured all his love into this non-liturgical work of sacred scriptures he almost titled “Ein menschliches requiem (a human requiem)” - suggesting that the message of comfort he offered was for all listeners. This will be paired with Cuban-Canadian Luis Ernesto Peña Laguna’s choral work Oraison, written as a reaction to the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as Mason Bates' concerto Nomad for violin and orchestra. Gil Shaham is the soloist in this work that “explores the rich music of travelers, particularly Europe’s ‘music of the Roma’ with its blend of soul and rhythm.”

Jan. 26 and 28 at 2 p.m., Jan. 27 at 8 p.m., Verizon Hall, Ensemble Arts Philly, 300 South Broad Street, $25 to $174; tickets and information.

Susanna Phillips, Anthony McGill, Myra Huang - Wednesday, Perelman Theater

James Lee III’s “Chavah’s Daughters Speak” is the centerpiece of this collaborative recital between three wonderful artists. Setting poetry by Lou Ella Hickman, the piece is inspired by women from the Bible. The rest of the program features soprano Susanna Phillips in works by Alma Mahler, Mendelssohn and Mozart’s "Parto, parto, ma tu ben mio" from La Clemenza di Tito. Anthony McGill and Myra Huang will be sure to dazzle in Weber’s Grand Duo Concertante and Willliam Grant Still’s Romance.

Jan. 24 at 7:30 p.m., Perelman Theater, Ensemble Arts Philly, 300 South Broad Street, $30; tickets and information.

What Do We Know? - Saturday, Northwest Philadelphia

The Network for New Music presents a concert that aims to illuminate the human experience through texts and music. Co-curated by the Germantown Jewish Center, Congregation B'nai Jacob and the Philadelphia Sinfonia, the program will include music by Daniel Asia, Judith Shatin and Adah Kaplan.

Jan. 27 at 7:30 p.m., Northwest Philadelphia (location available upon purchase), $5 - $25; tickets and information

Looking ahead, mark your calendars for Tempesta di Mare’s program, Cruel Amaryllis. Consider it an early Valentine’s gift as composers write about Cupid - featuring two tenors and three lutes!

Feb. 2 at 7:30 p.m., Presbyterian Church of Chestnut Hill, 8855 Germantown Avenue; Feb. 3 at 7:30 p.m., Trinity Center for Urban Life, 2212 Spruce Street, $35-$45; more information.

Also make sure to check out the JACK Quartet in music by Penn professor, Natacha Diels. Beautiful Trouble combines experimental music with theater and video for a unique experience.

Feb. 2 at 8 p.m., Harold Prince Theater, Annenberg Center, 3680 Walnut Street, $42; more information.

As a young violinist, Meg Bragle regularly listened to her local classical music station and loved calling in on Saturday mornings to request pieces, usually by Beethoven. The hosts were always kind and played her requests (often the Fifth Symphony), fostering a genuine love for radio.