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Hagen Quartet, the Irish Tenors, and a healthy dose of Beethoven

If one ever needed proof of Philadelphia as a destination and thriving center of classical music, they need only to consider the concert offerings for this week alone. There is really something for everyone at every level.

Spotlight: Hagen Quartet at PCMS — Friday, Perelman Theater

Philadelphia is often portrayed as an “underdog” city, but it is hard to believe this as a reality when groups like the Hagen Quartet from Salzburg, Austria pay a visit to the Perelman Theater. The group is named after the surname of three of its members who are siblings. The fourth, violist Rainer Schmidt, has played with them since 1987 and can basically be considered a blood relative at this point. Their familial connection and long 40-plus-year career is not the only reason to see their concert. Rather, the product of this makes for a deep and meaningful musical experience. Put simply, they are the quintessential model for what string quartets were expected to be in the last few decades, and are living legends.

However, do not be overwhelmed by their legacy and stature. The repertoire they are bringing with them on tour around the world this season invites even the most uninitiated string quartet concert-goer. It starts and ends with two classics that fit securely into the most standard of string quartet repertoire: Haydn’s "Emperor" Quartet in C Major, Op. 76, No. 3 and Beethoven’s String Quartet in A Minor, Op. 132. To spice things up, they added Bartók’s Quartet No. 2 in between, which is sure to give the concert a funky flair. If you have never been to a string quartet concert before and want an extremely high quality but friendly point of entry, this is just about as great of an opportunity as you’ll ever get.

March 1 at 7:30 p.m., Perelman Theater, Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, 300 South Broad Street, $30; tickets and information.

Philadelphia Ballet: Giselle — Thursday through Mar. 10, Academy of Music

Maybe you are someone who is curious about attending a ballet but are afraid to branch out: now is your chance. The Philadelphia Ballet begins their run of Adolphe Adam’s Giselle this weekend. The music was composed at the height of the French Romantic era in the mid-1800s and truly embodies that expected lush and dramatic sound. The choreography from the Philly Ballet’s Artistic Director, Angel Corella, will absolutely not disappoint. With a run time of under two hours, this is a perfect first try for someone who might want to add some variety to their concert-going experience.

Feb. 29 through Mar. 3, plus Mar. 9 and 10, Academy of Music, 240 South Broad Street; showtimes and tickets.

Yannick Nézet-Séguin conducts The Philadelphia Orchestra at Verizon Hall on Oct. 6, 2023.
Allie Ippolito
The Philadelphia Orchestra
Yannick Nézet-Séguin conducts The Philadelphia Orchestra at Verizon Hall on Oct. 6, 2023.

The Philadelphia Orchestra: All Beethoven –– Thursday through Saturday, Verizon Hall

You simply can’t go wrong when one of the best orchestras in the world plays 2 titans of Beethoven’s repertoire. The Philadelphia Orchestra has fiercely committed themselves to a diverse and varied repertoire in recent years. In the midst of that, this more traditional program adds perfectly to the flow of their current season; which recently included some more dark and serious works like Shostakovich’s 4th Symphony and Brahms Requiem. Some say that Beethoven was not the best composer of melodies, but there are undoubtedly some earworms that will find their way into your head from his 5th Piano concerto, "Emperor," and 7th Symphony, performed by pianist Haochen Zhang and conducted by principal guest conductor Nathalie Stutzmann. Hearing them live is reason enough to attend if everything else just mentioned did not convince you already.

Feb. 29 at 7:30 p.m., Mar. 1 at 2 p.m., and Mar. 2 at 8 p.m., Verizon Hall, Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, 300 South Broad Street, $46-$199; tickets and information

Porgy and Bess in Concert — Saturday, Chapel of Four Chaplains

This concert is perhaps a little less publicized, but a necessity if you are at all a fan of Gershwin or opera. If you have never heard of Marian Anderson, her legacy is worth a deep dive. She had a celebrated career in the middle of the 20th century including a historic concert on the Lincoln Memorial steps at the invitation of FDR; and was the first African American singer to sing in a principal role at The Metropolitan Opera. The Museum and Historical Society located in her former home near Center City helps her contributions live on. They hold frequent events in her honor, like this concert performance of Gershwin’s opera Porgy and Bess. You’ll get to see some of the finest vocalists anywhere perform in an intimate setting at a chapel in the Navy Yard.

March 2 at 6 p.m., Chapel of Four Chaplains, 1202 Constitution Avenue, $40 ticket donation; more information.

Courtesy of the artist

The Irish Tenors 25th Anniversary Tour — Saturday, Keswick Theatre

For those who want to get into the spirit of St. Patrick’s Day a couple of weeks early, or have a connection to Ireland, this is an excellent choice for you. You might know The Irish Tenors from one of their PBS specials on TV. This concert is more of a crossover than your normal classical music concert: you’ll get mostly stylized traditional and pop tunes backed by a full orchestra. It is sure to be a night of earnest and light-hearted entertainment.

March 2 at 8 p.m., Keswick Theatre, 291 North Keswick Avenue, Glenside, $39 to $129; tickets and information.

Dave Tarantino is a substitute classical host at WRTI.