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Prokofiev's Fifth, Aizuri Quartet with special guests, and more

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: Prokofiev’s Fifth Symphony — Thursday, Friday and Saturday, Verizon Hall

Written in 1944 at a turning point in World War II, Sergei Prokofiev’s epic Symphony No. 5 is a lyrical, intense work that was an instant hit both at home and abroad. “I conceived of it as glorifying the grandeur of the human spirit,” Prokofiev said shortly after its premiere in ‘45, and audiences around the world were swept up by its optimism and lofty ambition. In this concert by The Philadelphia Orchestra, guest conductor Paavo Järvi pairs that with Claude Debussy’s ethereal Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun and Guillaume Connesson's Concerto da Requiem, a 2020 work commissioned by the Organ Festival of the Stadtcasino Basel and the Tonhalle-Gesellschaft Zürich AG. This concert will be a feast for the senses!

March 21 at 7:30 p.m., March 22 at 2 p.m. and March 23 at 8 p.m., Verizon Hall, Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, 300 South Broad Street, $25 to $166; tickets and information.

Music in the Great Hall — Thursday, Frances M. Maguire Art Museum

Pianist and musicologist Elizabeth Morgan will perform a recital of music by American women including Margaret Bonds, Teresa Carreño, Amy Beach and Florence Price. Dr. Morgan, Associate Professor of Music at St. Joseph’s University, specializes in the music of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries and is known for creating compelling programs that combine history and performance.

March 21 at 7:30 p.m., Great Hall, Frances M. Maguire Art Museum, Saint Joseph’s University; tickets and information.

A John Williams Celebration Friday, The Grand Opera House

If you are a fan of Flix@5 and enjoy the Hollywood award season, you won’t want to miss A John Williams Celebration with the Delaware Symphony Orchestra. Featuring music from E.T., Jaws, Harry Potter and of course, Star Wars, there is something for everyone to enjoy!

March 22 at 7:30 p.m., Copeland Hall at The Grand Opera House, 818 North Market Street, Wilmington, DE; tickets and more information.

Titilayo Ayangade
Courtesy of the artist

Aizuri Quartet Sunday (March 24), American Philosophical Society

One of the crown jewels of Philadelphia’s cultural scene, the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society welcomes the Aizuri Quartet, violist Kim Kashkashian and cellist Marcy Rosen in a program that explores the idea of community — an apt pairing with PCMS’s mission to bring people together through the shared experience of chamber music. Featuring music of four women composers including Reena Esmail, Fanny Mendelssohn, Shulamit Ran and Clara Schumann, this is a wonderful chance to hear the Aizuri in their element as they pair old and new repertoire in dialogue with each other.

March 24 at 3 p.m., Benjamin Franklin Hall, American Philosophical Society, 427 Chestnut Street, $30; tickets and information.

On the horizon:

  • Make sure to tune in to WRTI at noon on Good Friday afternoon, March 29, for our annual broadcast of Johann Sebastian Bach’s St. Matthew Passion. This is a beloved Philadelphia tradition, and one that is shared by many around the world.
  • On Easter Sunday, March 31 at 1 p.m., we will broadcast The Philadelphia Orchestra’s performance of Handel’s Messiah. Originally written for an Easter performance in 1742, the familiar story takes on a different resonance at this time of year. Nicolas McGegan conducts and is joined by four fantastic soloists: soprano Sherezade Panthaki, countertenor Reginald Mobley, tenor Thomas Cooley, bass-baritone Dashon Burton, and the Philadelphia Symphonic Choir.
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.