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Mitsuko Uchida and Jonathan Biss play Schubert; a Ned Rorem tribute

This week's musical offerings remind us just how rich the classical music scene is in the City of Brotherly Love. And if you are a local musician exhausted from performing Holy Week events last week and were looking for a week off, this coming week is not the week to rest, as there are too many great performances — especially if you love Schubert! Here are some handpicked recommendations. — Mike Bolton, Classical Host


Spotlight: Mitsuko Uchida and Jonathan Biss — Friday, Perelman Theater

It’s such a great week for music at the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society that you could conceivably spend your entire musical week at their performances. Yet, one of their programs is a true highlight of the week: legendary pianist Mitsuko Uchida is joined by the equally acclaimed pianist Jonathan Biss for an all-Schubert program.

In addition to his talents at the keyboard, Biss is an extraordinary educator. Apart from working for years at the Curtis Institute of Music, his free Coursera online course, Exploring Beethoven’s Piano Sonatas, created a template for the best way to produce online educational programming. Over 150,000 students from 185 countries have taken the course. Uchida, highly regarded for her interpretations of Mozart, Beethoven, and Schoenberg, is also busy as a conductor and arts administrator. In fact, Uchida and Biss are the co-artistic directors of the iconic Marlboro Music Festival in Vermont, which has been thrilling audiences since the 1950s.

For this program with PCMS, the two join for what should be a thrilling evening of Schubert’s music. “Jonathan and I share the deep conviction that you can never really know all there is to know about great music,” remarks Uchida in a press statement, “and that it’s worth spending your whole life trying to know a little more.” If you can’t make this concert, Uchida returns to the PCMS stage in April 2025.

April 5 at 7:30 p.m., Perelman Theater, Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, 300 South Broad Street, sold out, but join the waiting list by calling 215-569-8080 or emailing boxoffice@pcmsconcerts.org; more information.

Curtis Institute of Music

Ned Rorem Celebration Concert — Tuesday, Field Concert Hall, Curtis Institute of Music

The great American composer Ned Rorem passed away a year and a half ago at the age of 99. Although he was a wonderful composer of opera, orchestral, and piano music, his catalog of over 500 songs is truly the foundation on which the American Art Song genre was built. The Grammy and Pulitzer Prize-winning composer both studied and taught at the Curtis Institute of Music, which pays tribute to him in an evening of song. On the program is the exciting up-and-coming baritone Jarrett Ott ('04), joined by Curtis students soprano Sarah Fleiss and mezzo-soprano Katie Trigg, with Miloš Repický and Amy Yang as collaborative accompanists.

April 2 at 7:30 p.m., Field Concert Hall, Curtis Institute of Music, 1726 Locust Street, $27; more information.

Matthew Polenzani and Julius Drake — Tuesday, Perelman Theater

Vocal music lovers will be in a conundrum on Tuesday when the acclaimed and versatile lyric tenor, Matthew Polenzani, comes to the Perelman Theater in recital with pianist Julius Drake, courtesy of the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society. Known for his interpretations of Mozart and French opera roles, Polenzani has progressively moved into heavier repertoire over the past ten years. His musical program for PCMS is just as wide ranging as his opera repertoire with selections by Schubert and Ives, anchored by a rare opportunity to hear two great song cycles: Finzi’s A Young Man’s Exhortation and Schumann’s towering Liederkreis, Op. 24. Hearing this artist in such an intimate space as the Perelman Theater should make for a uniquely satisfying evening.

April 2 at 7:30 p.m., Perelman Theater, Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, 300 South Broad Street, $30; tickets and information.

Haydn, Schubert, and Mozart — Friday and Saturday, Verizon Hall

Sir András Schiff, the Hungarian-born British classical pianist and conductor, returns to the Kimmel Center this week as both pianist and conductor. He’ll lead The Philadelphia Orchestra in Schubert’s Symphony No. 2, with a theme that borrows heavily from Beethoven’s The Creatures of Prometheus overture. Schiff will do double duty as conductor and pianist in Haydn’s Piano Concerto in D major and Mozart’s final piano concerto, the haunting Piano Concerto No. 27 in B-flat major.

April 5 at 2 p.m., April 6 at 8 p.m.; Verizon Hall, Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, 300 South Broad Street, $25-$181; tickets and information

Gaelle Beri
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Courtesy of the artists

Manchester Collective and Abel Selaocoe: Sirocco — April 7, Longwood Gardens

If you need another reason to visit Longwood Gardens as its flower beds burst with springtime color, you can also go to hear an amazing concert! The British string quartet, Manchester Collective, makes its Longwood Gardens debut. The Collective is known for its imaginative programming, daring collaborations, and engaging performances that reshape the future of classical music by creating radical artistic work. Joining them is South African cellist Abel Selaocoe for Sirocco, a celebratory and joyful exploration of international cultural traditions.

April 7 at 7:30 p.m., Exhibition Hall, Longwood Gardens, $32 for Reserved Seating, $27 for Gardens Preferred, Gardens Premium Members, and Innovators; tickets and information

Coming up in the next week, some other programs to check out include:

Mahler Symphony No. 7 — April 11, 13, 14, Verizon Hall, Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, 300 South Broad Street, $25-$181.

Piffaro Recorder Fest — April 13, Settlement Music School, Mary Louise Curtis Branch, 416 Queen Street, free.

Alarm Will Sound— April 14 - Penn Live Arts, Zellerbach Theatre, Annenberg Center, 3680 Walnut Street, $29-$69.

In my teens, the movie Amadeus changed my life forever. It introduced me to classical music and opera—I couldn’t get enough of it.