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Fanfare: Yo-Yo Ma and Kathryn Stott, Jasper Quartet and more

In Fanfare this week: Yo-Yo Ma joins forces with Kathryn Stott, Alarm Will Sound plays Steve Reich, and Jasper Quartet performs music with (and by) Derek Bermel. To get this free service delivered to your inbox every Sunday, subscribe now.

Spotlight: Yo-Yo Ma and Kathryn Stott – Friday, Verizon Hall

The irrepressible and endlessly inquisitive Yo-Yo Ma makes his third one-night visit to Philadelphia this season, again under the auspices of The Philadelphia Orchestra. But no concertos this time; it’s a recital with his longtime friend and duo partner, pianist Kathryn Stott. The program reflects Ma’s characteristic range and relationships. There’s an eclectic song set of miniatures by Faure, Dvorak, Nadia Boulanger, and Sergio Assad. Franck’s lush Violin Sonata (transcribed) and the sonorous Cello Sonata of Shostakovich bring depth to the lineup, while Arvo Pärt’s Spiegel im Spiegel adds a minimalist twist.

Though Verizon Hall is not exactly an intimate chamber music venue, we all understand that Ma’s popularity requires a capacious setting. Still, stage seating is on offer — try to nab those seats if you can.

April 12 at 8 p.m., Verizon Hall, Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, 300 South Broad Street, $129-$399; tickets and information.

Courtesy of the artist

Jasper Quartet with Derek Bermel – Thursday, Chestnut Hill Friends’ Meeting

The locally-based, excellent Jasper Quartet hosts its own concert series, and their collaboration with Derek Bermel looks promising. A composer with a broad palette spanning jazz, world music, classical, and modernist sensibilities, Bermel is also a superb clarinetist. In this program, you’ll hear him in both roles. His string quartet Intonations explores vocal styles “from the breath of harmonica blues to a gospel singer’s melodic thread to vocal cadences in hip-hop,” to quote the composer. The evening culminates in Brahms’s elegiac, soulful Clarinet Quintet, which should prove a fascinating vehicle for Bermel the performer. A duet by Paul Wiancko for viola and cello, American Haiku, provides an apt preamble.

April 11 at 7:30 p.m., Chestnut Hill Friends Meeting, 20 E Mermaid Lane; more information.

The Philadelphia Orchestra – Thursday through Sunday, Verizon Hall

Yannick Nézet-Séguin leads this week’s subscription offering from The Philadelphia Orchestra. It’s a family affair, pairing Gustav Mahler’s massive and dramatic Symphony No. 7 with a selection of songs by his wife, Alma Schindler Mahler. Alma’s few surviving songs leave an impression of might-have-been wistfulness. (What if Gustav hadn’t blocked her composing for the first several years of their marriage?) They should especially suit the warm, plush voice of Scottish mezzo-soprano Karen Cargill, a Kathleen Ferrier Award-winner who recently impressed in the Orchestra’s Missa Solemnis of Beethoven.

April 11 at 7:30 p.m., April 13 at 8 p.m., and April 14 at 2 p.m., Verizon Hall, Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, 300 South Broad Street, $25-$181; tickets and information.

Michal Ramus
Courtesy of the artist

Alarm Will Sound – April 14, Zellerbach Theatre

This exciting new-music ensemble has made a specialty of Steve Reich’s music. Their all-Reich program presented by Penn Live Arts celebrates the 50th anniversary of the composer’s groundbreaking Music for 18 Musicians. Also featured are the irresistible Vermont Counterpoint, Clapping Music for hands-as-percussion, and the Radiohead-inspired Radio Rewrite. It’s a can’t-miss evening for fans of this American icon.

April 14 at 7 p.m., Zellerbach Theatre, Annenberg Center, 3680 Walnut Street, $29-$59; tickets and information.

Plan Ahead: Emanuel Ax, piano – April 17, Perelman Theatre

I’m always going to recommend hearing Emanuel Ax, but this recital program presented by the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society is especially intriguing. Ax explores works by Beethoven and Schoenberg, two composers whose musical output is generally divided into early, middle, and late periods. Ax offers us early and middle-period works by both composers in alternation. Standard Beethoven sonatas you always want to hear (“Pathetique,” “Waldstein”) frame Schoenberg miniatures from his expressionist, ultra-Romantic early phase and his atonal-but-not-yet serial middle phase. At the center of the program is an early, brilliant Beethoven sonata dedicated to his then-teacher, Josef Haydn.

April 17 at 7:30 p.m., Perelman Theater, Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, 300 South Broad Street, sold out, but call 215-569-8080 or email boxoffice@pcmsconcerts.org to join the waiting list; more information.

Melinda has worked in radio for decades, hosting and producing classical music and arts news. An award-winning broadcaster, she has created and hosted classical music programs and reported for NPR, WQXR—New York, WHYY–Philadelphia, and American Public Media. WRTI listeners may remember her years hosting classical music for WFLN and WHYY.