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Two dozen double bassists off the beaten path, among other delights

If you have always wanted to try something new and unusual, this week is as good a chance as ever. Loaded with premiers, these concerts are also highly accessible and include an intriguing immersive outdoor concert experience.


Spotlight: A Murmur in the Trees Sunday, Haverford College Nature Trail

If there happens to be even somewhat favorable weather on Sunday, April 21, you should think about a visit to the Haverford College Nature Trail. From 2 p.m. on, it will be the site of an immersive outdoor concert featuring two dozen double bass players, presented by one of Philly’s premier new-music collectives, Network for New Music. The performers will start spread out in various groups along the idyllic trail, and eventually move closer, forming a circle around the audience. Attendees are invited to walk around the trail and experience the connection between the music and nature. This quasi-improvisatory work, titled “A Murmur in the Trees” after the poem by Emily Dickinson, is written for the performers to offer their own musical interpretations of a slab of tree bark. (Network for New Music performed the same piece almost exactly a year ago.) Composer Eve Beglarian created this piece with specific instructions to guide the performers, and she will be on site to help direct the flow of the music.

If it sounds too esoteric for general consumption, think again: this will be one of the most accessible concerts you can experience in every sense of the word, including its pay-as-you-wish entrance fee. Online pre-registration is encouraged, in case weather alters the schedule for the event.

April 21 at 2:00 p.m., Haverford College Nature Trail, park at Haverford College Visitor Parking, pay as you wish; tickets and information.

Alexey Alexandrov
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Courtesy of the artist

Ekaterina Skliar — Tuesday, Trinity Center for Urban Life

Keeping perfectly with this week’s theme of something new and out of the ordinary, a concert featuring the domra will definitely do the trick. It’s a plucked string instrument from the Eastern European folk tradition, and is often used to play transcriptions from the classical repertoire. Ekaterina Skliar, one of the world’s leading virtuosos of the instrument, will perform on both domra and mandolin. She is on the roster for Astral Artists, and known for her engaging style of performance and presentation. The repertoire for this concert has a wide range, including works by J.S. Bach, Beethoven, Rachmaninoff, and a special world premiere by composer Avner Dorman. Skliar will be accompanied by Thomas Weaver on piano and Jordan Dodson on guitar.

April 16 at 6 p.m., Trinity Center for Urban Life,  2212 Spruce Street, $25; purchase tickets.

Courtesy of the artist

Shostakovich & Verklärte Nacht — Friday and Sunday, Perelman Theater

With The Philadelphia Orchestra out of town on their Canadian tour this week, it’s an even more perfect time to consider hearing some orchestral repertoire that does not get so much attention. The Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia performs Arnold Schoenberg’s Verklärte Nacht, which was composed before Schoenberg deployed his inventive 12-tone serial style. Written in 1899 for string ensemble, it’s considered to be one of the very last masterpieces from the Romantic era. Also on the program is a premiere of a jazz-influenced trumpet concerto from composer Clarice Assad, who is without a doubt one of the most sought-after composers in today’s orchestral landscape. With trumpet soloist Mary Elizabeth Bowden already on stage, the program is rounded out by Shostakovich’s rarely programmed Concerto in C minor for Piano, Trumpet, and String Orchestra — a piece that demands deep athleticism from the soloists. This is sure to be an excellent offering from one of the gems of Philly’s orchestral music scene.

April 19 at 7:30 p.m. and April 21 at 2:30 p.m., Perelman Theater, Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, 300 South Broad Street, $29 to $104; tickets and information.

Zoran Jelenic
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Courtesy of the artist

Timeless: A Tribute to the Legacy of Peter Nero — Saturday, Verizon Hall

Rising from the ashes of a previous era of orchestral pops in Philadelphia, the No Name Pops presents a tribute to the late Peter Nero, the famed musical director and conductor from the group’s past life. The current makeup of the orchestra consists of the finest musicians from the Philly area, experts of the crossover style of repertoire that this orchestra is known for. It’s a tall order to be the conductor for a tribute concert dedicated to a figure with such a legacy in the orchestral pops world. However, the No Name Pops will be joined by Carl Topilow, a veteran pops conductor who is a titan of the field in his own right. Also onstage will be pianist George Burton, who is one of Philly’s hometown heroes and a consummate artist across many styles.

April 20 at 3 p.m., Verizon Hall, Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, 300 South Broad Street, $71 to $121; tickets and information.

Viano Quartet and Joanne Evans — Sunday, Black Squirrel Club

If you read this newsletter in recent weeks, you might remember a mention of the Black Squirrel Club. It’s a bar and restaurant in the Fishtown neighborhood converted from an old steam plant, with a built-in performance space. They offer many jazz performances, but a chance to hear classical music there is more than worth the experience. This time around it’s the award-winning and Curtis Institute-trained Viano Quartet. They’ll premiere a work by eminent composer Augusta Read Thomas, Upon Wings of Words, which includes a part for mezzo soprano, sung here by Joanne Evans. The program also has a set of three Cornish Folk Songs by Christopher Bell, for vocalist and string quartet. If you’re looking for some freedom from the stuffy atmosphere of a classical music concert hall, but don’t appreciate the decibel level of a rock band playing at a bar, this one’s for you.

April 21 at 7:30 p.m., Black Squirrel Club, 1049 Sarah Street, $30, students $15; purchase tickets.

Dave Tarantino is a substitute classical host at WRTI.