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Filament celebrates its first album, and Mitsuko Uchida plays Ravel

As spring winds down, a handful of enticing concerts beckon for those not already escaping urban life to spend time down the shore. But by and large, the concert schedule is slowing, as our resident ensembles take up summer residencies, and subscription series wrap up for the season. So Fanfare is also adopting summer hours, scaling back from a weekly service to a monthly forecast. This edition covers the rest of May. Our next Fanfare will post at the top of June. Subscribe here to make sure you receive these summer updates and all the exciting news to come about the fall season.

Spotlight: Filament Album Release Party — Friday, Fleisher Art Memorial

Founded in 2019, Filament is a period instrument trio dedicated to “the bright connective thread — that eponymous filament — linking the world of our audience with that of our repertoire.” The word “filament” also implies electricity, which courses through the group’s first album, Alchemy of Another, recently released on Bridge Records, with the seven Op. 1 sonatas (c. 1690s) of Dietrich Buxtehude.

To celebrate the release, the group’s founders — Evan Few (violin), Elena Kauffman (viola da gamba), and John Walthausen (harpsichord) — have planned a big early music bash that includes cantatas by Johann Christoph Bach (an older cousin of the more-familiar Johann Sebastian). Special guest vocalists include Clara Rottsolk, Jacob Perry, Christopher Talbot, and WRTI’s own Meg Bragle, along with two more artists on viola da gamba, Donna Fournier and Arnie Tanimoto.

And since expert music-making is always better with conversation, plan to hang around for a reception afterward, where you’ll be able to chat with the musicians.

May 24 at 7:30 p.m., Fleisher Art Memorial, 719 Catharine Street, $20; tickets and information.

Justin Pumfrey/Decca

Mitsuko Uchida with the Philadelphia Orchestra — May 30, June 1 and 2, Verizon Hall

Among pianists working today, Mitsuko Uchida is in the pantheon; her latest recording, Beethoven’s Diabelli Variations, was a 2023 Grammy Nominee for Best Classical Instrumental Solo and was the piano winner in the 2022 Gramophone Classical Music Awards. As part of this deeply attractive program with The Philadelphia Orchestra, Uchida applies her transparency and precision to Ravel’s Piano Concerto in G Major. The evening also includes the world premiere of Valerie Coleman’s Concerto for Orchestra, her fourth commission for the ensemble. To conclude with a taste of summer, conductor Yannick Nézet-Séguin offers Debussy’s classic La Mer.

May 30 at 7:30 p.m., June 1 at 8 p.m., and June 2 at 2 p.m., Verizon Hall, Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, 300 South Broad Street, $25-$181; tickets and information.

Nicole Mitchell performs at the 10th Anniversary Celebration of the Doris Duke Artist Awards at Appel Room, Jazz at Lincoln Center on Feb. 13, 2023 in New York City.
Sean Zanni/Patrick McMullan
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Nicole Mitchell performs at the 10th Anniversary Celebration of the Doris Duke Artist Awards at Appel Room, Jazz at Lincoln Center on Feb. 13, 2023 in New York City.

Nicole Mitchell’s Black Earth Ensemble — Friday, May 31, Solar Myth

As the first woman president of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM), Nicole Mitchell carries on an inclusive tradition of collaboration and experimentation from notable torchbearers. Founded in Chicago in 1965 by pianists Muhal Richard Abrams and Jodie Christian, drummer Steve McCall, and composer Phil Cohran, the AACM is known for its advocacy for individual artists, and engagement with broader social issues.

Presented by Ars Nova Workshop, Mitchell’s Black Earth Ensemble will perform her landmark Xenogenesis Suite (2007), commissioned by Chamber Music America. Inspired by the science fiction novels of author Octavia Butler, the suite’s nine sections combine vocals with glittering instrumental work in a panoramic crucible that makes compelling listening. In All About Jazz, Troy Collins described the suite as “endlessly rewarding…a surprisingly effective combination of disturbing surrealism delivered with raw emotion and lyrical experimentation.”

May 31 at 8 p.m., Solar Myth, 1131 South Broad Street, $40; tickets and information.

Dolce Suono — Sunday, June 2, Trinity Memorial Church

In the 21st century, vocalists draw on a wider range of sources than ever, and in this concert titled “Songbook,” Ashley Marie Robillard follows Handel’s Cantata HWV 134 (“Nel dolce dell’ oblio”) and Mozart’s “Das Veilchen” with a surprising coda: Cole Porter’s “I Hate Men.”

Also on the lineup: Georg Philipp Telemann’s Trio Sonata in E Minor (c. 1733), Astor Piazzollla’s 1974 classic Libertango (arranged for ensemble), Marina Dranishnikova’s Poem for Oboe and Piano (1953), and from Benjamin C.S. Boyle, his 2009 Sonata-Cantilena for Flute and Piano. Robillard’s excellent collaborators include Katherine Needleman on oboe, Charles Abramovic on piano, and Mimi Stillman, the group’s artistic director, on flute.

The ensemble thanks Robillard for stepping in at the last minute for the originally scheduled artist, baritone Norman Garrett. And on a touching note, the concert will be dedicated to the late science fiction writer and music critic Tom Purdom, a friend of the ensemble who died in January.

June 2 at 3 p.m., Trinity at 22nd (Trinity Memorial Church), 2212 Spruce Street, $10-$30; tickets and information.

Bruce Hodges writes about classical music for The Strad, and has contributed articles to Lincoln Center, Playbill, New Music Box, London’s Southbank Centre, Strings, and Overtones, the magazine of the Curtis Institute of Music. His is a former columnist for The Juilliard Journal, and former North American editor for Seen and Heard International. He currently lives in Philadelphia.