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Classical events fade in shorter and lighter Festival Miami

Fri Jun 26, 2015 at 2:06 pm

By Lawrence Budmen

Simone Dinnerstein will perform Philip Lasser's Piano Concerto in Festival Miami's opening concert October 16.

Simone Dinnerstein will perform Philip Lasser’s Piano Concerto in Festival Miami’s opening concert October 16.

Festival Miami, the University of Miami Frost School of Music’s annual fall showcase, will take place October 16-November 7. This year’s compressed, three-week festival reflects the series’ continuing decline in classical programs of recent years, with a greater emphasis on pop, jazz, country and crossover performances than ever before.  Also, the few classical events on tap draw almost entirely on faculty artists rather than major international soloists or ensembles.

The festival will open October 16 with Thomas Sleeper conducting the Frost Symphony Orchestra in an all-American program. Simone Dinnerstein, best known for her recordings of Bach’s keyboard works, will be the soloist in Phillip Lasser’s Piano Concerto. The program also features Alan Hovhaness’s And God Created Great Whales and Howard Hanson’s Symphony No. 5.

Charles Castleman, a new Frost faculty member, presents a program of unaccompanied violin works on October 18. Ysaÿe’s Sonata No. 3 shares the program with the Bach Chaconne and Tango Etudes by Astor Piazzolla.
French horn faculty member Richard Todd is joined by violinist Joel Smirnoff (president of the Cleveland Institute of Music) and pianist and radio host Christopher O’Riley for a performance of Brahms’ Horn Trio on October 28. Todd also plays Olivier Messiaen’s solo Appel Interstellaire.

On November 2 Robert Carnochan debuts as conductor of the Frost Wind Ensemble, succeeding the recently retired Gary Green. Works by Leonard Bernstein, Frank Ticheli, Donald Grantham and John Adams comprise the program with soprano Esther Jane Hardenbergh and tuba player Aaron Tindall as soloists.

Alexander Magalong leads the Frost Symphony Orchestra in a family Halloween matinee on October 31 with John Williams’ Suite from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone and pieces by Saint-Saëns and Mussorgsky comprising the bill of fare.

Crossover events feature tenor John Easterlin (October 24), the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet (October 25), the classical-hip-hop duo Black Violin (November 1)  and the Boston Brass (November 4).

festivalmiami.edu; 305-284-4940.

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