Overtures: Notes on the classical scene

Van Cliburn - pianist  1960Gregory Sullivan Isaacs and I have prepared this rundown of the upcoming month in classical music news.

The biggest news in local classical music is, of course, international news: The death this week of gay maestro Van Cliburn. More than even his virtuosity on the piano, his sponsorship of the Cliburn competition and performance series made him not just a force for nurturing creativity, but a magnificent asset to local culture. His impact, and his loss, cannot be overstated.

You might, then, choose to honor him by checking out one of these who benefited from his largesse. Yeol Eum Son will perform a piano recital on March 12 under the Cliburn at the Bass banner. She took the Cliburn competition 2009 silver medal and second prize in the recent Tchaikovsky competition in Moscow. Many critics call her one of the best pianists alive. Her program has lots of fireworks and Beethoven’s Diabelli Variations. Show at 7 :30 p.m.

The Soundings series at the Nasher is always fascinating. On March 8, the program features two cellists, one surprisingly doubling on a piccolo, and a pianist who also plays the harpsichord. No hint on what they will play, but history says that it should be excellent. It starts at 7:30 p.m.

Chamber music fans have two concerts. On March 10, in the new City Performance Hall, Chamber Music International presents pianist Chih-Yi Chen and violinist Clara-Jumi Kang in sonatas by Beethoven and Mozart and what they call  “showpieces TBA.” (Curtain at 7:30 p.m.) On March 11, Dallas Chamber Music brings the outstanding Artemis String Quartet to SMU’s Caruth Auditorium at 8 p.m. In the 1990s, they won all the major competitions and their appearance should draw a full house.

Symphonic music is surprisingly scarce this month. The Dallas Symphony continues its performances of Mahler’s Sixth Symphony tonight and tomorrow at 8 p.m. and at 2:30 p.m. Sunday at the Meyerson. Musical director Jaap van Zweden shines in these sprawling works so this should be a moving experience.

Music director Miguel Harth-Bedoya leads the Fort Worth Symphony in the popular Sibelius Second Symphony March 15–17. If he minds his manners and doesn’t blow your ears out, it should be a fine performance. The young violinist Stefan Jackiw joins him playing a warhorse. Bruch’s Scottish Fantasy. All performances are at Bass Hall.

Looking ahead to April, get your tickets for Puccini’s Turandot, presented in all its splendor at the Winspear Opera House by the Dallas Opera. It is doubtful that there is anyone who hasn’t heard the big aria, “Nessun Dorma,” sung by everyone  from Aretha Franklin to reality TV competitors. Out baritone Jonathan Beyer takes on the role of Ping. (Look for an interview with him in an upcoming issue of Dallas Voice.) Performance are April 5, 7, 10, 13, 19 and 21. Not to be missed.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Marvin Hamlisch conducts the Dallas Pops

The way he is

We are starting to think that Oscar-winning conductor Marvin Hamlisch has a thing for Dallas. Or at least he’s making it a habit. He was here almost exactly a year ago to the day. We don’t mind it at all if he’s going to keep playing his music from A Chorus Line, The Way We Were and so much more. After all, he’s helming the DSO pops as its principal conductor. Who wouldn’t get excited?

DEETS: Meyerson Symphony Center, 2301 Flora St. 8 p.m., Sunday at 2:30 p.m. $22–125. DallasSymphony.org.

—  Rich Lopez

Best bets • 06.03.11

Friday 06.03

All the Cox you could want
Could there be any better timing for this year’s 6th Annual MetroBall? The AIDS fundraiser is smack dab in the middle of Razzle Dazzle Dallas. We’d go no matter what since dance diva Deborah Cox is headlining. You know she’ll sing her signature hit “Nobody’s Supposed To Be Here,” to a packed house. Ironic, huh?

DEETS: Station 4, 3911 Cedar Springs Road. 7 p.m. $30. GDMAF.org.

………………………

Saturday 06.04

This ain’t the Pink Floyd version
Musical accompaniment to The Wizard of Oz will not be a classic rock album this night. Instead, the DSO pays homage in Oz with Orchestra by performing the original soundtrack as the movie plays. And extra bonuses to the people who dress up as their favorite character.

DEETS: Meyerson Symphony Center, 2301 Flora St. 7:30 p.m. $30–$70. DallasSymphony.com.

……………………..

Tuesday 06.07

Now these cats can recycle
We wonder if the Stomp people throw anything away. Clearly everything, even trash, can be turned into a musical instrument or noisemaker, but these guys know how to do it the right way.

DEETS: Music Hall at Fair Park, 909 First Ave. Through June 12. $15–$75. Ticketmaster.com.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition June 3, 2011.

—  Michael Stephens

Applause • Rainbow connection

Jose Reyes, chair of the DSO’s gala,makes a musical outreach to the gay community

Jose Reyes
As chair of the DSO’s gala after party, Jose Reyes sees this as the perfect opportunity to reach out to the gay community.

When the Dallas Symphony Orchestra people began planning their season kickoff gala and after-party, longtime volunteer Jose Reyes had an a-ha moment: An ultra-lush soiree of society’s finest that wasn’t being pushed to the LGBT community? It didn’t make sense.

When he chimed in that this should be a direction to consider, the DSO went him one better.

“They asked me if I wanted to chair the event,” Reyes says. “I said absolutely!”

This brought to light a bigger notion to Reyes prompting, him to root out the connection between Dallas’ premium philharmonic and the gay community. As a 20-year DSO supporter and a member of the gay community, the answer was really in front of him the whole time, and obvious to all Dallas gay … whether they realized it or not.

“The Easter concert at Lee Park targets us,” he says. “The DSO is keenly aware that the audience that day isn’t just Mr. and Mrs. Jones, it’s also Mr. and Mr. Jones and that is perfectly fine with them.”

The annual event is right there among gay events with the Pride Parade and the Halloween block party in terms of visibility. With that, Reyes witnesses the DSO’s support of the community upfront and now wants to turn that around. He knows there’s a strong connection that needs to be realized.

“It’s no secret the gay community is a huge supporter of the arts. We’re the tastemakers aren’t we?” he says. “That concert may be free to you and me, but it’s very expensive to put on so I feel it’s important we support them back.”

Reyes figures this gala will do just that, because gays love a good party. This year, they gala — a fundraiser for education and programs by the DSO — will be a huge, saucy affair (see sidebar).

“The gala concert with pianist Jeffrey Kahane and the after party experience is going to be fabulous and the only ticket in town. The Meyerson lobby will be completely transformed into a romantic 18th century European garden in the time of Beethoven.”

He thinks with a direct push to the community, it will respond. Sometimes all that’s needed, according to Reyes, is an invitation. He assures this is the one to get.

“The gays are gonna love it,” he assures. “And the DSO loves its gays.”

— Rich Lopez

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition August 27, 2010

—  Kevin Thomas