Celebrating the Peabody

150th anniversary revelry continues with gala this weekend

Music Column

April 22, 2008|By Tim Smith | Tim Smith,Sun music critic

The 150th anniversary of the founding of the Peabody Institute was such a milestone last year that the celebration is still going on. It will reach a peak Saturday with a gala evening that will see music of multiple genres breaking out in practically every corner of the facility on Mount Vernon Place.

First up is the Celebration Concert in Friedberg Hall, featuring some of the music conservatory's eminent faculty artists. Guitarist Manuel Barrueco will play a work by Albeniz. Flutist Marina Picinnini will offer a fantasy on themes from Bizet's Carmen in collaboration with the Peabody Symphony, led by Hajime Teri Murai. The Peabody Children's Chorus and Pre-Conservatory Violin Choir also will participate.

The action then spreads out across the campus. In one spot, chamber music will be the focus. In another, selections from Verdi's La traviata and Rodgers and Hammerstein's Oklahoma! (with the incomparable soprano and teacher Phyllis Bryn-Julson as Aunt Eller).

There will also be a separate site for the Peabody Renaissance Ensemble, the Alumni Chamber Orchestra and Peabody Dance; and one more for jazz and salsa with the Peabody Lab Band and Peabody Latin Band.

The gala begins at 8:30 p.m. Saturday at the Peabody Institute, 17 E. Mount Vernon Place. Proceeds will support the scholarship fund. Tickets are $100. Call 410-659-8100, ext. 3040.

Getting back to Manuel Barrueco for a moment. He was in supple, colorful form in last Saturday's concert at Peabody with the dynamic Cuarteto Latinoamericano, closing the 20th anniversary season of the Baltimore Classical Guitar Society.

I caught the first half of the program, which included a typically tuneful selection by Carlos Guastavino that inspired playing of great polish and style from all the musicians. The intriguingly titled Bay of Pigs by Michael Daugherty had its appealing, atmospheric moments, along with some rather forced bits of tension, but it was all vividly performed.

Jazzy takes on Mahler, Mozart

Uri Caine, the Philadelphia-born, New York-based pianist and composer who enjoys walking on a wild side between classical and jazz, visits Peabody this week for two concerts. His 1997 recording Urlicht/Primal Light caused quite a stir with its imaginative, intensely expressive jazz takes on music by Mahler. There's nothing quite like this very cool disc.

Caine will be joined by members of Peabody's faculty in a concert at 8 tonight that includes some of those Mahler arrangements, as well as fresh versions of well-known Mozart pieces. Caine, who possesses startling digital skills at the keyboard, will also perform with the Peabody Jazz Orchestra at 7:30 p.m. Friday.

Tickets to each event are $5 to $15. Call 410-659-8100, ext. 2.

New Music Ensemble

For a blast of 20th- and 21st-century fare, check out Towson University's New Music Ensemble this week. The group has programmed 1980s pieces by two major figures of contemporary music - Pierre Boulez's Derive I and Charles Wuorinen's New York Notes. Also on tap are works by somewhat lesser known, but no less fascinating, composers: Hyxos from 1955 by Giacinto Scelsi, and Circle Dance from 2004 by Burton Beerman.

The concert is at 8:15 p.m. tomorrow at Towson's Center for the Arts, Osler and Cross Campus drives. Tickets are $5 to $13. Call 410- 704-2787 or go to centerforthearts.towson.edu.

Pro Musica Rara

Pro Musica Rara will delve into repertoire from 17th-century England, Germany, Holland and Italy, surrounded by Italian paintings at the Walters Art Museum. Joining cellist Allen Whear will be harpsichordist Dongsok Shin and recorder artist Nina Stern. The concert is at 5:30 p.m. Sunday at the Walters, 600 N. Charles St. Tickets are $30 and $40. Call 410-547-9000, ext. 238, or go to thewalters.org.

Pro Musica will close its season at Towson University for a program of Mozart and Beethoven featuring Edmund Battersby on the fortepiano, joined by Whear and violinist Cynthia Roberts. The concert is at 3:30 p.m. May 4 at Towson's Center for the Arts, Osler and Cross Campus drives. Tickets are $25. Call 410- 704-2787 or go to centerforthearts.towson.edu.

Baltimore `Butterfly' updates

The Baltimore Opera Company has announced a cast change in the title role for its season-closing production of Puccini's Madama Butterfly, which opens May 10. Italian soprano Carla Maria Izzo has "withdrawn" (no more details) and will be replaced by Chinese soprano Shu-Ying Li, star of a New York City Opera Butterfly broadcast last month nationally on PBS.

Baltimore Opera productions ordinarily get four performances, but a fifth has been added for Butterfly. On May 17, Japanese soprano Mihoko Kinoshita will sing the title role.

Call 410-727-6000 or go to baltimore opera.com.

tim.smith@baltsun.com

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