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News and notes from the world of classical music.

Wharton Center Announces 2019-2020 Classical Season With Diverse Musicians

Courtesy photo / Wharton Center - wikimedia

Yesterday, the Wharton Center announced their 2019-2020 season and WKAR’s Jamie Paisley returns with Wharton's Executive Director to dig a bit more regarding the classical events which add a good deal of diversity coming to East Lansing's arts scene.

[Audio sample of the Emerson Quartet playing the intro to Dvorak's String Quartet No.10]

JAMIE PAISLEY: In the Wharton Center’s Classical music offerings next season, there was a bit of a paring down. Not at all in terms of esteem, particularly when you’re talking the likes of the Emerson String Quartet.

Wharton Center Executive Director MIKE BRAND: What we're looking at doing is trying to bring a few more chamber music groups back, and that's, you know, probably considered, worldwide, the number one string quartet. And what else made it attractive is they're very interested in doing a mini-residency with the [MSU] College of Music. So, a number of our classical music artists are doing residencies this year.

PAISLEY: In addition to the Emerson Quartet’s stay in October, a month later in November, the Wharton Center bring the quintet of African-American musicians known as Imani Winds, who often focus on African, Latinx, and American music, such as this movement called Afro composed by one of their members, Valerie Coleman.

[Audio sample of Imani Winds playing Valerie Coleman's "Afro"]

PAISLEY: And just as with the Emerson Quartet, Imani Winds will expand that Wharton Center Visit to a residency with MSU’s College of Music...

BRAND: ...doing, I think 7 or 8 masterclasses and sessions with the College of Music wind department and then they'll do their recital on the Friday night, so we're going to be integrating faculty and students into the performance and we co-did the offer and made a deal we would all live with work with and so we're very happy about that.

PAISLEY: There is also a bit of a two-fer early in 2020, with a pianist agreeing to play 9 Beethoven sonatas across two nights at the Wharton Center, and it’s an artist Mike Brand was introduced to, on the radio.

BRAND: My wife and I heard Beethoven Sonatas on our radio coming back from White Lake and I thought 'Wow! This pianist is very exciting!' and it turned out to be Jonathan Biss.

[Audio sample of Jonathan Biss playing the opening movement of Beethoven's "Hammerklavier" Sonata.]

PAISLEY: After pianist Jonathan Biss in January, another J.B. rounds out the Wharton Center’s classical season much larger in late February. Violinist Joshua Bell brings the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields. But Mike Brand says a bit of persuasion had to lure them to the Midwest.

BRAND: Their original plan was just a tour of the west coast, and we talked them into coming to Chicago, Carmel, and East Lansing and they did that, so we're going to have him doing the Paganini Concerto. I'm not familiar with them. I know they're very acrobatic and difficult, but it'll be a great performance.

[Audio sample of the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields, led by Joshua Bell playing Tchaikovsky's Serenade for Strings.]

PAISLEY: In addition to these classical groups, audience demand is bringing back a classical crossover duo to the Wharton Center in October, Black Violin.

BRAND: Yeah, they were here a couple of years ago and they totally connected. We sold the house out and it was a rocker night, I'm telling ya. For the second half, people were standing a lot for the second part, it's an exciting night. It's different.

Click here for a link to more info about the Wharton Center's 2019-20 Season.

Note: The Wharton Center is an underwriter for WKAR.

COME FROM AWAY, September 10-15, 2019
LES MISÉRABLES, November 12-17, 2019
Disney’s ALADDIN, December 4-15, 2019
MY FAIR LADY, February 26- March 1, 2020
WICKED, April 1-19, 2020
DEAR EVAN HANSEN, June 16-21, 2020

Reduced Shakespeare Company: The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged) [Revised], November 20-21, 2019
Basic Training,  January 30 & 31, 2020
Thrill Me: The Leopold & Loeb Story, February 12-16, 2020
Of Equal Place: Isotopes in Motion, March 21, 2020

Emerson String Quartet, October 18, 2019
Imani Winds, November 8, 2019
Jonathan Biss Plays Beethoven, January 8 & 10, 2020
Academy of St Martin in the Fields; Joshua Bell, director and violin, February 24, 2020

Pilobolus, October 30, 2019
Parsons Dance • Sensory-Friendly Performance, February 22, 2020
Royal Winnipeg Ballet: The Wizard of Oz, March 25, 2020

Keiko Matsui, October 25, 2019
Kenny Barron Trio & Sean Jones Quartet, January 30, 2020

Storm Large and Michael Feinstein: Shaken and Stirred, October 12, 2019
Black Violin, October 16, 2019
We Shall Overcome: A Celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., February 14, 2020
Tao: Drum Heart, March 13, 2020
The Klezmatics, March 26, 2020
Davina & The Vagabonds and Hot Club of Cowtown: The Finest Hour, May 13, 2020

Jungle Book, November 2, 2019
Dino-Light, January 25, 2020
Dog Man: The Musical, March 14, 2020
Dog Man: The Musical • Sensory-Friendly Performance, March 15, 2020
Miss Nelson Has a Field Day, April 25, 2020
Miss Nelson Has a Field Day • Sensory-Friendly Performance, April 26, 2020

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