New England is awash in incredible classical music experiences during the summer. Choose your scenery: coastline, mountain, or small town meeting house, and head out to enjoy stellar concerts in gorgeous surroundings. But wait. Add one more “scene” to that rundown. Copley Square, in the heart of Boston.
With the majestic architectural bookends of Boston Public Library and Trinity Church, Copley Square is set to become a destination in its own right among the locations you need to visit for classical music during the summer. It’s all due to the Summer Arts Weekend, a new project of the Boston Globe and WGBH.
For me, this first Summer Arts Weekend couldn’t have shaped up any better. For many years I made my living as a trumpeter, so when I heard that British trumpeter Alison Balsom was on the schedule, I knew right away we were in for a great Sunday. There’s an almost surreal silkiness to Balsom’s playing, and you’ll hear it in everything from Albinoni to Piazzolla, joined by our own crack Boston Landmarks Orchestra and guest conductor Christopher Warren-Green. Alison and Landmarks will be on stage at 4:45 on Sunday, and here she is from a Last Night of the Proms performance a couple of years ago:
Igudesman & Joo immediately precede them, at 3:30. Igude-wha? Yes, Igudesman & Joo, who bring a rare (twisted?) sense of humor to the classical world. At which point it’s probably best for me to avoid description and let their performance do the talkin’:
At 2:15 another duo will take the stage to re-define classical music in their own way. Anderson and Roe are pianists who find the “classical” in all kinds of music. Yes, they play the great duo piano repertoire by Mozart, Schubert, and others, but they also cover Radiohead, Michael Jackson, and John Lennon.
The early afternoon (1pm, specifically) belongs to one of Boston’s local musical geniuses and his students from New England Conservatory. Hankus Netsky’s Contemporary Improvisation project looks for the seams between conventional categories of music and applies an in-the-moment sensibility to find completely new voices of expression.
As if all of that weren’t enough, you also have the chance to join Laura Carlo at the Fairmont Copley Plaza at 11am on Sunday for a Baroque Brunch. Members of the Handel and Haydn Society will be on hand for a performance of music by Bach, Vivaldi, Handel, and others. This one is inside, and attendance is limited, so get your tickets!
In the meantime, be sure to tune in to Classical New England on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday this week to hear some of the performers for Summer Arts Weekend.
Hope to see you there!
(photo of Alison Balsom by Chris Dunlop/EMI Classics)
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