July 29, 2020

Musical Offerings Abound If You Know Where to Look

DON’T STOP THE MUSIC: The Philadelphia Orchestra, led here by music director Yannick Nezet-Seguin, is among those offering virtual performances as the pandemic continues. (Photo by Jessica Griffin)

By Anne Levin

Fans of classical music are known to build their summer vacations around festivals that feature their favorite conductors and performances. None of that is happening this summer, thanks to the pandemic. But just about every musical organization is offering virtual programming, mostly of past performances that were particularly popular or noteworthy.

The Princeton Symphony Orchestra is sharing recordings of performed works on its “Play it Forward” page (princetonsymphony.org/home-pso/music-play-it-forward) through August. Each work is replaced every other Monday to give listeners ample time to hear the complete performance. Music director Rossen Milanov conducts such concerts as Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, recorded on February 3, 2019 at Richardson Auditorium. Other offerings can be found at princetonsymphony.org.

The Philadelphia Orchestra is currently streaming past concerts including Emanuel Ax and Brahms from November 2018, conducted by music director Yannick Nezet-Sequin; Beethoven, Schumann, and Weber from April 2019 conducted by Nezet-Seguin with solo pianist Jonathan Biss; and Mahler’s Symphony No. 9, also led by Nezet-Seguin, from May 2019.

Cellists can access the orchestra’s “At Home Cello Play In” on Saturday, August 8 at 11 a.m. This live “play-in” allows participants of all levels and ages to play screen-to-screen with assistant principal cellist Yumi Kendall. A variety of songs will be played from the Suzuki method books. For details, visit philorch.org.

REVISITING FAVORITE CONCERTS: A recent performance by the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center at Alice Tully Hall is one of several that can be accessed online this summer.

The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center (CMS) is holding “Summer Evenings,” including live performance video from its archives, Sundays at 5 p.m. through August 16. Each concert includes introductions by CMS artists, and ends with a live Q&A with the featured artist, hosted by CMS co-artistic directors David Finckel and Wu Han. The concerts will be streamed on Sundays at 5 p.m.

Upcoming performances include works by Geminiani, Haydn, and Copland on August 2; pieces by Tartini, Mozart, Schumann, and Glinka on August 9; and works by Haydn, Mendelssohn, and Franck on August 16. Visit chambermusicsociety.org for details.

The annual Tanglewood Music Festival in Lenox and Stockbridge, Mass., the summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, is a popular destination for fans of classical and popular music. While the 2020 season has been canceled, the Tanglewood 2020 Online Festival is available on the website. Such artists as cellist Yo Yo Ma, pianist Emanuel Ax, violinist Joshua Bell, and pianist Jeremy Denk are part of the programming. Additional concerts include a “best-of” retrospective of “Tanglewood on Parade,” hosted by James Taylor and set to debut in August. For a complete list of programming through the summer, visit bso.org.

A variety of listening opportunities are available on the New York Philharmonic’s website, nyphil.org/playson. “New York Philharmonic Plays On” includes such performances as Act I of Wagner’s opera Die Walkure; Jaap van Zweden conducting Mahler’s Symphony No. 5; busy pianist Emanuel Ax playing Mozart; and Kurt Masur conducting works by Beethoven and Mendelssohn.