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Critic's picks: Classical music

Five top classical-music concerts to see in South Florida in 2016-2017.

 

Seraphic Fire

"The Genius of Philip Glass: Einstein on the Beach"

7:30 p.m. Oct. 19, St. Sophia Greek Orthodox Cathedral, 2401 SW Third Ave., Miami; 7:30 p.m. Oct. 21, St. Philip's Episcopal Church, 1121 Andalusia Ave., Coral Gables; 7:30 p.m. Oct. 22, All Saints Episcopal Church, 333 Tarpon Drive, Fort Lauderdale; 4 p.m. Oct. 23, All Souls Episcopal Church, 4025 Pine Tree Drive, Miami Beach; 305-285-9060 or SeraphicFire.org. Tickets cost $41-$50.

Entering its 15th season, the twice Grammy-nominated chamber choir may be at its best when venturing outside traditional choral-music lines to indulge artistic director Patrick Dupré Quigley's taste for adventure and innovation. On this program, sections of composer Philip Glass' iconic abstract opera provide inspiration for world-premiere compositions by Quigley and Guggenheim-winning composer Christopher Theofanidis ("Rainbow Body"). Along for the ride is Grammy-winning violinist Matthew Albert.

Robert McDuffie, Mike Mills and Fifth House Ensemble

"Concerto for Violin, Rock Band and String Orchestra"

8 p.m. Oct. 20

Knight Concert Hall at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, 1300 Biscayne Blvd., Miami; 877-949-6722 or ArshtCenter.org. Tickets cost $35-$100.

R.E.M.'s Mike Mills, one of the most prolific songwriters and collaborators in the world of rock and pop, joins his longtime friend, classical violinist Robert McDuffie, on a newly commissioned work that blurs the lines thought to exist between rock and classical audiences. The piece, which was given its world premiere in June by the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, finds McDuffie backed by Mills on bass and keyboards, along with Chicago's dynamic Fifth House Emsemble. The evening also will include performances of Phillip Glass' "Symphony No. 3" and John Adams' "Road Movies."

Cleveland Orchestra

"Bach and Bruckner"

8 p.m. Jan. 27-28

Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, 1300 Biscayne Blvd, Miami; 800-741-1010 or ClevelandOrchestra.com/Miami.

One of the foremost explorers of Anton Bruckner's rocky emotional landscape, conductor and music director Franz Welser-Möst will lead the Cleveland Orchestra in the composer's touching Seventh Symphony. The eclectic evening also features award-winning mezzo-soprano Jennifer Johnson Cano — "endowed with an attention-grabbing dark mezzo, its depths bracing like strong coffee," a New York Times reviewer wrote of a May recital — and a first-time collaboration with Miami's Seraphic Fire choral ensemble on three Bach cantatas.

Lang Lang

8 p.m. Feb. 21 at Kravis Center for the Performing Arts, 701 Okeechobee Blvd., West Palm Beach; 800-572-8471 or Kravis.org. Tickets start at $39. Also at 8 p.m. Feb. 25, Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, 1300 Biscayne Blvd., Miami; 877-949-6722 or ArshtCenter.org. Tickets cost $50-$135.

If there is a superstar in classical music, it is Chinese pianist Lang Lang, the charismatic young performer whose fame crosses lines musical, cultural and geographical. His just-released album, "New York Rhapsody," pays homage to the city and music it has inspired, with guest artists including Jason Isbell, Jeffrey Wright, Andra Day, Herbie Hancock, Lindsey Stirling and Madeleine Peyroux. He heads in another direction in these South Florida performances, with a program that focuses on the evocative music of Spain, in particular composer and pianist Enrique Granados.

Florida Grand Opera

"Before Night Falls"

7 p.m. March 18; 2 p.m. March 19; 8 p.m. March 21, 24-25

Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, 1300 Biscayne Blvd, Miami; 800-741-1010 or FGO.org.

A new setting for the powerful memoir of dissident Cuban poet Reinaldo Arenas, from his time as a political prisoner in Castro's Cuba, smuggling his manuscripts abroad for publication, to his emigration to the United States in the 1980 Mariel boatlift through his final decade in New York. Arenas, suffering from AIDS, took his own life in 1990 at age 47. Opera News says this Fort Worth Opera production by composer and co-librettist Jorge Martín, born in Santiago de Cuba, "bursts with restless passion … vibrant, compelling characters [and] pulsing, illustrative music, the combination of which was more than enough for this listener and the wildly enthusiastic opening-night audience."

Ben Crandell writes the Go Guide on SouthFlorida.com. Reach him at bcrandell@southflorida.com or on Twitter @BenCrandell.

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