Baby it’s cold outside – but Winter is the season when the arts heat up. In the coming weeks, there are many tempting concerts and events to warm you up. So, bundle up, because there are a few that you won’t want to miss.
Jan. 11-12: Canticle. The Vocal Arts Ensemble reprises Kile Smith’s gorgeous “Canticle,” a setting of the biblical Song of Solomon (or Song of Songs), 7:30 p.m. Jan. 11 and 12 in Memorial Hall. Tickets start at $25. 513-381-3300, vaecinci.org.
Jan. 12-13: Conlon returns. James Conlon, music director laureate of the Cincinnati May Festival, returns to conduct the CSO in Schubert’s Rosamunde Overture and Mahler’s Symphony No. 1. Violinist Jennifer Frautschi is soloist in Mozart’s Violin Concerto No. 3. 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday in Music Hall. Tickets: 513-381-3300, cincinnatisymphony.org.
Jan. 19: Star soloist at Moveable Feast. CCM’s biggest fundraiser, this year on Friday, Jan. 19, will feature a performance by alumnus and star trumpeter Brian Newman, who will solo with the CCM Jazz Orchestra as the “opening course” in the CCM Village. Newman, who is bandleader for Lady Gaga and has also appeared with Tony Bennett, will also perform at CCM’s all-new Blue-Note After Party (tickets sold separately.)
Honoring CCM’s 150th anniversary, the Feast gives guests a chance to enjoy dinner by the bite while sampling their own schedule of student and faculty entertainment — Jazz, Choral, Musical Theatre, Piano, Opera, Acting, Dance and Orchestra performances, and tours behind the scenes. Cocktails and Appetizers begin at 6:30 p.m.; Prelude Performance with Brian Newman and the CCM Jazz Orchestra: 7:30-8 p.m. Blue-Note After Party: 10:30 p.m. to Midnight.
Tickets: $100 (patron tickets, $150-$600, include benefits such as valet parking.) CCM Alumni and Young Professional (40 and under): $75. Blue-Note After Party: $25. Information: ccm.uc.edu/support/events; 513-556-4183
Jan. 23: Violins of Hope. Eight violins that were once silenced by the Holocaust will be heard in a concert performed by some of Cincinnati’s finest musicians, 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 23 in Music Hall. Israeli violin-maker Amnon Weinstein has rescued and restored the instruments, and each violin has its own incredible story. The violins are traveling thousands of miles to be hand-delivered by Amnon’s son, Avshi Weinstein. This powerful event is being presented by Cincinnati’s Holocaust and Humanity Center.
Musical selections will be interwoven with true-life stories of local Holocaust survivors. Performances will be by members of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra (CSO), conducted by Louis Langrée, members of the Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra, conducted by Eckart Preu, and solo performances by CSO cellist Ilya Finkelstein and keyboardist Michael Chertock; violinist Giora Schmidt and pianist Elena Kholodova; violinists Gershon Gerchikov and Alexandra Kazovsky (members of the acclaimed Ariel Quartet in residence at CCM); and baritone Simon Barrad and pianist Kseniia Polstiankina. Evans Mirageas of Cincinnati Opera is artistic advisor for the program. Tickets from $25, at cincinnatiarts.org; Phone: 513-621-2787; Aronoff Center Box Office, Downtown.
Violins of Hope prelude events
Tuesday, Jan. 10 at 7 p.m.: Free Lecture. Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County Downtown Branch: The Cincinnati Museum Center’s Insight Lecture Series will host an evening with James Grymes, author of the book, Violins of Hope, which tells the remarkable stories of violins played by Jewish musicians during the Holocaust, and of the Israeli violin-maker dedicated to bringing the instruments back to life. Free and open to the public; book signing after the event. Information: 513-287-7001.
Jan. 21-22: Free Violins of Hope Library Concert Series. The Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra is bringing two violins from the Violins of Hope to two libraries to be featured in two concerts. They are: 2 p.m. Jan. 21 (Sunday) at Campbell County Public Library Newport Branch, Newport; and 6 p.m. Jan. 22 (Monday), Cincinnati & Hamilton County Public Library Wyoming Branch in Wyoming. Registration required (call the branch library). FREE.
Jan. 23, Concert for Students: 10 a.m. Transportation subsidies may be available. Groups of senior citizens are also welcome. For more information or to reserve seats for students please contact Trinity Johnson at 513-487-3055 or firstname.lastname@example.org . Information: holocaustandhumanity.org/violins-of-hope
Jan. 26: Straight from Carnegie Hall, opera star Jamie Barton. The winner of the Metropolitan Opera’s 2017 Beverly Sills Award, the 2015 Richard Tucker Award and the 2013 BBC Cardiff Singer of the World, Jamie Barton is a superstar with a girl-next-door attitude. Matinee Musicale presents the mezzo-soprano in recital, 7:30 p.m. Jan. 26 in Memorial Hall. Her fascinating program – which she performed at Carnegie Hall in December — includes music by Lili and Nadia Boulanger, Elinor Remick Warren, Amy Beach, Libby Larsen, Ravel, Duparc and Richard Strauss. Barton’s recital tour with pianist Kathleen Kelly will also include the world premiere of Iain Bell’s Of You, a song cycle to texts by e.e. cummings commissioned by Carnegie Hall. Opera lovers may recall her last appearance with Cincinnati Opera, when she made her company and role debut as Azucena in “Il Trovatore” in 2015. Tickets are $20 – $5 for students with ID at the door. 513-977-8838, memorialhallotr.com.
Free Master Class, Jan. 25: Jamie Barton will perform a master class, 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 25, in Werner Recital Hall at CCM. Free and open to the public, presented jointly by Matinee Musicale, now in is 105th season, and the Voice Faculty of CCM.
Jan. 26: CCM kicks off its Bernstein Festival, a year-long celebration of Leonard Bernstein’s 100th birthday. Mark Gibson leads the CCM Philharmonia Orchestra in the opening concert, featuring James Tocco, faculty pianist. The program includes Symphonic Dances from “West Side Story” and Symphony No. 2, “The Age of Anxiety,” 8 p.m. Jan. 26. Other highlights are “Trouble in Tahiti” (Feb. 2-4); “Chichester Psalms” (March 8), and much, much more. Visit ccm.uc.edu or call 513-556-4183. Ticket packages to the full Bernstein Experience are available.
Jan. 27-28: Louis Langrée leads Beethoven’s Symphony No. 1 and Bartok’s Concerto for Orchestra at the CSO. Prinicipal bassist Owen Lee is soloist in the rarely-heard Concerto for Double Bass by Koussevitsky. 8 p.m Saturday; 2 p.m. Sunday. in Music Hall. 513-381-3300, cincinnatisymphony.org.
Feb. 12 and 19: concert:nova presents Intimate Letters, 8 p.m. at the new home of Cincinnati Shakespeare Company in Over-the-Rhine. Who knew that the composer Leos Janacek had a romance with one Kamila Stosslova? An original musical-dramatic work directed by Danielle Blackbird, with actors Sasha Olinick, Julianna Bloodgood and Aimée Langrée, with artistic director Ted Nelson is based on the surviving letters. The music features Leoš Janáček’s String Quartet No. 2, “Intimate Letters”, which is also known as Janáček’s “manifesto on love.” Tickets: concertnova.com.
Looking ahead: Audra McDonald, 7 p.m. Feb. 25 with the Cincinnati Pops in Music Hall. The six-time Tony Award-winning Broadway star performs an evening of her signature songs, including favorites by Rodgers & Hammerstein, Stephen Sondheim and George Gershwin. 513-381-3300, cincinnatipops.org.