Spring arts 2014: Classical music

Spring arts 2014: Classical music
Russian pianist Evgeny Kissin will perform at the Walt Disney Concert Hall. (Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)


Evgeny Kissin


Every recital by this introverted Russian pianist with a godlike touch and the ability to breathe fire onto the keyboard is eagerly anticipated. But his first appearance in Walt Disney Concert Hall was more so than most. On Oct. 28, 2003, Kissin, then 32, had the honor of giving the first solo recital in the new hall, which was five days old. Kissin was back five years later, and it will have been another five for his third Disney recital. Much has changed. He has matured into a sublimely great artist. But young new artists have come along to hog some of the limelight. Kissin will this time be playing Scriabin's Second Sonata, a piece into which Yuja Wang breathed her own special brand of fire at her first Disney Hall recital last year.

Where: Walt Disney Concert Hall

When: 8 p.m.

Cost: $48.60-$116

Info: (323) 850-2000 or

APRIL 11-13

Minimalist Jukebox

The Los Angeles Philharmonic festival will not be minimal — except, of course, the music, and even there the works can get ambitious (what with big operas by Philip Glass and Louis Andriessen included). Then again, Minimalism has grown exceedingly large since Terry Riley's "In C" launched the movement at the San Francisco Tape Music Center in 1964. So it makes sense that the L.A. Phil has commissioned Riley to compose an organ concerto for the orchestra's subscription concerts during the festival, which will be conducted by John Adams. Titled, "At the Royal Majestic," the concerto was written for soloist Cameron Carpenter to be played on the Disney organ, which Riley once dubbed "Hurricane Mama." (In conjunction with the festival, the Hammer Museum will present "In C" as a kind of musical installation art in free special Saturday afternoon performances on April 5 and 12.)

Where: Walt Disney Concert Hall

When: 8 p.m. April 11 and 12, 2 p.m. April 13

Cost: $23.75-$195

Info: (323) 850-2000 or


MAY 15

Beethoven: The Late Great — the Finale

The Philharmonic Society's multiyear survey of Beethoven's late music has brought some of the composer's most celebrated and cultivated performers to Orange County. For a grand finale, however, the focus is on the future. In a touching gesture, the Philharmonic Society has turned over Beethoven's Ninth Symphony to the Orange County Youth Symphony Orchestra, along with musicians and singers from Chapman University and UC Irvine, conducted by Daniel Alfred Wachs. Vocal soloists include noted soprano Jessica Rivera and tenor Nicholas Phan. Intriguingly, the program will begin with the West Coast premiere of "Frieze," a recent Beethoven Ninth companion piece by Mark-Anthony Turnage (a sometimes bad boy of British music and composer of the opera "Anna Nicole"). On top of that, 15-year-old pianist Marc Yu will be soloist in the first movement of Beethoven's First Piano Concerto.

Where: Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall

When: 8 p.m.

Cost: $20-$100

Info: (949) 553-2421 or

MAY 17-18

Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra

You could look at the chamber orchestra's final program of the season as a preview of the Ojai Festival, since it features this year's Ojai music director as soloist. Then again, pianist Jeremy Denk hardly needs an introduction these days. He received a MacArthur "genius" award last year. He has distinguished himself as a hilarious blogger and as a writer for the New Yorker, and his musical imagination is vast. His CDs are bestsellers. In a wild program, Denk not only takes on one of the monuments (and monumental challenges) of modern keyboard literature, György Ligeti's Piano Concerto, but he will also be joined by pianist and LACO music director Jeffrey Kahane in concertos for two pianos by Bach and Mozart.

Where: Alex Theatre (May 17) and Royce Hall, UCLA (May 18)

When: 8 p.m. May 17; 7 p.m. May 18

Cost: $23-$105

Info: (213) 622-7001 or

MAY 18-24

A Streetcar Named Desire

Sixteen years after its premiere in San Francisco, André Previn's first opera will finally reach Los Angeles. Plus, Previn's music will be heard again in the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion for the first time in any substantive way since he resigned as music director of the L.A. Phil after a feud with the management in 1989. Previn intended Blanche DuBois for soprano Renée Fleming, a steamy role still in her repertory, and she will star in what is being called a semi-staged concert production by Los Angeles Opera. Don't worry about the semi-staged part. Previn's score has in it the sounds of the street and the sounds of desire. All the rest is artifice. Baritone Ryan McKinny is Stanley Kowalski and Anthony Dean Griffey is Harold "Mitch" Mitchell (a role he also created). Patrick Summers conducts.

Where: Dorothy Chandler Pavilion

When: 5 p.m. May 18; 7:30 p.m. May 21 and 24

Cost: $17-$325

Info: (213) 972-8001 or


New York Philharmonic Biennial

Not since the philharmonic's Horizon's festivals in the 1980s has the orchestra made a sustained effect on the active New York new music scene. In recent years, in fact, Brooklyn hipsters and New York Minimalists have found a happy home across the country at the Los Angeles Philharmonic. But taking his cue from the Whitney Museum's Biennial, New York Philharmonic music director Alan Gilbert will launch a highly ambitious 11-day festival that appears to be using every nook and cranny of Lincoln Center (and some beyond). Among the events will be a staging of refined Japanese composer Toshio Hosokawa's opera "The Raven," a performance of rambunctious Austrian composer HK Gruber's "Gloria: A Pig's Tale," a tribute to composer Pierre Boulez (a former New York Philharmonic music director), concerts by young composers, a concert of premieres by the Bang on a Can All-Stars and much else.

Where: Lincoln Center and elsewhere in Manhattan

When: Various times


Cost: Free-$122