As March begins, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra returns after a two year absence on March 3. Paavo Jarvi will conduct an evening of 19th century masterpieces that include two works by Hector Berlioz, the “Roman Carnival Overture” and “Symphony Fantastique.” Soloist Benjamin Grosvenor will be the soloist as Jarvi and the CSO perform Chopin’s “Piano Concerto #2 in F Minor, Op. 21.”
Two days later on March 5, Stephen Alltop and the University of Illinois Oratorio Society return to Krannert for only the second time in the last 600 days. Andrew Megill and his soloists will team with the CU Symphony for a performance of Michael Tippett’s oratorio, “A Child of Our Time”. This great choral work written at the beginning of World War II, inspired by the events of Kristallnacht in 1938, has inspired audiences ever since with its message of optimism and reconciliation.
Also on the bill on March 5, is William Grant Still’s “Ennanga.” This work by one of America’s premier African American composers is a rarely performed work for harp, piano and strings. Contemporary composers will have a slot in Maestro Allltop’s March 5 concert with Jessie Montgomery’s “Starburst,” a work for string orchestra. She is currently the Mead Composer-in-Residence of the Chicago Symphony.
On March 11, William Eddins and the University of Illinois Symphony will perform their delayed concert of American music. The program begins with Erich Wolfgang Korngold’s , “Overture to a Drama.” Korngold (1897-1957) would later become a legend at Warner Brothers with his brilliant film scores, but he was an established composer in Austria before he emigrated to the world of Hollywood in 1934. This early work from 1911 was his first published work, and graduate student David Stech will take the baton for this performance.
Rounding out the concert are better known works, Aaron Copland’s “Appalachian Spring” and Leonard Bernstein’s “Symphonic Dances from West Side Story.” Maestro Eddins always suggests checking the School of Music website for updates on his concert program.
March 22 brings the Faure Quartet to the Foellinger Great Hall. Their program includes Gabriel Faure’s “Quartet #1 op. 15 for Piano and Strings.” This may tip you off that the Faure is no ordinary quartet. Instead of second violin, the group perform with a piano, opening a wide range of sound and adaptations to their repertoire. Also on the program are Gustav Mahler’s “Quartettsatz” and their adaptation of Mussorgsky’s “Pictures at an Exhibition.”
The St. Louis Symphony returns to Krannert on March 26 with Music Director Stephane Denève and pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet. The program opens with James Lee III’s “Chuphshah! Harriet’s Drive to Canaan.” This tribute to the legendary Harriet Tubman is a musical celebration of her extraordinary life and activism. Also on the bill are Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue” with Thibaudet as soloist, and Rachmaninov’s “Symphony #3.”
All performances are at 7:30 in the Foellinger Great Hall, and Krannert COVID-19 strictures remain in place until further notice. You can check Krannert’s website for updates. Intermezzo also remains open only on weekdays from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tickets must be purchased online from the Krannert website.