Musicians have been tuning up and are ready to perform for you during a classical music season that heats up as the weather cools down. There's a lot going on, so you may want to make some musical notations of your own as you plan your cultural calendar.
On the Howard County scene, Columbia Pro Cantare, under music director Frances Motyca Dawson, opens with a vocal blast when it does Carl Orff's "Carmina Burana" Oct. 27 at the Jim Rouse Theater at Wilde Lake High School. Featured soloists include soprano Laura Whittenberger, tenor David Dickey, pianists Alison Gatwood and Erik Apland, and percussion.
Then the Pro Cantare raises the Rouse roof again with Handel's "Messiah" Dec. 2. Featured are soprano Amy van Roekel, mezzo soprano Mary Ann McCormick, tenor Charles Reid, baritone Lester Lynch, organist Henry Lowe, and orchestra. That seasonal favorite will be complemented by a smaller scale concert, "A Christmas Noel," performed Dec. 9 by the CPC Chamber Singers at Christ Episcopal Church in Columbia. The 28-voice chamber ensemble does music from the Renaissance to the present.
As with other classical music organizations listed below, Columbia Pro Cantare will have a lot more to offer for the remainder of its season in 2013. For more information about Columbia Pro Cantare, call 410-799-9321 or go to http://www.procantare.org.
Candlelight Concert Society, which performs in Howard Community College's Smith Theatre, opens its new season with Borromeo String Quartet Oct. 20, violinist Benjamin Beilman and pianist Yekwon Sunwoo Nov. 10, Philadelphia Brass Quintet and composer Paul Salerni Nov. 24, and Curtis on Tour with guitarist Jason Vieaux and violist Roberto Diaz Dec. 9. Call 410-997-2324 or go to http://www.candlelightconcerts.org.
Lead by music director Jason Love, Columbia Orchestra has "Bernstein and Beethoven," featuring mezzo soprano Tracey Scher, Oct. 6 at Rouse Theater; "Chamber Concert One" Nov. 17 at Christ Episcopal Church; and "Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninoff," featuring pianist Anne Koscielny, Dec. 1 at Rouse. Call 410-465-8777 or go to http://www.columbiaorchestra.org.
The Sundays at Three series, performing at Christ Episcopal Church, presents Columbia-bred pianist Brian Ganz doing an all-Chopin recital Sept. 30; cellist Bo Li, pianist Kuei-l Wu and violinist Ronald Mutchnik Oct. 28; and Chagall Trio Plus One, comprised of Mutchnik, pianist Andrea Sokol-Albert, cellist Seth Low and violinist and violist Peter Minkler Dec. 2. Call 443-288-3179 or go to http://www.SundaysAtThree.org.
In Baltimore, you can get a sampling of what music director Marin Alsop has planned for the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra in the season ahead at a "Season Preview" concert slated for Sept. 13 at the Music Center at Strathmore in North Bethesda and Sept. 14 at Meyerhoff Symphony Hall in Baltimore. That sounds like an event as casual as it will be informative, but you'd better dress up for the "Gala Celebration" fundraising concert that features soprano Renee Fleming Sept. 15 at Meyerhoff.
BSO performances in the next few weeks alone include violinist Gil Shaham performing Barber's Violin Concerto as part of an all-American program that also has Bernstein's "On the Waterfront" Symphonic Suite and Copland's Symphony No. 3 Sept. 20 and 21 at Meyerhoff and Sept. 22 at Strathmore. It's quickly followed by another American program, featuring Bernstein's Third Symphony ("Kaddish"), John Adams' "Short Ride in a Fast Machine" and Dave and Chris Brubeck's "Ansel Adams: America" Sept. 28 and 30 at Meyerhoff and Sept. 29 at Strathmore.
Musical heavyweights such as Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, Mozart, Dvorak and Brahms anchor various concerts in October and November. For the holiday season, the BSO and Concert Artists of Baltimore Symphonic Chorale do "Messiah" Dec. 7 at Meyerhoff; join with dancers from the Baltimore School for the Arts and narrator Rheda Becker for excerpts from "The Nutcracker" Dec. 8 at Meyerhoff; yield the stage to the Vienna Boys' Choir Dec. 8 at Meyerhoff; and are joined by Baltimore Choral Arts Society for "Holiday Pops" Dec. 12 at Strathmore and Dec. 14, 15 and 16 at Meyerhoff. Call 410-783-8000 or go to http://www.BSOmusic.org.
The Shriver Hall Concert Series, which has brought world-class performers to the Homewood campus of Johns Hopkins University for the past 47 years, kicks off its season with the Brentano String Quartet Oct. 14, Europea Galante Nov. 4 and pianist Piotr Anderszewski Dec. 2. Call 410-516-7164 or go to http://www.shriverconcerts.org.
Baltimore Choral Arts Society, under music director Tom Hall, taps into the War of 1812 bicentennial events with "The Land of the Free" Nov. 3 at Goucher College's Kraushaar Auditorium. Joining Chorus Arts are the Heritage Signature Chorale, Soulful Symphony, and commentator David Hildebrand. Choral Arts gets in a seasonal mood with "Christmas with Choral Arts" Dec. 4 at the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen, and "Christmas for Kids" Dec. 15 at Kraushaar. Call 410-523-7070 or go to http://www.baltimorechoralarts.org
Also performing in Kraushaar, Baltimore Chamber Orchestra, under conductor Markand Thakar, features violinist Madeline Adkins playing works by Mendelssohn and Bruch Oct. 7; and the Poulenc Trio doing works by Beethoven, Poulenc and others Nov. 4. Call 410-704-2787 or go to http://www.thebco.org.
And as we head toward the holiday season, that means the Handel Choir of Baltimore, under artistic director and conductor Melinda O'Neal, is getting ready to do that composer's "Messiah." Performances this year are Dec. 15 at St. Ignatius Church in Baltimore and Dec. 16 at Towson Presbyterian Church. Call 410-366-6544 or go to http://www.handelchoir.org.