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Concert Artists of Baltimore's 30th season to include Bach, Sirota premiere, homecoming

Concert Artists of Baltimore will celebrate its 30th anniversary season with a world premiere, a major work by Bach and a homecoming.

Containing choral and orchestral forces, Concert Artists has long been known for interesting programs, a knack that is reflected in the 2016-2017 lineup. The organization also has been known for moving around; a steady venue has proved elusive.

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Baltimore proper doesn't have an abundance of spaces ideal for a chamber-sized orchestra and chorus; an unappealing theater at the College of Notre Dame was one of the spots utilized over the years. For several seasons, the main base of operations moved to the Gordon Center in Owings Mills, a facility with splendid acoustics, but apparently little drawing power for audience members.

Concert Artists heads back in town for all of next season, using four locations for its Maestro Series programs. First up, Oct. 23, is Westminster Hall, where the organization started out three decades ago. Artistic director Edward Polochick will conduct music of Bach and selections from operettas (not your everyday pairing).

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On March 4, the location will be St. Pius Church for Mozart's evergreen "Jupiter" Symphony and less often encountered fare -- Weber's Concertino for horn and orchestra (with Concert Artists principal horn Mark Hughes as soloist) and John Adams' mesmerizing "Shaker Loops."

Then it's off to the Baltimore Basilica for Bach's towering "St. Matthew Passion" April 1, and Peabody Conservatory's Friedberg Hall for a 30th Anniversary Gala Concert May 20. The latter will offer the world premiere of "A Call for the Battle to Cease," commissioned by Concert Artists from former Peabody dean Robert Sirota. Beethoven's "Choral Fantasy," featuring pianist Simone Dinnerstein, and Haydn's "Surprise" Symphony complete the gala bill.

The Mansion Series of smaller scale concerts at the Engineers Club will include the annual Christmas concerts Dec. 10 and 11; a program of Beethoven and Faure with violinist Herbert Greenberg, violist Julius Wirth, cellist Gita Ladd and Polochick at the piano on Jan. 22; and an afternoon of Schubert featuring soprano Sarah Berger April 23.

For more information, call 410-625-3525, ext. 101, or go to cabmusic.org.

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