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Baltimore-rooted composers will help to celebrate Shriver Hall Concert Series' 50th season

While the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra will be enjoying a centennial season in 2015-2016, the Shriver Hall Concert Series will mark its own notable milestone — half-a-centennial.

The organization, which presents top-drawer classical soloists and ensembles from around the world at Shriver Hall on the campus of Johns Hopkins University, will do so again next season, but with a bonus. A local angle has been added for the 50th anniversary season, which is subtitled "Born in Baltimore."

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The Concert Series has been involved in the development of new music before, co-commissioning a piece by French composer Marc-André Dalbavie that was premiered two years ago at Shriver Hall, for example. Next season, there will be more commissions, but this time involving composers with Baltimore roots.

Funded through contributions by Shriver Hall Concert Series patrons and in collaboration with chamber music presenters in Philadelphia, Detroit and Portland (Ore.), the golden anniversary commissions will generate works by two local composers whose music has won widespread favor: James Lee III and Jonathan Leshnoff. (Both are also writing works by the BSO's centennial.)

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Leshnoff's Chamber Concerto for Violin and Orchestra will get its world premiere in February 2016 by stellar violinist Gil Shaham and The Knights, a New York-based orchestral collective. Lee's Piano Trio No. 2, "Temple Visions," will receive its Baltimore premiere in October played by the Montrose Trio.

New York-based Timo Andres, whose father is from Baltimore and whose music has generated quite a buzz, is the third of the composers receiving a commissions. He is writing a piece for the Takacs Quartet that will be part of a program in November at Shriver Hall.

To open the 50th anniversary season, pianist Yefim Bronfman will give a recital featuring music of Prokofiev. Cellist Mischa Maisky and his daughter, pianist Lily Maisky, will give a concert in December that includes works by Brahms, Messiaen and Piazzolla.

Europa Galante, the period instrument orchestra led by Fabio Biondi, will offer a program of Italian baroque music in January 2016. The annual vocal recital on the series will be performed in March 2016 by soprano Nicole Cabell, who has chosen spirituals and pieces by Ravel, Poulenc and others.

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Closing the season in May 2016 will venerable pianist Nelson Freire performing Bach, Schumann and Chopin.

In addition to the lineup at Shriver Hall, the organization will continue to present its separate "Discovery Series" of free concerts devoted to up-and-coming classical artists at various venues, including the Chiara String Quartet in performance at the exceptional new Concert Hall at the University of Maryland Baltimore County. This series also has concerts planned at Carver Center for Arts and Technology and the Baltimore Museum of Art.

For more information, call 410-516-7164, or go to shriverconcerts.org.

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