Season is all about teaming up


Collaboration may become the theme of the 2005-2006 music season.

The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and Shriver Hall Concert Series have announced new programs in conjunction with the Baltimore Museum of Art. Now the Baltimore Chamber Orchestra has upped the ante by announcing a season built around partnerships with five local "flagship cultural institutions" -- the BMA, Walters Art Museum, Maryland Zoo, Maryland Science Center and National Aquarium.

Each concert for the 2005-2006 season will have works related to one of those institutions. The novel programming concept comes from the BCO's new music director, Markand Thakar.

The season will open in September with a French accent, saluting the BMA exhibit Monet's London. The concert includes incidental music from Faure's Pelleas et Melisande, which premiered at a London theater, and another French work, Bizet's Symphony in C.

In between will be Beethoven's Triple Concerto, with three prize-winning artists: violinist Alexander Simionescu, cellist Matt Haimovitz and pianist Micah Yui.

To note the reopening of the Walters' replica of a palazzo from Genoa, the BCO's November program offers the Violin Concerto No. 1 by Genoa-born Paganini (with another prize winner, Keng-Yuen Tseng, as soloist). Respighi's Ancient Airs and Dances and Stravinsky's Pulcinella Suite complete the Italian-themed program.

To celebrate the zoo's polar bear exhibit, the orchestra offers Haydn's Symphony No. 82, nicknamed The Bear. (This concert is slated for February, so that will provide the polar connection.) Also to be performed: Brahms Serenade No. 2 and the world premiere of a violin concerto by Baltimore composer Jonathan Leshnoff.

In a nod to the Maryland Science Center's astronomical side, a March program will include Musica Celestis by noted contemporary composer Aaron Jay Kernis and Mozart's Jupiter Symphony. On the earthly side: the Piano Concerto No. 1 by Shostakovich featuring top-notch, Kapell Competition-acing Boris Slutsky.

The series closes in May 2006, celebrating the National Aquarium's new Australian wing with Pipe Dreams for flute and orchestra by remarkable Australian composer Carl Vine. The soloist will be Jeffrey Khaner, principal flutist of the Philadelphia Orchestra. Rounding out the program will be works by Elgar and Schubert.

All concerts will be at Goucher College's Kraushaar Auditorium. For more information, call 410-426-0157.

Thakar closes the BCO's current season May 18 with Stravinsky's Dumbarton Oaks, Mendelssohn's Violin Concerto (with valued BCO member Tamara Seymour as soloist) and Mozart's Symphony No. 40.

And, as a fund-raiser at 8 p.m. Friday, the orchestra presents the Capit0l Steps, the noted political satire troupe, which must be overloaded with material these days.

Both events are at Kraushaar Auditorium. Call 410-426-0157.

Choral concerts

Several great choral works will be performed in the area this month, starting tonight with one of the most sublime -- Bach's B minor Mass, an artistic and spiritual summation of a lifetime's work. T. Herbert Dimmock will conduct this presentation of the Bach Concert Series at 7 tonight at First English Lutheran Church, 3807 N. Charles St. Call 410-235-2356.

Bach's Mass will also be performed by the University of Maryland Symphony Orchestra and Chamber Singers, led by Edward Maclary, at 8 p.m. Friday at the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center, Route 193 and Stadium Drive, College Park. Call 301-405-2787.

The Handel Choir of Baltimore and its period instrument orchestra presents one of Haydn's great Masses, the Theresienmesse, and Mozart's lovely Ave verum corpus at 8 p.m. Saturday at Towson United Methodist Church, Dulaney Valley Road and Hampton Lane. Melinda O'Neal will conduct. The Handel Children's Choir will sing additional works. Call 410-366-6544.

Before Puccini conquered the opera world, he wrote a richly melodic Mass, known as the Messa di Gloria because of its particularly catchy Gloria section. Jed Gaylin will conduct the Grace United Methodist Chancel Choir and Hopkins Symphony Orchestra in a performance of the work at 4 p.m. May 15 at Grace United, 5407 N. Charles St. A free will offering will be taken. For more information, call 410-433-6650.

Tom Hall leads the Baltimore Choral Arts Society and guest ensembles in a program of English music that includes John Rutter's gentle Requiem, one of the most popular choral pieces to emerge in recent decades. Bob Chilcott's Canticles of Light for adult and children's voices will also be performed. The concert is at 7 p.m. May 15 at Kraushaar Auditorium. For tickets, call 410-523-7070.

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