The 2007-2008 classical music season moves quickly into gear this weekend with several events that ought to be well worth a listen.
For starters, the eminent Kronos Quartet, which has imaginatively and intensely explored new music for more than 30 years, opens the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center's season Friday with a concert reflecting on Sept. 11.
Called "Awakening" and developed for last year's fifth anniversary of that appalling day, the program is described as a "new soundtrack" to the images we all retain. It features such works as Michael Gordon's The Sad Park, which incorporates voice recordings of preschoolers who witnessed the World Trade Center attacks from nearby.
Also on the program is a multimedia piece by Terry Riley, the father of minimalism, called One Earth, One People, One Love; Osvaldo Golijov's Darkness 9/11; and Winter Was Hard by Aulis Sallinen. In the latter work, the quartet will be joined by local children's choirs. The Kronos players will add into this mix music from different cultures, including Islamic.
The concert is at 8 p.m. Friday at the Clarice Smith Center, University Boulevard and Stadium Drive, College Park. For ticket information, call 301-405-2787 or go to claricesmithcenter.umd.edu.
The Shriver Hall Concert Series, which concentrates mostly - and terrifically - on classical artists, will kick off its season on a different note, with a blast from the top-notch Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra led by its music director and brilliant trumpeter, Wynton Marsalis. This Baltimore stop marks the start of the big band's 20th anniversary U.S. tour.
For tickets to the concert, which will be at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Shriver Hall, the Johns Hopkins University, 3400 N. Charles St., call 410-516-7164 or go to shriverconcerts.org.
Sunday brings two intimate performances of note.
You may not know the name Simone Dinnerstein yet, but this Juilliard-trained pianist is doing what she can to change that. When a decade of public performing failed to gain her management and major exposure, she produced and financed a recording of Bach's monumental Goldberg Variations and even hired out Carnegie Hall to perform the piece.
That was in 2005, when Dinnerstein was 33. Today, she has a manager, a bigger career and a major record label (Telarc) that just released her often potently expressive Goldberg performance.
The pianist will perform that Bach score at 3 p.m. Sunday at An die Musik, 409 N. Charles St. For ticket information, call 410-385-2638 or go to andie musiklive.com.
At nearly the same time, the third season of Chamber Music at Cylburn gets under way with a recital by two artists whose music-making has often enlivened the local scene - baritone Ryan de Ryke, a Peabody Institute alumnus, and pianist Eva Mengelkoch, a Towson University faculty member.
Their program offers a rich sampling of "art songs," that refined genre that fuses poetry and music. There will be several by the now rather obscure 19th-century German composer Carl Loewe, including his version of Goethe's "Erl King" that was more famously turned into song by Schubert. One of the greatest and subtlest art song composers, Hugo Wolf, will also be represented, along with works by the brilliant Benjamin Britten.
The recital is at 3:30 p.m. at the Cylburn Arboretum, 4915 Greenspring Ave. For ticket information, call 410-367-2217 or e-mail info@ cylburnassociation.org. Distinguished baritone and teacher John Shirley-Quirk, who worked often with Britten, will give a pre-concert talk at 3 p.m.
Read posts from Tim Smith and other Sun arts critics and writers at baltimoresun.com/criticalmass