1. Festival Miami: Thomas Sleeper/Frost Symphony Orchestra; Oct. 10; Gusman Concert Hall.
Thomas Sleeper kicks off Festival Miami with the most intriguing event of this year’s Frost School of Music series. This “Made in America” program will feature the Frost Symphony Orchestra in a bevy of homegrown music including works by Ives, Bernstein and Ruggles, along with Samuel Barber’s Violin Concerto and Paul Creston’s Saxophone Concerto with soloists Michael Ludwig and Dale Underwood, respectively.
2. Seraphic Fire: Music of Young American composers; Oct. 15-19; various venues.
Likewise, at a time when American repertory is missing in action at so many large classical institutions, leave it to Patrick Quigley to help fill the gap. Seraphic Fire will open its season with choral music by several American composers including Morten Lauridsen, Jake Runestad, Colin Britt and Shawn Crouch.
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3. Denis Kozhukhin/Friends of Chamber Music: Nov. 18; Coral Gables Congregational Church.
Friends of Chamber Music too often falls into the Miami tradition of booking the same artists year after year. One new face in this season’s lineup is up-and-coming pianist Denis Kozhukhin, who will offer a program of Haydn, Brahms and Prokofiev.
4. John Adams/New World Symphony: Dec. 6; New World Center.
Composer John Adams’ appearances with the New World Symphony invariably prove to be season highlights. This fall the composer will conduct the orchestra in music of Copland, Stravinsky, Andrew Norman and Adams’ own Saxophone Concerto with soloist Timothy McAllister.
5. Thomas Hampson recital: Feb. 15; New World Center.
Vocal recitals are even rarer events this season than usual, so mark down this Thomas Hampson program, which will include Adams’ moving work The Wound Dresser.
6. Seraphic Fire: Haydn: “Lord Nelson” Mass; Feb. 13-15; various venues.
Seraphic Fire will team up with The Sebastians chamber orchestra to present Haydn’s epic “Lord Nelson” mass.
7. Danish National Symphony Orchestra/Christian Maclerau: Feb. 14; Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts.
The Danish orchestra is offering the most intriguing program of the visiting orchestras slated for the Arsht Center this season, with Ray Chen in Sibelius’ Violin Concerto and the “Inextinguishable” symphony (No. 4) by Denmark’s most celebrated composer, Carl Nielsen.
8. Cleveland Orchestra/Welser-Most: Mahler Symphony No. 6; March 6-7; Arsht Center.
Franz Welser-Most leads the Cleveland Orchestra in Mahler’s vast and mighty Sixth, the composer’s darkest work in the genre.
9. New World Symphony/Michael Tilson Thomas with Anne-Sophie Mutter: April 25-26; New World Center.
After a long absence, Mutter returns to Florida to perform two works with Tilson Thomas and the New World Symphony. The celebrated German violinist will offer Alban Berg’s Violin Concerto and Norbert Moret’s En rêve, alongside music of Schubert and Debussy. After the Miami performances, Tilson Thomas, Mutter and NWS will take this season-ending program to Carnegie Hall.
10. Florida Grand Opera: Menotti: The Consul: May 9-16; Arsht Center.
In an otherwise conservative season compared to FGO’s newly adventurous standard under Susan Danis, the company will close in May with one of the finest of all American operas. Gian Carlo Menotti’s The Consul won a Pulitzer Prize in 1950, and, with its themes of government surveillance and political dissidents attempting to escape an authoritarian regime, Menotti’s Cold War drama seems more relevant than ever — and a tale with special resonance for many emigre South Florida residents.