Season of the Arts

The top 10 classical music performances to see in South Florida

Florida Grand Opera will stage Jorge Martin’s “Before Night Falls,” set in Cuba and based on the memoirs of Reinaldo Arenas, March 18-25, Arsht Center, Miami.
Florida Grand Opera will stage Jorge Martin’s “Before Night Falls,” set in Cuba and based on the memoirs of Reinaldo Arenas, March 18-25, Arsht Center, Miami. Star-Telegram File Photo

1. Seraphic Fire opener: Oct 19, St. Sophia Greek Orthodox Cathedral, Miami; Oct. 21, St. Philip’s Episcopal Church, Coral Gables; Oct. 22, All Saints Episcopal Church, Fort Lauderdale; Oct. 23, All Souls Episcopal Church, Miami Beach.

Patrick Quigley opens the choir’s 15th anniversary season in envelope-pushing style, premiering new works by himself and Christopher Theofanidis, along with excerpts from Phillip Glass’ celebrated opera, “Einstein on the Beach.’’

2. New World Symphony Chamber Concert: Nov. 20, New World Center, Miami Beach.

In a season in which American music is even more scant than usual, one can be grateful for this program offering Pulitzer Prize-winning works by Aaron Copland, Steve Reich and Paul Moravec.

3. Minnesota Orchestra: Osmo Vänskä, conductor, Jan. 10, Adrienne Arsht Center, Miami.

Music director Osmo Vänskä leads the esteemed Minnesota Orchestra in the Symphony No. 5 by Jan Sibelius, the Finnish composer for whom Vänskä is internationally renown as an interpreter. The program also includes “Geija” by Kalevi Aho and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 1.

4. Friends of Chamber Music of Miami: Kirill Gerstein, pianist, Jan. 24, Coral Gables Congregational Church, Coral Gables.

The music of Franz Liszt may not be the most profound in the repertory. But the prospect of hearing Liszt’s complete Transcendental Etudes performed by Kirill Gerstein, a pianist who combines blazing virtuosity and distinctive artistry is not to be missed.

5. Cleveland Orchestra: Franz Welser-Most, conductor, Jan. 27-28, Arsht Center, Miami.

In the 12th season of the ensemble’s Miami residency, Franz Welser-Möst will finally be heard leading the ensemble in a work by Anton Bruckner, the composer in which the Austrian music director is most highly regarded. Bruckner’s Symphony No. 7 will be prefaced by excerpts from Bach cantatas featuring Seraphic Fire and mezzo-soprano Jennifer Johnson Cano.

6. New World Symphony: Michael Tilson Thomas, conductor, Feb. 4, New World Center, Miami Beach.

Michael Tilson Thomas leads the New World Symphony in a nicely balanced program offering Schubert’s melody-rich “Great” Symphony in C major alongside finely distilled works of the Second Viennese School by Berg and Webern.

7. St. Petersburg Philharmonic: Yuri Temirkanov, conductor, Feb. 20, Kravis Center, West Palm Beach.

In their only South Florida appearance this season, Yuri Temirkanov leads one of Russia’s finest orchestras in a program of Brahms and Shostakovich featuring pianist Nikolai Lugansky.

8. Florida Grand Opera: Jorge Martin’s “Before Night Falls,” March 18-25, Arsht Center, Miami.

In an otherwise conservative season, Florida Grand Opera is offering one contemporary work with Jorge Martin’s “Before Night Falls.” The 2010 opera is based on the life of the Cuban poet Reinaldo Arenas, and charts his life as a gay dissident in Havana who smuggled his works abroad to be published, his emigration to Miami in the Mariel boatlift and the final decade of his life in New York. “Before Night Falls,” which received its world premiere at Fort Worth Opera in 2010, is inspired by the poet’s title memoir and the 2000 film of the same name starring Johnny Depp and Javier Bardem.

9. Academy of St. Martin in the Fields with Inon Barnatan: March 18, Arsht Center, Miami; March 19, Kravis Center, West Palm Beach.

Fast-rising Israeli pianist Inon Barnatan doubles as conductor in leading the ensemble in music of Mozart and Copland, as well as performing as soloist in Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 9 and a new work by Alasdair Nicolson.

10. Seraphic Fire: Bach, Kallembach and Betinis, April 13, First United Methodist Church, Coral Gables; April 14, All Saints Episcopal Church, Fort Lauderdale.

Continuing Seraphic Fire’s season of premieres, Patrick Quigley directs new works by Abbie Betinis and James Kallembach alongside Bach’s affecting “Easter Oratorio.”