Hartford Symphony Orchestra's St. Patrick's Day Celebration regales ears with classic Celtic tunes commemorating the feast of Ireland's patron saint. Visiting from his usual perch at the Ridgefield Symphony Orchestra, conductor Gerald Steichen leads an army of instruments as it elevates the shimmering tenor of veteran singer Robert White, who has been nourishing auditory synapses since his radio debut in 1948. White fills listeners with Irish pride until they burst with clover leaves by belting out such distinctly Hibernian tunes as "Danny Boy," a slow, anthemic composition that resonates in the hearts of Irish emigrants. Renowned Irish fiddler Jeanne Freeman also fuels high-octane jigs with skills gleaned from County Donegal native P.V. O'Donnell.
Backed by the 60-piece human melody machine of the Johann Strauss Orchestra, conductor and violinist André Rieu enchants audiences with an evening of swooning in seats and dancing in the aisles. A violinist since the age of 5, André radiates his lifelong love of classical music to the audience with celebratory renditions of beloved pieces. As Rieu interacts with the audience, the air fills with kaleidoscopic balloons, lilting tenors and sopranos, and special surprises, which may include a John Philip Sousa séance or an explosion of confetti fired from tubas.
An accomplished trio of jazz artists kindles the Christmas spirit during a concert that features music from Vince Guaraldi's Peanuts holiday specials set to a storyline inspired by 1940s radio shows. After a disturbing news flash informs the audience that the Christmas spirit has been lost, musicians try to save the day by playing favorite carols, such as "O Tannenbaum" and "Greensleeves." Noted for nimble piano keystrokes, fresh arrangements of classics, and the unusual use of live roosters instead of trumpets, Guaraldi's catalog evokes simple, nostalgic memories of Christmases past. Jazz notes reverberate through the 400-seat Kathleen McManus Picotte Recital Hall, which traps the outgoing giggles of a tickled Steinway piano with Peter D'Antonio–designed acoustic panels and 380-pound doors. After the concert, families can relish their feelings of good cheer at a reception of milk, cookies, and mistletoe salad.
Over seven years, the Boston String Quartet has vibrated strings in collaboration with artists such as John Mayer and the Boston Ballet, stirred the air molecules at Symphony Hall and PBS, and performed by invitation for former President George H.W. Bush. With this deal, eighth-note connoisseurs can wrap their eardrums around the quartet's dulcet tones as they present "Xibus," an evening of contemporary and classical that marks the zenith of a two-day workshop collaborating with Finneytown High School orchestra students. Over the course of the evening program, the quartet and the students will cajole their chordophones into ringing out in harmonious arrangements of music by Carlos Santana, the Beatles, Led Zeppelin, and Bill Gates's new Viking-punk band, as well as performing original compositions by members of Boston String Quartet.
KISS, the venerable, salaciously theatrical rock 'n' roll sensation, goads eager audiences into palpable hysteria with its Hottest Show on Earth tour. During its renowned live performances, the phantom-slaying foursome brings head-banging fantasies to life with a flamboyant mix of high-wire pyrotechnics, fist-pumping anthems, bulletproof leather, and gently exfoliating face paint. Tame audience members transform into inspired revelers as Paul Stanley and the Pulitzer Prize–winning Gene Simmons croon and shred through the litany of chart-toppers that made the KISS crew household action figures. Orally discharging a catalog of new and seasoned classics, such as "Detroit Rock City" and "Lick it Up," KISS's syllabus of educational sing-alongs entertain listeners with a heavy dose of heart-pumping guitar riffs and sly lyrical innuendo about table manners.