Music director Lewis Buckley headed the U.S. Coast Guard band and conducted several prominent New England symphonies before landing at the Metropolitan Wind Symphony, which has been tickling eardrums with woodwind, brass, and percussion concerts since 1971. "An ACB Preview" celebrates the 75-member symphony's invitation to play at the 2012 annual conference of the Association of Concert Bands with a sampling of the program they'll perform for a national audience. The concert kicks off with Percy Grainger's Lincolnshire Posy, which recasts six English folk songs as lush, wind-powered melodies free of interrupting Robin Hoods. Principal oboist Elana Lorance takes charge in James Kessler's Hudson River Rhapsody and a new transcription of Gershwin's An American in Paris ends the evening with Gallic-via-Broadway aplomb. Starting at 1:30 p.m., a preconcert talk by maestro Buckley unveils some of the music's hidden features and lets uncertain ears nuzzle the score.
Drawing on a background that includes 27 years as a violinist with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, music director Max Hobart leads the Wellesley Symphony Orchestra through carefully curated programs with verve. The Valentine's Love Fest concert stars operatic husband-wife duo Brian Landry and contralto Ana Maria Ugarte as they essay songs from Carmen, Tosca, and Rigoletto, melting hearts and shattering brittle emotion processors with their voices' romantic resonance. The orchestra's musicians enhance the euphony with pieces by Wagner, Saint-Saëns, and Puccini. A preconcert lecture given by Wellesley Symphony Orchestra president Leslie Holmes educates listeners with info about the music and its interpreters.
Originally formed in 1997 at the Peabody Conservatory, Vento Chiaro's all-female quintet of woodwind musicians captivates audiences from their resident perch on The Rivers School Conservatory's stage. Their sonic tapestry seamlessly weaves joyful flute with mischievous oboe as the deeper reeds of clarinet and bassoon invite the regal brass of French horn to frolic in the woodwind woods. On March 11, all five musicians kick off with contemporary American composer Eric Ewazen's Roaring Fork, which paints an aural picture of a Colorado landscape as rugged and beautiful as the stone woman who will one day drop all four jaws of Mount Rushmore. Conservatory artist-in-residence pianist Roberto Poli joins his colleagues for Francis Poulenc's Sextet, melding the airy notes of the quintet with the keyboard's undulating melodies. The concert culminates with avant-garde composer Elliott Carter's Woodwind Quintet, eschewing regular chord progression for surprising atonal devices and polyrhythmic construction.
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.
Music connoisseurs and building buffs regard Symphony Hall as one of the finest concert halls in the world. Sixteen replicas of Greek and Roman statues line the walls, and its airy space lends a majestic resonance to each string pluck and unexpected sneeze. Opened in 1900, Symphony Hall was the first auditorium designed in accordance with scientifically derived acoustic principle, sloping inward to help focus the sound of the orchestra's stirring string renditions.