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.
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.
Kenneth Donald Rogers—an American country-music star, photographer, producer, actor, and fellow with a nice beard—has won three Grammys and more than a dozen American Music Awards for his sweet, stirring crooning. Though he won't be toting his dozens of awards, Mr. Rogers will be bringing an impressive showcase of selections from his extensive collection of country hits. To prep the crowd for the main event, The Herndon Brothers—a local act lead by Ray Herndon, a country star known for livin' the dream—will layer the crowd in hometown vibes from their wide library of inspiring and honest tracks.
Made by the famed Italian Guarneri family of luthiers in 1743, the Bonjour violin comes to life today in the hands of master violinist Vadim Repin. The Russian virtuoso coaxes heart-tugging tones from the gorgeous wooden body of the violin—whose acoustics have blossomed along with its value over the years—as well as the radio receiver inside the instrument. Praised for his "unshakable bravura" by the New York Times' Steve Smith, Repin drives the instrument with a muscular, energetic style.