NOTE: All concerts start at 7:30 p.m. in Foellinger Great Hall unless otherwise noted.
The spring portion of this 50th anniversary season of the Krannert Center will offer a recital by Grace Park, pianist, in the Sunday Salon series at 3 p.m. on Jan. 26. She is a winner of the Naumburg International Competition, and she will be assisted at the piano by Joseph Liccardo. Beginning with J.S. Bach’s Sonata for Violin and Piano in E Major, BWV 1016, Park will continue with Igor Stravinsky’s Divertimento for Violin and Piano, a suite that the composer put together in 1932 with the violinist Samuel Dushkin, drawn from Stravinsky’s ballet “The Fairy’s Kiss.” The program will conclude with Antonin Dvorak’s “Romance” in F Minor and Johannes Brahms’ Sonata No. 3 in D Minor. The Dvorak “Romance” was originally written in 1877 for violin and orchestra, and it was his reworking of the andante movement of his String Quartet No. 5.
The Russian ballet company, which has appeared here in January for many years, will not be on the schedule this year. It has been replaced by the Shanghai Ballet from China, a company that will perform on Jan. 28 and 29. Choreographed in 2001 by company director Xin Lili, the ballet “The Butterfly Lovers” is based on an ancient Chinese tale of blighted love and ultimate union. The music for this ballet is indeed the famous 1959 “Butterfly Lovers Violin Concerto” by He Zhanhao and Chen Gang.
Celebrating its 60th anniversary season, the Champaign-Urbana Symphony Orchestra will open the second half of its season on Feb. 1. Led by music director Stephen Alltop, the ensemble will be joined by renowned violinist Rachel Barton Pine in the romantic and melodious Samuel Barber 1939 Concerto for Violin and Orchestra. Now regarded as the best American violin concerto of the 20th century, this work has the strange distinction of being rejected by the original violinist for which it was composed.
The Jupiter String Quartet, the highly esteemed quartet in residence at UIUC, will play a rich program of three quartets on Feb. 4. The first offering is Ludwig van Beethoven’s String Quartet No. 10, a work given the title “Harp” by Beethoven’s publisher because of the pizzicato section of the first movement. Written in 1809, some commentators have noted a resemblance between this Quartet and Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony.
The Beethoven Quartet will be followed by Dmitri Shostakovich’s 1966 Quartet No. 11. This somber and elegiac work is in seven movements, to be played without pause. Lasting about 17 minutes, this work was dedicated to Vasily Shirinsky, the second violinist of the quartet for which this work was written. Shirinsky had died in the year before the Quartet’s completion. The concert will conclude on the emotional upbeat with Felix Mendelssohn’s Quartet No. 3. This work is the first of three quartets that make up Mendelssohn’s Opus 44. It was written in 1838 at the happy time of Mendelssohn’s marriage (in 1837) and the setting up of a new home in Leipzig.
When the Sinfonia da Camera, conducted by Ian Hobson, starts its spring season on Feb. 8, two principal players will perform as soloists. Bassoonist Henry Skolnick will play the solo part in Carl Maria von Weber’s “Hungarian Fantasy,” and William Moersch will move from his usual timpani to the marimba for Anders Koppel’s “Concerto for Marimba.” The Weber work was originally written in 1809 for viola, but reworked in 1813 for bassoon. Danish composer Anders Koppel (born in 1947) has written four concertos for marimba as well as 150 film scores. Works by Sir Arnold Bax and Franz Schubert (Symphony No. 5) will round out the program.