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Spring Highlights

As we steam ever closer towards the end of the 2011-12 Season, it’s natural to begin looking ahead to 2012-13. After all, planning the new season while in the midst of the current one (and all the juggling that entails) is one of the pleasures of this business. Whether I am working on our single ticket brochure, fresh press materials, or our new-and-improved website (set for unveiling this summer), it can start to feel like 2013 is already upon us.

Nevertheless, it’s heartening to remember that there are still a dozen great concerts remaining in the current season, spanning now through May 18th. From a star pianist’s surprising turn as an accompanist to the late addition to the series of one of our favorite young American quartets, here are my picks for spring concerts that may have slipped beneath your radar.

Quatuor Mosaïques:  Performing on gut-stringed original instruments, this Viennese foursome is pretty much the gold standard when it comes to classic European quartets. The group’s 2009 PCMS debut performing Mozart, Schubert and Haydn is easily in my personal top 5 PCMS concerts of all time, and their recordings for Naïve (particularly the Mozart Clarinet Quintet and Death and the Maiden) are always in regular rotation at home and in the office. Although currently sold out, their Tuesday, April 10th performance at the Perelman Theater has just a short waiting list for now. Add your name to it soon, and there’s a good chance we’ll be able to find you a seat for what is sure to be one of the highlights of this (or any other) season.

Parker Quartet:  Based in Minneapolis, this young foursome made its Philadelphia debut last season to a packed house in Franklin Hall. I think it was somewhere between the program-opening Rider quartet and the Hindemith quartet that followed that Tony and Miles started thinking about when we could present them again. We were expecting to wait until January 2013, but the unexpected cancellation of the Artemis Quartet on April 30th (for medical reasons) opened the door to a more immediate return.  Unless you already had seats for the Artemis (we informed ticket holders a few weeks back), this change may have escaped your notice. Good seats still remain for their Monday night program of Mozart, Janácek and Schumann, so don’t sleep on this precocious foursome that the PCMS staff and The New York Times agree is “something extraordinary.”

Christian Gerhaher and András Schiff:  This German baritone is a new name for many Vocal Series subscribers, but he’s been a star in Europe for years. London’s Guardian calls him “one of the finest lieder singers of his generation, perhaps the finest,” and The Telegraph hails his “quiet poise, gentle warmth and sincere musicianship.” Gerhaher’s biography is a fascinating one — he trained as a medical doctor before committing full-time to singing — and it’s hard to imagine a more distinguished accompanist for a PCMS debut than András Schiff (as an aside, we’ve somehow got about 30 tickets left for the Hungarian master’s solo recital at the Kimmel Center on Tuesday, May 8th – act now if you’re looking to attend that one). I expect Gerhaher’s performance of Schumann’s Dichterliebe, alongside works by Haydn and Beethoven, to rival Eric Owens for vocal recital of the season.

I’ll be at all of these events and sure hope to see you there too. Questions? Feel free to email me directly at bpotter@pcmsconcerts.org, or give our box office a call at 215-569-8080.

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