No music can evoke more passion or affect one’s mood more than classical. Lucky for us, South Florida has a vibrant classical music scene, attracting the world’s elite performers and symphony orchestras. Of course, there are too many events to choose from, so we’ve highlighted some of the best.
New World Symphony
Under the baton of Stéphane Denève in his first full season as artistic director, NWS presents Sergei Prokofiev’s “Romeo + Juliet,” of course inspired by William Shakespeare’s iconic tragedy that explores true love and loss. Also, soprano Kelley O’Connor, whose past NWS performance was a “tour de force” according to the South Florida Classical Review, returns for one of Denève’s favorite works: Peter Lieberson’s “Neruda Songs,” based on five works by Chilean poet Pablo Neruda. Opening the evening is James Lee III conjuring a historic indigenous metropolis in his 2022 “Visions of Cahokia.”
Oct. 14 and 15, New World Center
South Florida Symphony Orchestra
For its Masterworks I program, the SFSO presents pianist Tao Lin performing the company premiere of Saint-Saëns’ exotic Piano Concerto No. 5 in F Major (“Egyptian”) – which the composer said represented a sea voyage – at the season opener. Lin will also tackle Schubert’s majestic and innovative Symphony No. 9 (“The Great”), which was the Austrian composer’s final symphony and is widely considered his finest piece for orchestra.
Nov. 8, Parker Playhouse; Nov. 12, New World Center
Florida Grand Opera
Performed for the first time in 10 years by FGO, Giuseppe Verdi’s “La Traviata” (“The Fallen Woman”) with libretto by Francesco Maria Piave was originally considered morally questionable when it was first performed in Madrid in 1855, but went on to become one of the most frequently performed operas during Verdi’s lifetime.
Nov. 11, 12 and 14 at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts; Nov. 30 and Dec. 2 at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts
Daniel Barenboim, who directed Staatskapelle Berlin for 30 years, now tours the United States at age 80 with this 450-year-old house ensemble of the Berlin State Opera, which in 2000 named him “conductor for life.” Over the course of two nights at the Arsht Center’s Knight Concert Hall, see why The New York Times called Barenboim “a titan among the world’s conductors.” Dec. 5’s program includes Brahms’ Symphony No. 2 and Symphony No. 4, while Dec. 6 features Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5 and Symphony No. 6.
Dec. 5 and 6 at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts
Palm Beach Symphony
Two-time Grammy-winning virtuoso violinist Pinchas Zukerman returns to perform three lush and joyful works, conducted by maestro Gerard Schwarz: Tchaikovsky’s melodic “Sérénade mélancolique,” plus his sentimental “Mélodie” from Souvenir d’un lieu cher paired with Mozart’s buoyant Violin Concerto No. 3 “Strassburg.” This uplifting concert on Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday also opens with Hailstork’s inspirational Four Hymns Without Words, featuring Palm Beach Symphony principal trumpet Craig Morris, and concludes with Sibelius’ majestic and powerful Symphony No. 2.
Jan. 15, Kravis Center for the Performing Arts
The Cleveland Orchestra in Miami
Conducted by Franz Welser-Möst and featuring Nikolaj Szeps-Znaider on violin, the Cleveland Orchestra (“America’s finest, still,” raved the New York Times) opens with Bruch’s popular Violin Concerto, followed by Brahms’ first symphony (“I shall never write a symphony,” Brahms said when young). Lucky for us, the German composer changed his mind and created a melodically rich work that audiences joyfully dubbed “Beethoven’s Tenth,” in part because the finale resembles the “Ode to Joy” (“any ass can see that,” Brahms said).
Jan. 26 and 27 at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts
Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra
The intensely energetic Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra makes its Arsht Center debut, conducted by Maestro Lahav Shani and featuring Grammy-winning pianist Daniil Trifonov, who has performed with the world’s finest orchestras, including those of New York, Munich, Zurich, Toronto, Dallas, Philadelphia and San Francisco, to name a few. Program includes works by Arvo Pärt (Swansong), Mozart (Piano Concerto No. 9 [“Jeunehomme”]) and Prokofiev (Romeo & Juliet).
March 7 at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts
After appearing annually at Carnegie Hall, the orchestra makes its long-overdue debut at the Kravis Center. Widely considered one of the finest and most important orchestras in the world, Vienna Philharmonic will be joined by guest conductor Franz Welser-Möst, opening with Alban Berg’s “Three Pieces for Orchestra”; plus Mahler’s epic and final Ninth Symphony, which was premiered by the Vienna Philharmonic in 1912; as well as Bruckner’s visionary and transcendent ninth symphony – the last symphony on which he worked.
March 8 and 9 at the Kravis Center for the Performing Arts
The accolades are astounding for this internationally renowned pianist: “The hottest artist on the classical music planet,” gushes The New York Times, while the South Florida Classical Review dubs him “the leading superstar of today’s classical music world.” In other words, don’t miss this one-night-only solo recital in the acoustically magnificent Knight Concert Hall, featuring many works by Chopin, plus Schubert’s “Impromptu in G flat Major, Op. 90” and Schumann’s “Kreisleriana, Op. 16.”
April 16 at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts
Miami International Piano Festival
The annual festival closes its season with American pianist Avery Gagliano, who made her debut at Carnegie Hall at the age of just 20 and brings sincerity, emotional depth and exquisite voicing to the stage. International Piano Magazine called Gagliano “a distinctive young talent who has already graduated to the big league of professional pianists while still a student at music college.”
May 19 at the Aventura Arts & Culture Center