Classical music events to catch before the summer is over


The season of festivals, outdoor concerts, and pre-concert picnics always seems to fly by, but worry not: Plenty of music is still to be enjoyed in any number of venues before the regular rhythms of the school year/concert season commence in September. Whether you’re looking for an afternoon in the city, a day trip, or a weekend getaway, there’s probably a program with your name on it.

The Boston Symphony Orchestra may have skipped town for the summer, but all is hardly quiet on the home front. The Boston Festival Orchestra, which made its live debut last summer, is offering a three-week Sunday series at Jordan Hall (July 17, 24, 31, ). The July 24 concert, conducted by principal conductor Alyssa Wang, features principal flutist Allison Parramore in Cécile Chaminade’s rarely performed “Concertino for Flute” alongside Fauré’s dreamy “Pelléas et Mélisande” suite and Brahms’s Symphony No. 2.

Boston Landmarks Orchestra is also returning to the Hatch Shell on the Esplanade for its beloved summer Wednesday evening series (July 20-Aug. 24, Highlights of that lineup include a guest appearance by cuatro player Fabiola Mendez on a program that also features music by Mendelssohn and Florence Price (Aug. 17) and a special Saturday evening performance of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 featuring the One City Choir and Coro Allegro (Aug. 6).

And in the special events department: Boston Lyric Opera is launching its season early with a free performance in English of Gounod’s sparkling “Romeo et Juliette,” presented in collaboration with Commonwealth Shakespeare Company. (Aug. 11 & 13,

Because nothing goes with a clam strip roll and fries like chamber music: Cape Cod Chamber Music Festival (Aug. 2-19, is featuring performers such as the Borromeo Quartet, four pianists in an eight-hands extravaganza, and eGALitarian Brass in venues all over the Cape. If hills rather than beaches are your speed, take a drive out Route 2 to Gill, where Antenna Cloud Farm — an artists’ retreat and community center directed by composer Michi Wiancko — will be hosting several visiting artists and sponsoring performances on its own hilltop as well as in the surrounding communities, including a two-week experimental institute (Aug. 15 – 28, details TBD, and a collaboration with the Pocumtuck Homelands Festival in Turners Falls (Aug. 6 – 7, featuring Nipmuc flute maker and musician Hawk Henries.

Yo-Yo Ma will take part in a 90th birthday celebration for John Williams at Tanglewood.Lane Turner/Globe Staff/The Boston Globe

Tanglewood (through Sept. 4, still runs the biggest game in the area when it comes to summer classical music, and with several weeks to go in its season and Ozawa Hall newly reopened, there are a bunch of standout events still to come. Check out the Takacs Quartet with bandoneon master Julien Labro in Ozawa Hall (July 27), a 90th birthday party for John Williams with special guests including Yo-Yo Ma and James Taylor (Aug. 20), or a weekend of all five Beethoven piano concertos as performed by the BSO, music director Andris Nelsons, and one of today’s leading Beethoven interpreters, Paul Lewis. (July 29-31)

Mezzo-soprano Denyce Graves will be in the director’s chair for Bizet’s “Carmen” at the Glimmerglass Festival.Jeenah Moon/The New York Times/NYT

Or skip that last one and head instead to Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art in North Adams for Bang on a Can’s LOUD Weekend (July 28-30,, back with a vengeance as a three-day festival featuring a fusion of dance, music, and film, including a semi-improvised suite for guitars performed by composer Phil Kline (“Unsilent Night”) and filmmaker Jim Jarmusch, and a newly composed score by Olga Neuwirth for Austrian director Hans Karl Breslauer’s 1924 satire film “The City Without Jews.”

Even further west, the Glimmerglass Festival (through Aug. 21, in Cooperstown, N.Y. features Bizet’s “Carmen” with mezzo-soprano Denyce Graves (a legendary Carmen in her own right) in the director’s chair, Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “The Sound of Music,” a new children’s opera adaptation of “The Jungle Book” by composer Kamala Sankaram, and more.

A.Z. Madonna can be reached at [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter @knitandlisten.


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