McCarter Theatre Center’s 2015-2016 music series features some of the world’s most celebrated artists. Highlights of the season include the return of pianists Mitsuko Uchida and Emanuel Ax, debuts American bass-baritone Eric Owens and Grammy-nominated mandolinist Avi Avital, and McCarter’s encore presentation of Handel’s Messiah.
The 10-show music series is curated by special programming Director William W. Lockwood.
The full schedule:
Eric Owens, Tuesday, Oct. 20, 7:30 p.m. – Eric Owens, a bass-baritone described by The New York Times as “towering” and “magnificent”, makes his McCarter debut with an eclectic program spanning orchestral, recital, and opera. A Philadelphia native, Owens brings his powerful poise, expansive voice, and acting faculties to stages around the world. Owens is a presence which, according to the Chicago Sun Times, “speaks to you even in his silences… and shakes you when he sings”.
Chanticleer, Wednesday, Nov. 4, 7:30 p.m. – With its seamless blend of 12 a cappella all-male voices, Chanticleer‘s repertoire covers all vocal literature bases: from Gregorian chant, Renaissance polyphony and Romantic art song, to jazz and popular genres like spirituals and world music. Winner of two Grammys, Chanticleer fascinates and enthralls through luxurious accuracy of intonation, purity of blend, and swagger of style.
Bach’s Brandenburgs with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Monday, Dec. 14, 7:30 p.m. – This Princeton holiday tradition brings together the 20-plus resident members of The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center plus guest artists in an all-star lineup performing one of music’s most enduring masterpieces all in one evening, held in the historic Richardson Auditorium.
Handel’s Messiah withe the New Jersey Symphony Chamber Orchestra, Friday, Dec. 18., 7:30 p.m. – Handel’s Messiah joins the American Repertory Ballet’s Nutcracker and McCarter’s production of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol to constitute an unofficial “Holiday Season Troika” at McCarter. For the second consecutive year, McCarter join forces with the New Jersey Symphony to offer Handel’s masterpiece at Richardson Auditorium on the Princeton University campus. This performance is a joint presentation of McCarter Theatre and the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra.
Pianist Mitsuko Uchida, Saturday, Feb. 20, 7 p.m. – Mitsuko Uchida’s presence at McCarter is always a singular event. A reputation second to none, Uchida maintains an inspired balance of head and heart in everything she plays. Returning to McCarter for the first time since 2010, her program will include Berg’s Piano Sonata, Schubert’s Four Impromptus, Op. 90, and Schumann’s Piano Sonata No. 1.
Mandolinist Avi Avital and Guests, Saturday, March 12, 8 p.m. – Acknowledged by the New York Times for his “stunning agility”, Grammy-nominated mandolinist Avi Avital will present an adventurous program supported by accordionist Ksenija Sidorova and percussionist Itama Doari. Continually walking the knife’s edge between folk and classical music, Avital defies expectations with works spanning from concertos by Bach and Vivaldi to Bartok’s Romanian Dances and music by De Falla, Villa-Lobos, and Dvořák.
Mnozil Brass Yes! Yes! Yes!, Friday, April 1, 8 p.m. – A septet from Vienna, Mnozil Brass blends technical virtuosity with comedic brilliance. They play the classics – Bach and such, but they’ll also dive into Moon River, Earth Wind & Fire, Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson, and Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody. Every Mnozil Brass concert is executed with a heavy dose of Viennese “schmah” which roughly translates as a kind of endearing sarcastic charm.
All Bach Program with Pianist Richard Goode, Tuesday, April 5, 7:30 p.m. – Long admired as a leading interpreter of classical and romantic music, Richard Goode brings emotional power and depth to all he plays, be it the sonatas of Mozart and Beethoven or the keyboard music of Bach. He has chosen an all-Bach program for his return to McCarter, including one of the French Suites, the Partita No. 2, the Italian Concerto, and 15 Sinfonias.
Violinist Midori, Sunday, April 17, 3 p.m. – Since her debut with the New York Philharmonic at the age of 11, Midori has established a record of achievement that sets her apart as a master musician and innovator. Intense and forceful, she is also a gifted educator and community engagement activist. Her McCarter program covers all bases: Sonatas by Bach, Prokofiev and Brahms, plus Tchaikovsky’s Waltz-Scherzo.
Pianist Emanuel Ax, Monday, April 25, 7:30 p.m. – Emanuel Ax’s first McCarter recital dates back to 1981 and over the years has become a favorite to Princeton audiences. For his latest engagement, he will be focusing on one of his specialties: the Beethoven Piano Sonatas, including two of his “greatest hits”—No. 8, Op. 13 (Pathétique) and the Appassionata, No. 23, Op. 57 – regarded as the most technically challenging of the Beethoven sonatas. Adding to this impressive program will be Beethoven’s sonata No. 2, Op. 2 as well.
Subscriptions and membership packages for the 2015-2016 music season are available by calling McCarter Theatre Center at (609) 258-5050, online at www.mccarter.org, or in person at the McCarter Theatre Ticket Office, which is located at 91 University Place in Princeton.
Single tickets covering events from October through December of 2015 go on sale to the general public on July 15 at 10 a.m. Sale dates for 2016 events will be announced at a later date.