Princeton University Concerts announces 2017-18 season

Organizers for the Princeton University Concerts are calling the upcoming season one of the most diverse in its 124-year history. Performers include Pianist Sir András Schiff, the Brentano String Quartet, the Tenebrae Choir, the Artemis String Quartet, the Emerson String Quartet and more. The “all in the family” series returns and features “Baby Got Bach,” back by popular demand.

“This upcoming season truly celebrates diversity and its many forms — something for which I strive always, but which is especially important as we look toward our pillar 125th anniversary season in 2018-19,” Princeton University Concerts Director Marna Seltzer said. “Chamber music has the incredible ability to bring not only people together, but also an endless array of cultures, traditions, time-periods, and styles. I am very excited to explore this extensive, ever-surprising capacity through the many events that our 2017-18 season holds as we continue to together shape and cherish the future of classical music.”

Tickets for all of the programs on the 2017-2018 season starting at $10. Subscription packages for the 2017-2018 season will go on sale in May and can be ordered online at princetonuniversityconcerts.org or by phone at 609-258-2800 between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. The full schedule follows.



A series on nine Thursday-night performances features classical music performed by renowned artists.  Concerts at 8 p.m. at Richardson Auditorium in Alexander Hall at Princeton University unless otherwise noted.

Thursday, October 12 – QUATUOR MOSAÏQUES

MOZART String Quartet No. 17 in B-flat Major, K. 458 “The Hunt”
MOZART String Quartet No. 21 in D Minor, K. 421
HAYDN String Quartet in C Major, Op. 20, No. 2, HOB III:32

The 2017-18 Concerts Classics Series kicks off with a period instrument quartet. Vienna’s Gramophone Award-winning Quatuor Mosaïques is known for the group’s interpretations of 18th-century classics on gut-stringed instruments,

Thursday, October 26 – TABEA ZIMMERMANN, Viola and THOMAS HOPPE, Piano

HINDEMITH Viola Sonata Op. 25, No. 4

SCHUBERT Viola Sonata in A Minor, D. 821 “Arpeggione”

SHULAMIT RAN Perfect Storm

SCHUMANN Märchenbilder for Viola and Piano, Op. 113

BRAHMS Sonata for Viola and Piano in F Minor, Op. 120, No. 1

Tabea Zimmermann is regularly cited as the world’s greatest living violist, Two years ago she made her Princeton debut, She returns with pianist Thomas Hoppe, performing the cornerstones of the viola sonata repertoire.

Thursday, November 9 – BENJAMIN GROSVENOR, Piano

J.S. BACH French Suite No. 5 in G Major, BWV 816

BRAHMS Four Klavierstücke, Op. 119

BRETT DEAN Hommage à Brahms

DEBUSSY Prélude à l’après-midi d’un faune (arr. Leonard Borwick/George Copeland)

BERG Piano Sonata, Op. 1

RAVEL Gaspard de la nuit

Benjamin Grosvenor, 24, is quickly becoming one of the world’s most decorated young pianists. When he signed to Decca Records in 2011, he became the youngest British musician ever to do so, and since then he has appeared with dozens of major orchestras on five continents.

Thursday, February 15 – BRENTANO STRING QUARTET and JONATHAN BISS, Piano

MOZART String Quartet No. 19 in C Major, K. 465 “Dissonance”
WEBERN 6 Bagatellen for String Quartet, Op. 9 / SCHUBERT Minuets, D. 89
ELGAR Piano Quintet in A Minor, Op. 84

For thirteen years, the Brentano String Quartet was Princeton University’s quartet-in-residence. In 2014, they moved on to the same post at Yale School of Music, replacing the Tokyo String Quartet after their 37-year tenure. The home team finally returns and is joined by another Princeton veteran, pianist Jonathan Biss, for a program includes the lush and rarely heard Elgar Piano Quintet.

Thursday, March 15 – TENEBRAE CHOIR, Nigel Short, Artistic Director

This performance will take place at 8 p.m. in the Princeton University Chapel.

OWAIN PARK Footsteps
JOBY TALBOT Path of Miracles

London’s 17-voice Tenebrae Choir, founded and directed by former King’s Singer Nigel Short, is one of the world’s leading vocal ensembles. The choir’s repertoire spans five centuries and celebrates new works.  The program on the program includes the new piece “Footsteps” by British choral composer and rising star Owain Park. The piece was commissioned by Tenebrae as a companion to Path of Miracles, and is scored for two choirs; Princeton’s Glee Club will join Tenebrae onstage for this piece.

Thursday, March 29 – SIR ANDRÁS SCHIFF, Piano

MENDELSSOHN –  in F-sharp Minor, Op. 28
BEETHOVEN Piano Sonata No. 24 in F-sharp Major, Op. 78
BRAHMS  8 Klavierstücke, Op. 76
BRAHMS 7 Fantasien, Op. 116
BACH English Suite No. 6 in D Minor, BWV 811

Over a four-decade career, pianist András Schiff has attained legendary status as one of the instrument’s all-time greats, amassing Grammys, Gramophones, and even Knighthood for his contribution to the arts. His interpretations of Bach’s keyboard music are perhaps the most influential since Glenn Gould, publicly denouncing use of the sustain pedal in favor of lean, clear counterpoint.


MOZART String Quartet No. 23 in F Major, K. 590

SHOSTAKOVICH String Quartet No. 7 in F-Sharp Minor, Op. 108

SCHUMANN String Quartet in A Major, Op. 41, No. 3

Since their formation in Lübeck, Germany in 1989, the Artemis Quartet has steadily risen to the top-tier of European chamber music, hosting regular series in Vienna, Berlin, and Amsterdam.

Thursday, April 12 – LAWRENCE BROWNLEE, Tenor*

Schumann’s Dichterliebe and African American Spirituals

Richardson Auditorium will transform into the Metropolitan Opera stage for an evening as tenor Lawrence Brownlee visits for a program of songs. Over the last five years, Brownlee has performed at nearly every major opera house. Recently, he has turned his attention to race relations in America, releasing a CD of spirituals and other songs that engage with his African-American roots, in tribute to Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, and the Black Lives Matter movement.

Thursday, May 3 – TRULS MØRK, Cello and BEHZOD ABDURAIMOV, Piano

RACHMANINOFF Two Pieces for Cello and Piano, Op. 2

GRIEG Cello Sonata in A Minor, Op. 36

GRIEG Intermezzo in A Minor for Cello and Piano

RACHMANINOFF Cello Sonata in G Minor, Op. 19

Grammy Award-winning Norwegian cellist Truls Mørk is joined by Uzbek pianist Behzod Abduraimov in a program of chamber music by two great composers from their respective homelands: Norway’s Edvard Grieg and Russia’s Sergei Rachmaninoff. Abduraimov made his Princeton debut in 2013 as a relatively unknown performer, and has gone on to perform at Carnegie Hall.


Thursday, September 28 – the EMERSON STRING QUARTET


8 p.m. at Richardson Auditorium in Alexander Hall

A music-theatre piece for the EMERSON STRING QUARTET and seven actors, including Len Cariou and Jay Sanders, directed by James Glossman.

Through a complete performance of Dmitri Shostakovich’s 14th String Quartet, and accompanied by an ensemble of seven actors and multimedia projections, this special event program will weave the tale of the composer’s 50-year obsessive quest to create an opera from Chekhov’s theatrical chamber masterpiece about love, art, madness, and freedom. The piece traces the Shostakovich’s persistent attempts to retell Chekhov’s haunting and heroic story of a writer struggling for his sanity, only to be sidetracked again and again by his own struggle to survive as an artist amid the ever-changing imperatives of Stalin’s Soviet state.


Performances Up Close will spotlight the importance of vernacular music within the classical music tradition, bringing performances that blend “concert hall” repertoire with dances, drinking tunes, and street music. The four concerts on this series explore the many facets of classical and folk repertoire’s transformative potential.

All of the concerts are at 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. at Richardson Auditorium in Alexander Hall unless otherwise noted.

Thursday, October 5 – BAROKKSOLISTENE, Bjarte Eike, Artistic Director

PUC125’s third season begins with a trip to the tavern, led by the Norwegian Baroque ensemble Barokksolistene. The 6 p.m  in-the-round performance in Richardson features music from English theatres and courts in the time of Henry Purcell, followed by a 9 p.m. “Alehouse Session” of songs and melodies from the pubs and taverns of 17th century England. The Alehouse Session will take place in the newly opened Lewis Center Complex for the Arts to celebrate its arrival on campus.

Thursday, November 16 – CRISTINA PATO, Gaita, with the CRISTINA PATO QUARTET

Cristina Pato is an active member of Yo-Yo Ma’s Silk Road Ensemble. In two different programs with her quartet, At 6 p.m., she samples Latino music from her most recent CD “Latina,” and at 9 p.m. the ensemble returns to explore the gaita’s (Galician bagpipe’s) folk roots and legacy with selections from “Migrations.”

Thursday, February 8 – JENNIFER KOH, Violin

Although J.S. Bach is not typically categorized as “folk music,” much of his work found origins in the rhythms, tunes, and oral traditions of dance. Violinist Jennifer Koh explores these connections in a program based on one of Bach’s greatest dances, the “Chaconne” from his Violin Partita in D Minor. She will perform “Chaconne”, followed by contemporary music that explicitly looks to it for inspiration. Koh is a champion of contemporary music, having premiered over 50 works written for her.

Wednesday, February 28 – DANISH STRING QUARTET

The Danish String Quartet visited Richardson Auditorium in 2014. Each of the two PUC125 programs will showcases a broad range of chamber music’s possibilities. Classical music will be performed at 6 p.m., and arrangements of Scandinavian folk tunes will be performed at 9 p.m.


Two concerts offer kids of all ages a chance to encounter chamber music in person at Richardson Auditorium in Alexander Hall. Older kids, ages 6-12, will be able to enjoy PUC’s staple family concert “Meet the Music” in the fall with musicians from The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. Pre-schoolers are welcomed in the spring when “Baby Got Bach,” hosted by pianist Orli Shaham.

Both concerts are at 1 p.m. at Richardson Auditorium in Alexander Hall

Saturday, November 4 – MEET THE MUSIC: Four Harmonious Friends

A new musical and magical version of a very ancient story about an elephant, a monkey, a rabbit, and a bird who must learn to get along from the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. Featuring a Japanese flute (shinobue), Irish folk drums, a cello, and bass trombone, musicians from the Silk Road Project and Global Musicians Workshop join composer and host Bruce Adolphe to play his new-and-ancient tale, plus new and improvised music on unusual instruments.

Saturday, March 17 – “BABY GOT BACH”

Pianist and host Orli Shaham will introduce pre-school-aged kids to the joy of live classical music. She will be joined by special guest artists the Rolston String Quartet, First Prize winners of the prestigious Banff International String Quartet Competition in 2016, in a program that highlights chamber music for string instruments with piano.


Formed in 1994-95, this mixed ensemble comprises Princeton’s performance faculty, distinguished guest artists, and Princeton students. Richardson Chamber Players concerts take place on Sundays at 3 p.m. in Richardson Auditorium.

Sunday, November 19

“Bohemia: Echoes of Vltava” – A musical journey down the Vltava river through works by Czech composers Antonín Dvořák, Josef Suk, Leoš Janáček, and BedřichSmetana.

Sunday, March 11

“Bernstein and Friends: A Centennial Celebration” – A tribute to the legendary composer and conductor featuring his compositions as well as those of contemporaries Aaron Copland, William Schuman, and Lukas Foss.

Sunday, April 15

“Voices of America: Celebrating African-American Composers” – A showcase of masterpieces by Daniel Bernard Roumain, Alvin Singleton, George Walker, and others.