Celebrity Series to serve up variety, diversity in 2021-22 season

June 7, 2021 at 12:10 am

By Aaron Keebaugh

Brooklyn Rider will perform three concerts in the Celebrity Series’ 2021-22 season

Live performances will finally return to Boston with the Celebrity Series’ 2021-2022 season.

Beginning September 25, the series will present 34 live concerts–little more than half its usual pre-pandemic offerings. All will showcase a wide variety of performers in both new and familiar works.

As with past years, some of the series’ concerts will take place in Symphony Hall and Pickman Hall. But this season performances will expand to include other Boston venues, such as the GBH Calderwood Studio, the Artists for Humanity EpiCenter, the Multicultural Arts Center in Cambridge, the Arlington Street Church, and First Church in Cambridge.

Headlining the season will be violinist-conductor Joshua Bell and the orchestra of the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields, who will offer a program of Bach, Barber, and Beethoven March 6, 2022. Pianist Emanuel Ax, violinist Leonidas Kavakos, and cellist Yo-Yo Ma will team up for an all-Beethoven program March 9. And Daniil Trifonov makes his return to the Celebrity Series with a solo recital of works by Prokofiev, Szymanowski, Debussy, and Brahms November 14. All will take place in Symphony Hall.

The enterprising Brooklyn Rider String quartet will offer three separate performances next season. Their first, which will take place October 7, will feature original music by Kinan Azmeh, Gonzalo Grau, Matana Roberts, and the premiere of a new work by Boston-based composer Osvaldo Golijov. Mezzo-soprano Anne Sofie von Otter joins Brooklyn Rider on November 12 for a program entitled “Songs of Love and Death,” featuring music of Schubert and the Boston premiere of Rufus Wainwright’s Trois valses anglaise. The quartet will join mandolinist Avi Avital for a performance on March 18, 2022. All concerts will take place at the GBH Calderwood Studio.

The Danish String Quartet returns to the Celebrity Series on January 30, 2022 at First Church in Cambridge. Their wide-ranging program will explore music by Marc-Antoine Charpentier and John Adams along with Schubert’s String Quartet in G major, D. 887.

Other musicians returning to the Celebrity Series this season include pianist Jeremy Denk, who will perform the first book of Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier on April 2 and 3, 2022 at the GBH Calderwood Studio. The Takács Quartet and bandoneonist Julien Labro will traverse music by Bryce Dressner and Clarice Assad alongside Takács’s reading of Ravel’s String Quartet in F major April 30, 2022 at the First Church in Cambridge. Cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason and pianist Isata Kanneh-Mason will appear in Symphony Hall for a program of Beethoven, Shostakovich, Frank Bridge, and Britten May 7, 2022.

As for new works, the Celebrity Series has commissioned quartets by five composers of color through the Neighborhood Arts program. Natalie Joachim, Valerie Coleman, Amir Bitran, Paul Desenne, and Daniel Bernard Roumain will each compose a five-minute work as part of Four by One, to be performed in March-April 2022 in both live and streamed concerts.

The Just and the Blind, a new social justice project presented by the Celebrity Series, will tell the stories of incarcerated youth. The multi-media performance, which will offered April 1 and 2 at the Emerson Paramount Center, features text by Marc Bamuthi and music by Daniel Bernard Roumain.

Imani Winds will appear alongside the Catalyst Quartet for a program entitled “(im)migration: music of change,” featuring the Boston premiere of Sergeant McCauley by Jessie Montgomery. Other works to be heard will include Valerie Coleman’s arrangement of Afro Blue by Ramón “Mongo” Santamaria, Florence Price’s Negro Folksongs in Counterpoint, and Roberto Sierra’s Concierto de Cámara. The concert will take place March 5 at the First Church in Cambridge.

Performers making their debuts with the Celebrity Series next season include popular Roomful of Teeth bass-baritone Dashon Burton, who will appear in solo recital January 19, 2022 at Pickman Hall (The program will be announced at a later date). Pianist Conrad Tao also makes his in-person Celebrity Series debut December 1 at the same location with a program of Bach, Schumann, John Adams, Jason Eckardt, and Fred Hersch.

Other debuts include baritone Benjamin Appl on January 26, 2022; pianist Alexander Malofeev in music by Mozart, Schubert, Medtner, and Rachmaninoff, February 2; and violinist Simone Porter with a program of Reena Esmail, Andrew Norman, Heinrich Biber, Esa Pkka Salonen, and César Franck February 9. All concerts will take place at Pickman Hall.

Rob Kapilow’s “What Makes it Great?” series will explore the relationships between the music of Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe on January 21, 2022 at the Calderwood Studio.

The Celebrity Series will also offer a multi-night jazz festival in March 2022 at the Artists for Humanity EpiCenter.

For similar styles of music, Bela Fleck will bring “My Bluegrass Heart” to the Berklee Performance center September 25. The concert will feature guitarist Bryan Sutton, fiddler Michael Cleveland, mandolinist Sierra Hull, and bassist/ multi-instrumentalist Mark Schatz.

The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, a series regular, will return to Boston April 28-May 1, 2022 at the Boch Center Wang Theatre.

Tickets for performances running September to January will go on sale August 24. Tickets for performances from February to May 2022 will be available in the fall. celebrityseries.org; 617-482-2595

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