Below, a selection of highlights to get you/us through the rest of the month — plus some live music for Halloween, provided you’re not too spooked to leave the house.
'32 Bright Clouds'
The Israeli-American pianist Yael Weiss has spent the last few years curating and performing “32 Bright Clouds,” a commission project that pairs 32 composers from around the globe with each of Beethoven’s 32 piano sonatas to inspire new works of which Weiss then gives premiere performances. So far, over a dozen composers including Aida Shirazi (Iran), Alfred Wong (Hong Kong) and George Mensah Essilfie (Ghana) have contributed an equally diverse range of compositions — despite their loose unity through required quotation of the “peace motif” from the final section of Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis.
On Oct. 17 at 7:30 p.m., a recital originally arranged to coincide with the National Museum of Asian Art’s exhibition “Age Old Cities: A Virtual Journey from Palmyra to Mosul,” will instead arrive virtually as a YouTube Premiere Event, with Weiss premiering new works by Milad Yousufi (Afganistan), Malek Jandali (Syria), Sidney Boquiren (Philippines) and Saed Haddad (Jordan), as well as interviews with Yousufi and Boquiren.
Register to view at 32brightclouds.com/concerts.
What’s an orchestra to do when a global pandemic levels the whole season? Do it anyway. The National Philharmonic announced it would forge ahead with an entirely free, entirely virtual, 15-concert season, streaming every other Sunday at 2 p.m., starting Oct. 25. The biweekly programs will toggle between orchestral concerts held at Strathmore and led by music director and conductor Piotr Gajewski and chamber recitals staged at AMP by Strathmore led by newly appointed concertmaster Laura Colgate.
The season opener finds concertmasters Nurit Bar-Josef (of the NSO) and Jonathan Carney (of the BSO) joining the Phil for a 250th birthday celebration of Beethoven, pairing two of his Romances (Ops. 40 & 50) with his first symphony. (Party hats not required but encouraged — the guy’s had a rough sesquicentennial.)
For schedule and access to streams, go to nationalphilharmonic.org.
Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts (Katonah, N.Y.) has another virtual season worth keeping tabs on. It’s a compact season of six concerts, but it ranges from jazz (Aaron Diehl Trio, Oct. 16), to vocal (bass-baritone Dashon Burton, Nov. 8), to cabaret (Laura Osnes & Tony Yazbeck, Nov. 20), to classical (Callisto Quartet, Nov. 1).
Especially promising is an appearance by Avery Fisher Prize winner and MacArthur Fellow pianist Jeremy Denk (Oct. 25), who plans a program of works by Mozart, Thomas “Blind Tom” Wiggins, Tania León, Scott Joplin and Frederic Rzewski, and a birthday card in the form of Beethoven’s final piano sonata (Op. 111).
For a schedule and tickets ($10-$125), go to caramoor.org.
The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra adds to its already ample “BSO OffStage” digital stage with “BSO Sessions,” a new weekly pay-per-view concert series that combines hi-def recordings from a freshly-mic’d Meyerhoff Hall with interviews, rehearsal footage and a documentary eye. Forthcoming episodes will feature the work of violinist, composer and educator Jessie Montgomery (Oct. 21); unpack a trio of “hidden treasures” by Florence Price, Irving Fine and Dmitri Shostakovich (Oct. 28); and explore works by Caroline Shaw, Bryce Dessner and Michael Abels.
For schedule and tickets ($10), go to BSOmusic.org/OffStage.
New York’s Baruch Performing Arts Center and Opera Omaha pair up to present the virtual premiere of “dwb (driving while black),” a new chamber opera in the form of a searing 50-minute sung drama, performed by soprano (and librettist) Roberta Gumbel, composed by Susan Kander and aimed squarely at the center of the nation’s ongoing reckoning with racial injustice. Chip Miller directs this stream-tailored adaptation, and New Morse Code — the duo of Hannah Collins (cello) and Michael Compitello (percussion) — provides a tense and clangorous setting. It’s viewable October 23 through October 29 (after a requested donation).
Register to view at baruch.cuny.edu/calendar.
'Sounds of Joy & Light'
With the new season comes another change as the Alexandria-based Classical Movements refreshes its series of socially-distanced chamber concerts with a new name and 22 more performances, starting on Halloween and continuing through December 19.
On Oct. 31, magician and cellist Drew Owen — a.k.a. Musico the Magnificent — will be joined by special guest violist Elizabeth Pulju-Owen for a family-friendly and sufficiently spooky pair of afternoon concerts (1 p.m. and 2:30 p.m.) complete with a costume contest and plenty of “no-contact” treats. That evening, they’ll clear the cobwebs for “A Venetian Halloween,” featuring NSO musicians playing an autumnal chunk of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons as well as Puccini’s “Crisantemi.” (If this isn’t a perfect opportunity to step up your mask game, I’m not sure what is.)
For schedule and tickets ($40-$45) go to classicalmovements.com.