March madness is
upon us with several worthy and intriguing events in the next
two weeks from a variety of organizations and local presenters.
Musical worlds will collide with a triumvirate of overlapping
festivals offering everything from Bach to duo-piano recitals
and avant-garde performance art.
The Miami International Piano Festival will open the first
installment of its seventh season with the Master Series at
the Broward Center's Amaturo Theater running Thursday through
March 14. In addition to lectures and screenings of films
by Bruno Monsaingeon, there will be keyboard performances
by several esteemed artists, many of whom are returning from
The festival will open Thursday at 8:15 p.m. with a chamber
concert featuring violinist Gilles Apap, pianist Eric Ferrand
N'Kaoua and violist Monsaingeon in music of Brahms, Ravel,
de Falla, Shostakovich and Enescu.
Ukrainian pianist Konstantin Lifschitz will offer an intensely
demanding recital March 12 with Schubert's Wanderer Fantasy,
Liszt's Grande Paganini Etudes, Beethoven's Hammerklavier
Sonata (No. 29), the Sonata ricercata by Boris Yoffe and The
Butterflies and the Birds of Paradise by Martinu.
On March 13 Francesco Libetta and Ilya Itin will again join
forces for a duo-piano program, which includes Scriabin's
Fantasy, Rachmaninoff's Symphonic Dances and Libetta's own
two-piano transcription of Rimsky-Korsakov's Scheherazade.
The festival will conclude March 14 with appearances by two
widely hailed young pianists. The first program at 3 p.m.
offers much-anticipated local debuts by 12-year-old keyboard
phenom Kit Armstrong and 16-year-old jazz prodigy Eldar Djangirov.
Mihaela Ursuleasa's evening program will close the Master
Series with Robert Schumann's Davidbundlertänze, the
Op. 6 Pieces by Clara Schumann, Scriabin's Op. 65 Etudes and
Brahms' Fantasies, Op. 116.
Lectures and film screenings begin an hour before performances.
Tickets are $15-$50 with $160 for packages to all events.
Call 954-462-0222 or go online to www.browardcenter.com or
the festival Web site at www.miamipianofest.com.
If your taste runs more to Bach than Busoni, the Miami Bach
Society celebrates the fifth season of its Tropical Baroque
Music Festival starting Saturday night. This year's lineup
offers several excellent international musicians through March
14 at a variety of Coral Gables venues.
Lydian Steel, the Trinidadian steel drum band, will return
to open the series with their unique take on popular Baroque
music. The free outdoor performance starts at 7:30 p.m. at
Merrick Park on LeJeune Road between Bird Road and San Lorenzo
Among the highlights is the South Florida debut of the Netherlands
Bach Society with celebrated recorder virtuoso Marion Verbruggen.
Concert time is 8 p.m. Tuesday at Coral Gables Congregational
Church, 3010 DeSoto Blvd. Also the anarchic English early-music
ensemble Red Priest will perform March 13, and the festival
will close with the traditional outdoor concert of Handel's
Royal Fireworks Music at the Biltmore Hotel. Tickets are $25,
$35 for preferred seating. For information and venues, call
305-669-1376 or go online to miamibachsociety.org.
Change of pace
For something completely different, there is the Subtropics
Festival, which opened its 16th season this week. Running
through April 10, the envelope-pushing experimental music
festival will serve up a far-flung array of avant-garde events
and ear-stretching performances.
Tonight at 10 composer-violinist Malcolm Goldstein will perform
at PS 742, 1165 SW Sixth St. in Miami's Little Havana. The
Canadian "sonar poet" will present his "soundings,"
which combine environmental and instrumental sounds using
improvisational and computer-based techniques.
Gustavo Matamoros will host the festival's never-boring late-night
marathon from 9 p.m. to midnight Saturday, also at PS 742.
"Surreal Saturday" will present a broad spectrum
of artists working in different sound disciplines, including
selections from Beast, an electro-acoustic work for trombone
by David Manson, and Moir Drammaz in a "telephone performance"
connecting Nantes, Warsaw and Katowice. Miami artists Renee
Barge and Kerry Ware, Needle and Randall Beaver will also
Future events include the German electrical cellist Fried
Dähn on March 12 and 13, Dadaist sound poet Jaap Blonk
on March 18-20 and the Bugallo-Williams Piano Duo performing
music of piano-roll composer Conlon Nancarrow on March 24.
Tickets to most events are $10, $8 for members, students and
seniors. Call 305-981-0600 or go online to www.subtropics.org.
The New World Symphony is back from its trip to Rome's Santa
Cecilia Academy, where the musicians received largely positive
notices from the Italian press. Luigi Bellingardi wrote in
Corrierre della Serra that the "high level of professionalism,
artistry and talent should be the envy of all of the world's
orchestras." L'Unita said the performance was "a
triumph for the young virtuosos under the baton of Michael
The New World will offer its own brand of musical adventure
this Saturday with the second Sounds of the Times event of
the season. Reinbert de Leeuw will conduct a fascinating program
pairing Hungary's two leading modernist composers, György
Ligeti and György Kurtag. The program will offer Ligeti's
Chamber Concerto and Melodien as well as the North American
premiere of Kurtag's "...concertante...". The evening
will conclude with the suite from Bartok's lurid ballet The
Performance time is 7:30 p.m. at Miami Beach's Lincoln Theatre,
541 Lincoln Road. Tickets are $12. Call 305-673-331 or go
online to www.nws.org.
Lawrence A. Johnson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org