Although summer officially begins tonight, and much of the country’s classical music activity has moved on to cooler climes, there are some venues willing to put on things in the more oppressive months.
One is the Community Arts Program at the Coral Gables Congregational United Church of Christ, which launched its summer series of classical and jazz programs earlier this month with a visit from the Preservation Hall Jazz Band of New Orleans.
Tomorrow night, the series welcomes the American guitarist and composer Andrew York, who was for 16 years a member of the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet.
He’s a fine player, both of standard repertory and his own music; his concert in Coral Gables, in fact, will feature primarily his own music. On the program are single pieces including Albaycin, Yagmur, Centerpeace and Mechanism, and two multi-movement works, Glimmerings and Woven Harmony. He’ll also play most of the Fifth Cello Suite (in C minor, BWV 1011) of J.S. Bach. (Here’s a YouTube performance of him playing Woven Harmony.)
Tickets are $30-$45 for the 8 p.m. concert; the church is right down DeSoto Boulevard from the Biltmore Hotel. For tickets or more information, call 305-448-7421, ext. 120, or send an email to info@CommunityArtsProgram.org.
Next up for classical fans in the series is the excellent Ahn Trio on July 19, who will play a bold program of music by Kenji Bunch, Nelson Ayres, David Balakrishnan and Pat Metheny.
Further north, it wouldn’t be summer without the Palm Beach Chamber Music Festival. This summer series, which features musicians from Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade counties, has been running for 20 years, ever since three musicians from the Palm Beach Opera Orchestra were looking around for something to do during the off-season.
The 21st season of the festival, which begins July 6, features 12 concerts over four weeks, three each weekend in venues in Palm Beach Gardens, West Palm Beach and Delray Beach. Featured works this season include a septet by Alexandre Tansman; the Schubert song cycle The Shepherd on the Rock (with mezzo-soprano Sonia Santiago, a Miami native); the much-loved First Piano Quartet (in G minor, Op. 25) of Brahms; and Contrasts, the trio for piano, clarinet and violin Bela Bartok composed for jazz clarinetist Benny Goodman and violinist Josef Szigeti.
This festival has become an important one for South Florida, as there is almost nothing else like it at this time of year. Indeed, the only thing that it ever competed with over its two decades was the Beethoven on the Beach Festival of the late Florida Philharmonic, and that was something of a different operation.
The chamber festival is also unique in that so much of the music heard on the programs comes out of the woodwind rather than the string repertory. That has led to six excellent discs on Boca Raton’s Klavier label in which rarely heard but marvelous music gets its due in first-rate performances.
Tickets for the festival are $25 per concert; each program is given three times, once each on Friday night (West Palm), Saturday night (Palm Beach Gardens) and Sunday afternoon (Delray Beach). Call 800-330-6874 or visit www.pbcmf.org.