By Elaine Hauptman
Flowers may not bloom in January and February, but the Special Trips calendar is alive with color. On Friday, January 11, the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra is offering an “Off the Cuff” series performance of Olivier Messiaen’s “Turangalila Symphonie” conducted by Marin Alsop and featuring pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet. The “Off the Cuff” series performances include a pre-performance discussion by Marin Alsop on a single work, the performance of the work, and are then followed by a question and answer session.
On this evening, Jean Yves Thibaudet will join Marin Alsop for the discussion of the work. This evening’s performance will be an abbreviated version of Messiaen’s enormous work which includes over one hundred musicians. In Sanskrit, the word “Turanga” means movement and rhythm and the word “Lila” is a cosmic game. The instrument, Ondes-Martenot, offers otherworldly sci-fi sounds to the most innovative work of the 20th century. This is a once-in-a-lifetime event, so do not let it pass by.
On Wednesday, January 16, a trip to the National Gallery of Art offers a view of the fantastic photography of Gordon Parks. Mr. Parks, who reflects the scenes of St. Paul and Chicago, was a major photographer for Ebony, Vogue, Fortune, and Life magazines. His relationship with Roy Stryker, Langston Hughes, and Richard Wright gave him tremendous insight into the subject matter of his photographs. This show reflects his work from 1940-1950.
On Thursday evening, January 24, the Baltimore Super Pops is offering a gala performance of Rodgers and Hammerstein. Soloists will be performing songs from The King and I, South Pacific, The Sound of Music, and Oklahoma! Great songs mixed with a drop of nostalgia, terrific vocalists and fabulous acoustics all offer a sensational cocktail of music.
On Tuesday, January 29, you are invited to attend a fabulous fashion exhibition at the National Museum of Women in the Arts. The Rodarte house of fashion is presenting an extraordinary event featuring dreamy dresses. A guided tour has been arranged for Riderwood residents. Each ensemble includes intricate designs and artistic details. You can see the hand embroidery up close, or imagine a famous star walking down the red carpet. There are more than one hundred flowing garments to gasp over. These exquisite garments have been inspired by gardens, so this winter, flowers are in full bloom.
These fashions are a work of art and were a passion project of sisters Kate and Laura Mulleavy, self-taught artists who worked out of their parents’ home in Pasadena, California. Their art is a reflection of their memories and prior presentation experiences.
For those of you who enjoy planning ahead, there is a burst of sunshine in February. On Saturday, February 2, the National Philharmonic offers a program, Chopin: Recollections of Home. Brian Ganz, pianist, and Polish mezzo-soprano Magdalena Wor are performing songs, mazurkas, and the Polonaise in B Flat. If you love Chopin, this is the place to be.
The following week, Saturday, February 9, the Baltimore Symphony and Paul Huang, violinist, will be playing a sparkling program of Russian romanticism and a toss-up of Gershwin with the Khachaturian violin concerto. Mr. Huang is the recipient of the prestigious 2015 Avery Fisher career grant. His playing offers distinctive sound, effortless virtuosity, and eloquent music making. His 1742 ex-Wieniawski Guarneri del Gesu is on loan through the efforts of the Stradivari Society of Chicago. This concert offers an opportunity to hear an emerging artist play an extraordinary instrument.
On Saturday, February 16, the BSO is performing Ravel’s Bolero as well as the Liszt Piano Concerto No. 1. Conrad Tao is the pianist. Mr. Tao, who is a mere twenty-four years old, is a pianist, violinist, and composer. He has been called a “pianist on tap shoes” for his fantastic technique, exquisite expression, and passion for music. The program will also include Ravel’s Rhapsodie Espagnole.
The February 20 matinee performance of The Heiress at the Arena Stage offers a classic play based on the novel Washington Square by Henry James. The themes of betrayal, a disapproving and resentful father, and a woman who takes care of her own destiny lead to a compelling afternoon of theater. A post-show discussion will follow this afternoon performance.
If you love, respect, swoon over, or just appreciate crafts, the American Crafts show in Baltimore is a “must see” event. Over 1,500 top contemporary crafts artists will be displaying their artwork on Friday, February 22. Sign up immediately. This trip will certainly be over-subscribed.
Kudos to Janet Birchfield for making our winter season so exciting.