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LISTENING POST: Picks and recommendations for January into February

From bluegrass to classical and music in-between

191109 WFH Reduced
Photo credit: JACOB BELL
STRIPPED-DOWN SOUND: Siblings Sara and Sean Watkins, a/k/a Watkins Family Hour, perform at Variety Playhouse, Saturday, January 15.

Fri., Jan. 7

Bela Fleck & various artists —-  It’s not in Atlanta and it’s sold out, but it’s on the list because Béla Fleck’s My Bluegrass Heart  is a phenomenal musical achievement, the best bluegrass album of 2021 and one of the best albums of the year, regardless of genre. Watching a streaming concert from the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville showcasing the album represents an extra special opportunity. Joining Fleck onstage will be members of bluegrass royalty, such as Sam Bush, Jerry Douglas, Edgar Myer and Stuart Duncan, alongside a posse of young(er) whippersnappers including Chris Thile, Billy Strings, Molly Tuttle, Bryan Sutton, Justin Moses, Sierra Hull and Mark Schatz. — Doug DeLoach

Livestream tickets $22. 9 p.m. ET. The Ryman Auditorium, Nashville, Tennessee. Tickets include 24-hour replay access. https://bit.ly/RymanLivestream

Sun., Jan. 9


Matthew Brown and the St. Luke’s Adult Choir, St. Luke’s Episcopal Church —  St. Luke’s Adult Choir and Matthew Brown present a program of Choral Evensong and organ music. Choral Evensong is a 45-minute long Christian church service in which harmonic choral singing, performed at the approximate even point between active day and restful night, is supposed to induce peaceful contemplation among the congregants. Believers and non-believers alike are welcome to appreciate this tradition, which dates back to at least mid-16th century England and the Protestant Reformation. Reverend Winnie Varghese, rector of St. Luke’s, will officiate the service proper, while staff singers of the St. Luke Adult Choir will perform music by Harrison Oxley, Philip Moore and Grayston Ives. Preceding the Choral Evensong, St. Luke’s Director of Music, Matthew Brown, will perform works by Dieterich Buxtehude, Johann Sebastian Bach, Herbert Howells and Maurice Duruflé on the Alston Memorial Organ, a spectacular instrument with more than 5,000 pipes, eighty-five ranks, plus a number of digital stops.

Free. 4:15 p.m. St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, 435 Peachtree St. N.W.. A reception follows in Budd Hall. Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/6 06494303936969/?ref=newsfeed

Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, Atlanta Symphony Hall — The first concerts of the ASO Delta Classical Series in 2022 are scheduled for Jan. 13 and 15 with guest conductor Kazuki Yamada leading the ASO in the overture to Mozart’s first great choral opera, Idomeneo, Tōru Takemitsu’s Requiem and Schubert’s Symphony No. 5. The program also features composer and piano virtuoso Stephen Hough performing Saint Saëns’ Piano Concerto No. 4.

Ticket prices vary; check the ASO website. Atlanta Symphony Hall, 1280 Peachtree St. N.E., 404-733-4900.

Sat. Jan. 15 


Watkins Family Hour, Variety Playhouse —  Growing up near San Diego, siblings Sara and Sean Watkins played countless concerts at a local pizzeria in Carlsbad with their childhood buddy, Chris Thile. While still in their teens, they began performing as Nickel Creek, which became the darlings of the Americana scene.

In 2002, Sara and Sean formed Watkins Family Hour as a vehicle for playing original material, which didn’t quite fit the Nickel Creek mold, and for collaborating with other musicians including Jackson Browne, Fiona Apple, Nikka Costa and Dawes. Their latest album, Brother Sister , showcases the duo as a singularly formidable musical force.

$24-$48. 8 p.m. Variety Playhouse, 1099 Euclid Avenue N.E., 404-524-7354. Facebook event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/232505435298504/?ref=newsfeed

Sun., Jan. 16


Majid Araim, Tim Crump, No Tomorrow — “Magic Lantern” is the name of an ongoing concert and performance art series organized by multi-instrumentalist and composer Majid Araim. Volume 94 of the series takes place at No Tomorrow, a studio/event space in Underground Atlanta curated by artist, educator, musician and producer Priscilla Smith. The afternoon concert will feature the premiere of two new compositions by Araim. Sharing the “Magic Lantern” spotlight will be saxophonist, clarinetist, composer and veteran of the Atlanta improv scene Tim Crump.

$10 donation. Sun., 4 p.m. No Tomorrow (gallery/ studio), 84 Lower Alabama, Underground Atlanta, 404-578-4430.

Thu.-Sat., Jan. 20-22 


Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, Atlanta Symphony Hall —  Guest conductor Gemma New, winner of the 2021 Solti Conducting Prize, and classical guitarist Miloš Karadaglić return to Symphony Hall for a program that includes Joby Talbot’s concerto  Ink Dark Moon , a piece that pays homage to his Balkan heritage. Also on the program are Rachmaninov’s Vocalise , Sibelius’ Symphony No. 5 and a work by L.A.-based composer and Atlanta Symphony Youth Orchestra alumna Sarah Gibson.

Ticket prices vary; check the ASO website. Atlanta Symphony Hall, 1280 Peachtree St. N.E., 404-7334900.

Sat., Jan. 22 


Regina Carter, Spivey Hall — While Carter has previously performed at the Atlanta Jazz Festival, she brings her quartet to Spivey Hall for the first time. Carter belongs on any list of exceptional jazz violinists along with names like Stuff Smith, Stephane Grappelli, Joe Venuti and Jean Luc-Ponty. A MacArthur “Genius” Fellowship recipient, Carter is an extraordinary creative artist who tours with her own group and as guest soloist with a wide array of performers including Cassandra Wilson, Kenny Barron, Joe Jackson, Billy Joel, Dolly Parton and Special EFX. Her 2020 release, Swing States: Harmony in the Background, features Jon Batiste, John Davera, Alexis Cuadrado, Kabir Saghal and Harvey Mason.

$30-$50. 7:30 p.m. Spivey Hall, 2000 Clayton State Boulevard, Morrow, 678-466-4200.

Sat.-Sun., Jan. 22-30 


The Pirates of Penzance, Cobb Energy Performing Arts Center — The Atlanta Opera’s 2021-22 season continues with The Pirates of Penzance. Arthur Sullivan and William Gilbert’s delightful 19th century romp around the plank features a cast of merry cutthroats vying in one way and another for the affections of the female wards of Major-General Stanley.

Tickets $45-$150. Sat., Jan. 22, 8 p.m. Tue., Jan. 25, 7:30 p.m. Fri., Jan. 28, 8 p.m. Sun., Jan. 30, 3 p.m. Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre, 2800 Cobb Galleria Pkwy., Atlanta, 770-916-2800.

Sun., Jan. 23 


Atlanta Musician’s Orchestra, First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) — Depending on the COVID situation, the Atlanta Musician’s Orchestra will hold its next public concert on Sun., Jan. 23, at First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Decatur. The program will feature works by Mozart, Vaughn Williams, Handel, Bach and Lucas Richman.

Funded by donations. 2 p.m. First Christian Church, 601 W. Ponce de Leon Ave. Decatur Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Atlantamusiciansorch/

Jaimoe and a Jazz Celebration of the Allman Brothers Band, Symphony Hall — Inspired by the album Big Band of Brothers: A Jazz Celebration of the Allman Brothers Band , a special touring ensemble featuring Jaimoe (percussionist for the original Allman Brothers Band), Sammy Miller and The Congregation, plus special guests Lamar Williams, Jr. and Drew Smithers, will perform at Atlanta Symphony Hall. Released in 2019 by New West Records to mark the 50th Anniversary of the Allman Brothers Band’s debut LP, the album features ten jazz interpretations of ABB classics including “Statesboro Blues,” “Hot ‘Lanta,” “Whipping Post” and “Dreams.”

Tickets $39-$185. 8 p.m. Atlanta Symphony Hall, 1280 Peachtree St. N.E., 404-733-4900.

Sat., Jan. 29 


Jeff Crompton and Majid Araim, Plutonian Burrito, No Tomorrow —  “Magic Lantern” Vol. 95 presents Plutonian Burrito, an improv duo from Panama City comprising Charles Pagano (percussion, objects and vocal emissions) and Scott Bazar (homemade instruments, animation). Headlining the bill are Jeff Crompton and Majid Araim, kicking off a mini-tour in support of Home Movie, the duo’s recently released album.

$10 donation. 8 p.m. No Tomorrow (gallery/studio), 84 Lower Alabama, Underground Atlanta, 404-5784430.

Cho-Liang Lin & Friends with the Emory Chamber Music Society, Schwartz Center for Performing Arts — The 2021-22 Emory Chamber Music Society Emerson Evening Series at the Schwartz Center for Performing Arts kicks off the new year with a performance by String Theory with world-renowned violinist ChoLiang Lin & Friends. Named “Instrumentalist of the Year” in 2000 by Musical America Worldwide, Lin will be making his Emory debut, joining the Vega Quartet, violinist Helen Kim, cellist Jesus Castro-Balbi (also making his Emory debut) and others for Mendelssohn’s rousing String Octet (written in 1825 when the composer was 16). The program also includes works by Mozart and Brahms.

Free. 8 p.m. Schwartz Center for Performing Arts: Emerson Concert Hall, 1700 North Decatur Rd., 404-727-5050.

Sat.-Sun., Jan. 29-30 


Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, Atlanta Symphony Hall —  Danish conductor and violinist Nikolaj SzepsZnaider leads the ASO and pianist Saleem Ashkar in a performances of Grieg’s thundering Piano Concerto. The program also features Tchaikovsky’s Symphony no. 6 ( Pathétique ) and Boulanger’s Of a Spring Morning.

Ticket prices vary; check the ASO website. Atlanta Symphony Hall, 1280 Peachtree St. N.E., 404-7334900.

Wed., Feb. 2 


Giwayen Mata, Spivey Hall (streaming event) —  As part of its 2021-2022 Season Young People’s Concerts, Spivey Hall presents a virtual educational performance by Giwayen Mata, an Atlanta-based, all-female dance, percussion and vocal ensemble led by artistic director Tamra Omiyale Harris. Giwayen Mata celebrates the rich tradition of African drumming and African dance with special emphasis on traditional West African music and instruments including djembe, sangban, kenkeni, dununba drums and sekere. Tickets for the livestream event include live interviews, pre-recorded performances and the opportunity for patrons to engage with the artists.

Tickets $10 per household or $50 per classroom (up to 35 viewers).

Sat., Feb. 5


Richard Elliott, Spivey Hall —  Organist Richard Elliott will perform a recital on the famed Albert Schweitzer Memorial Organ, a 79-rank, 3-manual, 4,413-pipe instrument. The program will include original compositions, as well as Pictures at an Exhibition,  Russian composer Modest Mussorgsky’s late 19th century masterwork. As Principal Tabernacle Organist in Salt Lake City, Elliott accompanies the Mormon Tabernacle Choir on the choir’s weekly radio and TV broadcasts wielding the organization’s huge 206-rank ÆolianSkinner organ.

$40. 8 p.m. Spivey Hall, 2000 Clayton State Boulevard, Morrow, 678-466-4200.

Sun., Feb. 6


The Atlanta Chamber Players, Peachtree Road United Methodist Church — The Atlanta Chamber Players returns to the acoustically superb confines of Peachtree Road United Methodist Church with a program headlined by Franz Schubert’s String Quintet in C major (“Cello Quintet”). The performance will feature Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Concertmaster David Coucheron, Helen Hwaya Kim, Catherine Lynn, Rainer Eudeikis, and Brad Ritchie. Also on the program are Shostakovich’s Five Pieces for Two Violins and Piano and Prokofiev’s Overture on Hebrew Themes featuring clarinetist Alcides Rodriguez.

General admission, $20 advance/$25 day of; Seniors, $10 in advance/$15 day of; Students & Educators, Free., 3 p.m. Peachtree Road United Methodist Church, 3180 Peachtree Rd N.E., 404-266-2373. https://fb.me/e/S1X6I2Bj

Gerald Finley and Julius Drake, Spivey Hall — Fans of classical singing are in for a special evening when touring recitalists Grammy Award–winning Canadian bass-baritone Gerald Finley and pianist Julius Drake present a program of lieder and song cycles by Franz Schubert, Hugo Wolf, Peter Lieberson, Michael Tippett and Cole Porter. At 2 p.m., one hour prior to the concert, Clayton State University music professor Dr. Kurt-Alexander Zeller will present a free open to the public talk about the program.

Tickets $30-$75. 8 p.m. Spivey Hall, 2000 Clayton State Boulevard, Morrow, 678-466-4200.




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