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Classical music

Critic's picks

A Far Cry (performing in Rockport this past June) will play Bach, Beethoven, and more at Jordan Hall Sept. 23. A Far Cry (performing in Rockport this past June) will play Bach, Beethoven, and more at Jordan Hall Sept. 23. (Lisa Poole for The Boston Globe/File)
By Jeremy Eichler
Globe Staff / September 11, 2011

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HANDEL AND HAYDN SOCIETY Harry Christophers opens the new H&H season with a program of mostly Haydn and Mozart, including the latter’s Piano Concerto No. 22, with fortepianist Kristian Bezuidenhout. Sept. 23 and 25. Symphony Hall. 617-266-3605. www.handelandhaydn.org

A FAR CRY The self-conducted chamber orchestra takes on Arvo Pärt’s “Fratres,’’ Steve Reich’s Triple Quartet, Vaughan Williams’s Tallis Fantasia, Bach’s Contrapunctus XIV, and Beethoven’s “Grosse Fuge.’’ Sept. 23. Jordan Hall. $27; discounts for students and seniors. 617-585-1260. www.necmusic.edu

BOSTON CLASSICAL ORCHESTRA Steven Lipsitt’s ensemble starts off with Rossini, Saint-Saens (Cello Concerto with Allison Eldredge), and Beethoven (“Eroica’’ Symphony). Sept. 24 and 25. Faneuil Hall. 617-423-3883. www.bostonclassicalorchestra.org

BOSTON SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA Opening night is Sept. 30, with violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter leading the first half of a two-part survey of Mozart’s Violin Concertos. Guest conductors this fall include Myung-Whun Chung, Juanjo Mena, Ludovic Morlot, Kurt Masur, and Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos. Visiting soloists include Yo-Yo Ma, Garrick Ohlsson, Gidon Kremer, and Jean-Efflam Bavouzet. Symphony Hall. 617-266-1200. www.bso.org

DISCOVERY ENSEMBLE Courtney Lewis’s adventurous orchestra returns with Britten’s Variations on a Theme of Frank Bridge, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7, and Martin’s Six Monologues from “Jedermann’’ with baritone Christòpheren Nomura. Oct. 2. 3 p.m. Sanders Theater. 617-800-7588. www.discoveryensemble.com

CELEBRITY SERIES Vocalist Audra McDonald opens the series (Oct. 2) with a performance in Symphony Hall. The fall also includes appearances by the English Concert under Harry Bicket’s direction with countertenor Andreas Scholl (Oct. 23) and a joint recital by mezzo-soprano Angelika Kirchschlager and pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet (Nov. 11). 617-482-6661. www.celebrityseries.org

BOSTON PHILHARMONIC Benjamin Zander leads his orchestra in Carl Nielsen’s Symphony No. 4, “The Inextinguishable,’’ Sibelius’s Swan of Tuonela, and Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto with Ilya Kaler as soloist. Oct 12 and 16 in Sanders Theatre. Oct 15 in Jordan Hall. 617-236-0999. www.bostonphil.org

CHAMBER PLAYERS Concord Chamber Music Society is first out of the gate with a classical guitar program devoted to Bach, Chopin, and Paganini (Sept. 18); Radius Ensemble has music by Ligeti, Schumann, and Nicholas Vines (Oct. 1); Chameleon Arts Ensemble offers Beethoven, Barber, and Christopher Rouse (Oct. 1); the Boston Symphony Chamber Players start up with an all-Czech program (Oct. 16); Boston Chamber Music Society opens with Mozart, Loeffler, Schumann, and Sofia Gubaidulina (Oct. 16). 978-371-9667 or www.concordchambermusic.org; 617-792-7234 or www.radiusensemble.org; 617-427-8200 or www.chameleonarts.org; 617-266-1200 or www.bso.org; 617-349-0086 or www.bostonchambermusic.org

OPERA BOSTON David Kneuss directs the company’s new production of Berlioz’s “Béatrice et Bénédict,’’ with a libretto by the composer after Shakespeare’s “Much Ado About Nothing.’’ Julie Boulianne and Sean Panikkar sing the title roles. Gil Rose conducts. Oct. 21, 23, and 25. Cutler Majestic Theatre. 617-451-3388. www.operaboston.org

BOSTON BAROQUE To open the new season, Martin Pearlman leads his period instrument band in Haydn’s “The Creation,’’ with vocal soloists Amanda Forsythe, Keith Jameson, and Kevin Deas. Oct. 21 and 22. Jordan Hall. 617-484-9200. www.bostonbaroque.org

BOSTON EARLY MUSIC FESTIVAL BEMF’s fall series begins on Oct. 21 with soprano Emma Kirby and lutenist Jakob Lindberg. This year’s annual chamber opera offering in Jordan Hall (Nov. 26-27) will be a Charpentier double bill devoted to “La Descente d’Orphée aux Enfers’’ and “La Couronne de Fleurs.’’ 617-661-1812. www.bemf.org

BOSTON LYRIC OPERA Verdi’s “Macbeth’’ is first up for BLO, with David Schweizer directing a production originally conceived by Leon Major. The cast includes Daniel Sutin, Carter Scott, Darren K. Stokes, and Richard Crawley. David Angus conducts. Nov. 4-13. Shubert Theatre. 617-542-4912. www.blo.org

CHORAL BOSTON Exsultemus and Newton Baroque continue their joint Telemann cantata series (Sept. 17); Emmanuel Music opens with Bach’s B-Minor Mass (Sept. 24); Blue Heron teams up with Ensemble Plus Ultra (Oct. 15); The Cantata Singers present works by Bach and Stephen Hartke (Nov. 4); Boston Cecilia and Musica Sacra join for Bach’s “St. Matthew Passion’’ (Nov. 6); Chorus Pro Musica sings Kodaly (Nov. 6); and Back Bay Chorale sings Palestrina (Nov. 19). Information on many local choruses is available at www.bostonsings.org.

MUSIC AT THE MUSIC SCHOOLS For intrepid listeners, some of the meatiest programs of the fall are taking place at the schools. At Longy, SeptemberFest is currently underway and the school hosts a recital by violinist Gidon Kremer (Oct. 10) and Firebird Ensemble (Oct. 15); New England Conservatory’s wide-ranging Mahler festival kicks off (Sept. 26) and its First Monday chamber music series begins (Oct. 3) with the Borromeo Quartet and violist Kim Kashkashian; Boston Conservatory has recitals by cellist Rhonda Rider (Sept 24), pianist and Messiaen expert Peter Hill (Oct. 11), Liszt specialist Mykola Suk (Nov. 8), and a new music festival (Dec. 1-4); at Harvard, the Chiara Quartet gives the American premiere of Richard Beaudoin’s Quartet No. 2 (Sept. 30); Boston University stages Bartok’s “Bluebeard’s Castle’’ (Oct. 7) and Gunther Schuller leads Alea iii in Ives (Nov 16). 617-876-0956 or www.longy.edu; 617-585-1260 or www.necmusic.edu; 617-912-9240 or www.bostonconservatory.edu; 617-496-2222 or ofa.fas.harvard.edu; 617-933-8600 or www.bostontheatrescene.com

NEW MUSIC IN BOSTON

Guerilla Opera has Nicholas Vine’s latest work (Sept. 16 at Zack Box Theatre); Dinosaur Annex presents genre-blurring music by Derek Bermel, Gabriela Ortiz Torres, and David Sanford (Sept. 25 at Brandeis); Boston Musica Viva offers a David Rakowski world premiere alongside Foss’s “Time Cycle’’ (Sept. 30 at Tsai Performance Center); Collage New Music performs Peter Lieberson, Julie Rohwein, and Gerald Levinson (Oct. 31 at Longy); and BMOP plays “True North,’’ a program (Nov. 20 at Jordan Hall) devoted to Canadian composers Claude Vivier, Colin McPhee, and Kati Agocs. 866-615-2723 or guerillaopera.com; www.dinosaurannex.org; 617-354-6910 or www.bmv.org. 617-325-5200 or www.collagenewmusic.org; 781-324-0396 or www.bmop.org

CORRECTION: Because of a reporting error, a listing for the Sept. 23 performance by A Far Cry chamber orchestra stated incorrect information on tickets. They are $27, with discounts available for students and seniors.