Classical music is not just the music of dead masters, especially not in Connecticut and not this season. Beethoven, Mahler, Puccini and other great legends will have their works performed by symphonies and choirs and chorales in Connecticut in November and December, but so, too, will the compositions of more modern and living composers be heard in the state’s concert halls, churches and schools. Even Led Zeppelin’s rock music will get the classical treatment this season, with the Hartford Symphony, and, of course, there will be Christmas music – and Christmas carols, as the holidays draw nigh.

“Puccini: Virtue and Redemption”
The New Haven Symphony Orchestra
St. Mary’s Church
105 Court St., Suite 302
New Haven, CT 06511
(203) 865-0831

Date: Nov. 20, 2014

In late November, the New Haven Symphony Orchestra will present a night dedicated to the music of Puccini. The program, entitled “Puccini: Virtue and Redemption,” is sponsored by the Knights of Columbus and will be performed not in the usual concert hall but instead in St. Mary’s Church on Hillhouse Avenue in New Haven. The setting is not only appropriate but is expected to add a certain magic and majesty to the evening’s performance, which will be centered around the Italian master’s “Suor Angelica.” William Boughton will conduct that work and a companion piece, “Virtue,” by composer Christopher Theofandis. Soprano Tony Arnold will add her operatic talents to the evening of “virtue and redemption.”

The Calder Quartet
University of Hartford
The Hartt School
Millard Auditorium
200 Bloomfield Ave.
West Hartford, CT 06117
(860) 768-4228

Date: Nov. 20, 2014

The world-renowned Calder Quartet will preform at the Millard Auditorium in November. The appearance by the Los Angeles-based string quarter is part of the University of Hartford’s Hartt School’s ongoing Richard P. Garmany Chamber Music Series. Winners of the Avery Fisher Career Grant, the Calder Quartet will perform Beethoven’s “Quartet No. 14 in C Minor Opus 131” and “Arcadiana,” by Thomas Ades, as well as at least one other work to be determined. The Ades piece is considered the “signature” piece of the Calder Quartet, which has recently returned from a triumphal tour in the United Kingdom.

“The Titan”
Manchester Symphony Orchestra and Chorale
Manchester High School
134 Middle Turnpike E.
Manchester, CT 06040
(860) 647-3521

Date: Nov. 22, 2014

The Manchester Symphony Orchestra and Chorale will perform Mahler’s “The Titan” (Symphony Number 1 in D) at the Manchester High School on November 22. Also on the program will be Vaughan Williams’ “Fantasia on a Theme” by Thomas Tallis. The “MSOC,” as it is known as, is a non profit, volunteer organization that works with Connecticut schools and colleges to offer students and other young musicians an opportunity to perform. Tickets are available at the door or by mail.

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“The Music of Led Zeppelin: A Rock Symphony”
Hartford Symphony Orchestra, Inc.
Toyota Oakdale Theatre
95 S. Turnpike Road
Wallingford, CT 06492
(860) 987-5900

Date: Nov. 29, 2014

The Hartford Symphony Orchestra is considered one of the premier orchestras in the state, if not in all of New England. It is famed not only for its traditional classical performances, such as Beethoven’s “Emperor Concerto,” which the group is performing doing November 13, or “Peter and the Wolf,” which is being performed on November 19, but also for its ability and willingness to give more contemporary music a classical spin. “The Music of Led Zeppelin: A Rock Symphony” on November 29 is just the most recent in the symphony’s attempts to “bridge the gulf between rock n’roll and classical music,” as its website proudly proclaims. This is not just a symphonic rendering of Led Zeppelin’s best; the symphony will be accompanied by a rock band and singer Randy Jackson. As the orchestra’s press release adds, guest conductor Brent Havens hopes to “capture Led Zeppelin’s sheer blast and power, riff for riff, while churning out new musical colors.”

Music for Christmas XL
New England Chamber Choir
Zion Lutheran Church
183 William St.
Portland, CT 06480
(860) 635-5414

Date: Dec. 7, 2014

The New England Chamber Choir will offer a program of classical Christmas music in December which will include works by Johannes Brahms, Franz Gruber, Gustav Holst, Richard Wm. Donohue and Orlande de Lassus. The choir will also perform “Gregorian Chants” and an offering of Christmas carols in several languages. Encore performances of the Music for Christmas XL by the New England Chamber Choir will be performed on Sunday, December 21 at St. Paul’s Roman Catholic Church in Glastonbury and again on the following Sunday, December 28, at Our Lady of Mercy Church in Plainville. A Sunday, December 14 performance is tentatively scheduled at a venue to be announced. The choir is based in Cromwell but its 50 members hail from all over the state. The choir, under the direction of Richard Wm. Donohue, performs almost exclusively in churches.

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