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Schubert Club announces Accordo, Mix seasons

ALSO: Louis Bayard presents “Courting Mr. Lincoln” at Magers & Quinn; Mathew Janczewski’s Arena Dances 3rd Annual Candy Box Dance Festival; and more.

All four full-length Monday concerts by Accordo at Westminster will be followed by abbreviated and more casual Tuesday concerts at Icehouse.
Photo by Jayme Halbritter

For its 11th season, the esteemed chamber ensemble Accordo will return to Westminster Hall and Icehouse. For its 7th season, the Schubert Club Mix will be its usual itinerant self, hopping from the James J. Hill House to the American Swedish Institute, Aria to the Summit Center for Arts and Innovation.

A group that includes the concertmasters of the Minnesota Orchestra and the SPCO, the associate concertmaster of the SPCO and principal strings from both orchestras, Accordo must be a headache and a half to schedule, but Mondays and Tuesdays seem to work out.

All four full-length Monday concerts at Westminster will be followed by abbreviated and more casual Tuesday concerts at Icehouse. (Which, if you’ve never seen Accordo – and if you have – is a great place to experience their music and overall excellence.) This season’s musical offerings will include several neglected works by female composers Ruth Crawford Seeger, Grazyna Bacewicz, Sofia Gubaidulina, Shulamit Ran and Clara Schumann alongside classics by Schubert, Bach, Brahms, Mendelssohn, Haydn, Debussy, Prokofiev, and Shostakovich. The April 6 concert will feature the world premiere of a new work by George Tsontakis, co-commissioned with the Schubert Club.

The members of Accordo – Rebecca Albers, Ruggero Allifranchini, Steven Copes, Erin Keefe, Maiya Papach, Anthony Ross and Ronald Thomas – will also perform what’s become an annual favorite: a night of music and silent film at the Ordway, with guest pianist and composer Stephen Prutsman.

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The Schubert Club Mix season is shorter this year than last. The 2018-19 lineup included six events and 2019-20 has four. But numbers aren’t the main thing in this always surprising series, which aims to take the formality out of classical music. Mix has consistently brought artists to the Twin Cities we wouldn’t see otherwise and ought to know.

We jumped up and down when we read that David Greilsammer will return with his latest program, “The Labyrinth.” His 2015 appearance – also with Mix at the Hill House – was one of the 25 best arts events we experienced that year. Greilsammer alternated between Scarlatti and John Cage sonatas, playing on two facing Steinways (one prepared Cage-style), moving between them on a revolving stool and tossing music to the ground. “The Labyrinth” features Leoš Janáček’s suite “On an Overgrown Path” interspersed with other pieces and ending in chaos. Sounds like another great night.

Danish String Quartet
Photo by Caroline Bittencourt
The Danish String Quartet will perform selections from “Last Leaf,” their second recording of Scandinavian folk music.
New to Mix, and probably to most of us: the Danish String Quartet, with selections from “Last Leaf,” their second recording of Scandinavian folk music. The four-member Russian Renaissance, Grand Prize winner of the 2017 M-Prize Competition, the world’s largest prize for chamber music, who are redefining the balalaika, domra and button accordion. And the London-based, 12-member, conductorless vocal ensemble Stile Antico, performing Renaissance polyphony. How cool are they? Cool enough for a Tiny Desk Concert.

Accordo’s season begins Oct. 14, Mix on Oct. 3.  Series tickets are on sale now. Singles will be available starting Aug. 1.

Accordo’s 2018-19 season has ended. Schubert Club Mix is still under way. On May 9 at the Machine Shop, Chalaca – clarinet, harp and percussion – will perform music by composers who have immigrated to the United States from Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Cuba, Puerto Rico and Venezuela. On May 23 at TPT Studio A in Lowertown, Mix will present “Tienda,” a partially staged opera by Schubert Club composer-in-residence Reinaldo Moya about  a Mexican musician who immigrated to Minneapolis in 1886 and opened a small grocery store in St. Paul. Among the performers: Clara Osowski. FMI and tickets for both. There will also be a free community performance of “Tienda” on Saturday, May 25, at 2 p.m. at Neighborhood House.

The picks

Today (Tuesday, April 30) on your streaming device: International Jazz Day Global Concert 2019. This year’s concert – always an all-star affair, co-chaired by jazz legend and UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador Herbie Hancock – will take place in Melbourne’s Hamer Hall and feature Hancock, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Till Brönner, Brian Blade, Kurt Elling, Ledisi, Antonio Sánchez, Somi, Lizz Wright, and many more, including jazz musicians from China, Iran, Japan, the Netherlands, and Lebanon. Truly a global affair, Jazz Day will be celebrated in more than 190 countries and the concert will be seen by millions of viewers worldwide. Tune into YouTube, Facebook, and UNESCO starting at 10 a.m. CST.

Tonight (Tuesday, April 30) at Magers & Quinn: Louis Bayard presents “Courting Mr. Lincoln.” The latest from the New York Times Notable Book author is the story of a young Mr. Lincoln and two people who loved him: debutante Mary Todd and Lincoln’s best friend and roommate, Joshua Speed. Here’s Chris Hewitt’s review for the Star Tribune. 7 p.m. Free.

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Now at the Southern Theater: Mathew Janczewski’s Arena Dances 3rd Annual Candy Box Dance Festival. A week of performances, new works, masterclasses and discussions curated by Janczewski to strengthen and lift up the Minneapolis modern dance scene. This year’s headliners are Darrius Strong’s STRONGmovement, with two remounts and a new work; April Sellers Dance Collective, with a reimagined piece from the past; and Chris Schlichting, with the debut of a new duet. All three will perform at 7:30 Thursday through Saturday and 2 p.m. Saturday. FMI and tickets ($20/$12/pay-as-able, depending on performance). Happy Hour works-in-progress showings will take place Tuesday through Friday at 5:30. Artist workshops are scheduled for 9:30-11:30 daily. FMI.

Now at the Film Society’s St. Anthony Main Theatre: “Amazing Grace.” The heavenly Aretha Franklin concert film we almost never saw – technical problems were followed by other snags, including Franklin’s refusal to release it – has moved from the Uptown to the St. Anthony Main, so you can still see it in a theater on a big screen. This is the film that captures Franklin’s recording of the best-selling gospel album in history, nearly 50 years ago. FMI including trailer, times and tickets ($9.50; $5 on Tuesdays).

Omara Portuondo
Courtesy of the Ordway Center
Omara Portuondo, 88, is on her final international tour.
Sunday at the Ordway: Omara Portuondo: One Last Kiss Tour. Cuba’s greatest diva became known to U.S. audiences in the late 1990s as the female voice of the Buena Vista Social Club. But she had already been singing for decades and had fans all over the world. Now 88, she’s on her final international tour, which will bring her to the Ordway. With Roberto Fonseca on piano, Andres Coayo on percussion, Ruly Herrera on drums and Yandy Martinez on bass. 7:30 p.m. FMI and tickets ($48-79).