Kids, Indie Rockers, Hipsters? Classical Music Streams Into Summer

With as many musical genres competing for your attention as there are iPods currently plugged into ears, there’s a huge

With as many musical genres competing for your attention as there are iPods currently plugged into ears, there’s a huge demand today for aurally inclined curators. What regular person has time to sort through everything? We need people who know the scene, who have the taste, who can lead us through the confusion of sound streams and podcasts, to bring together all that glorious information into something meaningful. Luckily for classical fans, they’re easy to find if you know where to look.

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At the third annual Keys to the Future series for solo piano at Greenwich House’s Renee Weiler Concert Hall, series curator Joseph Rubenstein has arranged a short, sweet program—three recitals on three consecutive nights, each an hour long and together promising a sweeping survey of contemporary styles. Mr. Rubenstein has matched eight performers (himself included) with pieces by 23 contemporary composers ranging from John Adams to Chick Corea (March 25, 26, 27)

Musical curator Ronen Givony’s Wordless Music series hosted Radiohead guitarist Jonny Greenwood’s Popcorn Superhet Receiver to much ado at the Church of St. Paul the Apostle in January. On May 2, the Wordless Music season continues with a triple bill headed by composing duo Stars of the Lid, performing with a string quartet. They’ll share the evening with fellow ambient minimalists itsnotyouitsme. (Love the names.) The night includes a performance by Face the Music, the contemporary music orchestra comprised of 10-to-15-year-old students from Manhattan’s Special Music School that performed in January at the opening of the newly renovated Merkin Concert Hall. Check out their MySpace page. These kids are fierce.

On March 13 and 14, guitarist Bryce Dessner of the National and percussionist Glenn Kotche of Wilco share a bill at the Kitchen, with video projections by artist Matthew Ritchie. Mr. Dessner, trained as a classical guitarist at Yale, will debut compositions for guitar and string quartet; Mr. Kotche will play works from his most recent solo album, Mobile, and adapt parts of his Anomaly, originally composed for the Kronos Quartet. Kronos themselves are on tour, but there’s another quartet to check out uptown at Symphony Space. On March 20, Ethel will host the second annual Ethel Fair, featuring the group in performance with Gutbucket (sounds like: Laurie Anderson vs. Primus, steel-cage match) and Kentucky bluegrass legend Dean Osborne. And fresh from his Feb. 29 performance at the Whitney Museum, composer and inventor Tristan Perich, who last year released 1-Bit Music—a listening device shaped like a CD jewel case that produced half-composed patterns of sound—will premiere on March 1 his I am not without my eyes open for string orchestra and organ, as part of the String Orchestra of Brooklyn’s Program of String Works by Young American Composers. The evening will also include premieres of Ian Hartsough’s Stick Figures and Gabriel Lubell’s Quomodo sedet sola. And don’t miss the venerable Bang on a Can Marathon at the World Financial Center Winter Garden—a full weekend of round-the-clock, nonstop live music. (May 31-June 2)

Composer, pianist and conductor Thomas Adès offers a tour through his own rapidly expanding body of composition and performance as part of Zankel Hall’s Making Music series. On March 29, Mr. Adès will conduct, perform and discuss works from throughout his career, and the soprano who premiered Adès’ seminal Five Eliot Landscapes in 1990 will be on hand to again perform the piece. This will come on the heels of Ades’ Carnegie Hall conducting debut the night before, where he’ll lead the Birmingham Contemporary Music Group in the New York premiere of Gerald Barry’s opera, The Triumph of Beauty and Deceit. Mr. Barry, a protégé of Karlheinz Stockhausen and Mauricio Kagel, says the work “revolves around questions of aging, vanity, illusion, fear, wit, ecstasy, regret and yearning.” He’ll elaborate further in a pre-performance discussion with Jeremy Geffen, Carnegie Hall’s director of artistic planning.

And since Wagner’s Ring Cycle is a world in itself, you’ll appreciate ending the season at Carnegie Hall, where Lorin Maazel will escort you safely through the German composer’s vast musical labyrinth in The Ring Without Words: Orchestral Highlights from the Ring Cycle. The New York Philharmonic will perform Maazel’s arrangement of music from the epic. (June 11)

But if you’re not in the mood to leave the house, just turn on WNYC’s Evening Music, airing Monday through Thursday, 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. Terrance McKnight takes over weeknight hosting duties (David Garland will stay on to host the weekend broadcasts). There’s a lot goin’ on at WNYC these days, and Mr. McKnight, touted recently in The New York Times as a charismatic guide for the musically perplexed, doesn’t plan on letting you eat your dinner in peace. “We refuse to be background music!” said Limor Tomer, WNYC’s executive producer for music, to The Observer. We’re inclined to believe her—Mr. McKnight hosted a public radio show in Atlanta for years that earned him a reputation as a relentless musical omnivore, mixing jazz with classical with pop till they all just sounded like … music.

Kids, Indie Rockers, Hipsters? Classical Music Streams Into Summer