Fall Arts Guide: Celebrations abound in classical offerings

This fall marks the beginning of two season-long celebrations in the Atlanta classical music world. In the closing days of September, Emory University begins its valedictory lap of concerts marking two decades of performances at the Schwartz Center for the Performing Arts. The 2022-2023 Candler Concert Series includes a healthy mix of jazz, world and classical music, but fans of contemporary big band music will no doubt mark their calenders for the November appearance of the Maria Schneider Orchestra, a rare treat for the city.

Nathalie Stutzmann also takes the podium at Symphony Hall for the first time in October as the new music director of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. Robert Spano led the ensemble for more than two decades, and the singer-turned-conductor will start the season by showing Atlanta audiences her sublime ability to lead one of the orchestra’s most treasured assets, the ASO Chorus.

An entire world of music exists between the goings-on at the Schwartz Center and the activity at Symphony Hall. Use the following guide as a jumping-off point to explore what the city has to offer this fall.

“A Standing Witness,” Written by former poet laureate Rita Dove, “A Standing Witness” kicks off the 20th anniversary season at Emory University’s Schwartz Center. The piece, which focuses on social justice, is expansive yet intimate, performed here as in its 2021 world premiere by mezzo soprano Susan Graham and the Music from Copland House chamber ensemble. The remainder of the season features a handful of rare musical appearances, which include a solo recital by pianist Helene Grimaud featuring Schumann’s “Kreisleriana” and, in the spring, violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter and her Mutter Virtuosi ensemble. Sept. 23, Schwartz Center for the Performing Arts, 1700 N. Decatur Road, Atlanta. 404-727-5050, schwartz.emory.edu

Credit: Alison Bert

Credit: Alison Bert

“Bluebeard’s Castle.” This reimagination of the one-act opera by Bela Bartok, part of the Atlanta Opera’s successful Discoveries series, will take place at the performing arts center on the campus of Kennesaw State University. Michael Mayes, an Atlanta Opera company player for the past two years who memorably embodied the Emperor Overall in the Big Tent production of “The Kaiser of Atlantis,” sings the title role. Mayes and Soprano Susan Bullock, who plays Judith, originated their roles last year in the reimagined production premiered by Theatre of Sound. Oct. 7-9, Bailey Performing Arts Center, Kennesaw State University, 488 Prillaman Way, Kennesaw. 470-578-6650, atlantaopera.org

Atlanta Gay Men’s Chorus. Last year, the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus premiered a 12-movement work by recent Yale graduate Julian Hornik. On his website, Hornik describes the piece as “a song-cycle on the contemporary queer youth experience.” Now it’s Atlanta’s turn to hear Hornik’s “@QueerZ” in a one-day performance by the Atlanta Gay Men’s Chorus, which has been singing in the city for more than 40 years. Oct. 15, Ferst Center for the Arts, 349 Ferst Drive NW, Atlanta. 404-894-9600, arts.gatech.edu

Atlanta Chamber Players. The regional premiere of Benjamin Horne’s “I Remember You,” a co-commission among the Atlanta Chamber Players and four other ensembles, kicks off the Atlanta chamber ensemble’s 47th season. The group will also livestream the program, which features works by Mozart, Ravel and Schumann. In addition to its winter and spring concerts, the ACP’s schedule includes appearances in Tifton and Waleska this fall. Oct. 23, Peachtree Road United Methodist Church, 3180 Peachtree Road NE, Atlanta. 404-594-3445, www.atlantachamberplayers.com.

“Requiem.” At the end of last season, the ASO Chorus and principal guest conductor Donald Runnciles took on “Requiem” by Maruice Durufle. This fall, the professional choir Kinnara, which counts many Atlanta choral luminaries in its roster, will approach the work alongside James MacMillan’s “Cantos Sagrados” in concerts scheduled for Atlanta and Athens. A September concert featuring Jody Talbot’s “Path of Miracles” takes the group on a mini-tour of the Southeast. Nov. 4, All Saints’ Episcopal Church, 634 W Peachtree St. NW, Atlanta. And Nov. 5, Glenn Memorial United Methodist Church, 1660 N Decatur Road., Atlanta. www.kinnara.org