Carnegie Hall: The season opens on October 6 with a de-luxe all-Strauss program — Christoph Eschenbach conducting the Philadelphia Orchestra, Renée Fleming, Yo-Yo Ma, the works. Ian Bostridge, who delivered a hair-raising Die schöne Müllerin at Zankel Hall last season, sings Winterreise on Oct. 15, with Leif Ove Andsnes miming the hurdy-gurdy. On Oct. 25, James Levine marshals the Boston Symphony in Mahler’s Eighth; he’ll have made his debut as the new Karl Muck three nights before. On Nov. 20, Gidon Kremer’s Kremerata Baltica in an all-Shostakovich program, including the death-shrouded Fourteenth Symphony; Kremer’s way with Shostakovich is spellbinding. On Nov. 29, the Venice Baroque Orchestra plays the serenata Andromeda Liberata, which may or may not be Vivaldi’s; no matter whose it is, the Venetians will make it glow. On Dec. 1, the poetic young Austrian pianist Till Fellner, whose recording of the Well-Tempered Clavier has serious traction on my playlist, gets his Zankel on.
The New York Philharmonic: Lorin Maazel’s merry band begins the season on Sept. 21 with a shockingly innovative program of the Beethoven Violin Concerto and the Dvorak New World Symphony. There are scattered points of interest in the months that follow. From Sept. 29 to Oct. 5, Maazel unveils Augusta Read Thomas’ Gathering Paradise, a set of Emily Dickinson settings. Also, Lang Lang will either bang or sing his way through Tchaikovsky’s First Concerto, depending on his mood. October: not a whole lot going on. November 11-13: Sakari Oramo, Simon Rattle’s successor at the City of Birmingham, who English chums swear is the real deal, does Sibelius, Saariaho, and Tchaikovsky, with the aid of Karita Mattila. Dec. 2-4, David Robertson leads the string orchestra version of Steve Reich’s Triple Quartet. Dec. 16-18, the divine Lorraine Hunt Lieberson sings Britten's Phaedea with Colin Davis conducting.
Great Performers at Lincoln Center: Jane Moss’ fastidiously progressive series plays it safe this fall with dollops of Brahms, who, as Gunther Schuller demonstrated in his book The Compleat Conductor, is the most badly played great composer in the repertory. I’m not too worried about Herbert Blomstedt’s programs with the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra (Oct. 18 and 19), which anchor the series. Blomstedt is a greatly underrated conductor whose secret is that he’s got rhythm (at least of the Brahmsian kind). On Oct. 17, Wolfgang Holzmair sings Brahms Lieder, hopefully reminding us how powerful Brahms’ songwriting can be. On Oct. 31, the absurdly gifted scholar-violinist Andrew Manze dispels the Hamburg fog with a program of Mozart and Vivaldi; I stress again that Manze’s new Vivaldi disc (not out til Sept. 14) is beyond. Curiosity will lure me to Leon Botstein’s all-Czerny program with the American Symphony (Nov. 14). To give over a whole program to Czerny, long-reigning tyrant of piano finger exercises, sounds like a self-parodying gesture on Botstein’s part, but some people actually consider Czerny some sort of lost great composer, and in 2002 the pianist Anton Kuerti went so far as to organize an entire Czerny Festival in Edmonton. We’ll czee. Lastly, you wouldn’t be a fool if you bought a ticket to Simon Keenlyside’s song recital of Schubert, Brahms, and Mahler (Dec. 5).
A sped-up, inadequate tour of other New York halls: The New York Early Music Celebration (Oct. 1-10) has dozens of worthy events — count me in for Pomerium’s program of Ockeghem and Gombert at Corpus Christi Church. That same afternoon, the Mozartean Players are playing at the Frick Collection, which hasn’t yet announced its entire fall schedule. The never boring New York Festival of Song presents a Kurt Weill / Berlin–in-the-twenties evening at Merkin Hall on Oct. 14. On Oct. 24, the Metropolitan Museum of Art presents the really early music ensemble Sequentia in selections from the group’s new CD, Lost Songs of a Rhineland Harper, up at The Cloisters. The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center has the Orion Quartet doing the six Bartok quartets (Nov. 21, 23; $72 for the set). Miller Theatre is generally pegged as a new-music clubhouse, but under George Steel’s direction it has become a hotspot of early musicking as well. See Europa Galante reuniting Bach and Vivaldi et al (Oct. 14) or the Tallis Scholars belting out Palestrina, Lassus, Isaac, and de Rore (Dec. 10; “belting out” ironic). The Miller season opens on Sept. 18 with a Leonard Bernstein tribute; it includes excerpts from the great man’s troubled but potent late opera A Quiet Place, which New York has never heard. Finally, poking my head into jazz, I’ll put in a probably unnecessary plug for Black, Brown, and Beige chez Jazz at Lincoln Center on Oct. 25 — part of the new jazz hall’s opening festival. I have never experienced Ellington’s symphonic masterpiece live, and I’m as eager to hear this show as anything else on the fall schedule.
ADDENDUM: I know I've limited myself to Manhattan, but I want to add that the New Jersey Symphony looks to be in great shape under its new conductor Neeme Järvi, despite all that risky business with stolen and/or fake violins. The indefatigable Estonian adds to the Brahms flux with a program of the Second Serenade and German Requiem (Nov. 19-21) and presides over a festival of Scandinavian music in January.