New York's exceptionally rich musical summer continues this week and the next. Starting tonight, Mostly Mozart stages four performances of Mark Morris's Mozart Dances, with Emanuel Ax and Yoko Nozaki as piano soloists. There will be a PBS broadcast at 8PM on Thursday. Coinciding with the last Morris is the first of two renditions of Osvaldo Golijov's St. Mark Passion, with the amazing Schola Cantorum from Caracas. Note that a late-night "Orquesta La Pasión Jam Session" will transpire in the Allen Room after Sunday's performance, with Cristina Pato on bagpipe. On Monday the Swiss Radio Chorus and I Barocchisti of Lugano — representatives of Ticino, Switzerland's Italian-speaking canton — perform Monteverdi's Vespers. Tuesday the galvanic Osmo Vänskä arrives to conduct a program of Mozart, Prokofiev (his First Violin Concerto, with Joshua Bell), and Beethoven. On Thursday, Frans Brüggen takes on Schubert. The festival closes on August 24 and 25 with Louis Langrée leading the Schola Cantorum and Festival Orchestra in Mozart's Requiem. You can read behind-the-scenes anecdotes of all this activity at the blog of oboist James Roe.
Listeners with an experimental bent can stay on the plaza, where, on August 21, Lincoln Center's Out-of-Doors Festival presents works by Pauline Oliveros and Henry Brant. Oliveros's Worldwide Tuning Mediation is, a press release explains, "an interactive 'sound-a-long' in which the voices of the audience in attendance are joined with audiences’ voices from eight countries received and distributed via free103point9 on-line radio, to become the instrument. This will be followed by an EHRES (Extreme High Risk Entertainment System) performance with Oliveros on accordion/electronics and fellow artists Ione, (spoken word/electronics), John D.S. Adams (modular electronics) and Norman Adams (cello/electronics).... Those wishing to participate can visit the Deep Listening website to get a score and register in advance." There follows Brant's Dormant Craters, which Out-of-Doors commissioned in 1995. Sixteen percussionists perform on gamelan instruments, steel drums, timpani, chimes, cowbells, Chinese wood blocks, kitchen pan covers, and tin pots. Brant is still going strong at age ninety-three, although he will not be conducting the performance as originally advertised. I will miss all this; starting Friday I'm taking my first long vacation since 1999.