fall preview 2014

39 Classical Music and Dance Performances to See This Fall

Holly Meighen <hmeighen@hhmedia.com>
The National Ballet of Canada performs Christopher Wheeldon’s take on Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Photo: Bruce Zinger/Bruce Zinger

Hopefully you’ve had a few minutes to play around with our Fall Entertainment Generator. But if you’re looking for straight and simple lists of things to look out for, by medium, we’ll be breaking them out separately. Here’s a look at fall classical music and dance performances:

September (Classical):

Maya Beiser

(Le) Poisson Rouge
The fierce cellist plays “uncovers”—total reimaginings of classic-rock songs by the likes of Pink Floyd, Jimi Hendrix, Nirvana, and more—arranged by Bang on a Can’s Evan Ziporyn.

New York Philharmonic
See nyphil.org for details, Avery Fisher Hall
The season kicks off with a concert tribute to Italian cinema featuring Renée Fleming and Josh Groban. Also up this fall: The “Art of the Score” series continues with an exploration of Charlie Chaplin’s Modern Times; Esa-Pekka Salonen conducts The Firebird; enthralling violinists Lisa Batiashvili and Hilary Hahn play Brahms and Korngold, respectively; and a series of concerts spotlight composer-in-residence Christopher Rouse.

Eighth Blackbird

Miller Theatre
The innovative sextet blend modern and traditional interpretations of 17th-century Italian music and theater. Growling is involved.

Metropolitan Opera

See metopera.org for details
Richard Eyre’s new production of Le Nozze di Figaro, conducted by James Levine, opens the season. Other highlights: the much-anticipated new production and Met premiere of John Adams’s controversial The Death of Klinghoffer (opens Oct. 20), and the opera that made Pravda denounce Shostakovich, Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk. 

The Difficulty of Crossing a Field

The local premiere of David Lang’s opera based on an 1839 story about a slave owner who disappears in a field, right in front of his family’s eyes.

September (Dance):

Dancenow Festival
Through Sept. 6 and Sept. 13, Joe’s Pub
The annual downtown dance smorgasbord; among this year’s 40 diverse companies, look out for those of Jane Comfort, Gina Gibney, Mark Dendy, and Heidi Latsky.

National Ballet of Canada

Through Sept. 14, David H. Koch Theater
Will the Mad Hatter grand jeté? Christopher Wheeldon’s wholly fantastical take on Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland comes Stateside.

Fall for Dance Festival

Through Sept. 13, Oct. 8–19, Delacorte Theater and NY City Center
Come for the free performances in Central Park, featuring eye-popping jookin maestro Lil Buck; stay for the usual slew of supercheap but top-drawer companies, ranging from Mark Morris Dance Group and San Francisco Ballet to Lucinda Childs’s and Trisha Brown’s troupes.

Martha Graham Dance Company

Through Sept. 17 and Oct. 30, Martha Graham Studio Theater
Two looks at Graham’s process, in an effort to preserve her legacy: Graham alum and filmmaker Peter Sparling examines the creation of Voyage; later, the company performs Graham’s Appalachian Spring on its 70th anniversary.

Kyle Abraham/Abraham.In.Motion

Through Oct. 4, New York Live Arts
The MacArthur Fellow’s The Watershed explores freedom throughout the centuries, while When the Wolves Came In, a repertory evening, traces the civil-rights movement’s international effects.

New York City Ballet
See nycballet.com for details, David H. Koch Theater
The season begins with premieres by Justin Peck, Troy Schumacher, and Liam Scarlett, augmented with couture costumes by Mary Katrantzou, Thom Browne, and Sarah Burton. Other highlights of the fall season: the premiere of Alexei Ratmansky’s newest for the company (Oct. 2); and chameleonic ballerina Wendy Whelan’s farewell after 30 years (Oct. 18).

Works & Process

See worksandprocess.org for details, Guggenheim Museum
The intimate series offering in-depth looks at works as they’re created is brimming with promising dance options this season. Highlights: Damian Woetzel’s “Demo” series brings together Lil Buck, Fang-Yi Sheu, Robert Fairchild, and other stellar dancers; Susan Stroman offers a first look at her new musical Little Dancer, featuring City Ballet’s Tiler Peck; and choreo­graphers Robert LaFosse and Josh Bergasse explore Jerome Robbins’s Fancy Free and On the Town.

Big Dance Theater
Through Oct. 4, BAM Harvey Theater
In Alan Smithee Directed This Play, witty Annie-B Parson works with her dancers and co-director Paul Lazar to create a world where 1918 Moscow and 1970s American characters coexist.

October (Classical):

Berliner Philharmoniker
Through Oct. 6, Carnegie Hall
The Carnegie season opens with Sir Simon Rattle leading Anne-Sophie Mutter in Bruch’s famed Violin Concerto No. 1.; later the orchestra plays the U.S. premiere of Austrian Georg Fredrich Haas’s new dark dreams.

Claire Chase
The Kitchen
A mind-boggling project from the flutist and MacArthur Fellow: commissioning composers for an entirely new rep for the flute each year for 22 years. She’ll play the first year’s results.

“Composer Portraits”
Miller Theatre
The series starts out zeroing in on Chou Wen-chung, a Varèse protégé essential in linking Eastern and Western music, and continues with Israeli Chaya Czernowin’s richly textured vocal music (Oct. 23) and octogenarian Bernard Rands, a student of Berio and Dallapiccola (Nov. 13).

White Light Festival
See whitelightfestival.org, various venues
The wide-ranging annual festival returns with a variety of thought-provoking performances. Highlights: the premiere of Peter Sellars’s dramatization of Bach’s epic St. Matthew Passion, with the Berlin Philharmoniker, at the Armory’s Drill Hall (Oct. 7 and 8); the U.S. premiere of Netia Jones’s haunting production of Britten’s Noh-inspired Curlew River, with pristine tenor Ian Bostridge (Oct. 30–Nov. 1); and South African artist William Kentridge’s imagining of Schubert’s Winterreise, with baritone Matthias Goerne (Nov. 11).

Met Orchestra

Carnegie Hall
James Levine is back on the podium (and hopefully well rested) for Mahler’s epic Symphony No. 9.

Chamber Opera
Through Oct. 18, Gerald W Lynch Theater
The reliably excellent small company digs up a double bill of Martinu: Alexandre bis, about a man who poses as his cousin to test his wife’s fidelity; and Comedy on the Bridge, about two rival towns.

London Philharmonic Orchestra
Carnegie Hall
A program not for the fainthearted: Magnus Lindberg’s Bach-reinterpreting Chorale, plus Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 8, written when the Nazis retreated from Russia in 1943.


Through Oct. 18, Metropolitan Museum of Art
The U.S. premiere of Ryoji Ikeda’s immersive, boundary-blurring music, visual, and theater piece.

“The Source”
Through Oct. 25, BAM Fisher
Chelsea Manning sings! Composer Ted Hearne and librettist Mark Doten musicalize her chats with hacker Adrian Lamo.

Orpheus Chamber Orchestra
Carnegie Hall
Beethoven completist Jonathan Biss plays the Piano Concerto No. 3 in C minor, on a program with Pulitzer winner Ellen Taaffe Zwilich’s Prologue and Variations.

Colin Currie and Daniel Druckman

Zankel Hall
Drum-o-rama! Two master percussionists join with pianists Simon Crawford-Phillips and Philip Moore for an all-Reich program, including his seminal Clapping Music and Drumming.

October (Dance):

Jonah Bokaer

Center for Jewish History
Seventy years after a thwarted rebellion at Auschwitz, the introspective choreographer interprets the experiences of four women who aided the insurrection in a dance-film installation.

Pacific Northwest Ballet
Through Oct. 12, Joyce Theater
Local premieres by Christopher Wheeldon and Alejandro Cerrudo, but the reason to see this Seattle company is always the spectacular dancers, above all transcendent ballerina Carla Körbes.

Dance Heginbotham & Brooklyn Rider

Through Oct. 11, Baryshnikov Arts Center
Choreographer and former Mark Morris dancer John Heginbotham joins with the enterprising string quartet for Chalk and Soot, a piece set to new music by one of the group’s violinists, Colin Jacobsen.

Lar Lubovitch Dance Company

Through Oct. 19, Joyce Theater
Two story-driven dances by the elder statesman of lyrical modernism: Artemis, with ballerina Alessandra Ferri guesting alongside ten Juilliard dancers, and the world premiere of The Black Rose. 

L.A. Dance Project

Through Oct. 18, BAM Howard Gilman Opera House
Moment of truth: Benjamin Millepied comes to town for the first time with the company he started, just before decamping to run the Paris Opera Ballet. On the program: his own Reflections and Justin Peck’s Murder Ballades.

American Ballet Theatre

Through Nov. 2, David H. Koch Theater
The company’s refined stars shine in their autumnal break from big story ballets: Look out for a world premiere from young Brit Liam Scarlett, the return of Twyla Tharp’s exquisite Bach Partita, and Wheeldon’s haunting Thirteen Diversions.

Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch

Through Nov. 2, BAM Howard Gilman Opera House
Bausch may be gone, but her company remains vibrant: They’ll perform her Kontakthof, set in a dance hall and first performed at BAM in 1985.

Ballet Collective

Through Oct. 30, NYU Skirball Center
City Ballet’s Troy Schumacher, a budding choreographer with an eye toward collaboration, creates a new work with artist David Salle, plus a pas de deux featuring his wife, City Ballet soloist Ashley Laracey.

November (Classical):

New York Festival of Song

Merkin Concert Hall
Steven Blier’s vocal series looks at lieder within the context of Freud’s Vienna.


Composer John Adams hosts an evening of his favorite new music as part of the Philharmonic’s series.

Brooklyn Youth Chorus

Through Nov. 23, BAM Harvey Theater
The group of vocally talented local kids is also a key commissioner of new work, like this evening’s multi-composer centerpiece: Black Mountain Songs, conceived and co-written by the National’s Bryce Dessner.

Meredith Monk
(Le) Poisson Rouge; Nov. 21, Zankel Hall
Monk kicks off a citywide celebration of her 50-year career with an evening of her piano music; she’ll then join her otherworldly Vocal Ensemble and the American Composers Orchestra for a performance of Night, on a program with acolytes like Theo Bleckmann and Ian Williams.

November (Dance):

Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company

Through Nov. 14, New York Live Arts
The insightful choreographer joins his dancers onstage, telling 60 one-minute stories while surrounded by their movement.

American Dance Machine for the 21st Century

Through Nov. 16, Joyce Theater*
The flesh-and-blood, moving archive of musical-theater dance performs reconstructed original choreography from the likes of A Chorus Line, 42nd St., and Contact.

Batsheva Dance Company
Through Nov. 15, BAM Howard Gilman Opera House
Ohad Naharin’s viscerally powerful company dances in the U.S. premiere of Sadeh21, with music including work by Brian Eno and Angelo Badalamenti.

*This article appears in the August 25, 2014, issue of New York Magazine.

* This article has been corrected to show that American Dance Machine runs through November 16th, not the 11th.

39 Classical Music Performances to See This Fall