I’LL TAKE PARIS! Benjamin Zander leads the Boston Philharmonic in a program that crosses Tin Pan Alley and the Rue de la Paix.
Here’s my Top 10 list, in chronological order, of some of the season’s most appealing and important classical music events: symphonies, chamber music, operas. It’s by no means exhaustive, and I encourage you to peruse the Phoenix’s weekly listings for the full array of what Boston’s stupendous musicians have to offer the classical-music lover — from novice to pro; from pricy (series subscriptions are often bigger bargains than individual tickets) to free.
EMMANUEL MUSIC | September 24 | Now in its 40th season, Emmanuel has acquired (after a two-year search) a new artistic director: Ryan Turner, who calls his debut season “Where Tradition Meets Innovation.” (Few groups have better earned this title.) Turner opens with a great and symbolic piece we don’t hear often enough: Alexander’s Feast, or The Power of Music, Handel’s oratorio in tribute to music itself, a magnificent setting of John Dryden’s poem celebrating St. Cecilia, the patron saint of music. | Emmanuel Church, 15 Newbury St, Boston | $10-$150 | 617.356.3356 or emmanuelmusic.org
BOSTON SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA | October 2 | The question that’s uppermost in classical-music lovers’ minds is: will James Levine really be back to lead the Boston Symphony Orchestra? Out for much of last season and all summer with back problems, for which he’s undergone surgery, he’s scheduled to open the BSO season in a Wagner program with celebrated Welsh bass-baritone Bryn Terfel (October 2 at 6 pm, $75-$2500). The following Saturday, he’s listed as conductor for the Metropolitan Opera’s live HD telecast of the new production of Wagner’s Das Rheingold at 1 pm and then Mahler’s Symphony No. 2 with the BSO at Symphony Hall at 8 pm. Marathon man? If his plane is late, he’d have to be Superman. I’m also especially eager to hear his series of John Harbison symphonies, which begins the following week (October 14). | Symphony Hall, 301 Mass Ave, Boston | $29-$108 | 617.266.1200 or bso.org
HARVARD MUSIC DEPARTMENT’S POTPOURRI WITH VIOLIN | October 3 | Daniel Stepner, one of Boston’s most versatile violinists, kicks off a series of free concerts at Harvard with a compelling program that ranges from great Bach (the Chromatic Fantasy transcribed for violin) to great Ives (Sonata No. 2). He’ll be partnered by pianist Donald Berman, who’s no Ives slouch himself. | Paine Hall, Harvard University North Yard, Cambridge | free | 617.495.2791 or music.fas.harvard.edu/calendar
RUSSELL SHERMAN | October 5 | The New England Conservatory’s Distinguished Artist-in-Residence is a profound and profoundly original pianist, and he’s celebrating the 200th birthday of a profoundly original composer, Robert Schumann, by playing three of his major and most personal keyboard works: Arabesque, Kreisleriana, and the big C-major Fantasia. Even more “fantastic,” the concert is free. Jordan Hall, 30 Gainsborough St, Boston | Free | 617.585.1122 or necmusic.edu