10 best classical and opera events in October
Chicago Symphony Orchestra: Muti Conducts Verdi's Macbeth There is no person in the world better at conducting Verdi than the CSO's maestro. Soloists include Luca Salsi, Tatiana Serjan, Francesco Meli and others. Symphony Center. Oct 1, 4, 6. $35–$278.
Otello The Lyric kicks off its season with Verdi's adaptation of Shakespeare (bit of a theme so far). This is the only remount of the year for the Lyric, but that doesn't mean you should sleep on it. Civic Opera House. Oct 5, 9, 13, 17, 21, 25, 29, Nov 2. $34–$244.
Pacifica Quartet The Pacifica Quartet knocked out some of our favorite CDs in recent history with their complete Shostakovich quartets on Chicago's Cedille label. In October, the superb ensemble delivers a behemoth of a program with Britten's String Quartet No. 2, Op. 36, and Beethoven's String Quartet Op. 130, including the mighty Große Fuge, Op. 133. For those who haven't yet discovered Britten's seminal chamber work, make sure to nab a seat at the Logan for what promises to be a knock-out show. Logan Center for the Arts. Oct 6 at 3pm. $25, students $5.—Doyle Armbrust
Music of the Baroque Kick it old, old school. The period-particular orchestral and choral ensemble performs two of Bach's cantatas in addition to Magnificat in D, BWV 243. Harris Theater. Oct 7 at 7:30pm. $27–$75.
Phyllis Chen Catch the experimental toy pianist and composer in action. Chen performs works for toy piano in support of her latest album, Little Things. She squeezes surprisingly sophistication from such a twee instrument. Works comes courtesy of composers Fabian Svennson, Takuki Kawai, Nathan David, Dai Fujikura and more. It's a delightful niche of the classical world. Constellation. Oct 13 at 8:30pm. $10.
Third Coast Percussion Third Coast Percussion killed with its Rock Dots, Knick-Knacks and Wrist-Watch Geology show at Mayne Stage this past May, and the quartet's upcoming season opener boasts some serious compositional heft as well. Nathan Davis, David Lang, John Cage, Thomas Meadowcroft and Tierry De Mey are on the bill and if past concerts are any indication, heads will bounce. These unstoppable mallet-weilders have recently been named ensemble in residence at Notre Dame University. For its season launch, the group zooms the lens in to explore miniature sound worlds. Constellation. Oct 20 at 8:30pm. $10–$20.—DA
International Contemporary Ensemble: John Zorn Retrospective ICE continues its fruitful relationship with the MCA, visiting again to toast NYC avant garde composer and icon John Zorn, who is turning 60 and showing up at the event. Zorn, a titan of skronk, has composed a new piece for ICE. The chamber ensembler will also wrestle with his recent work inspired by Shakespeare's The Tempest. Of course The Tempest. You weren't expecting Much Ado About Nothing? Museum of Contemporary Art. Oct 26 at 7:30pm. $28, members $22, students $10.
Spektral Quartet + Good Evening You live in Chicago? You consider yourself an afficionado of classical music? Your butt better be here. Spektral Quartet, our beloved forward-thinking, playfully didactic foursome featuring TOC writer Doyle Armbrust, breaks a Champagne bottle over the bow of a new album, Chambers, a collection of works written exclusively by Chicago composers. In other words, this gig is handy one-stop primer on the local new-music scene. Admission includes a cassette copy of the album. Yes, a tape. Constellation. Oct 26 at 8:30pm. $15.
The Yellow Ticket: Silent film with live accompaniment by Alicia Svigals Der Gelbe Schein (or, The Yellow Ticket) is a 1918 German film starring silent era icon Pola Negri, who plays a woman from the Jewish ghetto of Warsaw who is sucked into Russian sex trafficking. And people think everyone was prude and innocent in the olden days. Svigals, from the Klezmatics, who has penned works for Itzhak Perlman and the Kronos Quartet, has composed a lush score inspired by klezmer, Eastern European folk, Bartók and café music. She will be joined by pianist Marilyn Lerner in playing along to the movie. Logan Center for the Arts. Oct 26 at 8pm. Free.
Olivia Block with member of Chicago Composers Orchestra Sound artist Block celebrates the release of Block's new album Karren, but locks into all new music here: an untitled solo work for violin, an untitled string quartet and a couple of works based on open scores. Anyone who's taken an improv class should recognize the inspiration behind Red Ball, Yellow Ball, a piece we asssume is based on throwing ideas at surprised coworkers. Field recordings, drones, white noise and other sonic material are used in Block's delicate sound architecture. Constellation. Oct 27 at 8:30pm. $10.