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What to Hear Next Season: WPAS

See my preview of the 2011-2012 season from Washington Performing Arts Society at

What to Hear Next Season: Washington Performing Arts Society (Washingtonian, June 10):

Washington Performing Arts Society brings a high-caliber roster of the world’s leading musicians to perform at the Kennedy Center, Strathmore, and the Sixth and I Historic Synagogue, among other venues. If they tend to return again and again to the same artists, year after year, it’s largely because they know their audience.

High-profile artists demand big fees, and even though WPAS’s concerts are underwritten by many generous donors, the price of its tickets can be steep. At least some of WPAS’s 2011-2012 concerts, announced last month, will likely be among the year’s biggest events in classical music, but on which ones should you spend your ticket budget? Among the big names back (yet again) on the WPAS roster, Joshua Bell (January 23) is the first we advise you to put on your calendar. The American violinist became even more famous in these parts after he took part in a stunt staged by the Washington Post in the L’Enfant Plaza Metro station, and the only criticism that comes to mind about his performances is that they are sometimes too beautiful. Mezzo-soprano Susan Graham (February 4) is known for the beauty of her voice and the intelligence of her choice of songs. Pianist Leif Ove Andsnes (February 12) returns to a more traditional program after his last, somewhat unusual recital here. Violinist Vadim Repin (March 16) has all the technical facility of Joshua Bell and a lot more grit and power, plus a killer recital program. If Murray Perahia actually plays his recital (March 18) -- he has struggled with hand injuries through the years -- he will play impeccably. [Continue reading]

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