by Thom Mariner
While the theater scene is a little in-between this weekend, immerse yourself in music and art. The auditory offerings range from Bach to The Dead and new takes on old masters, to Jewish jazz, the pianistic avant-garde and the future of orchestral music. Visually speaking, the two openings this weekend feature regional artists exploring fresh new ideas.
Bach Vespers for Epiphany: “Erhalt uns, Herr, bei deinem Wort,” BWV 126 | Sunday, Jan. 15, 5 p.m. St. Thomas Episcopal Church
If you want an alternative to the NFL playoffs, this is for you. The excellent Bach Ensemble features some of Cincinnati’s top instrumentalists, plus outstanding young vocal soloists, led by Carlton Monroe.
Bob Weir and The Campfire Band | Thursday, Jan. 12, 7:30 p.m., Procter & Gamble Hall, Aronoff Center
Check out my article from last week to learn more about this exciting swath of new music. Nuts and bolts and updates are below…
NEW: Opening the evening is a collaboration between guitarist Bryce Dessner and choreographer James Cunningham, presenting Dessner’s “Garcia Counterpoint” danced by members of Cincinnati Ballet.
There is also a free Young People’s Concert on Friday, Jan. 13, 10 a.m., at Memorial Hall, featuring MYCincinnati Ambassador Ensemble, MusicNOW artists, and a reprise of “Garcia Counterpoint.” Cincinnati Public Schools are closed that day. Did I say free? Take the kids!
“MusicNOW,” Matthias Pintscher, conductor | Friday-Saturday, Jan. 13-14, 8 p.m., Taft Theatre
NEW: There is also a post-concert performance in the Taft Ballroom by the group known as Lanzendorf, made up of The National’s Scott and Bryan Devendorf, and Beirut member and National/Sufjan Stevens collaborator Ben Lanz.
“Extreme Musical Makeover,” works of Bach, Beethoven and Brahms get orchestrational facelifts courtesy of Elgar, Mahler and Schoenberg | Saturday, Jan. 14, 8 p.m., Greaves Concert Hall, NKU
Another creative concert by KSO music director J.R. Cassidy spotlights the way later composers adapted or arranged music of the masters – the Three Bs. So you get something familiar, but with a twist. It’s nice to see the KSO return to its previous home at NKU. This is worth the very short trip to the end of I-471.
“2 Keyboards: Piano and Computer,” Brendan Jacklin | Thursday, Jan. 12, 7 p.m., Weston Art Gallery, Aronoff Center
So happy to see the continuation of this thoughtful series, now under the direction of CCM masters candidate and pianist Jill Jantzen. An interesting companion to what will be happening upstairs at MusicNOW in Procter & Gamble Hall, keyboardist Jacklin combines acoustic and electronic keyboards with multimedia in a feast for ears and eyes. Plus, you get to immerse yourself in the Weston’s fascinating visual treats.
Anat Cohen Quartet, jazz | Jan. 15, 3 p.m., Gallagher Center Theater, Xavier University.
Israeli-born clarinetist/saxophonist Cohen is one of the most dynamic and expressive performers on the jazz scene today. She’s been voted best clarinetist in both the Critics and Readers Polls in DownBeat magazine every year since 2011. Forget football and go get your ears singed. This should be fun.
Roscoe Wilson, “The 87 Days Project.” | Jan. 12-Feb. 2. Reception: Jan. 12, 5-7 p.m. Gallery talk: Jan. 23, 1:15 p.m., Thomas More College
Miami University professor Roscoe Wilson describes his work as involving “the dilemma of consumerism and waste in contemporary society.” “87 Days” is a visual commentary on the time span it took BP to cap the Gulf of Mexico oil spill in 2010 and the devastating results that may haunt us for years to come.
“Island Life,” works in acrylic and mixed media by Elliot Jordan | Jan. 12-Feb. 25. Reception: Jan. 12, 5-7 p.m., Lindner Gallery, 6546 Montgomery Road
Elliot Jordan is an elementary school teacher and freelance artist based in Pleasant Ridge. Known primarily as a portrait artist, he has more recently focused on capturing the essence of African art. Through the acrylics featured in “Island Life,” Jordan seeks to evoke the dream-like atmosphere of life in the Dominican Republic.