A perfect summer evening, some fine music — well chosen and expertly performed — plus interesting soloists and the company of thousands of fellow Toledoans add up to a wonderful way to jump start the week.
Add the distant trill of sirens and the lovely swooping of birds and bats over the Toledo Zoo Amphitheatre and you have a Music Under the Stars moment. Yours truly was there recently to share it with a visiting loved one.
Conductor Bruce Moss led the Toledo Concert Band in spirited performances, uplifted by the irresistible dynamic of tenors Richard and Shawn Mathey, the crisp solos of percussionist Roger Schupp, and Toledo Ballet dancers.
Kali Porteus, Emily Clark, Meredith Garrison, and Kelly MacMillan performed Steven Brown’s lively Divertimento. And how nice to see a reprise from Michael Lang’s If These Walls Could Dance 2012 work performed by Hannah Warrick and Domonique Glover.
Lang’s new dance work, From Heart to Quill, will have its world premiere in the Valentine Theatre in April.
So, for every person who’s said, “You know, we ought to go to one of those free zoo concerts,” this Sunday is the last chance of the season.
Robert Mirakian will lead the band in The American Songbook, a program comprising music from Broadway, operas, and big bands.
“Tony Geftos will be the MC with me again,” Mirakian writes. “It should be a fun show. It’s a tremendous pleasure to work with this band and perform for such a big, appreciative audience.”
Trombonist Garth Simmons will take a solo spot as will the Off Broadway Dance Company.
This active adult tap dance group who will return for its 20th year at M.U.T.S. Geri Messer, company leader says, “Hope you come out and see us dance to ‘Sing, Sing, Sing,’ and ‘Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy.’”
Music starts promptly at 7:30. Admission is free. The best entrance is on Broadway, near Walbridge Park, but the zoo’s main lot is also open, with free parking for members.
TARTA offers shuttle rides from Centennial Terrace in Sylvania, Miracle Mile Shopping Center, St. Luke’s Hospital, Maumee; Kroger in Waterville, and the Sears lot at Westgate. Fare is $1 each way and busses depart at 6:30 p.m., returning about 30 minutes after the show ends.
■ A trip or two to Cleveland between Tuesday and Aug. 11 will deliver a live opportunity to see and hear tomorrow’s superstar soloists.
That’s the Cleveland International Piano Competition, founded in 1975. It offers the same first prize — $50,000 in cash plus the services of an agent and a chance to perform with the Cleveland Orchestra in celebrated Severance Hall.
An international selection of 29 musicians age 18-30 will play their hearts out for a distinguished jury in the hopes of kick-starting a performance career.
Stefan Sanderling, principal conductor of the Toledo Symphony, will lead the Cleveland Orchestra during the ultimate round, as each finalist performs a full concerto.
The biennial event opens Tuesday with a 6:30 p.m. party featuring the 2011 winner, Alexander Schimpf performing Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 13 in the Cleveland Museum of Art’s new Gartner Auditorium.
All preliminary rounds will be held there, just down the block from Severance Hall in University Circle, Cleveland’s creative heart.
First-round sessions will feature each contestant in a 25-minute program in 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. concerts Wednesday-Aug. 2. Second round performances at 10:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. in Gartner will take place Aug. 3-5. Semi-final trials are 60-minute programs by each competitor, at 1 and 7 p.m. Aug. 6-7, in Gartner. Admission to each concert is $15-$20.
Four finalists will then perform concertos with the CO and Sanderling in Severance Hall at 8 p.m. Aug. 9 and 10. Tickets for these concerts are $30-65.
For ticket information and a complete schedule, visit clevelandpiano.org.
■ There are lots of chances to drop by Toledo Botanical Garden for one of its Thursday outdoor Jazz in the Garden evenings. From 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. through Sept. 12 leading musical lights float their distinctive sounds over the verdant West Toledo spot at 5403 Elmer Dr.
Today’s show will bring back Toledo’s venerable jazz man Gene Parker with the Ben Wolkins Quintet. The August schedule will lead off with vocalist Kelly Broadway, followed by the beloved trad group, Cake Walkin’ Jass Band on Aug. 8. Songstress Ramona Collins and her quintet are due Aug. 15. On deck will be Hepcat Revival, Aug. 22; pianist Josh Silver, Aug. 29; singer Nate Gurley, Sept. 5, and, to wrap up the popular series, Metro Jazz.
Admission is $6-$8.
Listeners should bring chairs or blankets.
Parking is now at the Bancroft Street entrance, although handicap parking is available at the main gate. A free trolley will transport listeners from the Bancroft lot to the Conference Center area.
Send items for News of Music to firstname.lastname@example.org at least two weeks in advance of the event.