From the desk of William W. Lockwood, Jr. — Special Programming Director, McCarter Theatre Center:

After presenting concerts in New York and Princeton for almost fifty years, you might think, “Is there anyone he hasn’t heard?” The answer: “You bet!” It happens all the time, and discovering a new artist — which does not necessarily mean a “new face” — is one of the things that keeps me going.

Our upcoming 2019-2020 music series has several examples, starting with pianist Igor Levit. The chemistry and connection was both apparent and immediate, and I am determined that you should hear him too. At 31, Levit is no longer a secret, but his all-Beethoven recital at McCarter next May will allow us all to catch up.

Handel’s operas have almost become staples of the operatic repertoire. Many of them serve as showcases for the rising crop of superstar countertenors. The forerunner of the new countertenor era is Anthony Roth Costanzo, who began his career as a Princeton undergraduate (class of ’04). Costanzo returns to Princeton next May with The English Concert in a concert performance of Handel’s opera Rodelinda, in which he will be joined by yet another member of the countertenor aristocracy, Iestyn Davies — all under the baton of Harry Bicket, who is to Handel’s operas as Gustavo Dudamel is to almost everything.

Violinist Christian Tetzlaff has been a regular visitor since 2002, both with pianist Leif Ove Andsnes and with his longtime musical partner, Lars Vogt. Tetzlaff disdains performance tradition, which is why he is everyone’s violinist of choice these days — including mine. Joining him on the pantheon platform will be pianist Yuja Wang, who has long since taken the concert world by storm — both musically and also with her flair for fashion. It doesn’t really matter what she plays, it is always electrifying … but we can tell you that it will be Debussy, Schoenberg, and Brahms.

Is there a gold standard in the world of a cappella voices? One name leads all the rest when it comes to Renaissance sacred vocal music: The Tallis Scholars. Absent from our stage since 2011, they return to Richardson Auditorium in a program designed for the holiday season entitled Reflections. It’s a “who’s who” of composers, ranging from Poulenc and Allegri to Messiaen, Byrd, and of course, Tallis, culminating in Victoria’s Magnificat for Double Choir. As a former singer myself and a fan of our own Princeton Singers, I’m especially delighted that they have agreed to co-sponsor this event with McCarter to welcome their English colleagues.

And for once, the last is not the least — in fact, it’s the most — 90 members of the National Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine. Based in Kyiv, they are that nation’s best. Their program, conducted by Volodymyr Sirenko, is all Tchaikovsky: the Polonaise from the opera Eugene Onegin, the Piano Concerto No.1 (with soloist Olga Kern), and the Symphony No. 6, “Pathetique.”

Sounds exciting? It is, but to learn more, you’ll just have to come and listen.

For more on McCarter Theatre Center’s full 2019-2020 schedule, visit

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