Among the classiest things to do in summer in NYC, the Mostly Mozart Festival began in 1966 as Midsummer Serenades: A Mozart Festival, but soon changed its name and broadened its scope. Now in its 50th season, the festival has been leaning increasingly toward the contemporary in recent years. The classical concerts and events on this year's bill includes nights of Mendelssohn, Prokofiev and, of course, Mozart (not to mention Haydn's The Creation), but there's some exciting and very current presentations as well. The incomparable soprano Barbara Hannigan appears in the American premiere of George Benjamin's Written on Skin and the all-but-infallible International Contemporary Ensemble presents a candlelit program of Dai Fujikura. There are also, of course, world-class performers, such as Joshua Bell, Emanuel Ax and the Emerson String Quartet. A free performance and discussion on July 22 and a free concert on the 25th kick off the month-long festivities. Here's our guide to the best concerts at this year's season.
Mostly Mozart's 10 best concerts
Violinist Alina Ibragimova (making her festival debut) and pianist Steven Osbourne are the featured soloists in this all-Prokofiev program.Read more
The Danish String Quartet takes on Mozart's arrangements of the second and fourth fugues from the second book of Bach's Well-Tempered Clavier, Thomas Adè's Arcadiana, Op. 12 and Beethoven's heart-stopping Grosse Fuge in B-flat major, Op. 133 in this late-evening recital.Read more
Age-old authenticity debates aside, it's always illuminating to hear music played on period instruments. In its festival debut, the Academy of Ancient Music presents a matinee program of works Mendelssohn composed after his 1829 tour of Scotland.Read more
The International Contemporary Ensemble returns in a promising program that includes Messiaen, Ligeti and Mostly Mozart composer-in-residence George Benjamin.Read more
Haydn's masterful "The Creation" closes the festival, with the festival orchestra, conducted by Louis Langrée; soprano Sarah Tynan; tenor Andrew Staples; bass Brindley Sherratt; and the Concert Chorale of New York. A preconcert lecture takes place at the Stanley H. Kaplan Playhouse on Fri 21 at 6:30pm.Read more