The Orchestra Book Club of the greater Boston area will perform Grażyna Bacewicz’s Symphonic Variations and Sergei Rachmaninoff’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini on May 27 at 3:00 PM as part of Arts at the Armory in Somerville, Massachusetts. The event is free and open to the public. A $20 donation is welcome, to support the OBC series’ continued activities.

The Community Women’s Orchestra (CWO) of Oakland, California will present its 2024 Season Finale Concert “Music with Friends” on June 2, 2024 at the First Presbyterian Church of Oakland. Music Director Martha Stoddard will lead the orchestra in Amy Beach’s Bal Masqué, her own Parodies for orchestra, Adolph Schreiner’s The Worried Drummer featuring Julianna Di Miceli as its percussion soloist, and Antonín Dvořák’s Symphony No. 8 in G Major. Tickets are available on the orchestra’s website; a livestream has not yet been announced. The CWO is a longtime affiliate of the Women’s Philharmonic.

On June 12, Angélique Kidjo will appear with the National Symphony Orchestra as a featured soloist. Described as “a creative force” and one of The Guardian’s Top 100 Most Inspiring Women in the World, Kidjo’s collaborators are a who’s-who of world-class performers and reflect her eclectic musical influences. The program will be drawn from her sixteen albums that span a career in music of over 40 years.

Conductor Marin Alsop. Photo credit: Nancy Horowitz.

Chicago’s heralded Ravinia Festival officially begins July 12—when most of the orchestral events begin—though there are a number of events leading up to the big day. Notable in the early season are an afternoon concert with Midori and the Ravinia Steans Music Institute (RSMI) Faculty Chamber Players on July 6th, marking Midori’s first season as the RSMI Piano & Strings Artistic Director, and Marin Alsop conducting the 88th opening night of the CSO Residency on July 12th with Michelle Cann and Masabane Cecilia Rangwanasha. The CSO’s opening program is all-American, including works by Aaron Copland, James P. Johnson, Samuel Barber, and George Gershwin’s classic Rhapsody in Blue. Alsop has been the Chief Conductor of the Ravinia festival since 2020, and is rightly at the center of its conducting lineup; Alena Hron, who was named the 2024–2026 Taki Alsop Conducting Fellow in January, will be conducting on July 25th.

Other recipients of the Taki Alsop Conducting Fellowship (in addition to Hron, also announced in January) have begun their 2024 summer work. Karen Ní Bhroin is appearing with the LSO and their Discovery program on June 13 in Barbican Hall, London; Jessica Altarriba is finishing a run of music by John Williams with the New Jersey Symphony and beginning a fellowship with the National Orchestral Institute in Maryland on June 22; Hannah Howard Andresen concluded a period of research on diversity in classical music on May 15, combining her academic background in gender studies with her conducting platform; Micah Gleason will kick off June by conducting Mahler 5 and Beethoven 3 at the Spoleto Festival in Charleston. Combined, these women are making great strides to represent women on the conducting podium—exactly what their fellowship sets out to do. The Taki Alsop Conducting Fellowship, founded in 2002 Alsop with support from Tomio Taki, is dedicated to coaching and mentoring women conductors to help them advance their classical music careers in an area traditionally hostile to them.