ASTRAL Announces 2017/2018 Season

PHILADELPHIA, PA—Astral announces its 2017/2018 Astral In Concert season. The series features Astral’s signature Center City Concerts series, which presents programming of time-honored masterworks, rarely heard chamber music gems, and new works made possible by Astral’s Micro-Commissioning Program. Astral also continues its popular Astral Circle salon series in homes in and around Philadelphia.

Astral In Concert is a place of shared exploration for artists and audiences,” says Astral’s Artistic Advisor Dan Visconti. “This year, we continue to showcase the next generation of classical music’s top talent, presented in venues spanning the familiar, daring, and intimate. Starting with our annual National Auditions Winner’s Concert at the Kimmel Center, where audiences meet our newest artists at one of the most exciting moments of their careers, the season continues with recital and chamber offerings curated with beloved masterworks and major new commissions through our Micro-Commissioning Program.”


Saturday, September 16, 7:30pm
“Luminous” (New York Times) soprano Sarah Shafer gives voice to the opening concert of Astral’s 25th-anniversary season, in Debussy’s sensuous Ariettes oubliées and in Schoenberg’s String Quartet No. 2 for soprano and string quartet—the visionary work that points the way to the composer’s new world of self-expression. Also drawing inspiration from his own vocal works, the music builds from one virtuoso sequence to the next in Korngold’s effusively romantic Piano Quintet. Featured artists: Sarah Shafer, soprano; Timothy Chooi, violin; Katie Hyun, violin; Ayane Kozasa, viola; Christine Lamprea, cello; Zhenni Li, piano. Venue: Church of the Holy Trinity, Rittenhouse Square, 1904 Walnut Street, Philadelphia

Tuesday, October 10, 7:00pm
Selected from a pool of hundreds of applicants from across the United States, Astral’s 2017 National Auditions Winners are among the finest rising-star classical musicians of their generation. Be the first to hear them in this thrilling showcase of Astral’s newest roster artists. Venue: Perelman Theater, Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts

NIKKI CHOOI  \ violin
Sunday, October 22, 3:00pm
Metropolitan Opera Concertmaster Nikki Chooi is presented in recital with masterworks by Beethoven and Franck, alongside duo violin gems he will perform with his brother, violinist Timmy Chooi, also an Astral artist. Through Astral’s Micro-Commissioning Program, Mr. Chooi will premiere a work for two violins by Daniel Temkin. Venue: American Philosophical Society, Benjamin Franklin Hall, 427 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia

PROJECT FUSION  \  saxophone quartet
Saturday, December 9, 7:30pm
Splash Magazine calls Project Fusion “a joy to watch,” and Astral is delighted to introduce this virtuosic and compelling ensemble to Philadelphia audiences. Project Fusion has curated a program celebrating rich traditions and modern sounds that features two world premieres made possible through Astral’s Micro-Commissioning Program. Venue: Church of the Holy Trinity, Rittenhouse Square, 1904 Walnut Street, Philadelphia

XAVIER FOLEY  \  double bass
Sunday, January 28, 3:00pm
A rare find in chamber music programming, Astral presents the double bass in recital. Xavier Foley is taking his place as one of the leading bassists of his generation. Mr. Foley’s concert features works by Vivaldi and Bach, as well as the premiere of his own composition for bass and piano. Venue: American Philosophical Society, Benjamin Franklin Hall, 427 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia

Sunday, February 11, 3:00pm
Hailed by Opera News as “fiery and gorgeous,” Chrystal E. Williams is one of opera’s rising stars. In recital, Ms. Williams departs from the opera world to bring her own story to life. With spirituals, works by Debussy and García Lorca, and a world premiere featuring musicians and music from the Brazilian folk tradition (made possible by Astral’s Micro-Commissioning Program), Ms. Williams summons voices from the past and from far away lands in an expression of personal and evocative artistry. Venue: American Philosophical Society, Benjamin Franklin Hall, 427 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia

Sunday, March 11, 3:00pm
Award-winning pianist Henry Kramer captivates audiences with his “astonishingly confident technique, steady rhythm, and masterful pacing”(Cleveland Classical Review). The prizewinner of top international piano competitions, Mr. Kramer’s Center City Concerts recital will bring his exquisite interpretations of Ravel and Schumann to Astral audiences. Venue: American Philosophical Society, Benjamin Franklin Hall, 427 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia

Saturday, April 21, 7:30pm
Astral’s 25th-anniversary season closes with a fitting celebration of Astral artists past and present, in a rousing chamber program. The clarinet shows off its colors and virtuosity in Schumann and WeberClara Schumann herself wrote in her diary of her husband’s “inexhaustible genius!” in his fascinating choice of clarinet, viola, and piano for his lively “Fairy Tales”, and Weber’s Clarinet Quintet remains a favorite in the repertory. Astral’s landmark season comes to an on-your-feet close with Dvorák’s Piano Quintet No. 2—easily one of the finest and most exuberant examples of late Romantic chamber music. Featured artists: Soovin Kim, violin; Ayano Ninomiya, violin; Teng Li, viola; Timotheos Petrin, cello; Igor Begelman, clarinet; Sejoon Park, piano. Venue: Church of the Holy Trinity, Rittenhouse Square, 1904 Walnut Street, Philadelphia

A distinct classical music experience in Philadelphia, the Astral Circle is a series of 6 elegant salon performances in beautiful homes and venues in and around the city. During these popular events, guests enjoy drinks and hors d’oeuvres before the concerts, share a delectable dinner afterwards with fellow music lovers, and are among the first to meet the newest members of the Astral roster.

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Based in Philadelphia, Astral is a national organization that specializes in developing the early careers of extraordinary classical musicians. Astral concentrates its resources on a small number of rising-star soloists and chamber ensembles with the potential to be change-makers and influencers in classical music. Astral provides artists with industry-leading resources, networking, immersive community engagement experiences, and entrepreneurial tools.

With a roster of 28 musicians, Astral presents high-quality public programming in Philadelphia that benefits 5,000 concertgoers, school children, and adults in care facilities each year. Astral’s critically acclaimed chamber music series, Astral In Concert, brings its world-class musicians to Philadelphia for stunning performances of traditional and exploratory concert experiences.

Notable Astral laureates include Grammy Award-winning guitarist Jason Vieaux, Metropolitan Opera soprano Angela Meade and bass-baritone Eric Owens, pianist and Sony recording artist Simone Dinnerstein, string trio Time for Three, and the Chiara and Jasper string quartets, among many others.

For more information, please call 215.735.6999 or visit

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