Indiana native to conduct Orquestra de São Paulo in Chicago debut

Thu Oct 08, 2009 at 2:49 pm

By Lawrence A. Johnson

Kazem Abdullah
Kazem Abdullah

Chicago’s nascent music season has gone from zero to seventy in a fortnight with a dizzyingly rich menu of concert choices. Joshua Bell performs Bruch and Saint-Saens with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra this weekend, Christian Tetzlaff tackles Bach’s complete solo violin works Sunday afternoon and the ATOS Trio opens the University of Chicago Presents series with a meat-and potatoes program of Haydn, Mendelssohn and Brahms Friday night at Mandel Hall.

Yet the appearance by the Orquestra de São Paulo Monday at the Harris Theater could hold the most long-term local significance. The Brazilian orchestra makes its belated Chicago debut led by guest conductor Kazem Abdullah. The young Indiana-born maestro is also on the short list of contenders for music director of the Chicago Sinfonietta, which he will return to conduct in January.

Abdullah will lead the Brazilians in a venturesome program including Alberto Nepomuceno’s O Garatuja, the Bachianas brasileiras No. 4 by Villa-Lobos and Bartók’s suite from The  Miraculous Mandarin. Guest soloist Dame Evelyn Glennie will perform her signature work, James MacMillan’s percussion concerto Veni, Veni, Emmanuel.

Concert time is 7:30 p.m. at the Harris Theater. $45-$75. 312-334-7777;

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