Michael White’s classical news: Marin Alsop; Oxford Philharmonic; Cephale et Procris; Robert Hugill

Michael White’s classical news: Marin Alsop; Oxford Philharmonic; Cephale et Procris; Robert Hugill

Maxim Vengerov plays the barbican

THE creators of the new Cate Blanchett film Tár like to emphasize that it’s fiction (no doubt on the advice of lawyers), but they’ve gone to great lengths to make it feel real. And in the music world there has been much talk of parallels (to a point!) between the main character, an American conductor, and the real Marin Alsop – which perhaps explains why Alsop condemned the printed film. If it were me, I would sue.

But where Cate Blanchett’s maestra stumbles, Alsop grows as probably the most successful conductor around. And she’s in London at the Barbican on February 8th and 9th to conduct the London Symphony Orchestra in Beethoven and Rachmaninoff with the stunning young pianist Eric Lu. Don’t expect podium fights like in the movies, but first-class music making. barbican.org.uk

Definitely real is conductor/pianist Marios Papadopoulos, who 25 years ago spotted a gap in the market: the lack of a professional orchestra in Oxford. With an entrepreneurial flair, he founded one and raised the money not only to keep it afloat, but also to give concerts with the most famous names in music as guest soloists. And for its Silver Jubilee, the Oxford Philharmonic are coming to the Barbican on February 6th with one of their staunchest – Maxim Vengerov – to play Mendelsohn’s Violin Concerto. barbican.org.uk

• If you have never heard of élisabeth Jacquet de La Guerre, she is one of those forgotten composers whose work is being rediscovered – in her case with some amazing finds. A child prodigy of the 17th century at the court of Louis XIV in France, she wrote the first French opera by a woman. Based on a Greek myth of love thwarted by the gods, Cephale et Procris is getting a rare production from the enterprising ensemble OrQuesta at the Cockpit Theatre, Marylebone, from 7th to 11th February. It’s worth discovering. www.ensembleorquesta.com

A more modern composer, but also worth checking out, is Robert Hugill, who is making a personal contribution to LGBT History Month (which runs throughout February) with a showcase concert of his vocal music. It will set lyrics on gay issues by Michelangelo, Walt Whitman and others, will be curated by pianist Nigel Foster and will play at Hinde Street Methodist Church, 19 Thayer Street, W1U 2QJ on February 3rd. Details: roberthugill.com/concerts

• Composer Joseph Horovitz was known for lighter music – like his theme tune for the TV series Bailey’s Rumpole and the jazzy oratorio Captain Noah. But he also had a serious accomplishment and an extraordinary life: rescued from Nazi Austria in 1938, aged just 11, and then brought to Britain, where he learned English but never quite lost his Austrian accent. Or his memories. He died last year at the proud age of 95. And to mark the first anniversary of his death, on February 9th, there is a memorial concert at the Austrian Cultural Forum, Knightsbridge – a remarkable place if you’ve never been to a fine concert space. Admission free, registration required: acflondon.org

After all, pianist Dmitri Alexeev ranks at the top of the world rankings but is not often heard in London. His only concert here this season is on February 7th in the intimacy of the Leighton House in Holland Park. Details: 07872 161327

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