Sometimes the best things in life really are free.
The Buffalo Chamber Music Society was able to get soprano Julia Bullock for its first free Gift to the Community Concert this season. Clementina Fleshler of the BCMS described her glowingly: "She has not only a gorgeous voice but makes a great connection with the audience."
Bullock has packed such venues as the National Gallery of Art and Carnegie Hall's Weill Recital Hall. Buffalo hears her free when she sings at 3 p.m. Oct. 14 in the Mary Seaton Room of Kleinhans Music Hall. She will begin with three exquisite Schubert songs, and goes on to sing Samuel Barber and Gabriel Faure before closing with songs made famous by such figures as Billie Holiday, Nina Simone and Alberta Hunter.
Other classical music events add to a variegated fall season.
The Buffalo Chamber Music Society starts its main season with the Belcea Quartet, founded in 1994 at London's Royal College of Music. At 8 p.m. Oct. 16 in Kleinhans Music Hall's Mary Seaton Room, the group plays Haydn, Janacek and Beethoven (the Quartet Op. 130, complete with the Great Fugue). Admission is $30; students admitted free. At 7:30 p.m. Oct. 17, at Slee Hall on the University at Buffalo's North Campus. the Belcea plays Mozart, Bartok, and Mendelssohn. Call 645-2921 for info on the UB concert.
Slee Hall has a rich lineup. Here are a few highlights: At 7:30 Oct. 5, pianist Stephen Manes plays Bach, Bartok and Beethoven's magnificent "Eroica" Variations, followed by Schumann's Piano Sonata No. 1. At 7:30 p.m. Nov. 2, organist Roland Martin and friends perform Baroque master Francois Couperin's "Mass For Convents" as well as Martin's own song cycle "A Rose Beside the Water." At 7:30 p.m. Nov. 9, UB welcomes eminent cellist Sumire Kudo. Kudo joins pianist Eric Huebner for a program culminating in Rachmaninoff's great Sonata for Cello and Piano. For info on Slee Hall events, call 645-2921.
The Buffalo Chamber Players, in residence at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, thrive on the gallery's historic spirit of experimentation. At 7:30 p.m. Oct. 11, the group is presenting chamber music with no strings, including works by Francis Poulenc, Georg Philipp Telemann and Steve Reich.
At 7:30 p.m. Nov. 15, a concert with Anne Burnidge Dance looks back nostalgically to the 1960s, when the avant-garde reigned. Imagine hearing John Cage's "Music For Amplified Toy Pianos" and György Ligeti's "Poème symphonique for 100 metronomes" in the perfect period surroundings of the Albright-Knox. Talk about Buffalo time travel.
Tickets to BCP concerts are $20 general admission; $5 for students. Call 270-8292, or buy tickets at the gallery admissions desk.
Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra musicians go on the road for "The BPO Goes Baroque" -- music by Handel and Purcell, as well as two enchanting pieces that look back on that era, Grieg's "Holberg Suite" and Respighi's "Ancient Airs and Dances." Concerts take place at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 3 at Orchard Park Presbyterian Church (4369 Orchard Park Road, Orchard Park) and at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 4 at Clarence Presbyterian Church (9675 Main St., Clarence). Admission is $20; students $10.
More off-roading follows at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 16 when the BPO joins the Canisius College Chorale at Canisius' Montante Cultural Center. The concert's centerpiece is Bach's Cantata No. 79, incorporating the hymn "Now Thank We All Our God." Admission is $25; students $12.
Finally -- or should we say firstly? -- the Friends of Vienna kick off a new season at 3:30 p.m. Sept. 16 at the Unity Church (1243 Delaware Ave.) with a daring French program. Cellist Natasha Farny and Israeli-born pianist Eliran Avni join violinist Yuki Numata Resnick for demanding French music including Darius Milhaud’s "Scaramouche" and Ravel's famous Piano Trio. Resnick tackles Eugène Ysaÿe's challenging Sonata No. 4, the "Fritz Kreisler"; while Avni tries his hand at Poulenc’s Improvisations for solo piano. Admission is $12; students $5.