Happy Holidays!  Here are a few selections from my year-end playlist, including several PAC artists and three (!) Messiah performances. I hope you find something here to enjoy during these final days of 2021. I’ll be taking a break next week, but I’ll be back with more Culture Picks in the new year.

NYO-USA and NYO2 Musicians Perform Music from “E.T.”
Members of the National Youth Orchestra of the United States of America (NYO-USA) and NYO2 perform an excerpt from “Adventures on Earth” from “E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial” during the national youth ensembles’ 2021 residency at Purchase College in July.
Watch NYO Perform Music From ET on YouTube

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater presents
Ailey’s Opening Night Gala
Streaming from December 22-28, 2021
The Opening Night Gala features performances of Robert Battle’s Ella (performed to live music by Jazzmeia Horne) and the finale of Love Stories, plus “’Bird’ Lives!” from Alvin Ailey’s For ‘Bird’ – With Love featuring Company member Clifton Brown with students from The Ailey School, and Mr. Ailey’s beloved Revelations.
Experience the Opening Night Gala on Ailey All Access

The Rob Mathes Holiday Concert
The annual Rob Mathes Holiday Concert is happening this year but will be performed in advance and taped for airing on Rob Mathes’ YouTube channel, Rob Mathes Music, for two weeks during the holiday season from December 22 through January 5.  Updates will be posted on Rob Mathes‘ FacebookInstagram, and Twitter accounts, and the link for the event will be provided on those accounts.
Visit Rob Mathes Music on YouTube

Against the Grain Theatre presents
Available to stream on-demand through January 9.
Hailed by The New York Times as “a rousing and decidedly Canadian version of Handel’s Messiah,” Against the Grain Theatre’s Messiah/Complex returns this holiday season for audiences across the world to enjoy once again.  I saw this a year ago and am looking forward to seeing it again!
Messiah/Complex – Against the Grain Theatre (atgtheatre.com)

 The Elbphilharmonie Hamburg presents
Handel’s Messiah
Streamed live from the Grand Hall of the Elbphilharmonie on December 18
Available until June 18, 2022
Handel’s magnificent oratorio Messiah, performed by the award-winning London Tenebrae Choir and the Academy of Ancient Music, conducted by Nigel Short. Learn more.
Elbphilharmonie Hamburg presents Handel’s Messiah

Live at Wigmore Hall presents
Dunedin Consort: Handel’s Messiah
Available on demand
A group whose performances of Baroque repertoire have seen them achieve the highest reputation returns with a work particularly beloved – especially at this time of year.
Watch Dunedin Consort: Handel’s Messiah

 Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center presents
Bach: Brandenburg Concerto No. 5 in D major, BWV 1050 I. Allegro
Johann Sebastian Bach: Brandenburg Concerto No. 5 in D major, BWV 1050 (1720) I. Allegro
Another holiday tradition…
Watch the Brandenburg Concerto No 5 on YouTube
Watch more CMSLC videos here

The Metropolitan Museum of Art presents
ETHEL and Friends: Balcony Bar from Home
Friday, December 24, 5:00–5:30pm
Fix yourself a drink and experience The Met’s Balcony Bar from home with ETHEL, one of the most acclaimed string quartets in the contemporary classical field. Expect familiar classical tunes mixed with a fair share of the group’s signature cutting-edge repertoire. Guest artists and collaborators also make periodic appearances.
ETHEL is Ralph Farris (viola), Kip Jones (violin), Dorothy Lawson (cello), and Corin Lee (violin).
With guest artist Pamyua, an Inuit-soul modern musical group that blends its own culture with influences from around the world.

The Laurence Hobgood Trio
Laurence Hobgood, piano
Matt Clohesy, bass
Jared Schonig, drums
Friday, December 31, 5:00–5:30pm

Access Met Balcony Bar events on their website

ARTE Concert presents
Streamed live on December 18, now available on demand
A special Christmas concert from violinist Daniel Hope’s Berlin living room, made famous during lockdown, with some very special guests including pianist Lang Lang and baritone Thomas Hampson.
Watch Christmas@Home on YouTube

The Library of Congress presents
Calidore String Quartet
Premiered on December 18:  Hear the Calidore String Quartet perform on the Library’s Stradivari instruments in a program of musical gold! Praised for the depth and polish of their interpretations, the Calidore will reveal Haydn’s classical perfection, Brahms’s romantic mastery, and Mendelssohn’s passion and intensity while the harmonies still ring in your ears and reverberate in your heart. Calidore String Quartet Jeffrey Myers and Ryan Meehan, violins Jeremy Berry, viola | Estelle Choi, cello
Program: Joseph Haydn: Quartet in F major, op. 77/2, HIII: 82 Felix Mendelssohn: String Quartet in A minor, op. 13,  Johannes Brahms: String Quartet in A minor, op. 51/2
For more information, visit the Library of Congress website.
Watch the Calidore String Quartet on YouTube


Culture Picks is a weekly feature celebrating the performing arts. The arts are back and there is so much to take in, both live and virtual. Cultural connoisseur and PAC staff member Coni Guhl is here to help you sort through it all. Each week we will post her curated selection of events featuring the artists you know and love from The PAC Center Series, plus a sampling of stellar local experiences. Enjoy!

All times are EDT unless otherwise noted.

Pictured: Rob Mathes (c) RomanDean