Big John Cage and John Adams anniversaries -- festivals for the former, major premieres in San Francisco and Los Angeles by the latter -- will make this a spring of Johns. Meanwhile the big opera news this spring is not with the major companies but outliers -- especially Gustavo Dudamel conducting "Don Giovanni" with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the premiere of Olga Neuwirth's Moby-Dick-based "The Outcast" in Mannheim, Germany.
Here is what is coming up in classical music this spring.
John Cage concerts
This year the world is busy celebrating the 100th anniversary of John Cage’s birth at Good Samaritan Hospital in Los Angeles, Sept. 5, 1912. There is more action on the East Coast than the West, and bigger events in Europe than here this spring, but Southwest Chamber Music is in the midst of a two-year Cage festival. March also brings several concerts of the composer's works to Pasadena and downtown L.A. The Los Angeles Philharmonic gets in the act with Cage’s Concerto for Prepared Piano with Gloria Cheng as soloist and John Adams conducting. The San Francisco Symphony has excerpts from Cage’s “Song Books” as part of Michael Tilson Thomas’ American Mavericks festival. The big stuff this spring, though will be in Berlin where the Berlin Festival will devote a week in March to Cage concerts and international Cage symposium.
Japanese American National Museum, 369 E. 1st St., Los Angeles, 5 p.m. March 4, as well as other locations, dates and times. $10-$38. www.swmusic.org.
Walt Disney Concert Hall, 111 S. Grand Ave., Los Angeles. 8 p.m. April 10. $43-$63. www.laphil.org
Davies Sympyhony Hall, 201 Van Ness Ave., San Francisco. 8 p.m. March 10 and 14. $35-$145. www.sfsymphony.org.
Berlin Festival, Berlin, Germany, various times, locations and prices, March 17-22. www.berlinerfestpiele.de
This is an anniversary year for John Adams as well, with his 65th birthday having been in January and two major new works by the composer forthcoming this spring. The San Francisco Symphony premieres “Absolute Jest” for string quartet and orchestra and the L.A. Phil mounts “The Gospel According to the Other Mary,” a follow-up to Adam’s opera/oratorio “El Niño” with Gustavo Dudamel conducting. Adams also will be a presence on the Disney podium: In addition to the Cage concerto, he will lead the West Coast premiere of Philip Glass' Ninth Symphony on a program with Adams' own Violin Concerto. Meanwhile the Ojai Festival kicks off at the Libbey Bowl with the other John Adams, John Luther Adams, and his "Inuksuit" for 48 percussion and piccolo players.