Best Upcoming Classical Music Performances In Atlanta

November 10, 2014 7:00 AM

The very future of classical music performances in Atlanta is currently being federally arbitrated as the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra continues its strike. The drama of these proceedings will not prevent other shows from “going on” however and a good deal of orchestral performances will accompany actual drama, on stage.The traditional holiday standards like “Peter and Wolf” and new compositions by contemporary artists such as Nobuo Uematsu present options for every taste.

Emory University Symphony Orchestra
Emerson Concert Hall
1700 N. Decatur Road
Atlanta, GA 30322
(404) 727-5050

Date: Nov. 21, 2014 

Aside from the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra’s calendar, Emory University programs one of the most enviable and consistent line-ups of classical music in Georgia. Notable examples in November include Cellist Karen Freer on the 2nd and the combination of Anne-Sophie Mutter and Mutter Virtuosi on the 15th. However, the Emory University Symphony Orchestra led by Director Richard Prior on November 21st is the highlight. The cost is free and no ticket is required for this event. For locals close enough to make multiple visits to the Emerson Concert Hall, there are also a number of Choral shows scheduled as well.

“Peter and The Wolf”
Marietta Performing Arts Center
1171 Whitlock Ave. N.W.
Marietta, GA 30064
(770) 428-2631

Date: Jan. 27, 2015

This show is a learning experience for the young by the young. “Peter and The Wolf” even began in this vein when Sergei Prokofiev wrote the symphony for children. Its enduring popularity is owed partially to the 1946 Disney Film which continues to acquaint new audiences every year on television.

In this case, the Georgia Symphony Orchestra, which is a talented Youth Orchestra, is playing two shows specifically for grade schoolers at an excellent high school venue. The cost is $6 per student, but is actually open to the general public. Parents of young children are obliged to share this opportunity, even if it is not on their field trip calendar. Fans of the Georgia Symphony Orchestra will notice that they will also play at the previously discussed Schwartz Center this year.

“Madama Butterfly”
Cobb Energy Performing Arts Center
2800 Cobb Galleria Parkway
Atlanta, GA 30339
(770) 916-2800

Date: Nov. 11, 14, and 16, 2014

Soprano Dina Kuznetsova leads this Atlanta Opera production of “Madama Butterfly.” Opera is one of the most vital and memorable traditional music performances, and this one by Puccini is a landmark of the genre. Tenor Adam Diegel joins Kuznetsova while Music Director Arthur Fagen conducts. This is a tale of a Japanese Geisha becoming entangled with an American and is sung in Italian with English titles. Combine this with the $100 median price for tickets and this production reveals itself to be a show for discriminating tastes.  

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“rePlay – Symphony of Heroes”
Cobb Energy Performing Arts Center
2800 Cobb Galleria Parkway
Atlanta, GA 30339
(770) 916-2800

Date: Jan. 17, 2015

“RePlay – Symphony of Heroes” is also at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Center and these tickets are similarly priced to the Opera. However, this orchestra and chorus ensemble is perfect for those looking for an entry point into the sometimes pretentious world of classical music.

The setlist of this musical showcase comes entirely from the world of video games, which is probably as much a boon for some as it is a turn-off for others. Still, it cannot be denied that scores from “Legend of Zelda” and “Final Fantasy” are some of the most memorable contributions to classical music in contemporary culture. This concert series is a poignant reminder that the dichotomy between high-culture orchestra productions and low-culture mass media is academic.

Atlanta Ballet’s “Nutcracker”
Fox Theatre
660 Peachtree St. N.E.
Atlanta, GA 30308
(404) 881-2100

Date: Dec. 11-28, 2014 

The Atlanta Ballet with the Atlanta Ballet Orchestra brings the 1890 two-act “The Nutcracker” to the Fox Theater. Tchaikovsky’s original ballet somewhat disappointed audiences, yet the strength of the music carried it forward. Today, this Christmas-themed production is the backbone of ballet companies around the world. For both ballet and classical music fans, this show is a must-see at least once. For many, it is an annual event. Guest Gary Sheldon will be conducting and the Georgia Youth Choir will be singing during the first act.

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With a BFA in Digital Media, Sean Mills has worked for design firms with clients across the United States. He has worked as an illustrator and visual designer, and has shown paintings in juried exhibitions. He currently works as a studio artist and writer in Atlanta, Georgia. His work can be found at