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Classical Pick of the Week: Cello Festival Highlights and Shamrock Out

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If you haven't heard, the first ever Piatigorsky International Cello Festival is going on right now, up until the 18th. There are two masterclasses (which typically involve a student's performance, and a soloist's critique/lecture) and a performance every evening (with an occasional pre-concert lecture). Tickets for masterclasses are $20, concerts are $20-$60, and Disney Hall performances are anywhere between $50-$200. Tonight's performance of all six Bach Cello Suites is sold out, and they are anticipating high demand for many of the concert's, so purchase tickets in advance. For more information, check out our interview with the artistic director, Ralph Kirshbaum.

For masterclasses, we strongly suggest you attend those of performers that are not based in the Los Angeles area, or a cellist you want to check out but are unable to attend their evening performance. We like Miklós Perényi (Monday at 3 pm), Raphael Wallfisch (Tuesday at 11 am), Gary Hoffman (Wednesday at 3 pm), and Steven Isserlis (Saturday at 10 am).

For contemporary music lovers, Jian Wang and Perenyi are performing a variety of works this Wednesday at Zipper Hall. Kodály and Ligeti's solo sonatas, a world premiere of a piece by Perenyi, Franck's Sonata, and Schubert's Arpeggione are all on the program. For a grander affair, Saturday night's performance at the Disney Hall includes Shostakovich's Cello Concerto no. 1 and Symphony no. 5. Mischa Maisky will be the soloist for the Shostakovich.

For sheer variety, the finale at the Disney Hall is where you want to be. The concert is next Sundaythe 18th at 7:30 PM, and includes at least 13 of the guest artists in works by Rachmaninoff, Bach (arranged for 110 cellos), Stravinsky, Tortelier, and more. Tickets are $50-$100.

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For the more somber crowd, this Tuesday's performanceat USC's Newman Hall might be what you're looking for. Program include's Bernstein's Meditations, Faure's Elegy, Prokofiev's Sonata, and works by Bloch and Boellmann. On Friday at Zipper Hall, six of Piatigorsky's former students will celebrate Piatigorsky through film and discussion. Grandson Evan Drachmann will also be in attendance.

For the romantics, Ralph Kirshbaum is performing the Dvorak Cello Concerto on Thursdayat 8 pm (considered by many to be one of the greatest works written for cello), and Weilerstein is performing the Rococo Variations on Sundayat 2 pm. Both concerts take place at the Disney Hall.

If you're looking for something different to do on St. Patrick's Day, Vox Femina Los Angeles will present Shakespeare to Shamrocks on Saturday the 17th at Zipper Hall. This celebration will unite the English and Irish together with Shakespeare sonnets and Gaelic Irish music, with Classical music and folk songs from England, Scotland, and Ireland. Tickets are $25-30 presale, and $35 at the door.