American violin virtuoso Stefan Jackiw will be the featured soloist this Sunday as the Portland Symphony Orchestra tackles Ludwig van Beethoven’s Violin Concerto. Contributed

A variety of musical happenings beckon listeners to concert halls and other venues this weekend.

Top billing, in my opinion, goes to the Portland Symphony Orchestra’s second offering in its 2019-2020 Sunday Classical Series. Maestro Eckart Preu has selected two major works from early 19th century Vienna.

The DaPonte String Quartet is revving up for its 2019-2020 subscription series, which opens in Brunswick on Sunday with a program that features three composers. Two are from Austria and one is from Australia.

Singer-songwriter Antje Duvekot holds forth in Portland on Friday.

Portland Symphony Orchestra

Beginning with the late 18th century, Vienna, Austria, has been the capital of the classical music world, and many musicologists believe that its artistic apex was achieved in the early 19th century. The titan of the period’s composers was Ludwig van Beethoven, but in my esteem, Franz Schubert ranks almost as high.

For his second outing of the 2019-2020 Sunday Classical Series, Portland Symphony Orchestra Music Director Eckart Preu has chosen a masterwork by each of these two composers. The opening piece will be the one and only violin concerto by Beethoven. Composed in 1806, it wasn’t very successful, either with critics or at the box office, and the piece languished in obscurity until rediscovered decades after the composer’s death.


For the demanding solo part, Preu has chosen violin virtuoso Stefan Jackiw, who was born in Boston to a pair of physics professors. His mother hails from Korea and his father from Ukraine. The young violinist made his solo debut with the Boston Symphony in 1997 at age 12, then graduated from the New England Conservatory in 2007. Among his honors are an Avery Fisher Career Grant and the Louis Sudler Prize in the Arts.

The second item on Preu’s program is Schubert’s Symphony No. 9, commonly referred to as “The Great,” written toward the end of the composer’s brief but brilliant career. Schubert never heard it. No. 9, notable for its majesty and length, wasn’t performed until 1839, more than a decade after Schubert’s death. Since then it’s been a staple of the concert hall.

Catch the Portland Symphony Orchestra at 2:30 p.m. Nov. 3 at Merrill Auditorium at Portland City Hall. Call PortTIX at 842-0800.

DaPonte String Quartet

I’m not sure of the exact dates, but it was about a quarter-century ago that I first began attending concerts by the DaPonte String Quartet. Formed in Philadelphia at the prestigious Curtis Institute of Music, the foursome soon moved to Midcoast Maine, where they began giving extraordinary concerts to extremely small audiences.

But they persisted, and today the DaPontes draw excellent numbers and they are recognized as top-tier members of Maine’s vibrant classical music community.

Violinist Ferdinand “Dino” Liva and cellist Myles Jordan are original members, while violinist Lydia Forbes and violist Kirsten Monke joined in the past decade. Their usual annual format is a three-program series, with each program performed in four or five coastal communities, ranging from Portland to Rockport. This Sunday the 2019-2020 season launches with a concert in Brunswick.


Three pieces are scheduled, each representing a different period of composition. The first piece was written in the late 18th century by Franz Joseph Haydn, an Austrian who is recognized as the inventor of the string quartet format.

The concluding piece was also written in Austria, by Ludwig van Beethoven, recognized as the format’s premier practitioner of the string quartet in the 19th century. The middle work on the program is a five-movement piece by Peter Sculthorpe, a contemporary Australian composer who died a couple of years ago.

The Brunswick performance is slated for Nov. 3 at 2 p.m. at the Unitarian-Universalist Church, 1 Middle St. The Portland performance takes place at 7 p.m. Nov. 14 at the Maine Jewish Museum, 267 Congress St. For details on Rockport and Newcastle, call 529-4555 or visit

Antje Duvekot

A few years ago I started attending concerts given by Antje Duvekot, a German-born guitarist-singer-songwriter who lives in greater Boston and makes a couple of forays into Maine each year. I like her voice, her lyrical style of melodies and words and her gentle finger-picking guitar style.

This past weekend I listened to a number of her recordings, and I was very impressed by a couple of her songs, especially “Sweet Spot,” which celebrates some very happy moments in life, and “Long Road,” which takes listeners along on the many road trips that define the lifestyles of most musicians who make their living playing hundreds of gigs in small rooms.

I hope to catch her again this Friday, when Antje Duvekot steps on stage at 8 p.m. at One Longfellow Square, corner of Congress and State in Portland. Call 761-1757.

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