There’s a wonderful array of holiday-themed classical programming scheduled in December. But there’s still some standard classical fare on the calendar as well.
For a complete guide to all of the Nutcrackers, Christmas plays and concerts, go to nando.com/holiday.
If you need a break from all those carols and bells, try some of these:
UNC Symphony Orchestra
Faculty member Nicholas DiEugenio is soloist for Sibelius’ emotionally intense Violin Concerto. Conductor Tonu Kalam also leads the orchestra in Smetana’s popular tone poem, “The Moldau,” and works by Suppé and Richter. Dec. 6. Memorial Hall, 114 East Cameron Ave., Chapel Hill, on the UNC campus. $5-$10. 919-843-3333 or music.unc.edu.
Duke Symphony Orchestra
Harry Davidson conducts Brahms’ groundbreaking Symphony No. 1, along with J.S. Bach’s Keyboard Concerto No. 1 (Indonesian concert pianist Cicilia Yudha, soloist) and the overture to Wagner’s “The Flying Dutchman.” Dec. 6. Baldwin Auditorium, 1336 Campus Drive, Durham, at Duke University. Free. 919-660-3333 or music.duke.edu.
Pianist Khatia Buniatishvili
Sony recording artist Khatia Buniatishvili, born by the Black Sea in Georgia, is known for her prodigious technique and fiery energy. Her powerhouse program includes Mussorgsky’s “Pictures at an Exhibition” and three pieces by Liszt. Dec. 7. Memorial Hall, 114 East Cameron Avenue, Chapel Hill. $15-$59. 919-843-3333 or carolinaperformingarts.org.
This young ensemble has made its name performing works by 20th and 21st century composers. Its all-American program includes works by Gloria Coats, Ruth Crawford Seeger, Marcos Balter and John Zorn. Dec. 7. Nelson Music Room, 1304 Campus Drive, Duke University. $20-$28. 919-684-4444 or dukeperformances.duke.edu.
Pianist Stephen Hough
The MacArthur Fellow and prolific recording artist’s program explodes the notion that French piano music is unstructured and German is tightly planned. The proof lies in his selections by Debussy, Schumann and Beethoven. Dec. 8. Baldwin Auditorium, 1336 Campus Drive, Duke University. $20-$38. 919-684-4444 or dukeperformances.duke.edu.
Escher String Quartet featuring Jason Vieaux
New York’s engaging string ensemble is joined by Grammy-winning guitarist Jason Vieaux for Boccherini’s “Fandango” Guitar Quintet. He also plays solo pieces by Bach, Albéniz and Jobim, while the quartet plays works by Haydn and Kurtág. Dec. 9. Baldwin Auditorium, 1336 Campus Drive, Duke University. $20-$42. 919-684-4444 or dukeperformances.duke.edu.