The annual Musikfest is now under way, having opened last Thursday (September 2) under artistic director Winrich Hopp. More than 60 works by 25 composers will be performed at the Philharmonie, the Parochialkirche, the Gethsemanekirche in Prenzlauer Berg and the Konzerthaus at Gendarmenmarkt. The emphasis this year is on the music of Pierre Boulez, with 11 concerts featuring 17 of his works, including Pli selon Pli. A-list appearances include the London Symphony Orchestra under Daniel Harding, Amsterdam’s Koninklijk Concertgebouworkest and the Bamberger Symphoniker. The festival ends on September 21.
From Friday (September 10), the James Cohan Gallery presents its fourth solo exhibition by the contemporary Californian artist Ingrid Calame. Swing Shift exhibits her recent oil on aluminium panel paintings: abstract works measuring up to 36 by 72 inches in which the artist has traced the inventory numbers stencilled on the floors of a steel plant, and applied loud primary colours over the top. Also on display is her 14ft x 20ft “Perry Street Projects Wading Pool, Buffalo NY”, a powdered pigment tracing of an abandoned wading pool. With riotous colour combinations, Calame reconstructs old and forgotten surfaces in an unusual way, which she calls “a representation of loss”. The exhibition continues until October 9.
On Thursday this year’s annual Sibelius festival opens at Lahti, 60km north of Helsinki. The 2010 programme focuses on works from the composer’s late period but also includes his early choral symphony, Kullervo. Performances take place in the all-wood Sibelius Hall, picturesquely situated on the lakeside. This is the last festival to be directed by Jukka-Pekka Saraste before he hands over the directorship of the Lahti Sinfonia to Okko Kamu. Soloists include Alina Pogostkina on violin and Finnish singers Jorma Hynninen (baritone) and Helena Juntunen (soprano). It ends on Sunday.
From Friday, the Peggy Guggenheim Collection presents the first retrospective exhibition of works by Adolph Gottlieb, the American abstract expressionist and close friend of Mark Rothko. Influenced by European avant-garde tendencies, cubism and surrealism, Gottlieb was one of the first Colour Field painters; he developed a format, which he termed the “pictograph”, consisting of irregular grids containing archaic symbols, and in series such as “Bursts” and “Landscapes” toyed with cosmic themes. It continues until January 9.
On Tuesday, the Noël Coward Theatre opens Matthew Warchus’s star-studded West End revival of Ira Levin’s 1978 thriller. Simon Russell Beale plays Sidney Bruhl, a has-been playwright with writer’s block who is jealous of his up-and-coming former student, played by Glee and Broadway’s Spring Awakening star Jonathan Groff; events spiral out of control when Bruhl invites the student over to discuss Deathtrap, the latter’s brilliant new play. Billed wickedly as “a play to kill for”, it also stars Estelle Parsons as a visiting celebrity psychic who smells a rat. Warchus’s production runs until January 22.
The Museum of Contemporary Art Shanghai opens its annual Envisage exhibition on Sunday. This year the curators have encouraged China’s young contemporary artists to present a collective “Reflection of Minds” – a set of works portraying personal responses to modern life. The aim is to explore the latest trends in Chinese art while creating “an interesting and vigorous art experience” for the viewer. Featured artists include Cheng Ran, Chen Wei and Ding Li. Ends October 8.
On Thursday, Les Enluminures opens an exhibition focusing on French art around 1500. A joint venture between the Réunion des Musées Nationaux and the Art Institute of Chicago, The Pictorial Arts at the Dawn of the Renaissance brings together 45 works, including manuscripts, books of hours, early wood engravings and stained glass. Among the exhibition’s many themes are the effects of royal patronage on the visual arts at a time of tremendous wealth; pieces include paintings by Jean Fouquet (died 1480), court painter to King Charles VII, and designs by the influential illuminator Jean Pichore. The exhibition ends on November 28, and will then move to Chicago.