Holiday offerings continue to dominate the calendar with at least seven seasonal choral programs this weekend alone, but it's Duke University's Ciompi Quartet that commands our attention. On Wednesday, Dec. 6 at 8 p.m. in Baldwin Auditorium, Ciompi violinist Eric Pritchard and violist Jonathan Bagg join the Duke Symphony Orchestra for the Sinfonia concertante in E-Flat, one of Mozart's most sublime compositions. Harry Davidson conducts the free program, which includes an Adagio and Fugue by Mozart and the rip-snorting Fifth Symphony of that other birthday boy, Dmitri Shostakovich.
In the Rare Book Room of Perkins Library on Friday, Dec. 8 at 4 p.m., Ciompi Quartet members will discuss and demonstrate the instruments they play. "The Four Voices of the String Quartet" provides an opportunity to learn all you've ever wanted to know about their instruments but were afraid to ask. It's free, and there's also limited free parking in front of the Chapel.
And on Sunday afternoon at 3 p.m., at the N.C. Museum of Art, the Ciompi Quartet will give the world premiere of "The Quartet of Solos" (String Quartet No. 4) by Chapel Hill composer Roger Hannay, who passed away earlier this year. Proceeds from this memorial concert, which includes music by Schubert and Franck's Quintet and guest pianist Jane Hawkins, benefit the Raleigh Chamber Music Guild and Classical Voice of North Carolina. Tickets are $10.
The Chapel Hill Philharmonia hosts the Janus Duo—pianists Barbara Rowan and Francis Whang—for a performance of Mozart's Concerto for Two Pianos on Sunday evening at 7:30 p.m. in Hill Hall. Donald L. Oehler conducts, and the free program includes music by Samuel Barber and Beethoven's Fifth Symphony.
See cvnc.org/calendar/triangle.html for details of concerts by the N.C. Jazz Repertory Orchestra (Dec. 9) and "An Elizabethan Christmas" with the UNC Consort of Viols (Dec. 10), plus outstanding choral programs by the N.C. Master Chorale (Dec. 9), the Choral Society of Durham (Dec. 9 and 10) and the Hillyer Community Chorus (Dec. 10).