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Summer is when the Crocs come out of the closet, Bruce Willis returns to movie theaters, and everyone’s IQ drops a few notches. Classical music isn’t immune to the seasonal dumbing-down effect, but for local ensembles, a little stupid isn’t such a bad thing. Concert halls mostly go dark in the warmest months, but Wolf Trap steps in to serve your fix of cheesy movies (the music of John Williams, July 7), cheesy Broadway standards (Idina Menzel, August 3), and that most lasting new staple in classical music since the sonata form, video-game music (The Legend of Zelda: Symphony of Goddesses, July 26, all $20–$52). There’s also the occasional serious piece (Gustav Holst’s The Planets, July 27) that’s a welcome palate cleanser. But you don’t have to trek out to Virginia for genre-bending popcorn fare: The National Museum of Women in the Arts hosts a classical/country-rock collaboration between pianist Simone Dinnerstein and singer-songwriter Tift Merritt (pictured) on May 30 (free), while the Washington Chorus gives us the debut of Paola Prestini’s multimedia theatrical “folk opera” Oceanic Verses on June 23 (Kennedy Center, $25). Unfortunately, we don’t get the premiere of Philip Glass’ new 1812 Overture (Meyerhoff Symphony Hall, June 17, $15), but not every city can be as hip as Baltimore.
May 14: Itzhak Perlman
If you missed his Washington Performing Arts Center concert last year, don’t fret. The smiliest violinist of all time returns, once again with pianist Rohan de Silva, for an evening of Schubert, Brahms, and Prokofiev. Kennedy Center, $45-$110.
June 13: Avi Avital
Mandolin players don’t headline many concerts, so that should be reason enough to check out Avi Avital doing arrangements of Vivaldi, Bach, Beethoven, and Piazzolla. Sixth & I Historic Synagogue, $15.
July 1: New York Opera Society
The Institut Ramon Llull presents a series of concerts in honor of Spanish painter Joan Miró; the New York Opera Society performs music by composers from Miró’s native Catalonia. National Gallery of Art, free.