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Top 10 Dance and Classical Music Treasures of 2010

Music and movement in 2010 made the mundane sacred and the serious silly

By Robert Faires, Fri., Jan. 7, 2011

1) 'A NEW YEAR'S CONSPIRARE CLASSIC' (CONSPIRARE) Craig Hella Johnson and his magnificent company welcomed the new year by encompassing all time with choral works that opened one to the fullness of creation, including a "Deutsche Motette" by R. Strauss, breathtaking in its expansiveness and beauty.

<b><i>L'Etoile (The Star)</i></b>
L'Etoile (The Star)

2) 'L'ÉTOILE (THE STAR)' (AUSTIN LYRIC OPERA) How often does opera look and play like a Warner Bros. cartoon inside a fun house? ALO mounted Chabrier's merry romp with animated stylishness and admirable foolery. A sparkling delight.

3) ANNE AKIKO MEYERS/ANTON NEL (BUTLER SCHOOL OF MUSIC) Beethoven. Gershwin. New work with electronics. Is there anything Meyers can't play, and exquisitely? A vibrant display of her versatility and virtuosity on the violin, with her perfect match in ever-grand pianist Nel.

4) MIRÓ QUARTET/LYNN HARRELL (TEXAS PERFORMING ARTS/BUTLER SCHOOL OF MUSIC) The chamber ensemble tackled Haydn and Schubert with characteristic vigor and feeling, but its reading of Philip Glass' String Quartet No. 5 was a revelation: epic yet deeply personal – an intimate quest.

5) 'THE LITTLE MATCH GIRL PASSION' (CONSPIRARE) David Lang's inspired reinvention of the Hans Christian Andersen tale as a grand choral Passion found its ideal voice in our world-class choir, which movingly elevated the profane to the sacred.

6) 'NO TIME TO FLY' (DEBORAH HAY DANCE COMPANY/UT CENTER FOR WOMEN'S AND GENDER STUDIES) Dancing for a scholarly symposium in her honor, Deborah Hay hardly looked academic, skipping in arcs and making faces. But her lone figure proved a Beckettian clown, strutting and humming in defiance of time – for what else can one do?

7) AUSTIN SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA/PEPE ROMERO (ASO/AUSTIN CLASSICAL GUITAR SOCIETY) A heart-wrenching rendition of Rodrigo's Concierto de Aranjuez, with Romero making the score deeply personal and miraculously turning his guitar into a second orchestra to complement a choice ASO.

8) 'EARS WIDE OPEN' (TAPESTRY DANCE COMPANY) Our multiform troupe in a mellow tone, tapping just to jazz in a nightclub setting, with percussion provided by none other than Artistic Director Acia Gray. Copacetic!

9) 'ONE' (BLUE LAPIS LIGHT) The Long Center made into an epic stage, with dancers moving on and suspended from its structural ring and racing across its City Terrace. Rare visions of isolation and union, driven by a powerful performance from Theresa Hardy.

10) MIRÓ QUARTET/ADAM HOLZMAN (AUSTIN CLASSICAL GUITAR SOCIETY) UT professor Holzman not only fit effortlessly into the Miró's chamber groove, but his richly expressive guitar added new colors to the sound of their strings.

Honorable Mentions

MAHLER: 'SYMPHONY NO. 1' (AUSTIN SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA)

GOLDEN HORNET PROJECT: 'SYMPHONY NO. VI' (GHP)

VOICE DANCE COMPANY DEBUT

'THE MAN WHO MISTOOK HIS WIFE FOR A HAT' (AUSTIN CHAMBER MUSIC CENTER/AUSTIN LYRIC OPERA)

'LA TRAVIATA' (AUSTIN LYRIC OPERA)

'VOICES OF RHYTHM' (TAPESTRY DANCE COMPANY)

CHRISTOPHER O'RILEY'S RADIOHEAD ENCORE (AUSTIN SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA)

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