Welcome to the 2023-2024 Spire Series Season

Welcome to the Spire Series! We are committed to building community through the presentation of extraordinary performance artists in one of Baltimore's most beautiful sacred spaces. The series features local, national, and international talent and includes both free and ticketed concerts

You can find the 2023/2024 season below. Single tickets are still available for every concert.

Please consider becoming a donor by clicking the button below or by making an additional donation with your ticket purchase.

Your generous donation allows us to offer top-tier arts programs at First & Franklin. Your donation also provides educational opportunities for students and community access to tickets and artistic opportunities.

 

2023 Candlelight Choral Concert - Watch Now!

2024-2025 Spire Series Season

Please check back soon for information about the 15th Anniversary season of The Spire Series.

PAST CONCERTS
(2023-2024 Season)

JETrio

Sunday, Oct. 1 | 3:00pm
Joshua Espinoza Trio

Latino-American jazz pianist Joshua Espinoza blends and bends genres into songs that are immediately relatable yet hard to define. He has performed with such luminaries as Sean Jones, Warren Wolf, Miho Hazama, Jihye Lee, and Chuck Redd. Alongside bassist Kris Monson and drummer Jaron Lamar Davis, the Joshua Espinoza Trio explores the undefined space between jazz improvisation, classical chamber music, pop music, and folk traditions. His debut album "Journey Into Night" is available on all platforms.

S'Amusant

Friday, Nov. 3 | 7:30pm

S'amusant

S'amusant is one of Baltimore’s newest musical ensembles, featuring extraordinary artists Wade Davis (cello), Patrick Merrill (harpsichord), and Melissa Wimbish (soprano). The group’s program, Dreams and Fantasies will cross boundaries from its early music roots to explore the music of Beethoven, Schumann, and Arvo Pärt. The group says, "Our mission is to perform this music with style and panache, and to have fun while doing it."

 

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Sunday, Dec. 10 | 4:00pm

Candlelight Choral Concert

The First & Franklin Sanctuary Choir, directed by Jason Kissel, will present their annual Candlelight Choral Concert. This yearly tradition celebrates the holiday season with choral music including Vivaldi's Gloria with Baroque ensemble and carols. We also welcome gifted harpist and friend of the choir Jacqueline Pollauf. Join us in the glow of the candlelight to revel in music, beauty, and the joy of Christmas.

Slack-Markham

Friday, Mar. 8 | 7:30pm
Karen Slack, soprano
Mark Markham, piano

"Dream Variations" Program & Notes

Known for performances that “ripped the audience’s hearts out” (Opera News), Karen Slack is“not only one of the nation's most celebrated sopranos, but a leading voice in changing and making spaces in classical music” (Trilloquy). A recipient of the 2022 Sphinx Medal of Excellence, Slack is an Artistic Advisor for Portland Opera, serves on the board of the American Composers Orchestra and Astral Artists, and holds a faculty position at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity.(Read more)

Artist Website

 

Pianist Mark Markham is widely recognized as one of the great artists of his generation. His international career encompasses performances in North and South America, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. Equally at home as a soloist, a collaborator with some of the finest singers in the world, a jazz pianist, or a vocal coach, his interpretations have been praised by the public and press alike. The Baltimore Sun praised his performance of Liszt and Chopin for his “big, rich tone,” “abundant power” and “sensitively using a wide palate of tone coloring.”

Artist Website

Svet Marina

Friday, Apr. 12 | 7:30 pm
Svet Stoyanov, percussion
Marina Piccinini, flute

Praised by the New York Times for his “understated but unmistakable virtuosity” along with a “winning combination of gentleness and fluidity,” SVET STOYANOV is a driving force in modern percussion. Winner of the prestigious Concert Artists Guild International Competition, Svet was also presented with the Johns Hopkins University Alumni Award. He has been a featured concerto soloist with the Chicago, Seattle, and the American Symphony Orchestras, as well as solo performances in Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, Kennedy Center and Taiwan National Concert Hall. Svet returns to The Spire Series with a dazzling program that will showcase the full spectrum of sound through a wide variety of instruments! Artist Website

Hailed by Gramophone as “the Heifetz of the flute,” MARINA PICCININI is widely recognized across the world as a daring, dynamic artist with varied musical interests. She is internationally-acclaimed for her interpretive skills, intensely communicative performances, technical command, and powerfully magnetic stage presence, with a distinct and global perspective that informs her work as one of the most compelling advocates of both traditional and new works. Much sought after as a soloist, chamber musician, and recording artist, she has garnered special attention for her commitment to the music of our time and for expanding the repertoire of her instrument. Artist Website
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Thursday, May 23 | 7:00 pm

Armstrong Honors Recital

The Spire Series is proud to host its close neighbor, Baltimore School for the Arts, for the annual Armstrong Honors Recital. This special event showcasing select members of the graduating class of 2024, is named for one of Baltimore’s great educators and BSA founder, Margaret Armstrong.

paul_bisaccia

Sunday, June 2 | 3:00 pm

Paul Bisaccia

Prelude to Pride

Paul Bisaccia is the first artist to have recorded the complete solo piano music of Gershwin, and his PBS television special Gershwin by Bisaccia has been broadcast throughout the U.S. and viewed by millions. The American Record Guide says, “For Gershwin interpretations, Bisaccia wins hands down.” Michael Feinstein calls Paul Bisaccia and the Great American Piano his second television show for PBS, “imaginative, fun, well played and totally satisfying.” It is fitting, then, that Bisaccia's all-Gershwin program for The Spire Series will feature the beloved composer's Rhapsody in Blue.

Paul is thrilled to be playing this special concert in honor of Pride Month. He was the Secretary for the Connecticut Coalition for Lesbian and Gay Civil Rights in the 1980’s and early 90’s, and was heavily involved with the successful passage of an LGBTQ Civil Rights Bill in 1992.  He did television and radio interviews as well as writing articles, meeting with lawmakers and stuffing lots of envelopes. It was a special time in his life. The Coalition gave Paul a special award, presented at City Hall by the Mayor of Hartford, for his tireless work for the LGBTQ community, as well as his cultural contributions to the city as a musician and performer.
Artist Website

PAST CONCERTS
(2022-2023 Season)

Friday, Sept. 30 | 7:30pm Joshua Diaz & Mark Markham

Mexican American tenor Joshua Diaz partners with pianist Mark Markham in music by John Carter, Henri Duparc, and Richard Strauss, along with his interpretation of mariachi songs, a reflection of his family’s heritage.

Read More

Friday, Oct. 21 | 7:30pm Bach by Candlelight, Wade Davis

Wade Davis, a Baltimore-based baroque cellist is in high demand as a solo performer and chamber music collaborator. He regularly performs with the Washington Bach Consort and the Folger Consort.

Read More

Sunday, Dec. 11 | 4:00pm Candlelight Choral Concert

The First & Franklin Sanctuary Choir with conductor Jason Kissel are joined by harpist Jacqueline Pollauf, US Armed Forces Brass, and organist Kathie Metz in this annual concert of choral music for the seasons of Advent and Christmas. Opening with a stunning setting of O Come, O Come Emmanuel, the concert will feature John Rutter’s Gloria along with other music of the season.

Sunday, March 19 | 2:30pm The Ken & Brad Kolodner Quartet

The father-son team of Ken & Brad Kolodner weave together a captivating soundscape on hammered dulcimer and clawhammer banjo, blurring the lines of Old-Time, Bluegrass and American Roots music, joined by Alex Lacquement (bass, banjo) and Rachel Eddy (fiddle, guitar, vocals, banjo).

More about Ken & Brad Kolodner: https://www.kenandbrad.com/

Friday, April 21 | 7:30 pm Jessica Tong & Michael Sheppard

Jessica Tong, violinist, and Michael Sheppard, pianist, share a rare, singular vision in their approach to music-making and have presented adventurous programs that integrate both well-loved and lesser-known masterpieces for violin and piano.

Thursday, May 25 | 7:00 pm

The Armstrong Honors Recital will feature selected students of the Class of 2023 from the Baltimore School for the Arts. This recital is named for one of Baltimore’s great educators and BSA founder, Margaret Armstrong.

Sunday, June 4 | 3:00 pm | Sara Davis Buchner

Noted for her musical command, cosmopolitan artistry, and visionary independence, Baltimore native, pianist Sara Davis Buechner makes a long overdue return to Baltimore and is one of the most original concert pianists and storytellers of our time. Sara, who is a proud transgender woman, will help us kick off Pride Month 2023.

Learn more about Sara Davis Buechner: http://saradavisbuechner.com/

Become A Spire Series Donor

Your generous donation allows us to offer top-tier arts programs at First & Franklin. Your donation also provides educational opportunities for students and community access to tickets and artistic opportunities.

Please consider becoming a donor by clicking the link below or by making an additional donation with your ticket purchase.

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