America’s most musical president?

Imagine a presidential candidate versed in mathematics, architecture, horticulture, religious studies, linguistics and philosophy. We had one — Thomas Jefferson, who in 1801 became the nation’s third president. A true Renaissance man, Jefferson was also an accomplished musician. MacPhail Center for Music’s fascinating “An American in Paris” program examines the musical experiences Jefferson had during the five years he spent in Paris on government business. Corelli’s violin showpiece “La Follia” is featured — Jefferson himself could play it — as is Haydn’s 85th Symphony, which he heard during his Paris stay. (8 p.m. Sat., MacPhail Center for Music, Mpls.; $15-$25, 612-767-5250, macphail.org)

Rose Ensemble anniversary

On a snowy November evening 20 years ago, Twin Cities vocal group the Rose Ensemble gave its first-ever concert. The work performed that night was “Mass for the Departed” by Tomás Luis de Victoria, the greatest Spanish composer of the 16th century. Hear the piece again, as the ensemble singers dust off copies to raise the curtain on their 21st season together. (8 p.m. Fri., Church of St. Agnes, St. Paul; 8 p.m. Sat., Church of the Holy Cross, Mpls.; $10-$38, roseensemble.org)

 

Turf Club goes classical

Classical music continues to go boldly where it has never gone before. Members of the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra play Mendelssohn’s masterly Octet for Strings at the Turf Club, normally a rock venue. Tickets include a free drink and the club’s full food menu will be available. (8 p.m. Thu., Turf Club, 1601 W. University Av., St. Paul.; $20, 651-291-1144 or thespco.org)

Happy Election Day

Minnesota Orchestra marks Election Day with a performance of Aaron Copland’s “Lincoln Portrait,” a setting of famous words by the 16th president, including the Gettysburg Address. Retired Minnesota Supreme Court Justice Alan Page narrates. Also featured are Dvorak’s “New World” symphony and Bruch’s Violin Concerto No. 1. (11 a.m. Thu., 8 p.m. Fri. & Sat.; Orchestra Hall, Mpls.; $25-$96, 612-371-5656 or minnesotaorchestra.org)

Schubert masterpiece

Even by Schubert’s own high standards the slow movement of his String Quintet is a sublime creation, often cited by listeners as their favorite piece of chamber music. Hear the whole work played by the outstanding Pacifica Quartet in a concert also including works by Puccini and Julia Wolfe. (4 p.m. Sun., St. Anthony Park United Church of Christ, St. Paul; $21-$31, 651-292-3268 or schubert.org)

TERRY BLAIN