Enter the chamber

Experimental chamber music that mixes jazz, classical and electronic effects too often goes beneath the radar. A hot spot for this subgenre, Studio Z in St. Paul, has a particularly strong program this weekend. Friday and Sunday feature the Spitting Image Collective, comprising players and composers from around Minnesota, presenting new music that parodies real and fictional characters, from Amelia Earhart to Lolita to the "megalomaniac gangster" that is presumably the title character of "Big Boy," a piece for alto and electronics played by saxophonist Jeffrey Kyle Hutchins and composer Joshua Clausen. The Caprice Saxophone Quartet will perform work by Katherine Bergman and Daniel Nass, and pianist Stan Rothrock will play a solo song by Nass. Saturday, the Ancia Saxophone Quartet will premiere "Confluence," an environmentally themed piece composed for the group by Libby Larsen, along with works by female composers ranging from 12th-century great Hildegard of Bingen to 20th-century jazz giant Mary Lou Williams. (7:30 p.m. Fri.-Sun., 275 E. 4th St., Suite 200, St. Paul. $10-$15, studiozstpaul.com.)



All things must pass, and after seven years as an artistic partner at the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, the time has come for Christian Zacharias to play his final concerts. He made his initial reputation as a pianist, so it's appropriate he takes his final bow with Chopin's Second Piano Concerto, whose ravishing slow movement will inevitably seem valedictory. Zacharias conducts, too, and will lead the SPCO players in Haydn's Symphony No. 82, one of his best and brightest, and the incisive Concerto for Strings by Polish composer Grazyna Bacewicz. (8 p.m. Fri.-Sat., 2 p.m. Sun.; Ordway Concert Hall, St. Paul. $33-$53, 651-291-1144, thespco.org.)

Asher Fisch has serious credentials as a Wagner conductor. He has a complete recording of the mighty "Ring" cycle to his credit, and has worked as an assistant to Daniel Barenboim, probably the greatest living Wagnerian. His Minnesota Orchestra program of excerpts from "Tristan und Isolde" and "Götterdämmerung" is unmissable for operaphiles, with works by Richard Strauss also listed. American soprano Amber Wagner supplies the necessary vocal heft in Isolde's "Liebestod" and Brünnhilde's "Immolation." (11 a.m. Thu., 8 p.m. Fri.; Orchestra Hall, Mpls. $25-$79, 612-371-5656, mnorch.org.)

Nicholas Phan is one of the finest lyric tenors of the younger generation. He lends a touch of class to the closing concert of the Minnesota Bach Ensemble's season. He sings arias by Bach and Handel, interspersed with instrumental music by both composers. (7:30 p.m. Sat., 3 p.m. Sun.; MacPhail Center, Mpls. $10-$25, mnbach.org.)

The Mirandola Ensemble draws on the finest consort singers in the Twin Cities, and its latest program, "Come, Holy Spirit," should be a perfect point of musical contact with the Christian feast of Pentecost. Music by Byrd and Gesualdo, masters of Renaissance polyphony, and the lesser known German Gregor Aichinger. (7:30 p.m. Sat., Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church, Mpls. $12-$15, ­themirandolaensemble.org.)

Terry Blain