Above: Igor Levit plays Ordway Concert Hall Oct. 30. (Robbie Lawrence)

Old friends and familiar faces make for an enticing Schubert Club 2018-19 season, with more than a dozen headline concerts announced over the weekend.

Five of these concerts are part of the International Artist Series, featuring leading artists from the international recital circuit at St. Paul's Ordway Center. And the hottest ticket for the 2018-19 series stars the Russian-German pianist Igor Levit, whose 2016 recital was a highlight of Schubert Club's 2015-16 season. Levit’s return to the Ordway (Oct. 30) promises music by Schumann, Bach, Busoni, Wagner and Liszt.

“Levit is riding high right now,” said Schubert Club artistic and executive director Barry Kempton in his season announcement video. “He has just been announced as the winner of the Gilmore Artist Award (worth $300,000), which is only awarded once every four years to a pianist of outstanding talent and potential.”

The return of the Kansas-born mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato is another highlight (Feb. 25, 2019). “Joyce came to the Schubert Club three years ago and wowed everybody,” remembered Kempton. 

DiDonato is an expert in the art of coloratura -- that is, singing extended strings of short notes at a high velocity -- and will undoubtedly wheel out the vocal pyrotechnics. This time, though, she will perform with a jazz trio.

DiDonato is already an established international superstar. The young German baritone Samuel Hasselhorn has recently been taking significant steps in that direction, as winner of the 2017 Das Lied International Song Competition in Heidelberg, Germany. An early opportunity to clock Hasselhorn’s potential comes Nov. 29 and Dec. 1, some of the singer's very first concerts in America. 

Rounding out the International Artist Series are a pair of performances by the duo of cellist Gautier Capuçon and pianist Yuja Wang (April 3-4). Both players of exceptional caliber, Wang won the 2017 Musical America Artist of the Year award and Capuçon is a leading light in an extraordinary new generation of French chamber musicians and soloists. 

The Schubert Club also announced the lineup for its 2018-19 Music in the Park series, a handful of intimate chamber music concerts at the St. Anthony Park United Church of Christ in St. Paul. Highlights from that series include visits by two premier string quartets, the Miró Quartet (Sept. 23) and the Brentano String Quartet (April 14, 2019). The outstanding clarinetist Alexander Fiterstein will also play Olivier Messiaen’s masterpiece “Quartet for the End of Time” (Nov. 18). 

Subscription packages are available by calling 651-292-3268 or via schubert.org. The Schubert Club will start selling individual concert tickets on Aug. 1.

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