Keyed to greatness

Russian pianist Igor Levit shot to international prominence five years ago with his debut recording, a universally lauded take on Beethoven’s late sonatas. He returns to the Schubert Club for a recital of works by Bach, Busoni, Schumann, Liszt and Wagner, all featured on Levit’s new “Life” album. (7:30 p.m. Tue., Ordway Music Theater, St. Paul. $33-$72; 651-292-3268, schubert.org)

‘Carnival of the Animals’

Classical music meets the animal kingdom in Music St. Croix’s season-opening concert. The main item is Saint-Saëns’ “Carnival of the Animals,” with its famous swan-imitating cello. Also featured are Poulenc’s “Babar, the Little Elephant” and Henri Kling’s “The Elephant and the Mosquito.” (7 p.m. Fri.-Sat., Washington County Historic Courthouse, Stillwater. $10-$16; 651-430-9198, ­musicsaintcroix.com)

Mahler for the ages

With well over a thousand Mahler recordings available, is there anything more to say about the great Austrian composer? The Minnesota Orchestra proves there is. With music director Osmo Vänskä, the orchestra is midway through performing and recording all 10 of Mahler’s symphonies, with bracingly direct and exciting results. Next up is the Seventh Symphony, long considered the most problematic in the cycle (although its stock has risen in recent years). This week’s performances should be a highlight of the orchestra’s season. (8 p.m. Fri.-Sat., Orchestra Hall, Mpls. $12-$97; 612-371-5656, ­minnesotaorchestra.org)

Rethinking baroque

Ever since he became an artistic partner in 2016, early music specialist Jonathan Cohen has quietly reinvented the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra’s approach to baroque and early classical repertoire. Arguably his most exciting SPCO project yet, Cohen leads three performances of “St. John Passion,” Bach’s choral masterpiece describing the events leading to Christ’s crucifixion. He has assembled an enormous cast of musicians including Twin Cities-based choir the Singers as well as a starry team of soloists including soprano Joélle Harvey and countertenor Tim Mead. (8 p.m. Fri., Cathedral of St. Paul; 8 p.m. Sat. & 2 p.m. Sun., Ordway Concert Hall, St. Paul. $12-$50; 651-291-1144, thespco.org)

Bakken Trio

Beethoven’s towering String Quartet, Op. 130, is the centerpiece of the Bakken Trio’s latest recital, led by violinist Stephanie Arado. Arado also plays Bach’s A Major Violin Sonata, while Minnesota Orchestra cellist Pitnarry Shin rounds out a richly rewarding program with Brahms’ Cello Sonata No. 1. (4 p.m. Sun., MacPhail Center for Music, Mpls. $15-$25; 612-584-1967, bakkentrio.org)

TERRY BLAIN