Classical picks: Ben Wager at AVA; Free Curtis recitals start up again

The Curtis Institute of Music will present several free, unticketed student recitals per week.

Can he pull off this one? Local operaphiles will naturally be curious how Ben Wager has developed since his years at the Academy of Vocal Arts, where he graduated in 2009. But his recital at 8 p.m. Wednesday at the American Philosophical Society (presented by the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society) is a draw unto itself, if only because of its tour de force program. It starts with Vaughan Williams' Songs of Travel (nice, but not fail-safe), includes a series of serenades from Don Giovanni as the Don seduces a potential girlfriend, and also has, from Mussorgsky's Songs and Dances of Death, a portrayal of death luring a dying woman into the hereafter. Plus lots of Brahms and Strauss. This would have to be partly the work of Opera Delaware's Jeffrey Miller (Wager's piano accompanist for this concert), who has a beyond-encyclopedic knowledge of the vocal repertoire. Wager scored a success as the Ghost in Franco Faccio's opera Hamlet at Opera Delaware in May. And if he can pull off that one. ... Information: 215-569-8080 or www.pcmsconcerts.org- David Patrick Stearns

School is back in session at the Curtis Institute of Music, and so are the several free, unticketed student recitals per week. It's tantalizing to think that at some point in the past couple of decades you could have shown up on a Monday, Wednesday, or Friday night and caught Lang Lang or Yuja Wang playing a senior recital or taking part in a little chamber music. Who is next to leave the walls of the conservatory for a world stage? Find out at www.curtis.edu, 215-893-5261. - Peter Dobrin

Vote for your favorites. For its forthcoming on-air fund-raiser, WRTI-FM (90.1) is polling listeners for their "essential" classical composers and jazz artists. Vote at www.wrti.org- Peter Dobrin