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Cue The Laurels

Elena Urioste (photo by Matt Stuart)

Buffalo welcomes the BPO back after a successful Florida tour

Hot on the heels of their sold-out, five-city Florida tour, the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra returns to the stage at Kleinhans Music Hall this weekend for a pair of concerts in their Classic Series on Saturday, March 27 at 8pm, and Sunday, March 28, at 2:30pm.

While the musicians of the BPO have returned, JoAnn Falletta won’t be back on the podium until April, so guest conductor Christopher Wilkins, music director of both the Orlando Philharmonic and the Akron Symphony, will handle the baton this weekends. As a guest conductor, Mr. Wilkins has appeared with many leading American orchestras, including those of Boston, Chicago, Detroit, Houston, Indianapolis, Los Angeles, Pittsburgh, and San Francisco.

The mighty Schubert Symphony No. 9 in C major, D. 944, “The Great,” is the major work on the program, and Wilkins led a well received performance of the work with the Akron Symphony just a month ago, praised for his “brisk tempos and his ability to keep things in motion.” None of Schubert’s symphonies were ever performed publically during his lifetime. The Symphony No. 9 was the last symphony that Schubert completed, very probably in 1826, though until recently it was believed that he composed the work in 1828, the year of his death. While the work probably received a reading at a rehearsal of the Vienna Society of the Friends of Music before Schubert’s death in November of 1828, the complete work remained unperformed until Robert Schumann unearthed the manuscript in 1838. The first performance of all four movements, though heavily cut, took place in 1839 under the baton of Felix Mendelssohn conducting his Leipzig Gewandhaus orchestra.

The exciting young violinist Elena Urioste will make her BPO debut playing the Violin Concerto in A minor, Op. 82 by Alexander Glazunov. Of Mexican-Basque heritage, Urioste first gained national recognition by winning the Sphinx competition, and she has since appeared as soloist with such major symphony orchestras as those of Atlanta, Detroit, Pittsburgh, Baltimore, and Cleveland, as well as with the Boston Pops. A graduate of Curtis Institute of Music, where she studied with Joseph Silverstein, Pamela Frank and Ida Kavafian, Urioste shared some of her thoughts about playing the virtuoso showpiece with Artvoice:

“Though I had performed the Glazunov informally with piano accompaniment in 2003, my first concerts of the piece with orchestra were last April with the New Mexico Symphony. I had always been a sucker for the piece’s intense, lush romanticism and a soulful, almost drunken longing that weaves its way throughout the first few sections. I had dabbled with the thought of using it as my college audition concerto; although that plan fell through, my desire to add it to my repertoire was still very much present once all of the audition mayhem had passed. In my opinion, the second ‘movement’ [the concerto is played without pause, and therefore there are sections as opposed to clearly defined movements] is one of the most beautiful slow movements in the violin concerto repertoire, and certainly one of my favorites to play. Something about the key of D-flat major always tugs at my heartstrings, and the soaring melodies are simply gut-wrenching.”

Urioste recently received a rare Alessandro Gagliano violin, made in Naples, circa 1706, on extended loan from the Stradivari Society. “I am exceptionally honored to be using such a fantastic instrument,” she says, “and I am very much looking forward to our first Glazunov together! I am particularly excited to see how the deep, sonorous G string of which I’ve grown so fond will react in a large hall with this piece.”

For tickets, call 885-5000 or visit

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