Gershwin kicks off pops series Music: Marvin Hamlisch will conduct the BSO in a program devoted to America's best-known composer.

September 29, 1998|By Stephen Wigler | Stephen Wigler,SUN MUSIC CRITIC

The first Baltimore Symphony pops concert of the season is also a classical-music concert. Classical, that is, if you understand the term to refer to great music that lasts and that belongs as much to the European as to African-American traditions.

We are talking about the music of George Gershwin, who, 100 years after his birth, remains this country's best-known composer and the one whom -- to audiences and musicians elsewhere on Earth -- epitomizes American music.

BSO principal pops conductor Marvin Hamlisch will conduct an all-Gershwin program Oct 1-4 in honor of the composer's centennial. The works include such Gershwin favorites as the Piano Concerto in F, "An American in Paris," selections from "Porgy and Bess" and an excerpt from the "Rhapsody in Blue."

The latter should be of particular interest because the soloist will not be a pianist, but a harmonica player. And not any harmonica player, but the legendary, 83-year-old virtuoso, Larry Adler.

Adler, who grew up in Baltimore, has been to the harmonica what Jascha Heifetz was to the violin: No one before him was as good, no one who follows him is likely to match him.

Concert dates are Oct. 1 (2 p.m.), 2 and 3 (8 p.m.) and 4 (3 p.m.). For more information and tickets, priced from $20 to $57, call the BSO box office (410-783-8000).

Russian favorites

Baltimore Symphony fans who feel they can't wait until March to watch the orchestra's music director-designate, Yuri Temirkanov, conduct might consider a trip to New York's Carnegie Hall this week. Temirkanov and Russia's greatest orchestra, the St. Petersburg Philharmonic, will occupy Carnegie Oct. 1-3 and will perform three programs without repeating a single work. The repertory ranges from such familiar favorites as Stravinsky's "Rite of Spring" and Rimsky-Korsakov's Suite from "Le Coq d'Or" to works by such rarely heard (on this side of the Atlantic) composers as Anatol Liadov and Gyorgy Sviridov. Tickets, priced from $18 to $75, are available by calling 212-747-7800.

Pub Date: 9/29/98

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