String-crossed performance

Critic's Choice: Classical Music

September 24, 2000|By Tim Smith

When it comes to "crossover" music -- a loosely defined genre that fuses, in one way or another, classical and non-classical elements -- few artists have been more successful than Mark O'Connor. A brilliant fiddler and a prolific composer, O'Connor has collaborated with some of the brightest stars in the classical field, among them cellist Yo-Yo Ma and bassist Edgar Meyer (those two joined him for the 1996 hit recording of "Appalachia Waltz").

In 1997, O'Connor wrote a Double Concerto for Two Violins expressly for Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg, who gave the world premiere with the composer and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra last month at the Ravinia Festival. The duo will introduce the new work to Charm City this week in concerts with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Gunther Herbig.

Although O'Connor usually brings his country fiddling background to the fore in his compositions, he has drawn on his equally intense love of jazz and blues for this Double Concerto. Expect to hear traces of swing in the first movement, "the feeling of midnight on the dance floor" in the second and an improvisatory duel of fiddles in the finale.

The program, which also contains Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 5, will be performed at 8 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday at Meyerhoff Symphony Hall, Cathedral and Preston streets. Tickets are $30-to $68. Call 410-783-8000.

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