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CRITICS' CHOICES

VIOLINIST

BY JIMMY
The Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra is singularly blessed by top visiting violinists these days. Having just hosted the phenomenal Wanda Wilkomirska playing the dazzling Szymanowski Concerto No. 1, Music Director Maximiano Valdes will welcome for next weekend's all-Russian Concerts one of the true superstars of the younger generation, Cho-Liang Lin. Please note there'll be three concerts, next Friday and Dec. 15 at 8 p.m. plus Dec. 16 at 2:30 p.m. Lin will play an all-time repertory favorite, the Tchaikovsky Concerto in D Major, while Valdes and the orchestra will perform the Overture and "Polovtsian Dances" from Borodin's opera "Prince Igor" and Prokofiev's Symphony No. 5. The affable Taiwan native has acquired the ordinary American nickname "Jimmy" from his peers, but there's nothing remotely ordinary about his playing. He has been on the international concert circuit for about 12 years, a short time by usual career standards, but has already been re-engaged by more than 80 orchestras around the world. Among Jimmy Lin's greatest distinctions have been two invitations to tour mainland China at the bidding of the Communist government, a precedent-setting breakthrough, given the usual animosity between Communist China and Taiwan. Concerning his performance of the Tchaikovsky Concerto, which he'll play here, the New York Post said, " . . . His playing was a marvel of finesse and grace," while the Los Angeles Times simply said that he " . . . continues to occupy a top rung on the ladder of violinistic achievement." And the last time this superb young artist played with the BPO (September 1987), The Buffalo News reported that "he made the difficult Mendelssohn Concerto sound easy, his firm, even tone riding the crest of even the fullest orchestral tuttis." These should be the kind of concerts no one will want to miss.

-- Herman Trotter

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