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Classic Chautauqua

The eminent pianist Peter Serkin is joining the Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra on Saturday for the official start of the orchestra's 2012 season. He will be playing the rhapsodic First Piano Concerto of Johannes Brahms.

The luminous music of Brahms is perfect for summer, and the concert opens with Brahms' "Academic Festival Overture," a paean to medieval drinking songs that is fun from the word go, even if you have heard it 100 times.

Rounding out the concert is Beethoven's Eighth Symphony. It's a buoyant, engaging symphony that some tough critics -- including George Bernard Shaw and Beethoven himself -- considered superior to the more popular Seventh.

The conductor is Roberto Minczuk, the music director of the Calgary Philharmonic and principal conductor of the Orquestra Sinfonica Brasileira Rio de Janeiro.

The concert takes place at 8:15 p.m. Saturday in the ancient amphitheater at the Chautauqua Institution. General admission tickets are $36. This pass allows you onto the grounds of the Chautauqua Institution from 4 p.m. until midnight. For information, call 357-6250.

-- Mary Kunz Goldman