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VERSATILITY TEST <br> THE BUFFALO PHILHARMONIC TACKLES COPLAND, MOZART, MAHLER AND MORE

WHO: Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra

WHERE: Kleinhans Music Hall

INFO: 885-5000

The versatility of the Buffalo Philharmonic will be displayed during the coming week, with programs ranging from pop/crossover through the classicism of Mozart to the romantic angst of Mahler.

At 7:30 p.m. today guest conductor Wes Kenney, associate conductor of the Virginia Symphony, presides over a program featuring the renowned Turtle Island String Quartet, part of the BPO's New Attitudes Series. Using the classical quartet tradition as a launching pad, the Turtle Island ensemble has explored just about every style of popular and ethnic music, resulting in such titles as "Spider Dreams" by quartet founder David Balakrishnan and "A Night in Tunisia" by Dizzy Gillespie. The orchestra will offer Copland's "Danzon Cubano." Tickets are $21-$29.

On Saturday at 8 p.m., Mozart's 244th birthday will be celebrated with a special concert featuring Buffalo-based touring pianist Stephen Manes in Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 9 in E-Flat, considered his first mature concerto. Guest conductor Yong-yan Hu also leads the orchestra in the Overture to "Don Giovanni" and the famous "Jupiter Symphony," No. 41 in C Major. Tickets at $5-$15 seem a bargain.

Capping the diverse week, Music Director JoAnn Falletta will be on hand to conduct two performances of Mahler's "Tragic" Symphony No. 6, with its two dramatic "Hammer Blows" symbolizing an inexorable, gloomy destiny, Mahler's vision of no way out. It is intensely moving and perhaps the work most admired by dyed-in-the-wool Mahlerians. Mahler's Sixth will be performed without intermission at 7:30 p.m. next Friday and 8 p.m. Feb. 5, with preconcert talks by Falletta one hour earlier. Tickets are $21-$50.

-- Herman Trotter

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