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French virtuoso joining BPO for massive ‘Rach 3’

When French pianist Philippe Bianconi last played with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, in 2010, he made quite an impression. Bianconi, a winner of the Van Cliburn Competition back in the ’80s, played Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No. 3.

“He appears to be an artist of the old school,” ran the review in The Buffalo News. “He radiated confidence – happiness, even, walking out on stage to tackle this challenging, angular piece. He wore old-fashioned tails, tossing them over the bench. You got the idea right away that the concerto was in good hands.”

Bianconi is back this weekend, playing another massive masterpiece – Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 3. If anyone is up to the job, he is. Bianconi also will be playing the “Rach 3” with the BPO when the orchestra tours Florida in February.

Also on this weekend’s concert, BPO Music Director JoAnn Falletta conducts Dvorak’s Symphony No. 6.

The concert takes place at 8 p.m. Saturday and 2:30 p.m. Sunday in Kleinhans Music Hall. Admission is $28-$76. For more info, call 885-5000.

– Mary Kunz Goldman