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From Beijing to Beethoven

Born in China, Tianwa Yang was a prodigy who began studying at the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing at age 10. Performing with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra in 2010, she played the Butterfly Lovers Concerto, an atmospheric Chinese piece.

When she returns to Kleinhans Music Hall on Nov. 19 and 20, we will see a different aspect of her art. Yang and her 1730 Guarneri Del Gesu violin -- on loan from its owner in Singapore -- will be exploring the Beethoven Violin Concerto. This is one of the most famous concertos of all time and beloved for its warmth and depth. JoAnn Falletta, the BPO's music director, will be conducting the concert. It should be a fine collaboration because they are used to working together. Yang joined Falletta and the Virginia Symphony on a recording of Stravinsky's "A Soldier's Tale," released recently on Naxos.

To complete the program, Falletta is conducting "A London Symphony," also known as the Symphony No. 2, by Ralph Vaughan Williams. This music was first performed in 1914, though Vaughan Williams revised the score several times over the years. You can hear the chimes of Big Ben and sense the timeless calm of the Thames. Vaughan Williams also captures the feeling of a foggy day in London town, with the image of a fiddler entertaining in front of a pub.

Beautiful as it is, this symphony is an unflinching portrait of the city. The final movements make reference to London's slums, and to the crowds of people unable to find work. Vaughan Williams dedicated the piece in 1920 to George Butterworth, a very talented young British composer who was killed in combat in World War I.

The concert takes place at 8 p.m. Nov. 19 and 2:30 p.m. Nov. 20 at Kleinhans Music Hall. Admission is $29-$82. For tickets or info, call 885-5000.

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