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BPO spotlights Mozart and Mendelssohn masterpieces

Kleinhans Music Hall, this weekend, is the home of the hits. The Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra is performing three pieces everyone loves, each a masterpiece in its own right.

The guest soloist is Arnaud Sussmann, an up-and-coming violinist born in Strasbourg, France. Sussmann was the winner of a 2009 Avery Fisher Career Grant and is a member of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. He has performed with top musicians, including Itzhak Perlman, Menahem Pressler and cellist Jan Vogler, who recently visited Kleinhans with comedian Bill Murray. Sussmann will be performing the famously lovely Violin Concerto of Felix Mendelssohn.

The guest conductor is Andre Raphel. The music director of the Wheeling Symphony Orchestra in West Virginia, Raphel was born in Durham, N.C. He has conducted many prestigious orchestras and has led programs at Tanglewood and other summer festivals. Raphel has studied at the Curtis Institute and at Juilliard. For two years, he was assistant conductor to Kurt Masur at the New York Philharmonic.

Raphel is conducting Mozart's "Jupiter" Symphony, famous for its bold, eye-opening architecture and its concluding, mind-boggling fugue. Setting the stage for that triumphant creation is Ravel's "Le Tombeau de Couperin." It's a smaller-scale treasure of masterful construction that looks back to the Baroque age, and, like the Mozart, includes some fascinating counterpoint.

Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra: 8 p.m. Dec. 2 and 2:30 p.m. Dec. 3 in Kleinhans Music Hall.  Tickets are $29-$84. Call 885-5000 or visit



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