Almost always, the symphonies that orchestras in this country perform come from familiar European composers who died more than a century ago. That’s especially true of orchestras outside of major cities.
That makes it all the more special that this weekend’s masterworks concert from the Sarasota Orchestra, titled “Tchaikovsky to Tüür,” is built around the American premiere of a symphony by Estonian composer Erkki-Sven Tüür. Anu Tali, the Sarasota Orchestra’s music director, is also from Estonia, and she commissioned the symphony.
For people who prefer more familiar classical music, the concert (as the title suggests) also features two Tchaikovsky works, “Melodie for Souvenir d’un lieu cher” and “Piano concert No. 1.”
Tüür began his music career as a writer and performer of progressive rock, and transitioned to classical music in the 1980s. His “Symphony No 6. (Strata)” is modern-sounding and eclectic. He has written that, unlike traditional symphonies, his sixth builds its theme gradually from disparate elements, and that the fully-formed theme doesn’t emerge until the end.
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Tchaikovsky’s “Souvenir d’un lieu cher” (“Memory of a cherished place”) is a suite of three short pieces for violin and piano that he wrote after seeking refuge in a small town during a tumultuous time. The Sarasota Orchestra will perform “Melodie,” the third of the pieces from the suite.
The most widely known piece on the program is the Tchaikovsky piano concerto. The soloist is Simon Trpčeski, who has performed with major symphony orchestras all over the world, including the Philadelphia and Los Angeles orchestras.
Details: 8 p.m. Feb. 2, Neel Performing Arts Center at State College of Florida, 5840 26th St. W., Bradenton; Feb. 3-5, Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, 777 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota. 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, 2:30 p.m. Sunday. $33 and up. 941-953-3434, sarasotaorchestra.org.