The 2014-15 Sarasota Orchestra season is the first that music director Anu Tali will lead from start to finish, and it opens this weekend with a concert that promises to be special.
Tali, who relocated from her native Estonia to take the position with the orchestra, will conduct three works by great Russian composers, Friday through Sunday at Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall. It's the first Masterworks concert of the season.
The three works on the program are selections from Dmitri Shostakovich's score from the film "The Gadfly," Sergei Prokofiev's "Piano Concerto No. 3" and Modest Mussorgsky's classic "Pictures at an Exhibition."
The featured soloist on the Prokofiev is Alexander Toradze, who's acknowledged as a virtuoso in the composer's works. His recording of the piece he's performing here was named by International Piano Quarterly as "historically the best on record." There have been more than 70 recordings of that work.
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By the way, if you can't make it to the Van Wezel for this concert, you can still catch the Sarasota Orchestra in the week ahead. The orchestra is performing with the Sarasota Opera in an excellent production of "Pagliacci" through Nov. 15.
Details: Nov. 7-9, Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, 777 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota. Show times: 8 p.m. Friday-Saturday, 2:30 p.m. Sunday. Tickets: $30-$89. Information: 941-953-3434, sarasotaorchestra.org.
-- Marty Clear