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Polish Baltic Philharmonic Orchestra to Perform Tchaikovsky Program at Harris Center, 3/13

With more than 80 musicians on stage and a stellar all-Tchaikovsky program in the offing, Harris Center for the Arts patrons are in for a treat, as the Polish Baltic Philharmonic Orchestra comes to Folsom as part of the longest concert tour in the orchestra's history.

Founded in 1945 on the heels of postwar Polish independence, The Polish Baltic Philharmonic is one of the largest music institutions in Poland. The orchestra is visited not only by local music lovers but also by cosmopolitan Polish and international patrons alike; the Philharmonic organizes symphonic concerts and recitals performed by the most prominent Polish musicians as well as by many world-famous artists. For this Harris Center debut, the solo piano will be performed by Marcin Koziak - winner of the International Chopin Piano Competition in Budapest (2006) and a semifinalist and winner of three prizes in the XVI International Chopin Piano Competition in Warsaw (2010).

THE POLISH BALTIC PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA performs AN AFTERNOON OF TCHAIKOVSKY Sunday March 13, 2016 at 2 pm. Tickets are priced at $34-$55; Premium $65. Students with ID and children 12 and under are $25. Tickets are available online at or from the Harris Center Ticket Office at 916-608-6888 from noon to 6 pm Monday through Saturday, and two hours before show time. The Harris Center is located on the west side of Folsom Lake College campus in Folsom, CA, facing East Bidwell Street.

That the Orchestra hails from Gdansk is significant. Littered with charming architecture and wizened thinkers, Gda?sk was the location for the first initiatives and protests in the 1970s and 1980s of the SolidarnoϾ [Solidarity] movement, chaired by future president Lech Wa??nsa. This movement would soon lead to the breakdown of Communism in Poland. One might think that the turbulence of the times may have weakened the arts in Gda?sk, yet the reality is quite the opposite. The Polish Baltic Philharmonic as it exists and thrives today represents an amalgamation of these international and historical influences, and the lofty passions that witnessed tragedy and drove revolutions, while still capturing the prideful stoicism of contemporary Poland and the larger Baltic Sea coast.

Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840-1893) is probably the most popular Russian composer in history - his works include The Nutcracker and The Sleeping Beauty - and three of his famous works will be presented in Folsom on March 13, beginning with Romeo and Juliet, Fantasy-Overture in B minor and concluding with Symphony No. 5 in E minor, Op. 64.

The story behind the second work of the afternoon - the Piano Concerto No. 1 in B-flat minor, Op. 23 - is worth noting. In the winter of 1874, Tchaikovsky presented his newly written First Piano Concerto - one of the best-loved in the repertoire today - to his much admired and trusted senior colleague at the Moscow Conservatory, Nikolay Rubinstein, for an opinion on the work. Tchaikovsky suffered one of the biggest disappointments of his career when, on Christmas Eve, Rubinstein - who had been so supportive of the composer in the past - rejected the concerto with a torrent of scathing criticism, summarily declaring the work ill-composed and unplayable. This unexpected reaction from Rubinstein left the composer totally devastated and sank him into a severe state of depression. Tchaikovsky then sent his concerto to Hans von Bülow, who found it "original, noble and powerful." On October 25 1875, Bülow took the concert world by storm when he presented the work in Boston with unprecedented success. After this, Rubinstein reconsidered his position, recognizing the concerto for the masterpiece it is, and added it to his repertoire, playing it quite often throughout Russia.

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