Don't expect the Altoona Symphony Orchestra's season-opening concert to be a passive experience.
"Classical music is about a lot more than sitting there listening," Maestra Teresa Cheung said. "It's about reflection and participation from the audience."
The audience will be able to reflect on "Heritage," the theme of this Saturday's concert at the Mishler Theatre, Altoona. The concert begins at 7:30 p.m. and officially kicks off ASO's 81st season, titled "Our Music is for Everyone."
The Altoona Symphony Orchestra, led by Maestra Teresa Cheung, perform during last year’s season.
Russian music will be featured with "Overture on Russian Themes" by Rimsky Korsakov and "Variations on a Rococo Theme" and "Symphony No. 4," both by Peter Tchaikovsky. Guest artist Igor Zubkovsky, a cellist based in Vienna, Va., will be featured performing "Variations on a Rococo Theme."
Tchaikovsky had written "Variations on a Rococo Theme" for a friend, Cheung said, who altered the piece, but Zubkovsky will perform Tchaikovsky's original version. Cheung said that's a rarity - most performers choose the altered arrangement.
"I think it's better," Zubkovsky said. "Not just because it's original, but the overall structure - I think it's better."
If you go
What: "Heritage," the first concert of the Altoona Symphony Orchestra's 81st season
When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday
Where: Mishler Theatre, Altoona
Tickets: $20 and $30 for adults, $10 for students from www.altoonasymphony.org or by calling 943-2500.
with the maestra
The public is invited to have lunch with Maestra Teresa Cheung and guest artist Igor Zubkovsky at The Phoenicia, Altoona, at noon Friday.
Cost is $20 per person, and reservations are due by noon today by calling 943-2500.
Zubkovsky, 38, began playing the cello at age 5 at the Gnessins' Music School for Gifted Children in Moscow and first appeared as a soloist with the Minsk Philhar-monic Symphony at age 12.
He's taken top prizes at international competitions and was awarded a full scholarship to the Peabody Conservatory of Music at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.
"(Zubkovsky's) virtuoistic techniques span the range of the cello," ASO Executive Director Brooke Welsh said. "Anyone who enjoys music will be amazed by the talent of the guest artist, as well as of the Altoona symphony."
This is Zubkovsky's first appearance with the ASO. Stateside, he's recently been featured in two performances with the Harrisburg Symphony Orchestra, at Merkin Concert Hall in New York, at the Newport Music Festival in Newport, R.I., and at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.
In all of those performances, though, he's never been to a luncheon with audience members. He'll join Cheung for the Luncheon with the Maestra at noon Friday at The Phoenicia in Altoona.
"It's definitely a new experience," Zubkovsky said. "I'm not quite sure what to expect."
While the music and guest artist are both Russian, Cheung said the concert's scope is much broader than that.
"Each nationality has something very special to give," Cheung said. "It's not so much about Russian heritage or music, it's about how each composer and particularly Tchaikovsky, is drawing on that particular fountain (of heritage)."
Welsh said Monday that ticket sales have been steady, and the bulk of sales usually takes place at the door or in the days right before the concert.
"This is the type of concert everyone can relate to," Welsh said. "It's the type of orchestral music that (has) lush harmonies, and it's powerful, and there are some romantic melodies - there's a little bit of everything."
Mirror Staff Writer Ashley Gurbal is at 946-7435.