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CityMusic Cleveland to make New York debut
Donald Rosenberg, The Plain Dealer, Wednesday, September 01, 2010

CityMusic Cleveland spends most of its time performing free concerts in neighborhoods around Northeast Ohio.

The professional chamber orchestra will continue to do so during its seventh season, but it also will travel to one of the country's biggest neighborhoods, Manhattan, to make its New York debut on Friday, Nov. 12, at Lincoln Center's Avery Fisher Hall.

The ensemble has been hired to take part in "A Celebration of America's Hellenic Community," a benefit program of music by Greek-born Canadian composer Christos Hatzis featuring internationally renowned Greek pop singer George Dalaras.

The connection between the orchestra and the New York concert was made by Hatzis, whose "Redemption: Book I" for string quartet and chamber orchestra CityMusic premiered in October in Cleveland with the Pacifica Quartet and guest conductor David Alan Miller.

At Lincoln Center, CityMusic will give the world premiere of Hatzis' "Credo" and perform the composer's "Symbol of Faith" and "Telluric Dances" (with Suzanne Lemieux, principal oboe of Symphony Nova Scotia, as soloist).

Greek conductor Alexandros Myrat will lead the program, during which Dalaras -- whose recordings have sold more than 12 million copies -- will perform in "Credo" and sing popular songs.

The concert is a presentation of the Archangel Michael Greek Orthodox Church, Cultural and Educational Center of Port Washington, N.Y., which will benefit from the proceeds.

"It's great for us," said Eugenia Strauss, CityMusic's executive director. "We don't have to fundraise for it. The orchestra's ecstatic."

Unlike CityMusic's free performances in Cleveland, the New York concert is a big-ticket event, with seats ranging from $50 to $200.

The orchestra's season at home has no shortage of highlights. Music director James Gaffigan, who was absent last season due to his increasingly busy international conducting schedule, will return for the opening Beethoven program this month and closing Schubert program in May.

The latter will include Luna Pearl Woolf's arrangement for cello and chamber orchestra of Schubert's "Arpeggione" Sonata, with Matt Haimovitz as soloist. The piece will help round out a Haimovitz/CityMusic recording that includes Shostakovich's Cello Concerto No. 1, Haydn's Cello Concerto in D major (both recorded last year) and Hindemith's Cello Concerto, which the musicians will perform Friday, May 20, at the Beachland Ballroom.

Joel Smirnoff, president of the Cleveland Institute of Music, will lead two programs, and young, award-winning conductor Joshua Weilerstein will preside over intergenerational concerts featuring the world premiere of Margaret Brouwer's "Story of a City."

Weilerstein hails from the powerhouse musical family -- formerly Cleveland residents -- that also consists of violinist Donald Weilerstein, pianist Vivian Hornik Weilerstein and cellist Alisa Weilerstein.

The season's impressive lineup of soloists includes violinist Chee-Yun (Beethoven Violin Concerto), violinist Kyung Sun Lee (Vivaldi's "The Four Seasons"), soprano Chabrelle Williams (Mozart arias) and violinist Dylana Jenson (Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto).