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Czech pianist returns for orchestra's 20th anniversary Mindlin Concerts

Friday and Saturday, April 24-25, 2009, 8 p.m. Richardson Auditorium, Alexander Hall

Czech pianist Ivan Moravec will return to perform with the Princeton University Orchestra in the 20th anniversary Stuart B. Mindlin Memorial Concerts at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, April 24-25, in Richardson Auditorium, Alexander Hall.

The orchestra, under the direction of Michael Pratt, will present its final performances of the season. Moravec performed Beethoven's Third Piano Concerto with the orchestra in October 2007. This year, they will perform Robert Schumann's Piano Concerto in A Minor.

"Ivan Moravec is, to state it plainly, one of the great pianists of our time, and all time," Pratt said. "His artistry has thrilled multiple generations of listeners, and those who heard his masterful Beethoven will not want to miss his Schumann. He has been performing recitals in Princeton for many years with Princeton University Concerts, and has appeared with the great orchestras of the world. We are deeply honored that he wishes to return to perform with Princeton students."

For these concerts, Moravec appears as the Paderewski Memorial Artist.

For the second half of the program, Pratt and the orchestra will perform one of the greatest of the tone poems by Richard Strauss, "Ein Heldenleben" ("A Hero's Life").

"'Ein Heldenleben' is the ultimate musical expression of self-celebration, for the 'Hero' is Strauss himself," Pratt said. "It is actually an encapsulation of two lives, for the other dominating character is Strauss' beloved wife Pauline, represented by a dazzling violin solo. They converse, argue fiercely, fall into each other's arms, and the Hero is sent forth by her to do battle with his enemies. His triumph is overwhelming (in the way only Strauss can do), and the music ends with them peacefully in old age, much the way they actually did in life.

"'Ein Heldenleben' is one of the most thrilling works in the repertory, and its hyper-late Romanticism is beautifully balanced on the program by Schumann's early Romantic innocence and idealism," Pratt said.

The Stuart B. Mindlin Memorial Concerts are named for a Princeton resident who was a member of the orchestra's percussion section for many years.

Tickets for the concerts are $18 for general admission, $15 for senior citizens and $5 for students. They may be purchased at the Frist Campus Center box office, the Richardson Auditorium box office or online.

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