Xavier Phillips is the soloist with the Florida Orchestra this weekend. Born in Paris, the cellist is featured in Prokofiev's Sinfonia Concertante, which the Russian composer wrote for the great Mstislav Rostropovich, with whom Phillips studied. In 2008, Phillips first performed with the orchestra as the soloist in a consummate modern work, Henri Dutilleux's cello concerto Tout un Monde Lontain (A Whole Distant World).
A guest conductor, the Canadian Julian Kuerti, will be on the podium, and the centerpiece of his program is Schubert's unparalleled Symphony No. 9, the Great. He has a distinguished musical lineage of his own, as son of famed pianist Anton Kuerti.
Concerts are at 8 p.m. Friday at Morsani Hall of the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts, Tampa; 8 p.m. Saturday at Mahaffey Theater, St. Petersburg; and 7:30 p.m. Sunday at Ruth Eckerd Hall, Clearwater. $15-$45; $10 students/educators/military. (727) 892-3337 or toll-free 1-800-662-7286; floridaorchestra.org.
John Fleming, Times performing arts critic