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Three classical music concerts worth checking out


Conductor Leif Bjaland brings down the curtain on 15 years as artistic director of the Sarasota Orchestra with four concerts: 8 p.m. today at Neel Auditorium in Bradenton, 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2:30 p.m. Sunday at Van Wezel Hall in Sarasota. Bjaland will lead the orchestra in the prelude to Wagner's opera Der Meistersinger, Schumann's Symphony No. 2 and the Grieg Piano Concerto, with soloist Orion Weiss. $29-$82. (941) 953-3434; Guest conductors in Sarasota this season who may be potential successors to Bjaland include Michael Stern, Grant Llewellyn, Carl St. Clair, Edwin Outwater and Mei-Ann Chen.

Florida Orchestra

Valentina Lisitsa plays with the Florida Orchestra this weekend. The Ukraine-born pianist is the soloist in Rachmaninoff's ever-popular Piano Concerto No. 2. She is fresh off the release of her latest CD, with violinist Hilary Hahn, of four sonatas for violin and piano by Charles Ives. With Stefan Sanderling on the podium, the rest of the program has a Scandinavian flavor, with Nielsen's Helios Overture and the Sibelius First Symphony. 8 p.m. Friday at Morsani Hall at the Straz 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, $30, $45. (727) 892-3337 or toll-free 1-800-662-7286;


Pianist Franz Mantini is a regular at the Carrollwood Cultural Center, and he returns to give a recital at 7 p.m. Saturday. On the agenda: Mozart (Sonata No. 8, K. 310), Schubert (Impromptus No. 1 and 4, Op. 142), Chopin and Granados. $14-$18. (813) 269-1310;

John Fleming, Times performing arts critic

Three classical music concerts worth checking out 02/15/12 [Last modified: Wednesday, February 15, 2012 3:30am]
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