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Keyed up for the Northport Symphony Orchestra

Pianist Sara Daneshpour will perform with the Northport

Pianist Sara Daneshpour will perform with the Northport Symphony Orchestra on Feb. 1. Credit: Vanessa Briceno

One of the most well-known of Tchaikovsky’s compositions, “Piano Concerto No. 1 in B Flat Minor,” has, in part, gained popularity through its adoption by other artists. To some, the piece’s powerful opening might be more familiar as the melody of Freddy Martin’s 1941 pop hit “Tonight We Love” or the tune Jackie Wilson sang two decades later in his chart-topping single “Alone At Last.” Others might even know it best from an old commercial promoting the Longines Symphonette Society’s classical music broadcast.

“You won’t want to miss it,” says musical director Richard Hyman of the Northport Symphony Orchestra’s performance of the piece Friday in one of the ensemble’s three seasonal concerts at Northport High School. While the iconic Tchaikovsky work is an audience favorite, the chance to hear world-renowned pianist Sara Daneshpour launch the first movement with its sequence of pounding chords is truly a thrill. “Transfixing poetry” is how one critic describes Daneshpour’s virtuoso piano playing,

Daneshpour, a prize winner of numerous international competitions, is one of several pre-eminent solo artists who have recently sought to perform with the Northport orchestra. “It is definitely a compliment,” says Hyman of the ability of the 12-year-old local music organization to attract top-level talent. “Every time we play a concerto with a great soloist, it elevates our playing.” 

The opportunity to perform with the Northport Symphony is as equally rewarding for the in-demand pianist. “I particularly like working with a community orchestra,” says Daneshpour. “The members’ enthusiasm to make music and eagerness to rehearse is very inspiring.”

The group of intergenerational musicians from across Long Island “fills a gap,” notes Hyman. As the only orchestra in the area that holds evening rehearsals, the continuously recruiting Northport ensemble draws to its ranks both amateur and professional performers — from middle-school students to retirees. In addition to its yearly trio of free concerts, it also visits residences for the elderly in order to bring live classical music to people who otherwise have less access.

Friday's lineup features, along with the Tchaikovsky concerto, works by the Russian composer’s predecessor Mikhail Glinka and rival-turned-colleague Nikolay Rimsky-Korsakov. Mozart’s Overture from “The Marriage of Figaro,” also a great influence on Tchaikovsky, serves as the prelude. ‘You can hear the evolution of Russian music in the piece,” notes Hyman.

Daneshpour is delighted with the Russian-themed repertoire. “My teachers, from a very young age, have been Russian, so I have a strong affinity for the music,” she says. She won’t let on, however, if the Tchaikovsky concerto tops her playlist: “Each composer and piece is kind of your favorite at the moment you are playing it.”

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WHEN | WHERE 8 p.m. Friday, Robert W. Krueger Center for the Performing Arts, Northport High School, 154 Laurel Hill Rd.

INFO Free (donations suggested); northportsymphony.org

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