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Originally published Friday, February 15, 2008 at 12:00 AM

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A global affair for music lovers

Russia has a long and glorious musical heritage, but one of its greatest ensembles is among the newest: the Russian National Orchestra. This terrific orchestra, founded in...

Seattle Times music critic

Russia has a long and glorious musical heritage, but one of its greatest ensembles is among the newest: the Russian National Orchestra.

This terrific orchestra, founded in 1990 and supported primarily through private funding, has won spectacular press and roaring ovations ever since it started touring. (Seattle music lovers will remember the orchestra's two-night visit two years ago, when the orchestra also played alongside the Seattle Symphony on the Benaroya Hall stage.)

Now they're back, in the Seattle Symphony's Visiting Orchestras Series, with conductor Vladimir Jurowski on the podium and British pianist Stephen Hough as the soloist. Their lone Seattle concert, at 2 p.m. Sunday in Benaroya, offers an all-Russian program that has been one of the most eagerly awaited jewels of the season. On tap: Rachmaninoff's "The Isle of the Dead" and "Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini" (with Hough as soloist), concluding with Tchaikovsky's beloved Symphony No. 6 in B minor, Op. 74, the famous "Pathétique."

Hough made his Seattle recital debut in an unconventional and thoroughly delightful program back in 2002, not long after he won a MacArthur "genius" fellowship. Hearing him in the "Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini" should be well worthwhile.

Now in his mid-30s, conductor Jurowski has been discussed as a possible successor to Christoph Eschenbach on the Philadelphia Orchestra podium ever since his 2005 guest appearance there, praised in the local press as "clearly among the most magnificent musical achievements of the orchestra's last dozen years." Appearances with the major orchestras of Berlin, London, Los Angeles, Oslo, Pittsburgh, Dresden, Leipzig and Amsterdam have met with similar raves.

The Moscow-born, German-trained Jurowski currently serves as principal conductor of the London Philharmonic Orchestra, a principal artist of Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and principal guest conductor of the Russian National Orchestra. His prior appointments are even more far-ranging: music director of the Glyndebourne (England) Festival Orchestra, principal guest conductor of Teatro Comunale di Bologna and First Kapellmeister of Komische Oper in Berlin.

Expect this one to sell out.

Concert details: 2 p.m. Sunday, Benaroya Hall, 200 University St., Seattle; $30-$125 (206-215-4747 or www.seattlesymphony.org).

Young keyboard sensation

The young French virtuoso pianist Lise de la Salle, who turns 20 this year, arrives Wednesday to play the President's Piano Series at Meany Theater, where her program includes two Beethoven sonatas (one is the "Pathétique") and Schumann's mighty Symphonic Etudes. This youngster, seraphic looking in her CD cover photos and impressive on the discs inside, was already playing on national radio broadcasts at age 9, with a concerto debut at 13. She makes only 20 concert appearances a year; this one may well be something special.

Concert details: 8 p.m. Wednesday, Meany Theater, University of Washington campus, Seattle; $20-$34 (206-543-4880 or www.meany.org).

Eager for Egarr

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Richard Egarr won considerable acclaim for his 2006 visit to Seattle, playing Bach's "Goldberg Variations" in a remarkable harpsichord recital. Now he's back in town as guest of the Early Music Guild, with his remarkable British period orchestra, the Academy of Ancient Music, in a Saturday program at Town Hall.

Solo, double and triple concerti for harpsichord, violin and flute by Bach, Telemann and Handel will showcase Egarr at the harpsichord, as well as the principal players of the Academy of Ancient Music. The principals include Pavlo Beznosiuk, violin; Rachel Brown, flute; Rodolfo Richter, violin; and Joseph Crouch, cello.

Concert details: 8 p.m. Saturday, Town Hall, 1119 Eighth Ave., Seattle; $25-$40, with a free preconcert lecture at 7 p.m. (206-325-7066 or www.earlymusicguild.org).

Simple Measures

This series of chamber concerts in intimate locations will include new choreography by Pacific Northwest Ballet principal dancer Stanko Milov, who is joined by former PNB star Julie Tobiason for these performances. Seattle Early Dance members also will present baroque dances. The music is provided by pianist Mark Salman, violinist Gennady Filimonov, violist Arie Schachter and cellist Rajan Krishnaswami.

The same program, offering music from the Renaissance through contemporary eras, will be presented in three venues.

Concert details: 7:30 p.m. today, Fremont Abbey, 4272 Fremont Ave. N., Seattle; 3 p.m. Saturday, Edmonds Conference Center, 201 Fourth Ave. N., Edmonds; and 7 p.m. Sunday, Mount Baker Community Club, 2811 Mt. Rainier Drive S., Seattle; $10-$25 (206-853-5672 or www.simplemeasures.org).

Melinda Bargreen: mbargreen@seattletimes.com

Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company

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