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LPO busy with two nights of concerts

Just prior to next weekend’s major Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra (LPO) concerts with renowned violinist Joshua Bell, the nation’s only major musician-run symphony orchestra presents two very different performances in as many nights.

Tonight’s “March Madness” performance features the return to the podium of artistic director Carlos Miguel Prieto. It has been nearly a month since he put the LPO through its musical paces with a program of Russian music.

As its title suggests, the program on tap concerns itself with march music. Beginning with “the march king” Johann Strauss, Jr., the LPO will play 19 different well-known marches by composers like Bizet and Mozart eventually culminating with Strauss’ father’s most famous march “The Radetsky March.”

In between the LPO will play a procession of different kinds of marches, some in 2/2 time and others in 4/4 time. Most of the marches will be classical in nature, focusing on the golden age of marches from the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries. These include two from Berlioz (“Hungarian March” from “The Damnation of Faust” and “The March to the Scaffold” from “Symphonie Fantastique”) and two of John Philip Sousa’s most famous marches (“The Washington Post March” and “Semper Fidelis”).

Two of Sousa's marches will be featured tonight at the LPO concert in Kenner.

Among the other Twentieth Century jewels in LPO’s march display will be two from film: John Williams’ “Imperial March” from “Star Wars” and the “Main Titles” from the animated film “Chicken Run” by John Powell and Harry Gregson-Williams.

Just as the final notes are reverberating from “The Radetzky March,” LPO members will gird themselves for a concert that will, no doubt,¬† more than please their conductor. Prieto, who is a native of Mexico and the music director of three Mexican symphony orchestras including the prestigious Orquesa Sinfonica Nacional de Mexico, will conduct a special night of Mariachi music with Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitl√°n.

Veteran performers, they have recorded over 800 Mariachi releases and tour extensively throughout Mexico bringing their special music to their fellow countrymen and oftentimes to the world. Founded in 1898 the musical group is considered one of the most influential and important in the genre. It is exceedingly rare that they will tour north of the border and that is why this concert sponsored by Pan-American Life Insurance is so important to both Prieto and the LPO.

Tickets for both concerts are still available. The “March Madness” concert will be held at First Baptist Church, 1400 Williams Boulevard in Kenner, Louisiana at 7:30 p.m. tonight.

Tomorrow night’s Pan American Life Fiesta Sinfonica will be held at the Convention Center Auditorium, 900 Convention Center Boulevard, and starts at 8:00 p.m. Tickets prices range from $10 to $65. Parking is available nearby for an additional fee.