The San Diego Symphony opens its 2014-15 season Friday with glamorous Russian-born piano virtuoso Lola Astanova performing a Chopin concerto.

Astanova, 29, was born in the former Soviet Union and emigrated to the United States in 2003. She was a child prodigy who began performing publicly at the age of 8.

Jahja Ling, the symphony’s music director, has collaborated with Astanova over the past two years, performing together at concerts in San Diego, New York, Cleveland and New Orleans.

This weekend’s program, with performances on Friday night and Sunday afternoon, consists of three pieces:

  • William Kraft: Timpani Concerto No. 1
  • Frederick Chopin: Piano Concerto No. 2 in F minor, Op. 21
  • Antonin Dvorak: Symphony No. 7 in D minor, Op. 70

The concert will begin with an unusual drum concerto written by a composer who spent his childhood in San Diego. Ling said audiences will find Kraft’s concerto “fascinating.”

Ling said Astanova chose the piano concerto herself. ““It is pure Chopin and, of course, so very characteristic of him melodically as well as being mainly a piano piece, with the solo piano having the lead throughout. It is used to the maximum,” he said.

The symphony is reaching out to younger audiences, with tickets for Friday and Sunday performances starting at $20.

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Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.