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DAYTON OH – The Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra’s 09-10 Classical Connections series kicks off with a program titled Tchaikovsky: Heart & Heartland on Friday, September 11, 2009, at 8 p.m. at the Schuster Center.

Created by DPO Music Director Neal Gittleman, who serves as host and raconteur, Classical Connections concerts provide a “behind the scenes” look at the great works of the orchestral repertoire. These innovative programs, which Neal began 22 years ago with the Milwaukee Symphony, have become a vital part of the Dayton Philharmonic’s annual concert schedule.

The 09-10 Classical Connections series features “The Composers” and the first composer up is Tchaikovsky. In the September 11 program, Neal and the orchestra will explore the Russian composer’s Symphony No. 2 and its connections to Ukrainian folksong, while revealing the debt Tchaikovsky owes to his predecessor Mikhail Glinka. Musical examples and witty anecdotes will be followed by a performance of the complete Symphony No. 2. Concertgoers are invited to stay after the concert for a lively Q&A with Neal in the Mead Theatre.

Tickets for the September 11 concert range from $12 – $39 and are available by calling (888) 228-3630 or by ordering on the web at www.daytonphilharmonic.com.

The performance on September 11 coincides with the Fall 2009 presentation of Urban Nights, a free event that showcases downtown Dayton’s dining, nightlife, art, music, retail, and urban living options. With Urban Nights activities taking place throughout the downtown area from 6 to 8 p.m., the Classical Connections concert will make for a great way to cap a cultural evening in Dayton.

Also, the Ballester Family, including WDPR’s 2009 Young Artist Competition winner, will perform live in the Schuster Center Wintergarden prior to the start of the Classical Connections concert.

For photographs of Neal Gittleman or any of the DPO’s various series’ guest artists, go to: