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DAYTON OH (December 30, 2009) – The Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra’s 09-10 Classical Connections series continues on Friday, January 8, 2010, with “Richard Wagner: Evolution of a Revolutionary.” The concert will be performed 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 fascinating “behind the scenes” look at orchestral music. These innovative programs, which Neal began 23 years ago with the Milwaukee Symphony, have become a vital part of the Dayton Philharmonic’s annual concert schedule.

In keeping with the 09-10 Classical Connections series theme of “The Composers,” the January 8 program takes a look at one of history’s most controversial composers, Richard Wagner. According to Neal Gittleman, Wagner’s duality – musical genius coupled with rampant egotism, narcissism, and, especially troubling in light of later events in the German-speaking world, anti-Semitism – is why he continues to be one of music’s most-talked-and-written-about composers. Says Neal, “If he wasn’t such a jerk then he’d just be one of a long line of musical geniuses stretching from Johann Sebastian Bach to Stephen Sondheim. And if he wasn’t such a genius, then he’d be just another in a long line of bozos. But he was both. So we’re fascinated!”

In the January 8 program, Gittleman will explore the composer’s progress through the prism of his last non-operatic work for full orchestra, the Faust Overture, Concertgoers will also hear him compare and contrast Wagner’s unfolding style as it relates to both Liszt and Beethoven.

Tickets for the January 8 concert range from $12 – $39 and are available by calling (888) 228-3630 or by ordering on the web at www.daytonphilharmonic.com. On-line listening guides for the Wagner program and a podcast created by Neal Gittleman specifically for this concert are also available at the Philharmonic’s website, www.daytonphilharmonic.com.

The Series Media Sponsors of the DPO’s 09-10 Classical Connections series are Dayton City Paper, ThinkTV, and WDPR Classical 88.1.

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