Music Notes: Peninsula Symphony goes with Romantic composers

The Peninsula Symphony performs works by great Romantic composers Felix Mendelssohn and Gustav Mahler in concerts next week. Jing Wang, winner of the 2007 Irving M. Klein International String Competition, is the guest soloist. The 22-year-old musician, who has been playing the violin since he was 3, will perform the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto in E minor. Born in China, he is currently a student at the Juilliard School.

Music director Mitchell Sardou Klein says the composers “explore vastly different emotional landscapes.”

Mendelssohn, among the first of the great Romantic composers, also is considered the last of the classicists, his works showcasing a respect for structural design and traditional concepts of harmony. The melody-filled concerto on the upcoming program, one of his last works, is a happy, popular piece.

Mahler’s Fifth Symphony, also on the program, has been called “The Giant” due to its length — more than 70 minutes. The piece, which begins with a funeral trumpet solo, “progresses through five movements of emotional turbulence,” Klein says.

Mahler, although a leading conductor and composer, also was a controversial figure whose unorthodox approach wasn’t completely accepted by the musical establishment in Vienna during his lifetime.

Friday’s concert is at the San Mateo Performing Arts Center, 600 N. Delaware St. The May 17 concert is at Flint Center in Cupertino. Both performances start at 8 p.m. Tickets are $29 to $34. Call (650) 941-5291 or visit www.peninsulasymphony.org.

MUSIC IN THE LIBRARY

Visualize yourself in the tropics listening to the sounds of Quinteto Latino, an ensemble performing May 20 in the free “Musical Conversations in the Library” program at the San Mateo Public Library. Not only will the musicians play an informal concert, they’ll discuss the origins of their music.

Assembled in 2001 by French hornist Armando Castellano, the group — which includes flute, oboe, clarinet, French horn and bassoon — performs traditional folk songs, classics and works by contemporary composers from Latin America.

The concert, which will be followed by a reception, is sponsored by a collaborative effort between Music at Kohl Mansion and the San Mateo Public Library.

The event begins at 7 p.m. in the Oak Room; the library is at 55 W. Third Ave. Free underground parking is available. For details, visit www.smplibrary.org.

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