Croatian Guitarist Leads WSO's Season Opener

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Guitarist Ana Vidovic is waging the war fought by every young soloist trying to establish a performing career.

And Kypros Markou, music director of the Westmoreland Symphony Orchestra, is glad to giver her a battlefield.

"She is going to me a major, major, major talent," he says of the Croatian soloist set to perform at Saturday's concert. "Soon."

Vidovic, 25, will be coming from Baltimore to perform in the ensemble's season opener. She will be doing a work from the mid- 1930s that she and Markou agree blends classical style with modern beauty -- and, perhaps, is a bit underplayed.

"I'm pretty familiar with it," Vidovic says of the first guitar concerto of Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco (1895-1968), "but it always presents challenges. Musically more than technically."

She and Markou agree about the quality of the piece and that it often falls behind the familiar work of Joaquin Rodrigo.

"The second movement is just beautiful," Vidovic says. "About 10 years ago, my teacher recommended the concerto to me and as I was studying it, he would often tell me I wasn't making that movement sing enough."

The concerto will be part of a program dominated by 20th-century music. Well, almost.

It will open with the delightfully lighthearted "Candide" overture by Leonard Bernstein (1918-1990) and Symphony No. 1 of Gustav Mahler (1860-1911).

Markou has often joked that Mahler is the "most 20th-century of 19th-century composers." He suggests that is true mostly in terms of emotional issues such as views of life, death and human frailty. …