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Familiar faces in symphony season

There will be lots of familiar faces when the Santa Rosa Symphony opens its 2013-2014 season this weekend at the Green Music Center's Weill Hall.

The "Encores and Debuts" season not only welcomes back such soloists as cellist Maya Beiser but showcases familiar works such as Jean Sibelius' Symphony No. 2.

"That's a theme running through the season," said Santa Rosa Symphony Music Director Bruno Ferrandis. "Because it's anchored in the repertoire, it's one of the most balanced seasons I've ever realized."

The orchestra also will present a few contemporary works on the heels of winning an award from the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) for innovative programming during 2012-2013.

"For me, it's mission accomplished, as far as the first season in the hall," Ferrandis said. "This year, we have a lot of things to explore as well ... it's a very creative and modern program."

For Ferrandis, last season flew by quickly — it was the symphony's first year as resident orchestra of the new hall — and ended on a high note with Dmitri Shostakovich's Symphony No. 10.

This season, the symphony picks up where it left off by performing Shostakovich's Symphony No. 5, one of the composer's most popular works. When it was written in 1937, Shostakovich was under intense scrutiny by the Soviet government.

"He returned to grace, thanks to this symphony," Ferrandis said. "It has so much pathos, drama and irony."

Albanian violinist Tedi Papavrami will return to play Shostakovich's Violin Concerto No. 1, a work written in 1955 for violinist David Oistrakh. For the curtain-opener, the orchestra will play "Short Ride in a Fast Machine," a fuel-injected work by Bay Area composer John Adams.

"I heard this piece was his most popular work," Ferrandis said. "It's very challenging, with lots of pulse and rhythm."

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