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Czech Philharmonic Orchestra

The Czech Philharmonic are in the middle of a whirlwind U.S. tour—13 performances in 13 cities, in the span of one month—and the folks from the Troy Chromatic Concerts series are bringing them to the venerable Troy Savings Bank Music Hall this Sunday evening for a special all-Antonin Dvorák program.

CPO director Václav Riedlbauch has said that the content of the tour was selected with regard to a few important anniversaries in Czech music this year; among them, this is the centennial of Dvorák’s passing. Dvorák, who has been characterized as the “leading exponent of Czech musical nationalism,” conducted the very first concert of the CPO.

The program will include his violin concerto, the Slavonic Dances, and the crowd-pleasing Symphony No. 9 in E minor (From the New World). Akiko Suwanai (pictured) will be the featured soloist on the Violin Concerto in A minor. She is the youngest performer to ever win the International Tchaikovsky Competition (in 1990), and it’s worth noting that Suwanai performed the Asian premiere of Penderecki’s second violin concerto, a fiendishly difficult work. Renowned Russian conductor Andrey Boreyko will lead the orchestra. Musical director of the Jena Philharmonic, Boreyko has received multiple awards from German critics. (And you can imagine how tough German critics are.) His next gig? Guest-conducting the Chicago Symphony.

The Czech Philharmonic Orchestra will perform Sunday (March 21) at 7 PM at the Troy Savings Bank Music Hall (Second and State streets, Troy). Tickets are $45 and $42. For reservations and information, call 273-0038.

Bellydance Superstars and the Desert Roses

Valentine’s Music Hall will be transformed into an exotic, mysterious land of rhythm this evening by the Bellydance Superstars and the Desert Roses. According to CNN, belly dancing is the fastest growing women’s health activity in the U.S., and Miles Copeland has taken it upon himself to bring the art of the dance to the masses with a nine-week, 53-city tour, which features “top of the line dancing in intimate venues at low ticket prices.” Fourteen dancers and a percussionist are taking part in the tour, and a guest dancer from each city will perform a spot at their local show. Albany’s own Habiba (Donna Marie Floyd) is tonight’s guest.

Copeland, best known as founder of I.R.S. Records, manager of the Police (and much of Sting’s solo career), and world-music enthusiast, began working with the troupe last year for their first national tour, which found them performing on the main stage at the reincarnated Lollapalooza tour, directly prior to modern-rock linchpins Audioslave (now that’s juxtaposition!). Copeland’s enthusiasm for the music and art of belly dancing even spurred him to launch a new world-music label, Mondo Melodia, through which he has released a series of compilation CDs and DVDs, and he currently is working on a documentary film titled American Bellydancer, which he hopes to license to HBO upon its completion.

Shake it like a Polaroid picture with the Bellydance Superstars and the Desert Roses tonight (Thursday), upstairs at Valentine’s Music Hall (17 New Scotland Ave., Albany). The performance begins at 8 PM; tickets are $18. For more information, call the club at 432-6572.

Sandip Burman

Ask your musician friends for a disparaging comment about their drummer—or any drummer, for that matter, or the Platonic concept of The Drummer—and they’ll likely regale you with a seemingly inexhaustible stream of invective and/or stock punchlines. On the one hand, this may be a backhanded tribute to the centrality of the time keeper in any successful band format; on the other, it’s easy to pity the Dangerfield-esque plight of the underappreciated tub-thumper. Now, ask those same friends (frontmen, most likely) for a joke slamming a tabla player. They got nothing, right? Not to put too fine a point on it, but you don’t want to mess around with the tabla player. He’s not just the drummer.

Sandip Burman has been playing the tabla—a traditional Indian instrument, consisting of two drums played with the hands—since he was 6. At the age when most of us were using our own hands for nothing more ambitious than fingerpainting, Burman was accepted as a student by Pandit Shyamal, one of “India’s distinguished tabla maestros.” In the ensuing 26 years, Burman has developed his craft to sufficient degree to attract the attention of such Western virtuosos as Bela Fleck, with whom Burman has toured. In fact, when Burman last played the Van Dyck behind Fleck, he is said to have stolen the show. So, it’s no surprise that the Van Dyck has invited Burman back, and this time as the big name on the marquee.

Sandip Burman will play the Van Dyck (237 Union St., Schenectady) tomorrow (Friday, March 19) at 7 and 9:30 PM. Tickets are $15. For more information, call 381-1111.

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