The Winter Sun Music Festival begins its sixth season this weekend, with the first of four concerts that celebrate the two St. Petersburgs. The Russian city marked its 300th anniversary this year, and Florida's had its centennial. Lowell Adams, assistant principal cello with the Florida Orchestra, clarinetist David Irwin and pianist Gloria Bolivar open the festival with works by Glinka, Brahms and Duncan MacMillan at 7:30 p.m. Sunday at Eckerd College's Dendy-McNair Auditorium.
A festival highlight promises to be the performance by baritone Christopher Trakas, above, of Mussorgsky's Songs and Dances of Death with the festival orchestra, conducted by music director Paul Hostetter. That program, at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Palladium Theater, also includes suites from Stravinsky's Firebird and Prokofiev's Love for Three Oranges.
Hostetter leads a large-scale chamber concert Monday afternoon at 3 at Eckerd's Griffin Chapel. Stravinsky's Soldier's Tale and Stephen Montague's Behold a Pale Horse, featuring organist Robert Winslow on the chapel's Flentrop tracker, are among the works on the agenda.
Festival ensembles will play during St. Petersburg's First Night Celebration from 7 to 11 p.m. Wednesday at First United Methodist Church. The festival winds up with a 3 p.m. concert on New Year's Day by the DaPonte String Quartet, playing Borodin, Prokofiev and Shostakovich.
General admission to each concert is $10, $5 for students. A pass for all four festival concerts is $35. Admission to the First Night performance is separate. 727 864-8471 or www.eckerd.edu/wintersunfestival
- JOHN FLEMING, Times performing arts critic