Of today’s notable orchestra composers, Chicago-born William Kraft is probably the one who knows the percussion family the best. He’s had a career-long affiliation with the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra; in 1981 he founded its New Music Group, which has since assumed a leadership role in the lively west-coast music renaissance. With an unerring and keen ear for the timbre and texture of instruments in that most vociferous of instrumental families, Kraft has written a number of attention-grabbing works–including Fanfare, Vintage 1990-91, whose midwest premiere at Grant Park will mark a rare local performance of his music. Two war-horses follow the Kraft piece: Mozart’s Piano Concerto no. 17 (with soloist Jose Ramos-Santana), noted for a finale inspired by the warbling of his pet starling, and Shostakovich’s Symphony no. 5, which also has a noteworthy finale–one that exorcises the meditative gloom of the first half-hour. Carl St. Clair, past recipient of a prestigious Seaver Institute grant and one of the most talented and busiest young maestros around, conducts. Wednesday and next Friday, August 2, 8 PM, Petrillo Music Shell, Grant Park, Columbus and Jackson; 819-0614.