This Orchestra of Illinois concert presents an unusual opportunity for Chicagoans to hear China’s premier pianist, Yin Cheng-Zong. Russian-trained and a past Tchaikovsky Competition winner (1961), the 46-year-old Yin is noted for his technical brilliance and air of hauteur as much as for his uncanny ability to survive China’s periodic anti-intellectual campaigns. One indication of his willingness to bend to the ideological winds was his stint as the head of the composer committee responsible for the Yellow River Concerto, an overblown piece of Soviet-inspired (but Chinese-accented) grandiloquence and jingoism that has come to symbolize the excesses of the Cultural Revolution. Unfortunately, or perhaps not, this historical curiosity is not on the program. Instead, Yin will perform a favorite of Western audiences, Grieg’s Piano Concerto; it will be interesting to see if individualism has returned to the Chinese performing style. Lyric Opera’s Bruno Bartoletti leads the Illinoisans; the rest of the program includes Britten’s Sea Interludes from Peter Grimes and Prokofiev’s Third Symphony. Saturday, 8 PM, Centre East, 7701 N. Lincoln, Skokie. Sunday, 3 PM, PickStaiger Concert Hall, Northwestern University, 1977 Sheridan, Evanston; 341-1975.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Christian Steiner.