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Ziang Xu, gold medalist; David Huh, bronze; and Sung Chang, silver, will perform Saturday night with the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra. The musicians topped last summer’s International Piano Competition in New Orleans.

A busy weekend is in the offing for the New Orleans classical music scene when three of the city’s presenting organizations showcase the talents of visiting artists on piano and wind instruments.

On Saturday night the Musical Arts Society of New Orleans presents its 10th Concerto Showcase, featuring the gold, silver and bronze medalists from last summer’s International Piano Competition performing with the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra at Loyola University’s Roussel Hall.

Monday night will feature a performance of WindSync, a Houston-based quintet of woodwind musicians at Tulane University’s Dixon Hall. The WindSync concert, sponsored by the New Orleans Friends of Music, will be preceded by a recital spotlighting the winners of Saturday’s NOLA Chamber Fest musical competition at the University of New Orleans’ Performing Arts Center, hosted annually by Lyrica Baroque.

WindSync, in New Orleans for a five-day residency, will also play a costumed performance of Prokofiev’s “Peter and the Wolf” at the Louisiana Children’s Museum at 11 a.m. Saturday.

The MASNO piano competition winners, Ziang Xu, Sung Chang and David Jae-Weon Huh, received the gold, silver and bronze medals. Xu will perform Brahms’ “Concerto for Piano No. 2,” Chang will play Grieg’s “Piano Concerto in A minor” and Huh will play Tchaikovsky’s “Piano Concerto No. 1.”

Carlos Miguel Prieto, LPO’s music director, will conduct.

For the 26-year-old, Chinese-born Xu this will be his first time playing the 50-minute, four-movement Brahms concerto and his first time performing with an orchestra since childhood.

While acknowledging that the concerto is a challenge, especially committing it to memory, Xu said, “I am really enjoying learning it.

“It’s the most profound piece I’ve ever learned in my life,” Xu said. “Throughout that process I have this new respect for how the piano can coordinate with the orchestra. It plays a crucial role in this composition.” 

WindSync, comprised of Garrett Hudson on flute, Emily Tsai on oboe, Julian Hernandez on clarinet, Kara LaMoure on bassoon and Anni Hochhalter on French horn, was founded in 2009. Their repertoire consists primarily of contemporary works with an occasional nod to the classics in their public performances.

Their program for the Monday night concert will include Antonin Dvořák’s finale from “American Quartet in F major”; three of Alberto Ginastera’s “Danzas Argentinas” (Argentine dances); David Maslanka’s “Quintet for Winds No. 3”; and a new work by Marc Mellits, titled “Apollo,” specially commissioned by WindSync to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing.

LaMoure explained with a laugh that the Dvořák piece is “actually a string quartet that we stole from the string players and rearranged for our instruments. It is a cornerstone of chamber music, and we think it sounds pretty good on the wind instruments too."

LaMoure added that the Ginestra dances were composed for piano but joked, “we’re stealing them too. We’re taking the piano parts and splitting them up among the five wind instruments so the piece becomes more colorful than the original. You have all these different timbres at play here.”

Describing the Mellits “Apollo” piece, LaMoure said, “It’s minimalistic, cinematic and the tonality is very accessible. There’s even some moments that are kind of funky, kind of fun. We can’t help but dance when we play it.”

The 25-minute Maslanka quintet, concluding the program, incorporates some Bach chorales that, according to LaMoure, “are sometimes quite literally transcribed into that piece. And then they go off into some really imaginative directions.”

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NOLA Chamber Fest

WHAT: Annual chamber music festival and competition hosted by Lyrica Baroque

WHEN: 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday

WHERE: University of New Orleans Performing Arts Center

TICKETS: Free

INFO: lyricabaroque.com

Concerto Showcase X

WHAT: The Musical Arts Society of New Orleans presents the three winners of the 2018 International Piano Competition in concert with the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra

WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Saturday

WHERE: Louis Roussel Hall, Loyola University, 6363 St. Charles Ave., New Orleans

TICKETS: $20-$55. Student tickets at $10 available on phone orders only.

INFO: (504) 523-6530. lpo.org.

WindSync

WHAT: A woodwind quintet co-presented by New Orleans Friends of Music and Lyrica Baroque in conjunction with NOLA ChamberFest 2019

WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Monday, April 1; 6 p.m. ChamberFest Winners Showcase Concert

WHERE: Dixon Hall, Tulane University

TICKETS: $18-$35. Students free.

INFO: friendsofmusic.org. lyricabaroque.com