From the ashes of World War II, in the Baltic port city that Hitler used as an excuse for invading Poland thus starting World War II in Europe, rose the Polish Baltic Philharmonic. On February 27, this superb Slavic ensemble will treat visitors to Urbana’s Krannert Center to an all-Tchaikovsky program.

 It was 1945 and the city with its significant ethnic German population was still called Danzig, but that did not stop the music-loving Poles from wanting a major symphony orchestra for Poland’s fourth largest city and principle Baltic seaport. Things would change quickly as the ethnic Germans fled or were forcibly expelled to Germany and the name was officially changed to Gdańsk. Before the century was over, Gdańsk would again enter the history books under another headline as the Solidarity movement under Lech Walesa in the 1980s led to the movement to rid Poland of its Communist Party rule.
 
Amid so much turbulent history, music has always played a big part in Polish life, even in one of its flourishing commercial cities. The Polish Baltic Philharmonic is headquartered in a concert hall that seats over 1,000 for classical music concerts. That same facility also boasts a chamber music hall and a jazz hall. But, with the orchestra’s rising fame, touring became irresistible after the fall of Communism.
 
Their concert hall complex also boasts a state-of-the-art recording studio, but finding available recordings of this ensemble has proven difficult. Perhaps, the best and only way to appreciate this famous orchestra is to hear them live and on February 27th in Krannert’s Foellinger Great Hall, you will have that opportunity.
 
The evening is an all-Tchaikovsky program that begins with the Romeo and Juliet Fantasy Overture. Then violinist Jaroslav Nadrzycki takes on that masterful Tchaikovsky violin concerto. The program finishes with Symphony #5. Even more good news, there is not a ticket over $50, and student tickets can be had for as little as $10.
 
For more information go to:  Krannertcenter.com, or call the Krannert ticket office at 217-333-6280.