ECSO welcomes soloist Stephanie Chase

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Audiences seldom think of musicians as athletes, but the travel, the performance pressure and the sheer physicality of the two vocations are strikingly similar. And, like athletes, musicians have to cope with injuries.

When the Eastern Connecticut Symphony Orchestra season was announced, folks there were excited about this week's scheduled soloist, Cleveland Orchestra concertmaster William Preucil, scheduled to play the Beethoven Violin Concerto. But an injury has sidelined Preucil, and - voila! - the substitute is a violinist who made a major recording of the concerto that launched her career.

Illinois native and New York resident Stephanie Chase's ground-breaking 1993 recording of the concerto with Roy Goodman and The Hanover Band on original instruments received rave reviews worldwide. So she's far from a bench-warmer stepping in.

Saturday's concert at the Garde Arts Center, led by Music Director Toshiyuki Shimada, contains two of the bedrocks of the repertoire: Beethoven's Violin Concerto and Brahms' intense Symphony No. 4. Both works are long and probing, Beethoven's first movement unfolding in amazingly organic fashion, and Brahms' final symphony ending with one of the darkest, most unrelenting minor-key finales in the literature.

The program opens with a short work by a highly regarded young Yale graduate, Sarah Kirkland Snider's "Disquiet." Kirkland, who has made quite a name for herself in short time, will give a pre-concert talk at 7 p.m., a good chance to get up-close and personal with a composer.

- MILTON MOORE

The Eastern Connecticut Symphony Orchestra, 8 p.m. Saturday, Garde Arts Center, 325 State St., New London; $32-$62, with student discounts and $12 rush tickets the night of concert for students and active military personnel; (860) 443-2876, gardearts.org.

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