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Las Vegas Philharmonic celebrates 150 years of Nevada with homegrown talent

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Taras Krysa conducts the Las Vegas Philharmonic during the Youth Concert Series at The Smith Center to an audience of 4th and 5th graders from schools all around the valley, Friday, Jan. 11, 2013.
Photo: Christopher DeVargas

Saturday night the Las Vegas Philharmonic performs its “Battle Born – Nevada Proud!” concert, part of the Silver State’s official Nevada 150 sesquicentennial celebration. The concert features homegrown talent and will mark a couple of firsts for the orchestra, which is in the midst of its 15th performance season.

Donato Cabrera, a former Las Vegan and UNR graduate, makes his Philharmonic debut for the occasion, which is the third installment of the orchestra’s Masterworks concert series. Cabrera, resident conductor for the San Francisco Symphony, will lead the musicians through a diverse program, including La Mer by Claude Debussy, Benjamin Britten’s “Four Sea Interludes” from the opera Peter Grimes, a Mendelssohn violin concerto and Eric Whitacre’s Equus.

The incorporation of Whitacre’s Equus is especially important to note, as the orchestra has never performed a piece by the Reno-born, UNLV-educated composer. Mostly known for his choral works, Whitacre won a Grammy Award in 2012 for Best Choral Performance.

Another milestone: The concert will be recorded by Vegas PBS for the first time, and will air in April as well as on Nevada Day in October. To boot, the recording will also be sent to Carson City for inclusion in the state’s archive of the official Nevada 150 celebrations.

So if “Home Means Nevada,” consider celebrating the Silver State’s 150th this weekend with an evening of fantastic music at the Smith Center.

Las Vegas Philharmonic January 18, 7:30 p.m. (pre-concert conversation, 6:45 p.m.), $25-$94, Smith Center’s Reynolds Hall.

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