On November 15 and 16 guest conductor Maximiano Valdes led the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra in a trip through Europe with compositions by German composer Richard Wagner, Hungarian Franz Liszt, and Finland’s Jean Sibelius.

A former Music Director for the BPO, Chilean born Valdes returns to Buffalo regularly to lead the Orchestra.

The venture through the eastern portion of Europe began with two pieces from the Wagner opera “Lohengrin” with the “Prelude to Act I” and the “Prelude to Act III”.

Joining the Orchestra for a performance of the “Concerto No 1 in E-flat Major for Piano and Orchestra” by Franz Liszt, was American pianist Dre Petersen. A demanding composition, the work used the whole keyboard on the piano; which Petersen played flawlessly as his flew up and down the piano.

After the intermission, the BPO and Valdes returned to the stage, but before performing the final piece, Valdes took the microphone to speak of BPO violist Valerie Heywood who died on October 31 and dedicated the “Symphony No. 5 in E-flat Major, Op 82” to Heywood.

The Symphony is more than a musical composition, it is a study in the relationship between music and silence; and the importance silence plays in any composition.