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Auburn Symphony plays Russian works at Mondavi

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The Auburn Symphony takes the stage at the Mondavi Center Sunday, with an esteemed guest conductor at the helm.

Peter Jaffe, conductor of the Stockton Symphony, has agreed to guest-conduct the Auburn Symphony for “At the Mondavi: With Russia from Love,” the symphony’s annual performance at the Mondavi Center.

Michael Goodwin, the longtime conductor of the Auburn Symphony, was killed in a car crash in February. Jaffe said he looks forward to conducting the symphony, but that it is under the saddest of circumstances.

“This concert, I think, is a real tribute to him,” Jaffe said. “The concert I’m conducting is a wonderful program that he designed.”

The symphony will perform Sergio Rachmaninoff’s second symphony.

“The Russian composers es-pecially knew how to orchestrate a really ‘big tune,’ and have the orchestra just swooning away,” Jaffe said.

The musicians will then be joined on stage by more than 120 members of five choirs for Alexander Borodin’s “Polovetsian Dances.” The vocalists represent the Slavic Chorale, Music in the Mountains Chorale, Sierra College Choir, Apollo Chorus and William Jessup University’s Master Works Chorale.

“I think it’s going to be a really good time,” said Liz Stanley, music professor and Master Works Chorale director. “They’re playing a lot of really powerful music that is entertaining. … It’s a big concert, as far as resources. You’re going to hear a lot of colors, a lot of percussion – it’s just beautiful.”

Stanely said she’s excited for her 36 singers to to have the opportunity to connect with other choirs.

It’s also an opportunity to pay tribute to Goodwin.

“I think what’s happening now is the focus of this program has taken on an added dimension, which is it’s really a tribute to Michael,” Jaffe said, his voice cracking with emotion. “We know that he’ll be listening.”

~ Krissi Khokhobashvili

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‘With Love from Russia’

When: 3 p.m. Sunday, April 29

Where: Robert & Margrit Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts, Jackson Hall, University of California, Davis

Cost: General $40; students $20; bus to Mondavi, $25

Tickets: www.auburnsymphony.com; (530) 823-6683