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Park Avenue Chamber Symphony to Close Season with Special Debut

 As its 14th season comes to a close, the Park Avenue Chamber Symphony will look forward with the New York debut of a local composer's 1958 work.
Park Avenue Chamber Symphony
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UPPER EAST SIDE — The Park Avenue Chamber Symphony's 14th season will soon come to a close — but it will do so with an ear toward new beginnings.

The all-volunteer symphony will a Brooklyn-born composer's work for the first time in the city during its performances on Saturday and Sunday, organizers said.

The concerts are scheduled take place at at All Saints Church, 230 E. 60th St., at 8 p.m. and 3 p.m., respectively.

The 80-member group will premier Leo Kraft's "Variations for Orchestra," which was written in 1958 and revised some 40 years later, conductor and music director David Bernard said.

"It was never performed in New York City," he said. "It was an opportunity for us to contribute to the musical life of New York City. It is a very well written, enjoyable and enthusiastic piece of music and I think it should be heard."

Bernard said the selection is in keeping with the symphony's goal of featuring a wide variety of music — such as the Mozart's "Concerto for Piano No. 23" and Tchaikovsky's "Symphony No. 5," which are also on the upcoming schedule.

"It's a 20th century work," said Bernard, a 49-year-old Upper East Side resident. "Compare that to the 19th and 18th Century works on the program, you're getting a wide variety of music."

As for Kraft, who now lives on Long Island, the symphony's decision to feature his work makes for a happy homecoming.

"I'm very, very pleased," said Kraft, 90. "This work is a music of youthful enthusiasm, and I look upon it now very fondly, and I think that will come across in the performance."

The Park Avenue Chamber Symphony's next season begins in October 2013. Tickets for upcoming performances can be purchased online via the Symphony's website.