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N.C. Symphony with Valentina Lisitsa
Koka Booth Amphitheatre—Analysts generally speak of the Internet's possibilities as a cheap (if, therefore, overcrowded) music marketing tool for the proletariat, relative only to hip, young genres: a niche like noise or a bigger share like independent rock or hip-hop. But Ukrainian-born pianist Valentina Lisitsa defies that notion with her extensive collection of performances on YouTube (www.youtube.com/user/ValentinaLisitsa). Generally of high quality and consistently compelling, Lisitsa's videos showcase a seated performer with finesse, poise and energy, her high shoulders forcing her arms to raise and lower in quick, dramatic steps and leaps, her flingers flitting to and finding keys at every instant. The dynamo, who recently ended a tour with young violin starlet Hilary Hahn, will perform one of the pieces highlighted in those videos, Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No. 2, with the N.C. Symphony tonight. Works by Tchaikovsky constitute the rest of this William Henry Curry-led concert, entitled Russian Masterpieces. The 7:30 p.m. show costs $15-$25. —Grayson Currin
Merge With Motion
—As if merely reaching 20 years in this business wasn't accomplishment enough, Merge Records, a Durham-based beacon of survival and hope for the record industry, has transformed its anniversary celebration into an accomplishment itself: The five-night XX Merge festival that runs July 22-26 is nearly sold out. Plus, the label is hosting free shows and free movies in Chapel Hill, selling the limited-edition, subscription-based box set, SCORE!
and premiering Merge with Motion, which combines original contemporary ballet, rhythm tap, and modern dance choreography from the Triangle Youth Ballet with music from Merge's legendary indie rock catalog. The dancer's movements will be set to songs by, among others, The Arcade Fire, Caribou, The Magnetic Fields, Polvo and Spoon. To further outdo itself (Merge will only turn 20 once, ya know), Raleigh-based Merge pop stars The Rosebuds will perform live, playing a new piece of music prepared specially for this event, to which Youth Ballet dancers will perform. Tickets for Merge with Motion range from $15-$17 in advance and $21 on the day of show. The performance in Fletcher Hall begins at 7:30 p.m. —Bryan Reed