The Omaha Symphony is turning to dance music — with a classical bent — for its MasterWorks concert this weekend.

“Symphonic Dances” by Sergei Rachmaninoff is the centerpiece of concerts Friday and Saturday. The piece, first written as a ballet score in 1940, is fast and feisty. It was Rachmaninoff’s last composition, inspired by a Russian choreographer who had created a ballet for the composer’s “Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini.”

Rachmaninoff gave “Symphonic Dances” a more modern, lean sensibility, with sharper harmonies that departed from his typical lush style.

The program also will include Miklós Rózsa’s grand waltz from the 1949 film “Madame Bovary” and Johannes Brahms’ Piano Concerto No. 1 in D Minor, featuring guest pianist Markus Groh in his second appearance with the symphony.

Groh has earned accolades for his powerful playing. He recently debuted with the National Symphony in Washington, D.C., and has appeared with orchestras across the country. The Cleveland Plain Dealer called him “a complete virtuoso” after his recent debut with the Cleveland Orchestra.

Symphony Music Director Thomas Wilkins will conduct the concert, which begins at 7:30 p.m. both nights in the Kiewit Concert Hall of the Holland Center, 1200 Douglas St. Tickets range from $19 to $72 and are available at omahasymphony.org or 403-345-0606.

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Betsie covers a little bit of everything for The World-Herald's Living section, including theater, religion and anything else that might need attention. Phone: 402-444-1267.

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