The West Virginia University Symphony Orchestra will perform one of the most popular Romantic-era tone poems, Franz LisztsLes Préludes,Feb. 26 at the Creative Arts Center .

The orchestra, conducted by Maestro Mitchell Arnold , will also perform Camille Saint-SansCello Concerto in A minor, with WVU professor of cello William Skidmore as soloist.

The concertwhich begins at 7:30 p.m. in the Lyell B. Clay Concert Theatre also features Samuel BarbersNight Flight,a musical depiction of a World War I pilot flying at night through clouds searching for home base, andKarelia Suite,one of Jean Sibeliuss musical expressions of his native Finland.

�€~Les Préludesis a work that expresses the human striving for love, happiness and meaning in life,said Arnold, director of orchestral studies at WVU .It is a meditation on the struggleeven the battleto achieve and maintain ones sense of self in a troubling world.

Saint-Sans was an ardent admirer of Liszt, and his cello concerto is organized in a fashion similar to Liszts tone poems in that it is largely unified by a predominant musical theme and conveys a wide range of emotions, Arnold said.

It is quite a virtuosic showpiece for the cellist yet has great emotional depth at the same time,he added.

Arnold obtained a doctorate in conducting from Northwestern University and has an extensive background in new music. Other positions he has held include director of orchestras at Northern Illinois University and assistant director of orchestras at Northwestern University. He has also served on the faculties at Oberlin College Conservatory of Music and Baldwin-Wallace College Conservatory of Music.

Skidmore has taught cello at WVU since 1977 and has appeared as soloist with the WVU Symphony Orchestra several times. Saint-SansCello Concerto in A minor is a standard among concert cellists and one Skidmore has taught for many years but never had the chance to perform with an orchestra.

The work is a bit unusual as concertos go, in that it is written in many sections that are interwoven and intended to be played without pause,he said.The piece also is not just in the format of a solo with accompaniment, but rather it gives the orchestra ample and important material with moments in which to shine.

Skidmores training includes lessons with Peter Farrell at the University of Illinois, Louis Potter at Michigan State University and Leonard Rose, one of the worlds leading cellists of the 20th century. His studies also include chamber music coaching with John Garvey of the Walden Quartet and Joseph Gingold of Indiana University.

He has given numerous concerts on the East Coast, including most of the major concert settings in the Washington, D.C.-Baltimore area, and has appeared in national professional venues. His Beethoven sonatasas well as sonatas by Johannes Brahms and Dmitri Shostakovich, along with several chamber music programswere shown nationally on PBS as theMusical Masterpiecesprogram generated in Morgantown.

For concert tickets and information, call the WVU box office at 304-293-SHOW.