Russian conductor Vladimir Jurowski

Last year, Russian conductor Vladimir Jurowski's BSO debut with Shostakovich's daunting Fourth Symphony was Boston's most thrilling orchestral concert in a long time. Jurowski returns to Symphony Hall with the London Philharmonic Orchestra, which he's been working with for a decade, bringing more Shostakovich, the First Violin Concerto with Vadim Repin, and the Beethoven Fifth Symphony — two works Jurowski describes as written out of deep personal necessity.

>> INTERVIEW with Vladimir Jurowski <<

He calls the Shostakovich "almost a symphony with a violin solo, a philosophical piece, not just a virtuoso exercise, the voice of a tortured soul . . . a kind of confession, written with no chance of being performed or published." He considers the Beethoven "one of the biggest challenges for orchestra and conductor" and waited a long time to attempt it. "Every epoch of music defines itself through its attitude toward Beethoven. The Fifth Symphony has more to tell us than simply being a monument of its own time. It's not only revolutionary but shockingly emotional. We need to approach Beethoven as if he were our contemporary."

He hopes Shostakovich will generate, in both audience and orchestra, the kind of emotional involvement that will provide the right mood to hear Beethoven. This concert promises to be a major event.

Symphony Hall, 301 Mass Ave, Boston | March 8 | 8pm | $30-$125

Conductor Benjamin Zander's new Youth Philharmonic Orchestra got off to a spectacular start last fall. This time they're doing a Zander specialty, Mahler's tremendous Symphony No. 2 (Resurrection), one of the most demanding pieces in the symphonic literature. The vocal soloists are the magnificent soprano Barbara Quintiliani and mezzo-soprano Robynne Redmon. The phenomenal young pianist George Li opens the program with Schumann's Piano Concerto.

Symphony Hall, 301 Mass Ave, Boston | March 10 | $15-$30

3_ COSÌ FAN TUTTE | Boston Lyric Opera revives Così fan tutte, Mozart's sublime and unsettling late comedy of mix-and-match lovers, sung in English. British baritone Thomas Allen, stage directing, also sings the role of Don Alfonso, who triggers all the machinations. The two benighted sisters are soprano Caroline Worra and mezzo-soprano Sandra Piques Eddy.

Shubert Theatre, 270 Tremont St, Boston | March 15, 17, 20, 22, and 24 | $30-$225

4_ THE CANTATA SINGERS: THE MAGISTERIAL ARDOR | For 30 years, David Hoose has been inspiring audiences with his exploratory programming with the Cantata Singers. Tonight's concert, "The Magisterial Ardor," includes one rarity, Robert Schumann's Four Double Choruses, and two Boston premieres, Beauty, Grief and Grandeur by Marjorie Merryman (who used to teach at Boston University) and the British composer James MacMillan's The Seven Last Words from the Cross.

Jordan Hall, 30 Gainsborough St, Boston | March 17 | $17-$52

5_ BOSTON SYMPHONY WAGNER TRIBUTE | Celebrating the 200th birthday of Richard Wagner, guest conductor Daniele Gatti leads the Boston Symphony Orchestra and the glamorous mezzo-soprano Michelle DeYoung in a wide-ranging program of Wagner's operatic and symphonic music, from Lohengrin to Tristan und Isolde and Parsifal. The BSO never does enough Wagner; this is our big chance to hear this great band in some spectacular music.

Symphony Hall, 301 Mass Ave, Boston | March 21-23, 26 | $30-$124

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