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Tchaikovsky, Mussorgsky, Rimsky-Korsakov, Rachmaninoff, Prokofiev. Russia has provided us with some of the most exciting and original music in the repertoire today. Vibrant colors, explosive energy, and passionate emotional drive characterize the works of these composers. Yet this tradition seemed to spring from nowhere barely 150 years ago, expanding meteorically in breadth and national confidence over an amazingly short period. While exploring the riches of Russian concert works, we also trace the turbulent historical movements that acted both as backdrop and engine for this fascinating musical evolution.