Music director Ward Stare returns to lead the RPO this week, in a program ceded to him by originally announced guest conductor Jun M#rkl. It's markedly similar to the concert Stare essayed so successfully a couple of weeks ago, beginning with a short, lively piece by a French composer (Saint-Saëns's "Danse macabre") and ending with a hyper-Romantic symphony (Berlioz's delirious, drug-addled "Symphonie fantastique"). Sandwiched between them is a standard concerto played by a far-from-standard soloist: the unfailingly thought-provoking pianist Jeremy Denk. Denk was heard in Rochester last year in a solo recital, and will make his RPO debut playing Beethoven's First Concerto, which, as program note writers love to point out, is actually his Second. Whatever its place in the line-up, Denk will surely play it memorably.
Jeremy Denk with the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra will perform Thursday, October 2, 7:30 p.m., and Saturday, October 4, 8 p.m., at Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre. $16-$92. Rpo.org.