NEW PHILADELPHIA -- The Tuscarawas Philharmonic continues its 76th season with an evening celebrating romantic music, as the orchestra is joined by Romanian-born pianist Maira Liliestedt, bringing her award-winning virtuosic flair to Liszt's stunning piano masterwork -- his "Piano Concerto No. 1 in Eb major" -- in "The Poetic Piano," Saturday, Feb. 25 at the Performing Arts Center at Kent State Tuscarawas.

The Philharmonic's 2011-2012 season -- its second in residence in the magnificent Performing Arts Center -- is its 16th under the baton of Music Director Eric Benjamin.

"This concert is full of musical red meat," said Eric Benjamin. "The Liszt concerto is one of the great, vibrant, high-performance piano concertos, and hearing Maira Liliestedt play it is like watching an Indie race driver take the car out for a spin."

Maira (Balacon) Liliestedt was 14 when her family left their home and a rapidly-deteriorating political situation in Deva, Romania in 1992 to begin new lives in America, choosing Ohio be-cause they had family here. When she was six years old, her mother had enrolled her in a music school in Deva which combined a complete education with intense music instruction and by middle school, Maira was studying music theory and other intricacies of music that many American students don't begin learning until much later. At her new school in Ohio, Maira's choir teacher, recognizing her advanced talent, guided her to a teacher at Bowling Green State University, where she eventually earned her undergraduate degree.

She has since earned a doctorate in musical arts from the University of Cincinnati and is an associate professor at the University of Mount Union.

"'New England Triptych' is American soul music. Its three movements are based on patriotic choral pieces dating from the Revolutionary era and originally composed by a man who was a friend of Paul Revere. I have known and loved this piece since I was in high school and I am thrilled to have the opportunity to share it with the Philharmonic players and with our audience," Benjamin continues.

"Robert Schumann's third symphony is called the 'Rhenish' because he composed it while residing in the Rhine River Valley. It is filled with robust energy and optimism -- sometimes it's like folk music and at others like elegant parlor music. One movement is probably the most deeply spiritual piece to be found in any symphony. Oh, and it's as though Schumann invented the French horn -- he gives the section the most stirring calls and melodies. It's a musical feast to play and hear."

Concert guarantor is Barbour Publishing, Inc. and the concert sponsors are ProVia Door and an anonymous donor.

There are two seating levels in the Performing Arts Center at Kent State Tuscarawas -- Orchestra and Mezzanine on the lower level and Dress Circle and Balcony on the upper level. In a unique feature of the hall, the sides of the Dress Circle descend from second floor height down to stage level -- providing seats with a very intimate view of the stage.

All seats are reserved and prices range from $9 to $32, depending on location and whether it is a student, senior, or adult ticket.

In addition, a $3 facility fee is added to each ticket by the Performing Arts Center.

Tickets for Philharmonic performances can be reserved at the orchestra's website: www.TuscarawasPhilharmonic.org, where concert-goers can see what seats are still available at what prices and can reserve their choices by clicking on those exact seats on the diagram and paying by credit card.

Printable mail-in forms are also available at the website. Tickets can also be reserved by stopping in, or by calling the PAC box office at 330-308-6400. (Please note that Philharmonic tickets are not available through the PAC's website.)