The Houston Symphony's Beethoven 2 and Tchaikovsky's Rococo

James Gaffigan will be at the baton when cellist Alisa Weilerstein takes the stage during the Houston Symphony's Beethoven 2 and Tchaikovsky's Rococo today. The 25-year-old Weilerstein is a beautiful performer, and we're not talking about her creamy skin, sweet smile or long, wavy tresses. It's her soulful playing that sets her apart from other cellists. The alumna of the Lincoln Center Chamber Music Society II plays classical music "with the depth of soul and raw emotional energy of a diehard rocker," according to the Toronto Star. Perhaps most telling, The New York Times has called her playing simply "staggering." She'll be performing Tchaikovsky's Variations on a Rococo Theme for Cello and Respighi's Adagio with Variations for Cello.

See all that beautiful talent (both Weilerstein and the Houston Symphony) during a program that also includes Beethoven's joyous Symphony No. 2 (written when the composer first experienced signs of deafness), and Debussy's La Mer. 8 p.m. Thursday and today, 2:30 p.m. tomorrow. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana. For information, call 713-224-7575 or visit www.houstonsymphony.org. $27 to $107.
Thu., Oct. 16, 8 p.m.; Sat., Oct. 18, 8 p.m.; Sun., Oct. 19, 2:30 p.m., 2008

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Lee Williams