Cellist Wendy Warner is poised for a big-time career. Since winning the Rostropovich Competition in 1990 and the Avery Fisher career grant the following year, the 22-year-old Wilmette native has appeared in most of the world's musical capitals. This Sunday she returns to the midwest to play with the Highland Park Strings, an orchestra that hired her often when she was still a local prodigy. Once again she will come under the careful, paternal guidance of Francis Akos, a longtime Chicago Symphony Orchestra violinist and founder of the Strings--this time in Haydn's Cello Concerto in D Major. What she learned at the Curtis Institute of Music and on the road--assured musicianship, stage presence, and lovely sonorities--will be on display for the hometown crowd. Joining her and the Strings in Villa-Lobos's Bachianas Brasilerias no. 5 is another young virtuoso, soprano Juliana Rambaldi of the Lyric Opera Center for American Artists. Rambaldi's knock-'em-dead singing in Bruce Saylor's opera Orpheus Descending was one of the highlights of last season. She'll also be the soloist in Mozart's Exsultate Jubilata, a long, graceful stretch of exuberant pieties. On their own the Strings, a rather unheralded ensemble of surprising strengths, are slated to play Haydn's Symphony no. 59 and Barber's haunting Adagio for Strings in the lush, central European way Akos learned as a young apprentice. Sunday, 3 PM, Highland Park High School, 433 Vine, Highland Park; 708-831-3810.
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): Photo/J. Henry Fair.