Twenty-one years after its completion, Krzysztof Penderecki's "Passion and Death of Our Lord Jesus Christ According to St. Luke," will finally reach the West Coast this week.

In performances in the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion of the Music Center Friday and Saturday nights at 8 and next Sunday afternoon at 2:30, the composer will conduct the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Los Angeles Master Chorale, three vocal soloists and speaker Gregory Peck in complete, intermissionless performances of the work.

The style of Penderecki's "St. Luke" Passion has been described as "remarkably clear, accessible, without being conventional . . . and really quite beautiful in its detail. . . ." Commissioned by the West German Radio to mark the 700th anniversary of Muenster Cathedral, the work received its world premiere there in 1966, with numerous European performances following. It reached this continent in Minneapolis in 1967; under Stanislaw Skrowaczewski, the same forces introduced the work to New York, two years later.

At these performances, actor Gregory Peck will narrate the spoken sections, while the vocal soloists will be Phyllis Bryn-Julson, Andrzew Hiolski and Malcolm Smith.

MORE PENDERECKI: During his visit here, Penderecki also is expected to attend, next Sunday night, the world premiere of his Viola Concerto, presented by the Century City-based American Chamber Symphony. Conductor will be the 40-member ensemble's founder, Nelson Nirenberg.

"Originally, I was planning another Penderecki piece for this program, but he talked me into this one, which is the latest work he has written," Nirenberg said. "I received the manuscript a few weeks ago."

As soloist in the 20-minute, one-movement work, which Nirenberg said is "surprisingly tonal, with only a few aleatoric moments," composer and conductor have chosen Milton Thomas, a veteran of many premieres.

Before the 8 p.m. performance in Gindi Auditorium at the University of Judaism, Penderecki will meet the audience at 7 for a discussion--moderated by Martin Workman--of the 52-year old composer's works.

Also on this season-opening program, Nirenberg has scheduled Rossini's overture to "L'Italiana in Algeri" and Beethoven's First Symphony.

The second event of the season, April 27 in 519-seat Gindi Auditorium, will offer a program of Baroque-period music by Vivaldi, Bach and Gluck, with guitarists Carlos Barbosa-Lima and Laurindo Almeida as soloists. On May 11, Nirenberg supervises a chamber-music concert performed by himself and ACS concertmaster Mischa Lefkowitz on violins, Gary Gray on clarinet, pianist Brooks Smith, and members of the orchestra.

The full ensemble gives a Poulenc/Brahms/Laderman program, May 27, with pianist Eduardo Delgado and violinist Lefkowitz as soloists. And the season closes with a Mozart evening, June 8, when the soloists will be soprano Diane Thomas and tenor Paul Sperry.

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