Kirk Muspratt, conductor of the Northwest Indiana Symphony, fields questions about the group’s upcoming performance.

Q. Is the Feb. 8 concert really a good date night for Valentines?

Tony from Valparaiso

A. I am telling you, if you bring your date to this concert, you will have an absolutely fantastic time!

Not only is all of the music utterly amazing but it is the kind of evening that is intelligent, thought-provoking, classy, and ultra romantic.

Our guest violinist, Corey Cerovsek, will be playing a violin concerto from Oscar-winning composer Korngold, and he’ll be playing it on his 1728 Stradivarius Milanollo, which was once owned by Paganini, among others.

We have Spanish dance music, and French ballet, as well as American Broadway tunes from “West Side Story.”

Trust me, anyone who loves music will love this.

Q. Hello, Kirk. I know you studied with Leonard Bernstein at one point. You are playing his “West Side Story” at your next concert. Did you ever have a chance to speak to him about his piece?

Barbara from Schererville

A. Oh my, no! I was too terrified of him to ask him much of anything. 

He was teaching at Tanglewood one summer when I was admitted into the conducting class.

He knew so much, had insight into everything we were doing, and when we did ask a question, he would give an answer that always made me wonder, “Why didn’t I think of that?”

He had two huge glass of scotch with him as well as at least three cigarettes going all at the same time. He had no scores with him and yet all 16 of us in the class could not keep up with him — and we all had scores and were only drinking coffee.

“Symphonic Dances” from “West Side Story” is a perfect and splendid orchestral show piece and one of our most requested pieces of repertoire.

It is certainly virtuosic and exciting! The percussion section alone calls for vibraphone, glockenspiel, timbales, tam-tam, tympani, congas, bass drum, tom-toms, drum set, tambourine, woodblock, xylophone, chimes, finger cymbals, maracas, bongos, guiro, cowbells and police whistle!

I hope all of you will bring some friends to this concert to enjoy an evening of beautiful, dynamic and heart-pounding music. I find it intoxicating.

Come back after the concert and let me know what you think, will you please?