Aiken's perfect placement as a pit-stop from Charlotte, N.C., to Florida led to USC Aiken's snagging the Opole, Philharmonic of Poland for this year's cultural series.
"They like to have a stop at least every three or four hours apart," said Jane Schumacher, the Etherredge Center director.
The Opole, founded in 1947, has a tradition of drawing world renowned piano, violin and vocal soloists.
Led by conductor Boguslaw Dawidow and joined by pianist Evgeni Mikhailov, the philharmonic will perform classics from Mozart, Chopin and Beethoven during its weekend show.
"We're trying to bring performers in that many in the area would only have a chance to see in New York or Washington, D.C.," said Shumacher. "We're their first stop on their first transcontinental tour, so it will be a rare treat."
Selections include Mozart's The Magic Flute, Beethoven's Symphony No. 5 in C minor, Op. 67 and Polish native Chopin's Piano Concerto No. 1 in E minor, Op. 11.
Mikhailov, who's performed more than 400 concerts, has conducted master classes in Russia, South Korea, Sweden and Switzerland and lectured at the World Piano Pedagogy Conference in the U.S.
Known for a boisterous and enthusiastic stage presence, Dawidow is expected to bring as much drama to the performance as the musicians. He began his tenure as the Opole's music director when he was appointed Poland's Ministry of Culture in 1999. In addition to the Opole's first American tour, Dawidow has led the group through numerous recordings of works by Brahms, Tchaikovsky and Elsner.