Author: Kate Mockler

BPO Announces Staff Promotion

Buffalo, NY – Daniel Hart, Executive Director of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, today announced the promotion of Jennifer Barbee to Associate Director & Director of Development.

Barbee joined the BPO as Director of Development in 2010 after serving in the same position at the Virginia Symphony from 2002 to 2010. She previously held positions at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC. She received her undergraduate degree from Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music and did her graduate work at the University of Colorado-Boulder. She is a graduate of the League of American Orchestra’s Executive Leadership Program for Marketing and Development Professionals.

Barbee leads a seven-member department responsible for securing contributed income and government support totaling more than $6 million each year. Additionally, since her arrival she served as the staff point person for the BPO’s 2013 Carnegie Hall Tour Campaign that became the most successful fundraising event in the history of the orchestra; has led two successful fundraising campaigns for the BPO tour to Florida; and coordinates a $30 million endowment campaign that has now surpassed its goal.

Barbee will continue lead the development efforts but will add responsibilities in the areas of special projects, external affairs and staff leadership.

Hart stated, “Jen has done wonders for the BPO in her seven years, so in addition to filling a very important organizational need, this promotion recognizes her ongoing contributions and her desire to grow professionally and do even more for the orchestra.”

For Immediate Release
Contact:Kate Jenkins
Communications Coordinator
Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra
716-242-7819
kmockler@bpo.org

About the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra

As Buffalo’s cultural ambassador, the Grammy Award-winning Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra under the leadership of music director JoAnn Falletta presents more than 100 concerts each year. Since 1940, the orchestra’s home has been Kleinhans Music Hall, a National Historic Landmark with a reputation as one of the finest concert halls in the United States. During the tenure of JoAnn Falletta, the BPO has rekindled its history of radio broadcasts and recordings, including the release of 40 new recordings on the Naxos and Beau Fleuve labels. For more information about the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, visit www.bpo.org.

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Buffalo Philharmonic celebrates the holiday season with Irish Tenors, Polar Express, classical treasures and a visit from Santa

The Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra is gearing up for another busy holiday season, with four chances to experience the joy and magic of the holidays in concert.

For Immediate Release
Contact:Kate Jenkins
Communications Coordinator
Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra
716-242-7819
kmockler@bpo.org

THE IRISH TENORS

The season begins at 7 p.m Wednesday Dec. 6 with a performance from the Irish Tenors on their Holiday Tour. Ronan Tynan, Finbar Wright and Anthony Kearns lend their soaring voices to a program of holiday classics and familiar Irish tunes such as “Forty Shades of Green,” “Let There Be Peace” and “Whiskey in the Jar.” Tynan is especially recognizable to Buffalonians, having sung “God Bless America” at many Sabres games. The tenors are known worldwide for giving fresh life to old favorites from Ireland as well as popular and classical music from around the world, and their collaboration with the BPO this holiday season is sure to inspire and delight.

JOANN’S CLASSICAL CHRISTMAS

On December 8 at 10:30 a.m. and December 9 at 8 p.m., JoAnn Falletta leads a treat for lovers of classical music in JoAnn’s Classical Christmas, part of M&T Bank’s Classics Series. The program features the BPO debut of acclaimed soprano Aundi Marie Moore, singing favorites such as “Ave Maria” and “Gesu Bambino.” Moore is an award-winning soloist originally from Virginia, as well as a former member of the Domingo-Cafritz Washington National Opera Young Artist Program. Benjamin Mekinulov will share the stage with his father, Roman Mekinulov, the BPO’s principal cellist performing Vivaldi’s Concerto for Two Cellos. Benjamin attends Amherst High School. The Buffalo Philharmonic Chorus led by Adam Luebke will perform seasonal pieces by Rutter, Bach and Handel with the BPO. The program includes classical holiday treasures such as the “Hallelujah Chorus” from Handel’s”Messiah,” “Dance of the Tumblers” from Rimsky-Korsakov’s “Snow Maiden,”and selections from Tchaikovsky’s “The Nutcracker,” as well as an audience sing-along of favorite Christmas carols.

JINGLE BELL JAM

Santa himself plays an integral part in the BlueCross BlueShield BPO Kids Jingle Bell Jam at 2:30 p.m. Sunday Dec. 10 when he flies into town to share stories and his favorite holiday music.This budget-friendly family concert is complete with selections from “The Nutcracker” featuring dance performances from the Royal Academy of Ballet and Verve Dance Studios and a sing-along. Come at 1:30 p.m. to make cards for the men and women in the United States military stationed far from home this holiday season. After the show, children and parents are invited to have milk and cookies with Santa and Mrs. Claus. The BPO also encourages audience members to bring a new, unwrapped donation for Toys for Tots to the show, as Kleinhans is an official drop-off location for the charity.

JOHN MORRIS RUSSELL’S HOLIDAY POPS

The BPO’s holiday season concludes with John Morris Russell’s Holiday Pops. There are four opportunities to enjoy this show: Friday Dec. 15at 10:30 a.m. and 8 p.m., Saturday Dec. 16 at 8 p.m., and Sunday Dec. 17 at 2:30 p.m. Tickets often sell out, as thousands of Western New Yorkers attend this family tradition.

Russell’s Holiday Pops programs are inspired by the records his father used to get at Goodyear Tire or Firestone when he got the snow tires put on the car. Just like those albums, the Pops programs are varied and engaging. “It would always just be this panoply of music,” Russell recalled. “I like to have that kind of wild diversity in my holiday programs. We’re celebrating peace, love and joy and I’d like to make sure every single piece of music on the program exudes it.”

This year, the concert features Buffalo’s own Katy Miner as a soloist. Miner was formerly a section leader in the Buffalo Philharmonic Chorus, and currently performs around the city with the Katy Miner Jazz Quintet and the Cabaret Big Band and is also recognizable from her roles in local professional theater productions. The Buffalo Philharmonic Chorus and Buffalo Girlchoir lend their voices to a tremendous array of holiday music. The Normal Street Exit Trio also makes an appearance on this program, featuring the BPO’s own violinist Amy Licata, Associate Principal Bassist Brett Shurtliffe, and classical guitarist Matthew Sperber. The trio brings classical training to a Celtic sound. The centerpiece of the program is “The Polar Express,” narrated by well-known local actor Mike Randall of WKBW-TV. The BPO plays selections from the lush film score while the original illustrations from the beloved children’s book are displayed on screen above the orchestra. There are sure to be surprises when JMR brings his boundless energy to his favorite time of year!

GIFTS FOR THE MUSIC LOVERS ON YOUR LIST

The BPO offers a wide selection of gifts for music lovers. More than 40 CDs are available for purchase online, as well as in the Kleinhans gift shop alongside other music-themed gifts. Tickets also make the perfect gift. Concerts coming up in 2018 include classical favorites such as Bolero and Carmina Burana and Pops with the Glenn Miller Orchestra, as well as rock shows like Music of The Doors and Brass Transit: the Music of Chicago. Gift certificates are available in any amount – they offer flexibility to the recipient and never expire.

TOYS FOR TOTS

As in previous years, Kleinhans will function as a drop-off location for the Toys for Tots drive this holiday season. Toys can be brought to Kleinhans from Dec. 4-17 whenever the box office is open or a concert is held. Toys for Tots requests new, unwrapped toys to make a child’s holiday special.

For tickets to any of these concerts, visit bpo.org or call (716) 885-5000. The BPO’s box office is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, Saturdays 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., and Sundays from noon until to the first intermission of the event. If there is no event scheduled for Sunday, the box office will be closed.

Beethoven’s Third & Emperor Piano Concertos – Norman Krieger/Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra/JoAnn Falletta [Decca], Classical Source

“This coupling has much to recommend it…There are no fads or fancies; rather we get the music straight from the hip.”

[Three Stars]

By Colin Anderson

My understanding is that this release is currently only available in South Korea and also direct from the Buffalo Philharmonic. No doubt the artists involved hope for an international release (the 481 number) and to complete their Beethoven Piano Concerto cycle.

This coupling has much to recommend it. Very well recorded and, for all that the tapings are ten years apart, consistently so (the mastering was done only in April 2017) – spacious yet focussed and with good balance between piano and orchestra. Indeed the very naturalness of sound – one could be at the concerts captured here – is reflected in the performances. There are no fads or fancies; rather we get the music straight from the hip, considered as to tempo (consistently well-judged for articulate expression and buoyant direction) and dynamics (pertinent and ear-catching) and revealing Norman Krieger and JoAnn Falletta as working well and stylishly together and that her Buffalo players are not only well-prepared but very productive confreres – powerful and sensitive, with a very personable woodwind section.

In the C-minor Concerto, Krieger plays with admirable poise and crispness, and without affectation yet with no lack of personality and variety, the lengthy orchestral introduction setting the scene with boldness and clarity. The slow movement is a particular highlight, taken spaciously (to match the Largo marking) there is much eloquence to savour, to which the Finale is a lively and rhythmically vital riposte, the coda a jolly scamper, C-minor now C-major.

A decade on, the ‘Emperor’ receives a grand outing, moments of repose especially well brought into play as part of a first movement that is a little less ‘colourful’ than its C-minor counterpart, orchestral textures somewhat opaque at times, but it’s a magisterial and committed conception that stays on-track if not quite emulating the promise of Concerto No.3. The Adagio is broad and romantic, not as moon-lit as it can be if undeniably affecting, and the Finale is shapely as its runs its robust course, flexibly and with dynamism, although the timpani at the close, dialoguing with the piano, are a bit blurry. Throughout both Concertos, whatever happens is the result of considered musicianship and polished teamwork. To emphasise the singularity of these renditions, applause is retained, and the star-rating reflects the huge discography this repertoire has amassed.

Bill Murray, Jan Vogler and Friends: New Worlds tour – on a cold Buffalo night, a perfect storm of actor, musicians, audience, and venue, Buffalo Rising

The tour started in California and on Monday it’s off to Carnegie Hall, but this Wednesday night, while outside the wind blew and the rain fell, inside Kleinhans Music Hall, for over two hours without a break, including five encore pieces, Bill Murray was all ours and we were all his.

Looking up the word “entranced” gives the synonyms: captivated, engrossed, fascinated, charmed, delighted, enthralled, spellbound, mesmerized, enchanted, and riveted. Yes, we were. With wild applause, peals of laughter, but mostly moments where you could hear a pin drop, the almost 2,400 faithful and those about to be converted were in the hands of a master.

So what was this event, anyway? Booked by the Buffalo Philharmonic, it was a meeting of old world, European classical music, where a trio of piano, violin, and cello played Bach, Schubert, Ravel, Saint-Saens, and Shostakovich along with some new world, American music, and a selection of readings of American literature mostly dealing with the “outsider” coming to terms with his life.

This examination of “the stranger” was prime Bill Murray real estate, the very essence of a comedian and performer who all his life has been “a little off” of the mainstream – the uninvited, seemingly clueless or rude guest who makes us question our own values and attitudes. And that was the thread that connected all the readings and songs. For the record, Murray is not a traditional singer-actor-dancer, but he does all those things, and more, and because it’s so honest, it all works. All of it. Even his singing Maria’s song “I Feel Pretty.” Really. You had to be there.

He is one hell of a reader, though.

The readings started with an interview of the American ex-patriot writer Ernest Hemingway trying to be Parisian, then went on to poetry by Walt Whitman, who asked uncomfortable questions of America and was often rebuked, and on to a reading from James Fenimore Cooper’s The Deerslayer, a novel about the white man, Natty Bumpo, who had “gone native” and was now about to kill a man to aid his Indian friend. The emotional high point of the evening came with a reading from Mark Twain’s Adventures of Huckleberry Finn in which Huck must decide whether to be “white” and turn his friend Jim over to the slave hunters, or whether to commit the “sin” of helping “steal” a white slave owner’s “property.” Using a variety of voices to become Huck, Jim, and the two slave hunters, it was a moment. After the concert we hoped that someone had taken Bill Murray over to the downtown Central Library, which houses the original manuscript of Huck Finn, considered the first great American novel. I think he would have liked that.

And, Murray knew his audience, getting one of the biggest cheers when singing “America” from Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim’s 1956 West Side Story which includes the lines: “Nobody knows in America / Puerto Rico’s in America!” still very topical after 60 years.

It’s the mark of a great performer to surround him or herself with others of equal talent.

It’s the mark of a great performer to surround him or herself with others of equal talent, and Bill had assembled what for classical audiences was an all-star team playing two multi-million-dollar Stradivari instruments: violinist Mira Wang and cellist Jan Vogler with Vanessa Perez at the Steinway piano.

Earlier this fall, my son begged me to buy tickets. I explained to him “You know, son, there’s going to be classical music, lots of it, are you SURE that you want to go?” And he replied “But dad, it’s BILL MURRAY!” And, after looking at the ticket prices, I again said “You know, son, there’s going to literature and poetry, lots of it, are you SURE that you want to go?” And he replied “But dad, it’s BILL MURRAY!” And he and I were both right. Late to the party was my wife, who wasn’t really up for an evening of yucks and hi-jinx, but after listening to an interview with Rachel Martin on NPR’s “Morning Edition” she too was on my case. I was surprised after going to the BPO website, how few tickets remained.

Was the venue part of the evening? You bet. Kleinhans vaunted acoustics were a “fourth man” in this event. Murray was mic’d, but the three musicians were not, adding to the intimacy of the evening. I found it interesting that on Tuesday, the venue hosted Grammy Award winning classical chamber music superstars, the Takacs string quartet (all chamber music) and tonight, Thursday, the literary BABEL series hosts a conversation with environmental author and activist Terry Tempest Williams (all literary talk) and in between Bill Murray brought those two worlds together – music and literature – seamlessly.

While that expression “it’s hard to explain; you had to be there” applies, there is a CD of the tour available.

Kleinhans Music Hall is located at “3 Symphony Circle” Buffalo, 14201 where Porter Avenue, Richmond Avenue, North Street and Wadsworth meet at a traffic circle. For music events visit www.bpo.org or call (716) 885-5000.

Next up is a “BPO Rocks!” event: “Just Imagine – A Tribute to John Lennon” Friday, October 13 at 8:00 p.m. And on Saturday, as part of Hispanic Heritage Month, the BPO’s KeyBank Pops Series presents The Mambo Kings. Then it’s back to classical music, mostly, with the M&T Bank Classics concert “Russian Fantasy” featuring music by Borodin and Prokofiev and in-between, five-time Grammy-winning electric bassist Victor Wooten joins the orchestra for a performance of “The Bass Whisperer.”

Bill Murray wows crowd with intimate ‘New Worlds’ musical evening at Kleinhans, Buffalo News

Bill Murray packed them in Wednesday in Kleinhans Music Hall. All ages were there, filling the seats to the rafters.

And all night, that packed hall was silent.

It wasn’t just the star power, that it was Bill Murray, whom everyone knows from movies, before us on the Kleinhans stage. I think everyone got over that in five minutes.

It was that the evening was so unusual.

It was heartfelt, too. You sensed that right from the start. Murray walked in silently, violinist Mira Wang on one arm, pianist Vanessa Perez on the other. They took their places with their instruments, joined by the distinguished cellist Jan Vogler. Then the star began to speak.

“George Plimpton,” he said. It was soon established that Plimpton, a name almost never spoken now, was interviewing Ernest Hemingway for the Paris Review.

That set the tone for the night – formal, yet intimate. Murray doesn’t mince words. He gives you no small talk. He just places you in the center of a drama, and you are drawn in.

It gives you a new look at his genius. He’s not a great singer – not even a good one – but he got at the soul of Stephen Foster’s “Jeanie With the Light Brown Hair.” He started out simply speaking the words, with the musicians carrying the melody for him. When he finally began singing, shyly and unpretentiously, he just had you in the palm of his hand.

Before singing the song, he explained that Stephen Foster had been married to a woman called Jeanie, but they had split up, and the song may have been his way of trying to win her back. I can’t be the only listener who wondered if the song could have hit home to the twice-divorced Murray. Probably it struck a chord with a lot of people there.

All the selections had that kind of personal feel.

Murray seemed to resemble an entertainer of an earlier era, an era before movies, radio, TV and everything else. When entertainers had a variety of talents and abilities and ways to get you to use your imagination.

The musicians shared his vision. They didn’t zone out, duck backstage, or do any of those other annoying things musicians sometimes do. They were always engaged, enjoying, in the moment. They played with passion, and they showed pizzazz. They didn’t play down to the listeners, but they played to us.

It’s to everyone’s credit that the evening was so varied. Murray and his friends took us to the Civil War era, to the Paris of Ernest Hemingway, to to the early 19th century world of Franz Schubert and his American contemporary, the writer James Fenimore Cooper.

As the trio played Astor Piazzolla’s “Oblivion,” he even danced a moody tango with the violinist. He told an entire story with his gestures and looks.

The textures and emotions also ran the gamut. Some of the heartiest applause of the evening greeted Van Morrison’s “When Will I Learn to Live In God,” which Murray belted with rough-hewn passion.

Two selections in particular were tremendously riveting.

One was the very funny “If Grant Had Been Drinking at Appomattox,” by the humorist James Thurber (a name you almost never hear now). The drunken U.S. Grant, the dignified Robert E. Lee that Thurber imagined – Murray had them both spot on, his timing and concentration perfect. The story built perfectly to its outrageous punchline.

The other was the excerpt Murray read from Mark Twain’s “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn,” a story near and dear to Buffalo. He did all the different voices, including Huck; Jim, the slave Huck is helping to freedom; and the two men who confront Huck, searching for escaped slaves. Murray’s timing and inflections were so engrossing that you were completely drawn in, mesmerized more than you would be by any movie. I found myself picturing the scene – the water, the canoe, Jim hiding in the river, the stillness of the night. My husband, Howard, could hardly be described as a bookworm. He said later that when the story ended, it was like coming out of a trance.

I had to miss the last pieces, which I regret. But I imagine that must have been how it felt when the entire evening ended. Like coming out of a trance.

I don’t think anyone who was there will ever forget it.

In first overseas tour in 30 years, BPO is going to Poland, Buffalo News

The Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra is anticipating a Poland spring. In March 2018, the orchestra is traveling to Poland to perform in four cities, in four of the nation’s most acclaimed concert halls. It is the orchestra’s first overseas tour since 1988.

The tour was announced Saturday before the BPO’s concert in Kleinhans Music Hall.

The centerpiece of the tour will be an appearance at Warsaw’s Ludwig Van Beethoven Easter Festival. It features many of Europe’s leading orchestras, ensembles and the world’s great soloists. Each year, the festival has a theme. In 2018, it celebrates the centennial of Leonard Bernstein and the 85th birthday of eminent Polish composer Krzysztof Penderecki. Penderecki was a guest of the BPO in December 2015.

The tour comes at the invitation of Elzbieta Penderecka, the composer’s wife. She is president and founder of the two-week festival.

Here is how the tour is unfolding:

• March 18, 2018: The National Forum of Music in Wrocław. Home to a number of instrumental and vocal ensembles and the site of several international festivals, it was completed in 2015 and has 1,800 seats.

• March 20, 2018: Philharmonic Hall in Warsaw, the centerpiece of the tour as one of 12 concerts taking place during the Festival. Falletta is the first woman to conduct at the festival.

• March 21, 2018: Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra Concert Hall in Katowice. Completed in 2014, it is the home of one of Poland’s leading symphonic orchestras.

• March 22, 2018: The Centre for the Meeting of Cultures in Lublin, another modern hall.

The BPO’s programs will feature the works of American masters. Included are Barber’s Symphony No. 1; Bernstein’s Symphonic Dances from West Side Story; and Gershwin’s Concerto in F, featuring pianist Conrad Tao, who performed with the BPO in 2015. The orchestra will also be performing Krzysztof Penderecki’s Adagietto from “Paradise Lost.”

“The opportunity to tour Poland at the invitation of the Beethoven Easter Festival will be a transformative artistic benchmark in the history of our Buffalo Philharmonic,” Falletta said as the tour was initially announced. “We are very proud to be able to represent Buffalo and Western New York at the festival.”

In advance of the tour, a BPO brass and percussion ensemble will perform and present master classes at the Krzysztof Penderecki Centre for European Music in Luslawice. Plans are being confirmed for the ensemble to perform March 17 in Rzeszow, Buffalo’s sister city, before joining the rest of the orchestra in Wroclaw.

The BPO has built a strong relationship with Poland. BPO Principal French Horn Jacek Muzyk and section French Horn Daniel Kerdelewicz are both from Poland. Falletta has conducted in Krakow and Warsaw. In 2014, a small group of BPO fans joined her in a visit to Poland.

Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra Invited to Perform at the Prestigious Ludwig van Beethoven Easter Festival in Warsaw

BUFFALO, NY – JoAnn Falletta is taking the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra to Poland in March to perform in four different cities and four acclaimed concert halls. The tour comes at the invitation of Elzbieta Penderecka, president and founder of the Ludwig van Beethoven Easter Festival, an annual two-week festival in Warsaw that features many of Europe’s leading orchestras, ensembles and the world’s great soloists. First organized in 1997 as part of the Krakow 2000 European City of Culture program, the festival has taken place in Warsaw since 2004. Each year, the festival has a theme. In 2018, it celebrates the centennial of Leonard Bernstein and the 85th birthday of eminent Polish composer Krzysztof Penderecki.

This will be the BPO’s first trip overseas tour since 1988.

Falletta will make history as the first American woman to lead a concert at the Festival. Although a number of American ensembles have appeared under the Festival auspices, the BPO will be the first full orchestra to perform in Warsaw during the two-week Festival. Additional stops have the full BPO performing in four cities:

  • March 18: the BPO performs at The National Forum of Music in Wrocław, the city’s institution of culture,and a state-of-the-art multifunctional concert venue. Home to a number of instrumental and vocal ensembles and the site of several international festivals, it was completed in 2015 and has 1800 seats.
  • March 20: the BPO makes its appearance at Philharmonic Hall in Warsaw, the centerpiece of the tour as one of 12 concerts taking place during the Festival.
  • March 21: the BPO travels to Katowice to perform in the Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra (NOSPR) Concert Hall. This hall is among the many that have been constructed in the country in recent years. Completed in 2014, it is the home of one of Poland’s leading symphonic orchestras.
  • March 22: the tour concludes in Lublin at the Centre for the Meeting of Cultures. The Centre opened in 2016, replacing an older building that was never completed. It boasts a large concert hall, a recital space, and smaller rooms for lectures and workshops.

The program puts the spotlight on American master composers, including Barber’s Symphony No. 1; Gershwin’s Piano Concerto in F, featuring pianist Conrad Tao; and Bernstein’s Symphonic Dances from West Side Story. Also on the program is Krzysztof Penderecki’s Adagietto from Paradise Lost.

Falletta is thrilled that this has all come together. “The opportunity to tour Poland at the invitation of the Beethoven Easter Festival will be a transformative artistic benchmark in the history of our Buffalo Philharmonic. We are honored that we have been chosen by this prestigious festival to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the legendary Leonard Bernstein, and in addition, to mark the 85th birthday of iconic Polish composer Krzysztof Penderecki. We are very proud to be able to represent Buffalo and Western New York at the festival,” she said.

 

In advance of the tour, a BPO brass and percussion ensemble will perform and present master classes at the Krzysztof Penderecki Centre for European Music in Luslawice on March 15 and 16. Plans are being confirmed for the ensemble to perform on March 17 in Rzeszow, Buffalo’s sister city, before joining the rest of the orchestra in Wroclaw.

Maestro Falletta has built a strong relationship with the local Polish community and the Polish musical community through a variety of projects over the years, so the tour is an extension of her artistic vision. BPO Principal French Horn Jacek Muzyk and section French Horn Daniel Kerdelewicz both hail from Poland. Falletta has conducted in Krakow and Warsaw. In 2014, a small group of BPO fans joined her in Poland to tour this famously musical country. In December 2016, the BPO was privileged to have Maestro Penderecki lead the BPO in a stunning performance of his Concerto for Violin and Cello featuring Concertmaster Dennis Kim and Principal Cellist Roman Mekinulov. Polish Maestros Antoni Wit and Michal Nesterowicz have appeared with the BPO in recent years and the BPO has made a recording of important Polish works. Beethoven Festival artist Konrad Skolarski will appear with the BPO this November.

“The BPO’s ability to mount this tour speaks to our ever-growing global reputation, the consistently high level of artistic excellence we deliver to our audiences and strong local support,” said BPO Board of Trustees Chair Stephen Swift. “This is truly a landmark moment in the orchestra’s history. We still hear from patrons about the 1988 European tour. It is rare for an orchestra of our size to be afforded such a unique opportunity, and we look forward to representing all of Western New York at this prestigious event.”

Additional Information:

Buffalonians are invited to come along on the VIP BPO Poland Tour. This experience includes an opportunity to hear a performance featuring violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter who just opened the BPO’s 2017-18 season, and tickets to the BPO’s performance. The group will also visit attractions, enjoy other concerts and recitals, fine dining, and cultural experiences. The tour includes Warsaw and Krakow, and concludes in Prague, where JoAnn Falletta will join the group. Trustee Cindy Abbott Letro is leading the committee to organize this aspect of the tour. Travel arrangements can be made through The Travel Team. For more information, call 1-866-289-7511, or email Ron Luczak at rluczak@thetravelteam.com

Pianist-composer Conrad Tao made his BPO debut in October 2015. Born in 1994, Tao is earning a reputation for innovation as well as excellence. His current season is marked by world and regional premieres of both his own work and the works of others. He has won an Avery Fisher Grant, been named a Presidential Scholar of the Arts, and was named a Gilmore Young Artist, an honor awarded every two years highlighting the most promising American pianists of the new generation. In 2013, he inaugurated the UNPLAY Festival in New York City, a three-night festival of new music which he curated and produced.

The BPO is grateful for the support of its Poland Tour sponsors: John and Carolyn Yurtchuk, Mark Chason and Mariana Botero-Chason, ABC Amega, Anonymous, Robert and Carol Morris, Jim and Michal Wadsworth, Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation, Reid Group, Anthony Baldi and Associates, and Mark Cerrone.

The BPO will perform the tour program with Conrad Tao at Kleinhans Music Hall on March 10 and 11, 2018. Tickets for what will be the official tour send-off for the orchestra are available by calling (716) 885-5000, by visiting bpo.org, or by going to the Kleinhans Music Hall box office at 3 Symphony Circle, Buffalo.

As Buffalo’s cultural ambassador, the Grammy Award-winning Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra under the leadership of music director JoAnn Falletta presents more than 100 concerts each year. Since 1940, the orchestra’s home has been Kleinhans Music Hall, a National Historic Landmark with a reputation as one of the finest concert halls in the United States. During the tenure of JoAnn Falletta, the BPO has rekindled its history of radio broadcasts and recordings, including the release of 40 new recordings on the Naxos and Beau Fleuve labels. For more information about the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, visit www.bpo.org.

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Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra shows Olean students the importance of music, Olean Times-Herald

OLEAN — To Stefan Sanders, an orchestra operates very much like a community. All the different instruments — from string to woodwind to percussion — must play together in harmony to perform a piece of music.

“The orchestra is made up of different types of instruments that all have to work together, just like a society,” said Sanders, the resident conductor of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra. “Different types of people with different interests that all have to work together in order for it to function healthily.”

That was the message the BPO tried to bring to Olean City School District students Tuesday in the Olean High School auditorium as part of its annual Music for Youth Concert Series. Students in kindergarten through second grade were treated to the orchestra’s classical music and accompanying narration in the morning before students in third through sixth grade had their own concert in the afternoon.

The Music for Youth Concert Series, which the orchestra has run in some form since 1935, played for about 50,000 students last year, including all Buffalo Public Schools elementary students. OHS is one of just four Western New York schools the group annually travels to, as the majority of schools travel to Kleinhans Music Hall in Buffalo to view the concerts, or view the BPO’s annual on-demand concert.

Sanders started Tuesday’s concert with “In the Hall of the Mountain King” by Norwegian composer Edvard Grieg, which he hoped would be familiar to many of the students after it appeared in the animated film “Trolls” last year.

“We wanted to play something that would capture their attention and that they would be familiar with right off the bat,” he said.

For this year’s program, the BPO commissioned new poetry from Buffalo-based poet Amy Ludwig VanDerwater to accompany Benjamin Britten’s time-honored musical composition, “The Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra.” A narrative that briefly describes the different instruments of the orchestra is often spoken to the audience during the piece, but the BPO decided to create a narrative of its own.

“It’s a little more poetic and artistic rather than just describing the instrument in a prose style,” Sanders said.

The orchestra also played “God Bless America” and had the students sing along. Much of the concert was interactive, with students being encouraged to clap, wave their hands and tap their feet to the sounds of the concert.

Performing for a child audience is different than performing for an adult audience in a “wonderful and innocent way,” Sanders said.

The conductor called the Music for Youth Concert Series some of the more important concerts the BPO does, as he said the students they perform for are not only the country’s future, but the future BPO audience.

“We take this very seriously and it’s important for us to engage young people on this level, to introduce them to the orchestra, its repertoire, music and how fulfilling music education can be to one’s development into adulthood,” he said.

Buffalo Philharmonic celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month with church performances, Mambo Kings concert

BUFFALO, NY – It’s Hispanic Heritage Month and the BPO is celebrating.

BPO violist Janz Castelo is leading a string quartet composed of himself, BPO violinists Andrea Blanchard-Cone and Amy Licata and cellist Eva Herer in performances at several churches that serve the Hispanic community. Castelo is the Artistic Director of the Buffalo Chamber Players, is active in the Puerto Rican community, and speaks fluent Spanish. He selected the music to be performed, and will speak on behalf of the BPO at each visit. Casimiro Rodriguez Sr. of the Hispanic Heritage Council of Western New York and the BPO Diversity Council will introduce the quartet to each congregation.

On Sept. 24, the quartet performs during the Spanish-language masses at 10:15 a.m. at Holy Angels, 348 Porter Ave. and at 12:15 p.m. at Holy Cross, 345 Seventh Street. On Oct. 15, the final day of Hispanic Heritage Month, the quartet will perform at 10:15 a.m. at Destiny International Church, 172 15th Street and at 11:30 a.m. at Primera Iglesia Metodista at 62 Virginia St.

On Oct. 14, the BPO is performing with the Rochester-based Mambo Kings at Kleinhans Music Hall. The BPO Diversity Council has arranged performances of Hispanic dance music by Hutchinson Tech’s Tech Tones and Olmsted High’s Jazz F.L.O. at 7 p.m. in the Mary Seaton Room. The Mambo Kings take the main stage with the BPO at 8 p.m. Bradley Thachuk conducts this tour of Latin jazz, featuring music by everyone from Astor Piazzolla to The Beatles, from Dave Brubeck to Tito Puente. The Mambo Kings have been together since 1995 and have earned a reputation as America’s top Latin jazz ensemble, performing with The Florida Orchestra, Detroit Symphony, Baltimore Symphony, Dallas Symphony, Oregon Symphony, and more. The concert is part of the KeyBank Pops Series.

The Hispanic Heritage Month celebration was spearheaded by the BPO Diversity Council. The Council formed in July 2016 to assist the orchestra in realizing its longstanding goals of presenting diverse programming, supporting artists of color, and engaging with every part of the Western New York community in a meaningful way.

The formation of the Diversity Council places the BPO at the vanguard of a national movement to diversify the American classical music scene. The Council will help the orchestra work towards the goals of featuring artists of color (soloists, conductors, composers) in concerts; creating programs tied to community events and history that are relevant to diverse audiences; establishing collaborative partnerships with diverse organizations; supporting music education in under-served areas and encouraging broad participation in music programs; and seeking diversity at all levels of the organization including the Board of Trustees, staff, volunteers and the orchestra itself.

Tickets to The Mambo Kings range from $29 – $84, with student tickets available for $11 with ID. Purchase tickets by visiting bpo.org, by calling (716) 885-5000, or by stopping at the Kleinhans box office at 3 Symphony Circle, Buffalo, NY 14201. Tickets include the pre-concert performances by Hutchinson Tech and Olmsted High School.

 

As Buffalo’s cultural ambassador, the Grammy Award-winning Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra under the leadership of music director JoAnn Falletta presents more than 100 concerts each year. Since 1940, the orchestra’s home has been Kleinhans Music Hall, a National Historic Landmark with a reputation as one of the finest concert halls in the United States. During the tenure of JoAnn Falletta, the BPO has rekindled its history of radio broadcasts and recordings, including the release of 40 new recordings on the Naxos and Beau Fleuve labels. For more information about the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, visit www.bpo.org.

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