BPO plans ‘Grateful’ Artpark concert for July 12, Jim Fink, Business First

When the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra hits the Artpark stage this weekend for a pair of very diverse musical offerings, much more is at stake than just a note-for-note perfect set of performances.

The orchestra uses its annual Artpark summer residency as a means to showcase itself to a wider audience — one that may turn around and support the BPO by purchasing tickets for its traditional fall, winter and spring performances at Kleinhans Music Hall and also support the organization by aiding fund raising efforts.


The strategy has worked in the past and officials hope history does repeat itself.

As for the music on stage, the orchestra will be performing the music of noted composer John Williams on July 11 and playing with Grateful Dead cover band Crazy Fingers on July 12 capping a day-long celebration of the band’s 50th anniversary and “farewell” concerts last weekend in Chicago.

“Both are iconic, but in decidedly different ways,” said Stefan Sanders, BPO associate conductor. “I never realized there is such a huge love and following of the Grateful Dead in Buffalo.”

Sanders will be conducting the orchestra for both shows.

“This has been a lot of fun to put together,” Sanders said.

The BPO has a unique history with the Grateful Dead. In March 1970, then-conductor and music director Lukas Foss arranged to have the band play with the orchestra in a performance that remains legendary in both BPO and Grateful Dead circles.

For Sanders, this is the first time he has conducted entire program comprised of Grateful Dead songs.

“It is very interesting music,” Sanders said. “The more I’m looking at the scores, I realize there is really a bit of everything in there.”


The orchestra and Artpark have created an entire day of Grateful Dead music and attractions for the July 12 show, which begins at 2 p.m. Five other acts will perform before the BPO and Crazy Fingers take the stage that evening.

Tickets for both Artpark shows are available either through the BPO or Artpark.