Buffalo Philharmonic celebrates Beethoven with music, film, lectures and collaboration with Road Less Traveled Productions

For Immediate Release
Contact: Kate Jenkins
Communications Coordinator
Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra

BUFFALO, NY – In March, the BPO will celebrate classical music’s most beloved and influential composer with a festival, including his groundbreaking Ninth Symphony.


The centerpiece of the festival will be two weeks of concerts of Beethoven’s music on the M&T Classics series. At 8 p.m. Saturday March 21 and 2:30 p.m. Sunday, March 22, audiences will have a chance to experience the glory of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony live in the acoustic perfection of Kleinhans Music Hall. The symphony’s grand scale and emotional narrative have made it the most frequently-performed classical work. Its final movement, nicknamed “Ode To Joy” and based on a poem by Friedrich Schiller, will be instantly recognizable. The Buffalo Philharmonic Chorus and soloists Sari Gruber, Ann McMahon Quintero, Robert Breault, and Kevin Deas join the orchestra in performing this touchstone of classical music. The concerts also include a performance of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 1, written at the dawn of the nineteenth century.  


The following week, Road Less Traveled Productions collaborates with the BPO to provide an exciting dimension to Beethoven’s Complete Incidental Music to “Egmont.” The historical drama “Egmont” was written by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and tells the tale of the famous Dutch warrior and nobleman, the Count of Egmont, who valiantly stood against oppression. Beethoven composed the well-known overture and nine incidental pieces for soprano, narrator and orchestra for a revival of the play two decades after its premiere. Buffalo actor Matthew Witten, who was most recently seen in the Irish Classical Theater Company’s production of “A Lion in Winter,” will serve as narrator. Emily Tworek-Helenbrook, an Alexander native who has won many national and international accolades for her vocal performance work, will sing the soprano role. Scott Behrend is the Artistic Director of Road Less Travelled Productions. The lighting design is by John Rickus, and stage management by Susan Dickinson.   


Buffalo favorite Norman Krieger will be the soloist in Beethoven’s “Emperor” Piano Concerto on the same concerts. Among his early accolades was the Buffalo Philharmonic Young Artists Competition Prize; he has since gone on to win the gold medal at the first Palm Beach Invitational Piano Competition and perform on Lincoln Center’s Great Performers Series. The concerts take place at 10:30 a.m. Friday, March 27 and 8 p.m. Saturday, March 28. There will be complimentary coffee and doughnuts prior to the March 27 performance.


JoAnn Falletta will be on the podium for both concert weeks. The audience is invited to attend “Musically Speaking,” a discussion held one hour prior to Saturday and Sunday concerts, and ask questions of the conductor and artists before the concerts. “Musically Speaking” is sponsored by Uniland Development.  


In addition to the concerts, the BPO hosts events for the community to learn more about this great composer and his music. Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony has taken on global significance since its premiere, serving as an anthem of hope for oppressed peoples around the world and an inspiration for many other artists. The documentary film “Following The Ninth: In the Footsteps of Beethoven’s Final Symphony” will be screened at 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 10 at the Woldman Theater in Norton Hall on the UB North Campus. Filmmaker Kerry Candaele explores the work’s meaning, taking viewers on a journey across five continents and into the heart and soul of one of the world’s greatest works of art. A panel discussion will follow. Tickets are $10 for the general public and $5 with student ID or a ticket to one of the other Beethoven Festival concerts.


BPO Staff Conductor Paul Ferington will share his perspective on Beethoven and his music at three free BPOvations talks. He will speak at the Downtown Central Library at noon on Wednesday, March 4; at the Orchard Park Library at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, March 4; and at the Amherst Audubon Library at 7 p.m. Wednesday, March 11.


The Festival is sponsored by Superior Group, and the concert sponsor for Beethoven’s Ninth is Hodgson Russ.


For all ticketed events, patrons can call (716) 885-5000 or visit bpo.org to purchase. Student tickets to BPO concerts are $11 with ID.




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 32 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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