Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra & JoAnn Falletta Announce 23-24 Season
New Season Pays Homage to the Diverse Musical Tastes of Western NY, the Power of Music to Unite, and JoAnn’s 25th Season as Music Director
- Beloved superstar violinist Gil Shaham joins JoAnn and the orchestra to open the new season on September 23 with Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto
- The Buffalo Philharmonic Chorus and guest vocal soloists are featured May 11-12 in the most famous and adored symphony of all time – Beethoven’s Ninth – in celebration of its 200th anniversary
- Mexico’s queen of the mariachi art song, Aida Cuevas, known to audiences around the world for over 40 years, debuts with the BPO October 14
- Lead vocalist of the Count Basie Orchestra Carmen Bradford takes center stage on March 9 in First Ladies of Song, a tribute to legends Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, Sarah Vaughan, and Lena Horne
- A two-part Rachmaninoff Festival, November 3-4 and 11-12, commemorates the 150th birthday of a composer immensely popular with Buffalo audiences with performances from Alexander Malofeev and Fabio Bidini
- Anticipating Buffalo’s position on the centerline of the April 8, 2024 total solar eclipse, JoAnn conducts Holst’s The Planets and more in a special space-themed multimedia presentation, April 5-6
- Celebrating Disney at 100, The Sound of Magic features favorite Disney movie songs accompanied by animated segments and historical behind-the-scenes footage on the big screen, February 9-10
The BPO’s 2023-24 season is a kaleidoscope reflecting the myriad of influences at the heart of Buffalo and WNY’s cultural makeup. Celebrating JoAnn Falletta’s 25th season, the orchestra upholds its tradition to deliver musical performances that will resonate with all. The selections, guest conductors and artists comprising the BPO Classics series represent music from across time and across the globe. Further mirroring the community’s collective heritage, the Pops series is rich with music genres from jazz to Latin to soul, and equally diverse entertainers who delight audiences from Broadway to Vegas.
BPO Music Director JoAnn Falletta comments: “I am so happy to announce, for the 25th time, the exciting concerts and musical experiences the orchestra will present in 2023-24. Entering our 89th season, we know and embrace the diversity of our community through our programming and cherish the opportunities we have to uplift and unite our neighbors with tremendous artistry, passion, and a great variety of music.”
Classics Series Highlights
The 2023-24 season’s Classics series includes guests from an exciting and inspiring variety of backgrounds, with special performances marking important anniversaries in the world of Classical music. On September 23, virtuoso Gil Shaham brings the 1719 Stradivarius violin back to Buffalo, joining JoAnn and the orchestra for a one-night-only performance including the climactic Pictures at an Exhibition by Mussorgsky, with a gala to celebrate the new season. Extraordinary violin playing will continue to resound throughout Kleinhans in October, with concerts featuring internationally acclaimed violinist Tianwa Yang among a program of beloved French works (Oct. 6-7), and Grammy-nominated violinist Tessa Lark with award-winning American maestro Julius Williams, who will conduct Elena Roussanova’s Moments of Arrival (Oct. 21-22). Piano concertos performed by Buffalo favorites Alexander Malofeev and Fabio Bidini will amaze alongside lush orchestral works in the BPO’s Rachmaninoff Festival (Nov. 3-4 & 11-12), commemorating Rachmaninoff’s 150th birthday and the composer’s history in Buffalo. The annual JoAnn’s Classical Christmas concerts on December 8-9 will continue the holiday tradition of featuring a BPO musician, with Natalie Debikey Scanio performing Vivaldi’s Piccolo Concerto in a program of heartwarming, festive works for all to enjoy.
2024 begins with Peruvian composer Jimmy López-Bellido’s riveting Symphony No. 3, “Altered Landscape,” on January 12-13, led by acclaimed conductor and commissioner of the work, Laura Jackson. BPO Principal Oboist Henry Ward will take center stage January 27-28 to perform the notoriously difficult Strauss Oboe Concerto, and on February 2-3, guitarist DJ Sparr will thrill the crowd with Daron Hagen’s Concerto for Electric Guitar and Orchestra. Teddy Abrams, protégé of former BPO music director Michael Tilson-Thomas, will conduct Tilson-Thomas’ “From the Diary of Anne Frank” and Dvorak’s New World Symphony on February 17-18. A special multimedia presentation and performance of Strauss’ Don Quixote, featuring BPO Principal Cellist Roman Mekinulov, will kick off March; then, founding member of Harlem Quartet and new faculty member at the University at Buffalo, Melissa White, will stun with Florence Price’s Second Violin Concerto (Mar. 15-16); and on March 23-24, the gifted father-son conductor-cellist duo, Gerard and Julian Schwarz, will deliver a packed program of Schubert and Wagner.
Accompanying the total solar eclipse on April 8, a universe-themed program including Holst’s The Planets, Nina Shekhar’s Lumina, and a contemporary flute concerto performed by Marina Piccinini will transport audiences to a world of zero gravity (Apr. 5-6). Renowned pianist Stewart Goodyear will return to perform Beethoven’s impressive “Emperor” Concerto (Apr. 20-21), and on May 3-4, brilliant violinist Timothy Chooi – brother of BPO Concertmaster Nikki Chooi – will join the orchestra and his brother to perform Bach’s Concerto for Two Violins and Prokofiev’s Violin Concerto No. 1. The Classics series concludes with performances of two showstopping symphonic masterworks, featuring the Buffalo Philharmonic Chorus and many esteemed operatic soloists: Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony on May 11-12, in celebration of the work’s 200th anniversary, and Mahler’s Symphony No. 2, “Resurrection,” on June 1-2.
Pops Series Highlights
Presenting a vast array of genres and special guests, the 2023-24 Pops series offers something for everyone. Daniel Hart, BPO President and Executive Director, remarks: “We appreciate the diverse musical tastes of our audiences and take great pride in the variety of our programming. The BPO’s goal is always to inspire, educate, and entertain audiences as a source of joy and support in the community, and there is no doubt the upcoming Pops series will accomplish this.”
Conductor Enrico Lopez-Yañez returns to kick off the series, leading the orchestra in selections from the most exhilarating and beloved John Williams film scores (Sep. 29-30). Aida Cuevas, the Grammy award-winning “Queen of Mariachi,” joins the orchestra and BPO Conductor Diversity Fellow Fernanda Lastra for a night of mariachi mastery on October 14. Grammy and Oscar-winning musical theater composer Stephen Schwartz comes to Kleinhans on October 28 to share songs and stories from Broadway, with a cast of stellar vocalists performing his hits from Wicked, Godspell, and more. On November 18, top Vegas performer Jay White returns with a rave-reviewed Neil Diamond tribute, capturing the talents and charisma of Diamond accompanied by the orchestra. Western NY’s favorite holiday tradition continues when BPO Principal Pops Conductor John Morris Russell conducts Holiday Pops, December 14-17, to ring in the season and spread holiday cheer.
On January 20, the multi-talented Byron Stripling and vocalists Chester Gregory, Ashley Jayy, and Brik Liam will have audiences grooving to the hits of Motown and the Philly Sound. Disney in Concert: The Sound of Magic on February 9-10 will be a joy for all ages, with stunning orchestral arrangements of iconic Disney songs, plus projected animated sequences and behind-the-scenes footage. Fans of Elton John will be blown away by Broadway star Michael Cavanaugh’s tribute to the legendary singer-songwriter, performing spot-on interpretations of Sir Elton’s greatest hits on February 24. Count Basie Orchestra lead vocalist Carmen Bradford serenades audiences on March 9 in First Ladies of Song, paying homage to legends Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, Sarah Vaughan, and Lena Horne. Ron Spigelman returns April 12-13 to conduct Cirque de la Symphonie, a jaw-dropping spectacle of aerial flyers, acrobats and more who will join the orchestra on – and high above – the Kleinhans stage. Spigelman will also take the podium on April 27 for Star Wars: Return of the Jedi, the epic finale of the BPO’s live performance of the trilogy began in 2022. A Memorial Day weekend tradition concludes the Pops series on May 24-25, paying musical tribute to members of the armed forces in the Western NY community and across the country.
For a detailed overview of the BPO’s 2023-24 season, including dates, times, and programs, visit bpo.org/23-24-events.
Subscriptions and Single Tickets
A variety of subscription packages will be on sale beginning January 29, and can be purchased online at bpo.org/subscriptions, in-person at the Box Office in Kleinhans Music Hall, or by calling (716) 885-5000. Single tickets will be available for purchase on July 15.
About Us: To learn more about our storied history, distinguished conductors and world-class musicians, and commitment to IDEA, visit the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra.