Buffalo Philharmonic Season Begins Sept. 16

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


Lang Lang, Cheyenne Jackson, Sibelius and Beethoven
among early highlights

BUFFALO, NY – The Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra begins its 2015-16 season on Sept. 16. The season celebrates the 75th anniversary of Kleinhans Music Hall, with masterworks like Beethoven’s Eroica Symphony and Elgar’s Enigma Variations, guest artists including Jason Alexander and Celtic Woman, and innovative programming such as a three-day festival exploring Aaron Copland’s artistic development and concerts blending rock and symphonic music.

Gala Season Opening with Lang Lang to support Educational Programs

The season starts with a gala and concert featuring piano superstar Lang Lang on Wednesday, Sept. 16. Lang Lang holds status as an international classical phenomenon, with legions of fans around the globe, major endorsement deals and musical awards. He performs Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2 in an evening of works by Russian composers, with BPO Music Director JoAnn Falletta on the podium. The BPO’s annual Opening Night Gala, sponsored by the Louis P. Ciminelli Family Foundation, includes a pre-concert dinner catered by Oliver’s, priority seating for gala guests, and a post-concert celebration with desserts and drinks. Proceeds from the gala support the BPO’s educational programming, including the First Niagara Music for Youth concert series, free master classes with BPO musicians and guest artists, and the BPO Connect Program which brings musicians into classrooms.

New Artists Perform with BPO for New Audiences

The BPO Rocks series presented by Key Private Bank opens on Friday, Sept. 18 with “Faithfully: A Tribute to Journey.” Journey’s hits “Don’t Stop Believing” and “Any Way You Want It” still excite audiences decades after their release, and “Faithfully” set the standard for power ballads. A Las Vegas-based band fronted by a female lead singer lights up the stage with this tribute, joining the BPO for the first time.

On Thursday, Sept. 24, Buffalo’s top musicians join forces in a groundbreaking collaboration. Soundwave blends indie rock by Buffalo’s own The Albrights and gypsy jazz by a reunited Babik with works by contemporary rock and EDM-inspired composers and songwriters Mason Bates, Adam Schoenberg, and Sufjan Stevens. BPO Associate Conductor Stefan Sanders will be on the podium. Tickets are $20 general admission and $10 for students. An after-party features Verve Studios dancers and a DJ. Admission includes a complimentary slice of pizza and a beverage.

Cheyenne Jackson has earned critical acclaim for his roles on “30 Rock” and “Glee,” in films like “United 93” and “Love Is Strange,” and in many Broadway and off-Broadway shows. The multitalented entertainer will be one of the leads in “American Horror Story: Hotel,” but is coming to Buffalo less than two weeks before the show’s premiere to perform “Music of the Mad Men Era” to open the Bank of America Pops season on Saturday, Sept. 26.

FinnFest USA comes to Buffalo – Kleinhans Music Hall and Music of Sibelius Major Draw

JoAnn Falletta will take the podium for the first two concerts of the M&T Bank Classics Series, which celebrate Kleinhans Music Hall’s Finnish lineage and the 150th anniversary of the birth of Jean Sibelius, Finland’s best-known composer. The recent renovations at Kleinhans Music Hall, designed by the Finnish father-and-son architect team of Eliel and Eero Saarinen, will be on full display. On Oct. 3 and 4, the orchestra will perform Sibelius’ Symphony No. 5 on a program that also features Sebastian Fagerlund’s “Isola,” and Finnish pianist Juho Pohjonen performing Grieg’s Piano Concerto in A minor. On Oct. 9 and 10, the BPO performs Sibelius’ Symphony No. 1 and explores the works of other Finnish composers. Violinist Elina Vahala will join the BPO for the United States premiere of Jaako Kuussisto’s Violin Concerto; the orchestra will also perform Einojuhani Rautavaara’s Symphony No. 1. These events will complement FinnFest USA, an exploration of Finnish heritage and culture taking place in Buffalo from Oct. 9-13. Hundreds of guests from around the world are expected to visit Buffalo for this festival. For further information and registration, visit finnfestusa.org.

Know the Score opens with Exploration of Copland’s influence in Mexico

One of America’s most respected composers, Aaron Copland championed the American populist movement and played a formative role in shaping our nation’s musical identity; he also served as the first Slee Lecturer in Music at the University at Buffalo. This fall, a three-day event explores two key events in his life: his experiences in Mexico and his blacklisting during the McCarthy Era. On Oct. 14, “Copland and the Cold War,” combines Copland’s music, a re-enactment of his Congressional testimony, and a talk by Joseph Horowitz, director of the National Endowment for the Humanities’ Music Unwound consortium. On Oct. 15, professor and artist Bruce Jackson gives a talk at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery titled “Paul Strand: Genius of form, and the discovery of context.” The festival culminates with the opening of the BPO’s Know The Score series on Oct. 16. Titled “Copland in Mexico,” the concert explores the composer’s influence on a generation of Mexican composers, and features a screening of the Paul Strand film “Redes,” with a live performance of the Silvestre Revueltas score by the BPO. Stefan Sanders conducts, and the BPO hosts a party after the performance to keep the conversation going.

The series continues in the second half of the year when the Colored Musicians Club joins the BPO to present “Orchestra Meets Jazz.” Rounding out the three-concert series, an in-depth exploration of our solar system will employ Holst’s The Planets suite and visuals culled from recent space explorations.

Bank of America Pops Series Highlights

Jason Alexander is best known for his portrayal of the shifty, luckless George Costanza on “Seinfeld.” Before his long-running role on the show, he won a Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical for his role in “Jerome Robbins’ Broadway.” Since “Seinfeld,” he has established a vibrant theater career, serving as artistic director of the Reprise Theatre Company in Los Angeles, and directs film, television and commercials. He joins the BPO on Oct. 17 for an entertaining variety show.

The BPO will offer a Halloween experience for the grown-ups this year. Oct. 31 offers the chance to see “Psycho” on the big screen as the BPO performs Bernard Herrman’s chilling score. The fun continues at a post-concert Halloween party complete with a costume contest and live band, open to all ticketholders.

The Sounds of Simon and Garfunkel is among the most eagerly anticipated concerts on the first half of the BPO’s season. Vocalists A.J Swearingen and Jonathan Beedle are in perfect harmony in this tribute to the duo whose music provided the soundtrack to 1960s America. Michael Krajewski leads this concert on Nov. 13 and 14.

Audiences will also have three opportunities to watch Principal Pops Conductor John Morris Russell in action: at Holiday Pops on Dec. 18-20; at Great Ladies of Swing with Dee Daniels on Jan. 23; and at A Symphonic Tribute to John Denver on Feb. 27.Other series highlights includethe return of jazz trumpeter Chris Botti on Feb. 13; the BPO debut of Pink Martini on March 12; Cirque Mechanics to delight audiences of all ages on April 9; and Williamsville East graduate Eric Jordan Young in “Celebrating Sammy: Broadway to Vegas” on April 30.

M&T Classics offers Monumental Musical Moments

On Oct. 24 and 25, the orchestra will perform Beethoven’s Symphony No. 3, “Eroica,” a mainstay of the repertoire which has been performed consistently throughout the orchestra’s history, most recently in 2013 on the Know The Score series. The concert also features composer/pianist Conrad Tao making his BPO debut performing John Adams’ “Century Rolls.”

Jake Shimabukuro has changed the way the world views the ukulele, performing rock, pop, and jazz on the instrument and inspiring the acclaimed documentary “Life on Four Strings.” He turns his talents to classical music on Nov. 7 and 8, performing Byron Yasui’s Ukulele Concerto. Written expressly for him, the concerto received its world premiere with the Hawaii Symphony Orchestra under JoAnn Falletta’s baton in June 2015. He and Falletta team up again to bring this concerto to Buffalo.

Whether violinist Jennifer Koh is making music in classrooms with students or filming her online video series “Off Stage, On Record,” she breaks down the barriers that separate audience and artist. On Nov. 20 and 21, she joins the BPO to perform Nielsen’s Concerto for Violin. Elgar’s “Enigma Variations” is also on the program. Each variation on the original theme represents a friend of Elgar’s, never publicly named by the composer.

Other season highlights include André Watts performing Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 4 on Feb. 20 and 21; esteemed conductor Carl St. Clair leading the BPO in Brahms’ Symphony No. 3 on May 14 and 15 in a concert that includes selections from “Porgy and Bess” sung by Kevin Deas and Angela Brown; Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto on Jan. 30 and 31; chances to hear Mozart’s music in January, March and May; and Strauss’ Alpine Symphony with visuals by Tobias Melle to close the season on June 4 and 5.

One hour prior to all Saturday and Sunday M&T Bank Classics concerts, audience will have a chance to hear from the musicians and conductor in Musically Speaking, sponsored by Uniland Development. These pre-concert talks are free to ticketholders and usually include a question-and-answer session.

BPO Kids – A great introduction to the BPO

BlueCross BlueShield BPO Kids returns on Oct. 18 with Symphonic Spooktacular. Beginning at 1:30 p.m., young concertgoers can make disguises to wear and meet costumed characters. The concert begins at 2:30 p.m. and features some of the spookiest music ever written. The orchestra and conductor will be in costume, and the audience is encouraged to dress up and participate in the costume parade across the Kleinhans stage.

The BPO Kids series also includes a holiday-themed concert; “Frozen Fairytales” with music from the smash-hit film and beyond; an audio tour of the region we call home in “Let’s Go Buffalo;” a chance to meet all of the instruments in the orchestra in “Peter and the Wolf;” and a showcase of student talent in “Kids Take The Stage.”

Each concert is interactive and features pre-concert crafts, games and stories. Tickets are budget-friendly at $13 for adults and $8 for children. Subscriptions to the full BPO Kids season of 6 concerts, including the popular Jingle Bell Jam in December, are available for just $60 for adults and $40 for children.

Make holiday memories with your BPO

The holiday season is always a special time at the BPO, and this year is no exception. On Nov. 28 and 29, the orchestra partners with Neglia Ballet Artists to present “The Nutcracker” in the splendor of Shea’s Performing Arts Center. On Dec. 9, Celtic Woman performs at Kleinhans with your BPO in “Home For Christmas: The Symphony Tour.” On Dec. 11 and 12, experience a holiday celebration featuring music by the history’s greatest composers, hand-selected by JoAnn Falletta, in “JoAnn’s Classical Christmas.” The whole family can get in the spirit of the season on Dec. 13 with Jingle Bell Jam, an interactive twist on the traditional holiday show. Children can sing along to holiday favorites, meet Santa and his elves, and make cards to send to military personnel stationed far from home. Western New York’s top holiday tradition returns on Dec. 18, 19 and 20 with four shows of Holiday Pops – an all-new show programmed especially for Buffalo by John Morris Russell. The BPO will also participate as a Toys for Tots drop-off location again this year.

Tickets on Sale NOW!

Tickets for all BPO events are now on sale. Subscription packages in all sizes are still available. New subscribers save up to 50 percent off the single event price. Subscriber benefits include significant savings, a flexible ticket exchange program, and access to subscriber appreciation events. FLEX passes give customers maximum flexibility. Student passes are available for just $29, and allow students to attend Classics, Pops and Know the Score concerts as often as they want.To learn more, or to purchase, call (716) 885-5000, visit bpo.org, or go 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 32 new recordings on the Naxos and Beau Fleuve labels. For more information about the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, visit www.bpo.org.