Buffalo Philharmonic visits Artpark, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Old Fort Niagara, Canalside and more in busy summer season

BUFFALO, NY – The BPO is planning a summer season that sees them travel to 12 Western New York venues and perform 14 concerts in a month’s time.


Passport to a Summer Serenade Across the Border


A highlight of the BPO’s summer season is its performance at the Shaw Festival in partnership with Music Niagara at 7:30 p.m Monday, July 20. Marko Topchii, the Ukrainian guitarist who swept all prizes at the 2014 JoAnn Falletta International Guitar Concerto Competition, will return to perform with the BPO. Since his big win, he has also taken top prizes at the Guitar Competition in Taipai (Taiwan), at the third Changsha Guitar Competition (China), at the “Ruggero Chiesa” Competition (Italy), and at the Jakarta Guitar Competition (Indonesia). His recital at Carnegie Hall took place on April 30. In July, he will perform “Concierto de Aranjuez” by Rodrigo with the BPO.


Music Niagara Artistic Director Atis Bankas, also an accomplished violinist who performs as a member of the Toronto Symphony, will be featured with the BPO, performing “Souvenirs d’un lieu Cher” by Tchaikovsky. The program also includes the Overture to “Barber of Seville” by Rossini and Mozart’s Symphony No. 38, “Prague.” JoAnn Falletta will lead this concert, the only local appearance that she will make this summer. Tickets go on sale on Friday, May 8 at shawfest.com.


Independence Eve with the Bisons


Staff Conductor Paul Ferington will lead his final BPO performance on July 3 at Coca-Cola Field. The game begins at 6 p.m. and the concert immediately follows. A fixture with the BPO for 30 years, Ferington has led the Independence Eve concert each summer, along with annual concerts at St. Mary’s School for the Deaf, Hilbert College, Genesee Community College and M&T Bank. He is the founder and presenter of the popular BPOvations lecture series, held at Buffalo and Erie County library branches. He was also an educator and administrator in the SUNY system. Ferington will retire from his work with the BPO after this performance. The concert ends with the Bison’s largest fireworks display of the season. Tickets are on sale now at bisons.com.


Free concerts around Western New York


The orchestra will play a series of free concerts throughout the area, starting with a performance at Bidwell Park at 7 p.m. on June 30, sponsored by Delaware District Common Council Member Michael LoCurto. This performance will kick off the popular Elmwood Bidwell Summer Concert Series. The BPO visits Niawanda Park in Tonawanda at 6 p.m. Saturday, July 5 thanks to the support of New York State Assemblyman Robin Schimminger, funded through the New York State Department of Parks and Recreation.


The orchestra will continue its decades-long run on the M&T Bank Plaza summer series, with a concert at noon on Tuesday, July 7. At 7 p.m. Thursday, July 9, the BPO returns to Knox Farm State Park in an event sponsored by Fox Run Orchard Park, Moog, and Gallo Wine. The free concert is part of a fundraiser for the Friends of Knox Farm, with the Bubbles and Brews dinner and wine pairing held in the Main House from 5 to 9 p.m. Bubbles and Brews guests will receive preferred parking, reserved seating, and an open bar. Tickets for the fundraiser are $100 and can be purchased at friendsofknoxfarm.org.


The orchestra performs at 7 p.m. Wednesday, July 15 at Clarence Town Park. BPO Associate Conductor Stefan Sanders will conduct all of these concerts, which will feature light classical music, music from films, and patriotic music. Two of the Friends of the BPO Scholarship winners will perform at these concerts. Cellist Grace Ann Lee, an Amherst resident and 2015 graduate of Williamsville East High School, will perform a movement from Lalo’s Cello Concerto at Knox Farm. Flutist Lauren Scanio will perform Chaminade’s Concertino for Flute for a hometown audience at Clarence Town Park. Both plan to further their musical education in college.


Buffalo’s All-Star Tribute to Stevie Wonder at Canalside

Featuring Critt’s Juke Joint


Following its well-received Thursdays at Canalside debut last summer, the BPO will return to the series at 7 p.m. on July 16 at with The Music of Stevie Wonder. The orchestra collaborates with Critt’s Juke Joint with Eric Crittenden and Friends, an American funk-roots band known for its improv-driven take on the classics. The band and orchestra worked with Bradley Thachuk, director of the Niagara Symphony Orchestra, to create the charts for this never-before-heard show.


Return to Artpark and Ellicottville


The BPO will once again be part of the three-day Ellicottville Summer Music Festival, taking place from July 3 to July 5. The BPO will be featured at 8 p.m. on July 4, in a concert of music from “Star Wars,” patriotic music, and a fireworks finale.


The orchestra will play a two-day stand at Artpark. At 7 p.m. on Saturday, July 11, it presents a crowd-pleasing performance of The Music of John Williams, led by Sanders and including hits from Jaws, Jurassic Park, Harry Potter, and Star Wars.


On the following day, the BPO will headline an all-day festival at Artpark in celebration of the Grateful Dead’s 50th Anniversary. Local favorites Savannah and the Kings, The Growlers, Hayden Fogle and the Ambassadors, and The Maniacs will be featured on three stages of music starting at 2 p.m. The Grass is Dead, a nationally touring act which blends traditional bluegrass with the iconic Dead sound, will perform before the BPO and Crazy Fingers take the main stage at 6 p.m.  


Tickets for the Grateful Dead 50th Anniversary Celebration are on sale now. General admission tickets are only $12. A $39 VIP ticket includes reserved seating and access to a dedicated bar. Tickets for The Music of John Williams will go on sale on Friday, May 8. Ellicottville Summer Music Festival tickets are on sale now at Ellicottvilleny.com.


Fantasy Camp


On Sunday, July 19, the BPO will welcome adult amateur musicians for the experience of a lifetime. Musicians from the community will spend a day rehearsing with the orchestra, receiving sectional coaching from BPO musicians, and socializing with the orchestra members and with one another. Music includes selections from Tchaikovsky’s “Sleeping Beauty Suite,” the fourth movement of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, Verdi’s “Nabucco” Overtureand Mussorgsky’s “Night on Bald Mountain.” Applications are available at bpo.org. The application deadline is June 8.


Summer Nights @ Kleinhans


The BPO will perform two concerts in their Kleinhans home, but both will be held in the intimate Mary Seaton Room while the seats are replaced in the Main Hall. Patrons are invited to picnic on the grounds of the hall before the 7 p.m. start time of the concerts. On Friday, July 24, the BPO will present “Baroque and Brews,” an evening of music by Bach, Vivaldi and Handel featuring a craft beer tasting. BPO cellists Amelie Fradette and David Schmude will be in the spotlight, performing Vivaldi’s Concerto for Two Cellos in G Minor.


Patrons are invited to return at 7 p.m. July 25 for Mozart and Mingle. Soprano Emily Helenbrook, of Alexander, was a soloist with the BPO during its recent Beethoven festival, and will return to sing Mozart arias. The concert also includes movements from several Mozart symphonies and Haydn’s Toy Symphony, featuring some special guests. Sanders will conduct both concerts. Limited seating will be available. Tickets for both Summer Nights @ Kleinhans concerts will go on sale on Friday, May 8.

Out with a bang


The summer season will conclude with a concert and fireworks at Old Fort Niagara at 8 p.m. Sunday, July 26. Rapidly becoming a summer tradition, the concert ticket also includes admission to the Fort, giving patrons the perfect opportunity to explore one of the region’s oldest historic sites. This concert will also feature the final Friends of the BPO scholarship winner, violinist Angel Rhodes of Orchard Park. Music will include patriotic marches, selections from West Side Story and The Sound of Music, the ever-popular Sabre Dance and other classic favorites, culminating in Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture. Tickets will go on sale on Friday, May 8.


The BPO’s summer schedule

  • 7 p.m. Tuesday, June 30: Free concert at Bidwell Park
  •  Friday, July 3, Game starts at 6 p.m. Bisons Independence Eve Celebration with the BPO and Fireworks. Tickets: bisons.com
  • 8 p.m. Saturday, July 4: Ellicottville Summer Music Festival. Tickets: ellicottvilleny.com
  • 6 p.m. Sun. July 5: Free concert at Niawanda Park
  • Noon, Tuesday, July 7: Free concert at M&T Plaza Downtown
  • 7 p.m. Thursday, July 9: Free concert at Knox Farm State Park
  • 7 p.m. Saturday, July 11: The Music of John Williams @Artpark. Tickets: $19-$49; artpark.net
  • Sunday, July 12, Festival starts at 2 p.m.; BPO concert at 6 p.m. Grateful Dead 50th Anniversary Celebration @Artpark.Tickets: $12 general admission; $39 VIP, artpark.net
  • 7 p.m. Wednesday, July 15: Free concert in Clarence Town Park
  • 7 p.m. Thursday, July 16: Buffalo’s All-Star Tribute to Stevie Wonder at Canalside Featuring Critt’s Juke Joint. Free.
  • 7:30 p.m. Monday, July 20: Your Passport to a Summer Serenade: BPO @ the Shaw Festival Music Niagara Series. Tickets: $39, $59, $15 students; special VIP ticket for $99 including premier seating and an intermission meet-and-greet with JoAnn Falletta; 1-800-511-7429|shawfest.com  
  • 7 p.m. Friday, July 24: Summer Nights @ KMH — Baroque and Brews Tickets: $34 general admission, $10 for students
  • 7 p.m. Saturday, July 25: Summer Nights @ KMH – Mozart and Mingle Tickets: $34 general admission, $10 for students
  • 8 p.m. Sunday, July 26: BPO Under the Stars @Old Fort Niagara. Tickets: $25, $10 students, free for children younger than 6. A family 4-pack is $60 and includes two adults and two students.