Category: BPO in the News

Musician physicians to play with BPO for benefit, Business First

Lots of physicians enjoy listening to music while in surgery or working in the office.

But there’s a whole separate group of physicians who just love to make music. A group of those musician physicians from around the world will gather in Buffalo this summer to make music with professionals from the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, while raising dollars for the new John R. Oishei Children’s Hospital.

Forty doctors from nine countries will perform at the July 19 concert at Kleinhans Music Hall, performing alongside professionals from the BPO under the direction of conductor JoAnn Falletta.

The event is a mash-up of two existing programs for people who love music: The BPO’s Fantasy Camp, a two-year-old program that allows adult amateur musicians to join the BPO for a day at Kleinhans; and the World Doctors Orchestra, a Germany-based nonprofit that brings together physicians from around the world to perform benefit concerts for medical aid projects.

“We’re always looking for ways to do different community connections and this was such a unique opportunity for us to connect with the medical community in a really meaningful way,” said Robin Parkinson, the BPO’s director of education and community engagement. “We of course jumped on it immediately and we’re hoping that we’ll be able to do it more than once.”

Parkinson gives credit to Dr. Fred Albrecht, a Grand Island physician who played bassoon in both the BPO Fantasy Camp last year and with the World Doctors Orchestra in 2009 and 2010. The BPO took both programs a step further, inviting members of the World Doctors Orchestra to travel to Buffalo, as well as other musician physicians in doctors orchestras from Cleveland, California and elsewhere. Read More.

Sterling piano concert at Kleinhans ends with a surprise, Buffalo News

The pianist Jon Kimura Parker is the soloist in this weekend’s intense, Russian concert at Kleinhans Music Hall. And on Saturday, he threw in a surprise.

Parker had just brought the packed house of listeners to their feet with his witty ending to Rachmaninoff’s “Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini.” Acknowledging the continual rounds of applause, he sat down at the piano and faced us.

“I was just at my high school reunion. I won’t say which one,” he said. Then he explained that his classmates had asked him to play the class song, and said he would like to play it for us, too.

And he played Billy Joel’s “Scenes From an Italian Restaurant.”

What a kick. Here we are, the last concert of the season, you think you have seen it all, and you realize you have not. Parker filled the song with the same technique we had heard in the Rachmaninoff. There were the repeated notes, quick like a jackhammer. And the taut excitement. There was only one thing he could have done to improve it, and that is to pick up a microphone and sing it. Maybe next time! Read more.

June in Buffalo is back, Artvoice

A week of music by contemporary composers comes to UB

June in Buffalo is a unique music festival that is recognized worldwide for its focus on contemporary composers. Established composers assemble every year on the UB Amherst campus for a week of musical activity that includes creative interactions with young emerging composers. Add in some of the finest musicians specializing in contemporary music, and the result is the kind of musical synergy that existed during the now almost legendary period of Lukas Foss and the UB Creative Associates. For this year’s event, festival founder and artistic director David Felder will be joined by his fellow composers Joshua Fineberg, Stephen Hartke, Philippe Hurel and Hilda Paredes. All the evening concerts and the BPO Sunday afternoon concert will take place at Slee Hall, and are ticketed events. The concerts in Baird Recital Hall at 4pm on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday are free and feature the works of emerging composers.

The BPO is featured on Sunday afternoon at 2:30pm under its music director JoAnn Falletta. Besides Bernard Rands’ “…where the murmurs die…”, the program includes Stephen Hartke’s Brandenburg Autumn, for double reeds, horns, harpsichord, and strings; the work uses the same instrumentation as Bach’s first Brandenburg concerto and features harpsichordist Daniel Pesca. Departing concertmaster Michael Ludwig will make his final official performance as a member of the BPO. Read More


Stefan Sanders returns as BPO associate conductor, Buffalo Business First

Former Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra trombonist Stefan Sanders has been named the BPO’s new associate conductor.

Sanders replaces Matthew Kraemer, who is relocating to Cleveland this summer.

Sanders was selected following a six-month-long search and was one of 10 finalists, each of whom had a try-out with the BPO during the past few months.

“The BPO and the entire Buffalo community are so very special to me,” Sanders said.

Sanders began his professional career in 1999 after winning a trombonist slot with the BPO while still a student at the Julliard School of Music. He remained with BPO through the 2016 season. Read more.

Mekinulov’s concerto is highlight of BPO concert, Buffalo News

This weekend’s Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra concert at Kleinhans Music Hall featured one of the longest and loudest rounds of applause I can recall.

It occurred after Principal Cellist Roman Mekinulov had performed the new Concierto en Tango, written for him by Miguel del Aguila. The concerto was sparkling and fun-loving, and Mekinulov, with his star quality and maverick ways, is one of the most popular and visible musicians in the BPO. As he took one, then two, then three curtain calls – hefting his cello along with him – the big crowd of listeners, almost all of them on their feet, cheered and cheered.

This concert is full of visceral excitement.

It starts with Maurice Ravel’s haunting, swirling “La Valse.” BPO Music Director JoAnn Falletta, conducting the concert, took the rare step of making a speech to introduce it. She was uncharacteristically somber as she spoke of how Ravel blamed Germany and Austria for World War I, and expressed these feelings by taking the Viennese waltz form and corrupting it gradually into sinister chaos. Read More.

Dancing With the BPO, Artvoice

There are premieres and then there are world premieres. Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra music director JoAnn Falletta has done an outstanding job in this year’s classical series concert season of introducing for the first time in the orchestra’s long history works that have never been performed at Kleinhans Music Hall. Besides mainstream classical works lost in the shuffle of time and chance, two weeks ago Falletta gave us the American premiere of Eurydice, A Serenade for Strings, American composer Russell Platt’s exquisitely evocative take on the most irresistible ancient Greek myth for modern composers. Read More.

Big Band Salute has Kleinhans all aglow, Buffalo News

The Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra’s “Big Band Salute,” conducted by Matt Catingub, left us with at least one magical memory.

That happened when Catingub played “Moonglow,” a standard immortalized by Artie Shaw, and invited the packed house to dance. And some people did.

A cheer went up as a few couples ventured into the space in front of the stage. Then, after a few bars, other people got brave. A graceful silver-haired couple began dancing in the balcony. And further back, dozens of teenagers began rising to their feet. The teens were dressed to the nines. They had put on the ritz to perform in the Mary Seaton Room beforehand. Gallantly, the guys escorted the girls into the aisles, and they, too, danced to Artie Shaw’s “Moonglow.”

How sweet was that? Catingub had bridged the generations. Read More.

Eight guitarists selected for Falletta guitar competition, Buffalo News

Eight guitarists from all over the globe have been chosen to compete in the 2014 JoAnn Falletta International Guitar Concerto Competition.

In alphabetical order, they are:

• Dan Alexandru Arhire (Romania).

• Chad Ibison (United States). Ibison competed before, in 2008.

• Ekachai Jearakul (Thailand). Jearakul entered in 2012 and took third prize.

• Laura Klemke (Germany). Klemke took second place in 2008.

• Marcin Kuzniar (Poland).

• Sanel Redzic (Bosnia and Germany). Redzic competed in 2012.

• Marko Topchii (Ukraine).

• You Wang (China).

The semifinals will take place in the WNED Studios in downtown Buffalo on June 4 and June 5. The finals will be held on June 7 in Kleinhans Music Hall.

Each event begins at 7:30 p.m. The semifinals will be broadcast live on Classical 94.5 WNED and streamed online at Tickets are $12 for the semifinals and $41-$72 for the finals, with discounts for students and seniors. For info, call 885-5000.

Tested Out Upstate: Classical’s Future Orchestras in Albany, Rochester and Buffalo Stay Nimble, New York Times

Two hours into the drive from Buffalo to Albany on the New York State Thruway, you pass Syracuse, a city with dark associations for classical music lovers.

Founded in 1961 and inflated by foundation grants and some flush years, the Syracuse Symphony Orchestra filed for bankruptcy before the end of its 2010-11 season. “The S.S.O. is unable to issue refunds for any tickets because we have run out of money,” its website said at the time.

“You can say a city the size of Syracuse should be able to support a $6.5 million orchestra,” David Alan Miller, the music director of the Albany Symphony Orchestra since 1992, said over omelets at an Albany diner recently. “But if it can’t, it won’t.”

Even after that minor-key finale, upstate New York remains a part of the world unusually rich in orchestras. Buffalo, Rochester and Albany all have impressive ensembles. It is no surprise that each has appeared at the Spring for Music festival at Carnegie Hall, which features North American orchestras that have been chosen for their programming creativity. See More.

Currie joins BPO in percussive concert, Buffalo News

By the sound of it, the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra is having a lot of fun this weekend at Kleinhans Music Hall. Music Director JoAnn Falletta is conducting a concert of American music, and it’s all snazzy and sparkly and enjoyable.


The guest star is celebrated Scottish percussionist Colin Currie, who appears to have something of a local following. He took part Saturday in a Day of Percussion at Buffalo State College and my guess is that a lot of the students followed him to Kleinhans. People in the modest but passionate crowd cheered him and seemed familiar with the music he played, the Percussion Concerto of Jennifer Higdon. They knew the snap-bang surprise ending the moment it arrived, and jumped up to applaud.

The concert starts with Jerome Moross’ sunny Symphony No. 1, written in 1941 to lift people’s spirits in the face of a looming world war. The Philharmonic is also playing the Symphonic Dances from Leonard Bernstein’s “West Side Story.” And rounding out the program is a new and lovely serenade for strings by Russell Platt, “Eurydice.”

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