Category: BPO in the News

Buffalo Philharmonic seeks to raise $30,000 in 30 days for first international tour in 30 years

Buffalo Philharmonic seeks to raise $30,000 in 30 days for first international tour in 30 years

BUFFALO, NY – With less than seven weeks until the Buffalo Philharmonic departs for Poland, a fundraising challenge has been set.

Longtime BPO friends and supporters Cindy and Francis Letro have challenged the BPO to raise $30,000 in 30 days for the orchestra’s first international tour in 30 years. Cindy, BPO Board member and Poland Tour Ambassador, led the BPO’s successful trip to New York City for the Carnegie Hall concert in 2013.

The Letros will match challenge contributions dollar for dollar up to $30,000. The challenge begins on February 1 and concludes on March 2. Those who participate will be entered to win a prize package including an autographed copy of the not-yet-released “Treasures of Poland” CD, a Poland tour hat produced by New Era Cap, and a voucher for two tickets to any concert in the 2017-18 season. Anyone wishing to take part in the challenge by donating to the tour can visit or call (716) 242-7826.

“Undertaking a tour of this magnitude is a huge endeavor; sending 100 musicians and staff members to Poland – not to mention all of the instruments – is a monumental venture, ” said Daniel Hart, BPO Executive Director. “We are grateful to the Letros for this challenge gift. There has been an outpouring of support already from the community, and we invite the public to be a part of it and help the orchestra meet this challenge and fulfill its role as Buffalo’s cultural ambassador to the world.”

The BPO is performing at the Ludwig van Beethoven Easter Festival in Warsaw, Poland on Tuesday, March 20, 2018 at the invitation of Elzbieta Penderecka, the founder and artistic director of the festival. The BPO be the first full American orchestra to perform at the festival, and Maestro JoAnn Falletta will be the first American woman to ever take the festival’s podium.  The invitation to perform at the Beethoven Festival inspired the BPO to launch its first international tour in 30 years. In addition to the concert in Warsaw, the orchestra will perform in Wroclaw, Katowice, and Lublin. An ensemble will perform in Luslawice and in Buffalo’s Sister City, Rzeszów.

Opportunities to sponsor individual musicians, instruments, or sections are available. Call (716) 242-7826 for more information. On March 10 and 11, the BPO will perform the tour program at Kleinhans. A pre-concert sendoff toast will take place at 7 p.m. on March 10, and is open to all concert attendees. For tickets to this event, visit

The Poland tour’s lead sponsor is John and Carolyn Yurtchuk. Poland Tour Leaders are: Cindy Abbott Letro and Francis Letro; ABC-Amega, Inc.; Aleron; Mark Chason and Mariana Botero-Chason; Robert and Carol Morris; Victor and Corinne Rice; and Jim and Michal Wadsworth. Poland Tour Champions are: The Baird Foundation; IBM; Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation; and Rich Products. Poland Tour Community Partners are: Anthony Baldi and Associates; The Bolton Family; Chuck and Lisa Boulange; Brian Parisi Copier Systems;  Buffalo Gay Men’s Chorus; Mark Cerrone; Computer Task Group; Curbell Medical; Dash’s Market; Anthony and Kathy Diina; Robert and Julia Garra; Gurney Becker and Bourne; Dan and Barbara Hart; Iroquois Bar Corp.; KeyBank; Ronald Luczak; The Honorable Judge Ann T. Mikoll; Kathy and John Nerger: In Honor of Joyce Ellis’ 85th Birthday; Mark Peszko; Premier Wine/Southern Wine and Spirits; Reid Group; Salvatore’s Italian Gardens; and Woods Oviatt Gilman.

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 43 new recordings on the Naxos and Beau Fleuve labels. For more information about the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, visit

Mathieu and Gershwin ClassicalSource Review

André Mathieu’s Piano Concerto No.3 & George Gershwin’s An American in Paris – Alain Lefèvre/Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra/JoAnn Falletta [Analekta]
(Four stars)

Reviewed by Colin Anderson

The connection between these composers is that both were also concert-standard pianists and they died young. André Mathieu (1929-68) was born in Montreal and precociously gifted, earning the nickname the “Mozart of Canada”. His Piano Concerto No.3 (1943), as recorded here for the first time, has had to be reconstructed – by Alain Lefèvre, Jacques Marchand and George Nicholson – for in 1946 the work was adapted, as Concerto de Quebec, for use in the film Whispering City.

The first of the three movements opens in arresting style, with roulades of romanticism for the pianist, the writing heroic, freewheeling and glittering, Lefèvre the equal of it. If the invention is derivative (Liszt, Rachmaninov, Tchaikovsky … the Golden Age of Hollywood) it is also inviting – tuneful, colourful, passionate. This Allegro moderato certainly ticks all the ‘Romantic Piano Concerto’ boxes and does so with ardour and pulsation, big gestures, brassy tuttis and sweeping strings, and not forgetting a barnstorming cadenza with some (welcome) gentler asides. The central Andante – the longest movement by several minutes (sixteen of them, out of thirty-seven) – is very expressive, tenderly affecting in its gently autumnal way, if with the occasional shadow and agitation, whereas the Finale struts proudly and with a happy-go-lucky main idea if with lyrical (a trumpet tune) and dramatic (declamatory heavy brass) diversions. It’s not a masterpiece, but the many attractions created by a very talented teenager were well-worth the act of resurrection by those concerned, and this world-premiere account of it is as brilliant and sensitive as it is dedicated.

The sound-quality is not so hot, mind, for the piano is a little disembodied for all its closeness and the orchestra somewhat distant, and rather mushy below forte. It’s a live performance, as is An American in Paris, and with the piano out of the way (as it were) the Buffalo Philharmonic now comes more into its own, displaying a vibrant profile for one of George Gershwin’s greatest achievements, not least in characterful cameos from trumpet, tuba, flute and violin, among others, and the saxophonists are enjoyably boastful. JoAnn Falletta leads a superb performance, full of zip, poise, affection and well-placed detail (subtle touches, such as trombone glissandos) – and in-tune car-horns – bustling, touchingly reflective and jazzy as required and it goes on my ‘library choice’ list for this imperishable score.

Click here for the original review.

The Poland tour: a 4332-mile overview

As of this writing, it’s seven weeks until the BPO leaves for its tour of Poland! This is the first international tour that the BPO has embarked on in 30 years, and the first time a full American orchestra has been invited to perform at the Ludwig van Beethoven Easter Festival in Warsaw.

The first Ludwig van Beethoven Festival, founded by Elzbieta Penderecka, took place in January 1997. Its organizers officially formed the Ludwig Van Beethoven Association in 2003 in Krakow with the primary purpose to organize the annual Ludwig van Beethoven Easter Festival and promote classical music. The Association has an array of other activities, including the promotion and management of Polish concert artists.  Warsaw is the key venue for the festival, which now runs the two weeks leading up to Easter.

The Festival presents up to 50 events, solo recitals, chamber music and orchestral concerts, in numerous venues throughout the city featuring many of the world’s most famous artists. The list of orchestras and soloists appearing over its history represent a who’s who of the classical music world: Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Warsaw Philharmonic, National Radio Symphony of Poland, Rotterdam Philharmonic, Tonhalle Orchestra-Zurich, NDR Symphony-Hamburg, Lathi Symphony of Finland as well as artists such as Rudolf Buchbinder, Barry Douglas, Emerson String Quartet, Max Valdes, and Krzysztof Penderecki to name a few. The Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra is honored to soon be added to this prestigious list!

With the 100th anniversary of the birth of Leonard Bernstein in 2018, the Festival’s theme will honor his legacy. The BPO will perform a special American program including Samuel Barber’s Symphony No. 1, George Gershwin’s Piano Concerto in F featuring the dynamic rising star Conrad Tao, and Bernstein’s Symphonic Dances from West Side Story. Also on the program is a piece by Poland’s beloved dean of composition, Krzysztof Penderecki’s Adagietto from Paradise Lost. The BPO is scheduled to perform on Tuesday, March 20, 2018, following Sunday’s opening concert with violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter. Additional tour cities featuring the full orchestra include Wroclaw, Katowice and Lublin. A woodwind ensemble will perform and present master classes in Luslawice at the Krzysztof Penderecki Centre for European Music, and in Rzeszów, Buffalo’s sister city.

Over the coming days and weeks, we’ll have a lot more to share with you about the tour, so keep following this blog for the inside story on our trip!



Two musicians retire after a combined 102 years of service

This year’s Classical Christmas concerts brought some bittersweet news: the retirement of First Violin Marylouise Nanna and Principal Harp Suzanne Thomas.

Nanna and Thomas began their orchestral careers on Oct. 3, 1966, under Lukas Foss. Since then, they have performed with the BPO in Europe and at Carnegie Hall, appeared on more than 50 recordings, and worked with many of the leading musical artists of our times.

Marylouise Nanna is a native of Western New York, and currently lives in the house built by her grandparents. In addition to her achievements as a violinist, she is also a conductor and the founder of Ars Nova and Viva Vivaldi. She was the first woman to conduct the National Symphony Orchestra. For these achievements, she was inducted into the Buffalo Music Hall of Fame in 2012. She is also a recipient of Fulbright and Woodrow Wilson fellowships. She holds an honorary doctorate from Canisius College. She is a graduate of The Juilliard School and of Accademia di Santa Cecilia in Rome.

Thomas is originally from Allentown, Pennsylvania. She earned her undergraduate and graduate degrees at Eastman School of Music, and studied at the Fontainebleu School in France. She was a featured soloist with the BPO several times in her career, including on Daron Hagen’s Songbook for Solo Violin, Strings, Harp and Percussion, which appears on the best-selling Built For Buffalo disc. She is well-known for her roles as an educator and chamber musician in addition to her career with the BPO. She currently teaches at Canisius College, Buffalo State College, and Brock University. She is only the seventh person in the history of the BPO to serve as a full-time harpist.

Music Director JoAnn Falletta and Executive Director Dan Hart honored Nanna and Thomas from the stage at the Classical Christmas concerts on December 8 and 9, 2017. In his remarks, Hart noted that more than five million people had heard them perform over the years. After the Saturday night concert, their fellow musicians held a retirement party for them and presented them each with a gift. The BPO was fortunate to have their talent and dedication, and they will be missed very much.

Beethoven’s Third & Emperor Piano Concertos – Norman Krieger/Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra/JoAnn Falletta [Decca], Classical Source

“This coupling has much to recommend it…There are no fads or fancies; rather we get the music straight from the hip.”

[Three Stars]

By Colin Anderson

My understanding is that this release is currently only available in South Korea and also direct from the Buffalo Philharmonic. No doubt the artists involved hope for an international release (the 481 number) and to complete their Beethoven Piano Concerto cycle.

This coupling has much to recommend it. Very well recorded and, for all that the tapings are ten years apart, consistently so (the mastering was done only in April 2017) – spacious yet focussed and with good balance between piano and orchestra. Indeed the very naturalness of sound – one could be at the concerts captured here – is reflected in the performances. There are no fads or fancies; rather we get the music straight from the hip, considered as to tempo (consistently well-judged for articulate expression and buoyant direction) and dynamics (pertinent and ear-catching) and revealing Norman Krieger and JoAnn Falletta as working well and stylishly together and that her Buffalo players are not only well-prepared but very productive confreres – powerful and sensitive, with a very personable woodwind section.

In the C-minor Concerto, Krieger plays with admirable poise and crispness, and without affectation yet with no lack of personality and variety, the lengthy orchestral introduction setting the scene with boldness and clarity. The slow movement is a particular highlight, taken spaciously (to match the Largo marking) there is much eloquence to savour, to which the Finale is a lively and rhythmically vital riposte, the coda a jolly scamper, C-minor now C-major.

A decade on, the ‘Emperor’ receives a grand outing, moments of repose especially well brought into play as part of a first movement that is a little less ‘colourful’ than its C-minor counterpart, orchestral textures somewhat opaque at times, but it’s a magisterial and committed conception that stays on-track if not quite emulating the promise of Concerto No.3. The Adagio is broad and romantic, not as moon-lit as it can be if undeniably affecting, and the Finale is shapely as its runs its robust course, flexibly and with dynamism, although the timpani at the close, dialoguing with the piano, are a bit blurry. Throughout both Concertos, whatever happens is the result of considered musicianship and polished teamwork. To emphasise the singularity of these renditions, applause is retained, and the star-rating reflects the huge discography this repertoire has amassed.

Bill Murray, Jan Vogler and Friends: New Worlds tour – on a cold Buffalo night, a perfect storm of actor, musicians, audience, and venue, Buffalo Rising

The tour started in California and on Monday it’s off to Carnegie Hall, but this Wednesday night, while outside the wind blew and the rain fell, inside Kleinhans Music Hall, for over two hours without a break, including five encore pieces, Bill Murray was all ours and we were all his.

Looking up the word “entranced” gives the synonyms: captivated, engrossed, fascinated, charmed, delighted, enthralled, spellbound, mesmerized, enchanted, and riveted. Yes, we were. With wild applause, peals of laughter, but mostly moments where you could hear a pin drop, the almost 2,400 faithful and those about to be converted were in the hands of a master.

So what was this event, anyway? Booked by the Buffalo Philharmonic, it was a meeting of old world, European classical music, where a trio of piano, violin, and cello played Bach, Schubert, Ravel, Saint-Saens, and Shostakovich along with some new world, American music, and a selection of readings of American literature mostly dealing with the “outsider” coming to terms with his life.

This examination of “the stranger” was prime Bill Murray real estate, the very essence of a comedian and performer who all his life has been “a little off” of the mainstream – the uninvited, seemingly clueless or rude guest who makes us question our own values and attitudes. And that was the thread that connected all the readings and songs. For the record, Murray is not a traditional singer-actor-dancer, but he does all those things, and more, and because it’s so honest, it all works. All of it. Even his singing Maria’s song “I Feel Pretty.” Really. You had to be there.

He is one hell of a reader, though.

The readings started with an interview of the American ex-patriot writer Ernest Hemingway trying to be Parisian, then went on to poetry by Walt Whitman, who asked uncomfortable questions of America and was often rebuked, and on to a reading from James Fenimore Cooper’s The Deerslayer, a novel about the white man, Natty Bumpo, who had “gone native” and was now about to kill a man to aid his Indian friend. The emotional high point of the evening came with a reading from Mark Twain’s Adventures of Huckleberry Finn in which Huck must decide whether to be “white” and turn his friend Jim over to the slave hunters, or whether to commit the “sin” of helping “steal” a white slave owner’s “property.” Using a variety of voices to become Huck, Jim, and the two slave hunters, it was a moment. After the concert we hoped that someone had taken Bill Murray over to the downtown Central Library, which houses the original manuscript of Huck Finn, considered the first great American novel. I think he would have liked that.

And, Murray knew his audience, getting one of the biggest cheers when singing “America” from Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim’s 1956 West Side Story which includes the lines: “Nobody knows in America / Puerto Rico’s in America!” still very topical after 60 years.

It’s the mark of a great performer to surround him or herself with others of equal talent.

It’s the mark of a great performer to surround him or herself with others of equal talent, and Bill had assembled what for classical audiences was an all-star team playing two multi-million-dollar Stradivari instruments: violinist Mira Wang and cellist Jan Vogler with Vanessa Perez at the Steinway piano.

Earlier this fall, my son begged me to buy tickets. I explained to him “You know, son, there’s going to be classical music, lots of it, are you SURE that you want to go?” And he replied “But dad, it’s BILL MURRAY!” And, after looking at the ticket prices, I again said “You know, son, there’s going to literature and poetry, lots of it, are you SURE that you want to go?” And he replied “But dad, it’s BILL MURRAY!” And he and I were both right. Late to the party was my wife, who wasn’t really up for an evening of yucks and hi-jinx, but after listening to an interview with Rachel Martin on NPR’s “Morning Edition” she too was on my case. I was surprised after going to the BPO website, how few tickets remained.

Was the venue part of the evening? You bet. Kleinhans vaunted acoustics were a “fourth man” in this event. Murray was mic’d, but the three musicians were not, adding to the intimacy of the evening. I found it interesting that on Tuesday, the venue hosted Grammy Award winning classical chamber music superstars, the Takacs string quartet (all chamber music) and tonight, Thursday, the literary BABEL series hosts a conversation with environmental author and activist Terry Tempest Williams (all literary talk) and in between Bill Murray brought those two worlds together – music and literature – seamlessly.

While that expression “it’s hard to explain; you had to be there” applies, there is a CD of the tour available.

Kleinhans Music Hall is located at “3 Symphony Circle” Buffalo, 14201 where Porter Avenue, Richmond Avenue, North Street and Wadsworth meet at a traffic circle. For music events visit or call (716) 885-5000.

Next up is a “BPO Rocks!” event: “Just Imagine – A Tribute to John Lennon” Friday, October 13 at 8:00 p.m. And on Saturday, as part of Hispanic Heritage Month, the BPO’s KeyBank Pops Series presents The Mambo Kings. Then it’s back to classical music, mostly, with the M&T Bank Classics concert “Russian Fantasy” featuring music by Borodin and Prokofiev and in-between, five-time Grammy-winning electric bassist Victor Wooten joins the orchestra for a performance of “The Bass Whisperer.”

Bill Murray wows crowd with intimate ‘New Worlds’ musical evening at Kleinhans, Buffalo News

Bill Murray packed them in Wednesday in Kleinhans Music Hall. All ages were there, filling the seats to the rafters.

And all night, that packed hall was silent.

It wasn’t just the star power, that it was Bill Murray, whom everyone knows from movies, before us on the Kleinhans stage. I think everyone got over that in five minutes.

It was that the evening was so unusual.

It was heartfelt, too. You sensed that right from the start. Murray walked in silently, violinist Mira Wang on one arm, pianist Vanessa Perez on the other. They took their places with their instruments, joined by the distinguished cellist Jan Vogler. Then the star began to speak.

“George Plimpton,” he said. It was soon established that Plimpton, a name almost never spoken now, was interviewing Ernest Hemingway for the Paris Review.

That set the tone for the night – formal, yet intimate. Murray doesn’t mince words. He gives you no small talk. He just places you in the center of a drama, and you are drawn in.

It gives you a new look at his genius. He’s not a great singer – not even a good one – but he got at the soul of Stephen Foster’s “Jeanie With the Light Brown Hair.” He started out simply speaking the words, with the musicians carrying the melody for him. When he finally began singing, shyly and unpretentiously, he just had you in the palm of his hand.

Before singing the song, he explained that Stephen Foster had been married to a woman called Jeanie, but they had split up, and the song may have been his way of trying to win her back. I can’t be the only listener who wondered if the song could have hit home to the twice-divorced Murray. Probably it struck a chord with a lot of people there.

All the selections had that kind of personal feel.

Murray seemed to resemble an entertainer of an earlier era, an era before movies, radio, TV and everything else. When entertainers had a variety of talents and abilities and ways to get you to use your imagination.

The musicians shared his vision. They didn’t zone out, duck backstage, or do any of those other annoying things musicians sometimes do. They were always engaged, enjoying, in the moment. They played with passion, and they showed pizzazz. They didn’t play down to the listeners, but they played to us.

It’s to everyone’s credit that the evening was so varied. Murray and his friends took us to the Civil War era, to the Paris of Ernest Hemingway, to to the early 19th century world of Franz Schubert and his American contemporary, the writer James Fenimore Cooper.

As the trio played Astor Piazzolla’s “Oblivion,” he even danced a moody tango with the violinist. He told an entire story with his gestures and looks.

The textures and emotions also ran the gamut. Some of the heartiest applause of the evening greeted Van Morrison’s “When Will I Learn to Live In God,” which Murray belted with rough-hewn passion.

Two selections in particular were tremendously riveting.

One was the very funny “If Grant Had Been Drinking at Appomattox,” by the humorist James Thurber (a name you almost never hear now). The drunken U.S. Grant, the dignified Robert E. Lee that Thurber imagined – Murray had them both spot on, his timing and concentration perfect. The story built perfectly to its outrageous punchline.

The other was the excerpt Murray read from Mark Twain’s “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn,” a story near and dear to Buffalo. He did all the different voices, including Huck; Jim, the slave Huck is helping to freedom; and the two men who confront Huck, searching for escaped slaves. Murray’s timing and inflections were so engrossing that you were completely drawn in, mesmerized more than you would be by any movie. I found myself picturing the scene – the water, the canoe, Jim hiding in the river, the stillness of the night. My husband, Howard, could hardly be described as a bookworm. He said later that when the story ended, it was like coming out of a trance.

I had to miss the last pieces, which I regret. But I imagine that must have been how it felt when the entire evening ended. Like coming out of a trance.

I don’t think anyone who was there will ever forget it.

In first overseas tour in 30 years, BPO is going to Poland, Buffalo News

The Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra is anticipating a Poland spring. In March 2018, the orchestra is traveling to Poland to perform in four cities, in four of the nation’s most acclaimed concert halls. It is the orchestra’s first overseas tour since 1988.

The tour was announced Saturday before the BPO’s concert in Kleinhans Music Hall.

The centerpiece of the tour will be an appearance at Warsaw’s Ludwig Van Beethoven Easter Festival. It features many of Europe’s leading orchestras, ensembles and the world’s great soloists. Each year, the festival has a theme. In 2018, it celebrates the centennial of Leonard Bernstein and the 85th birthday of eminent Polish composer Krzysztof Penderecki. Penderecki was a guest of the BPO in December 2015.

The tour comes at the invitation of Elzbieta Penderecka, the composer’s wife. She is president and founder of the two-week festival.

Here is how the tour is unfolding:

• March 18, 2018: The National Forum of Music in Wrocław. Home to a number of instrumental and vocal ensembles and the site of several international festivals, it was completed in 2015 and has 1,800 seats.

• March 20, 2018: Philharmonic Hall in Warsaw, the centerpiece of the tour as one of 12 concerts taking place during the Festival. Falletta is the first woman to conduct at the festival.

• March 21, 2018: Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra Concert Hall in Katowice. Completed in 2014, it is the home of one of Poland’s leading symphonic orchestras.

• March 22, 2018: The Centre for the Meeting of Cultures in Lublin, another modern hall.

The BPO’s programs will feature the works of American masters. Included are Barber’s Symphony No. 1; Bernstein’s Symphonic Dances from West Side Story; and Gershwin’s Concerto in F, featuring pianist Conrad Tao, who performed with the BPO in 2015. The orchestra will also be performing Krzysztof Penderecki’s Adagietto from “Paradise Lost.”

“The opportunity to tour Poland at the invitation of the Beethoven Easter Festival will be a transformative artistic benchmark in the history of our Buffalo Philharmonic,” Falletta said as the tour was initially announced. “We are very proud to be able to represent Buffalo and Western New York at the festival.”

In advance of the tour, a BPO brass and percussion ensemble will perform and present master classes at the Krzysztof Penderecki Centre for European Music in Luslawice. Plans are being confirmed for the ensemble to perform March 17 in Rzeszow, Buffalo’s sister city, before joining the rest of the orchestra in Wroclaw.

The BPO has built a strong relationship with Poland. BPO Principal French Horn Jacek Muzyk and section French Horn Daniel Kerdelewicz are both from Poland. Falletta has conducted in Krakow and Warsaw. In 2014, a small group of BPO fans joined her in a visit to Poland.

Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra shows Olean students the importance of music, Olean Times-Herald

OLEAN — To Stefan Sanders, an orchestra operates very much like a community. All the different instruments — from string to woodwind to percussion — must play together in harmony to perform a piece of music.

“The orchestra is made up of different types of instruments that all have to work together, just like a society,” said Sanders, the resident conductor of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra. “Different types of people with different interests that all have to work together in order for it to function healthily.”

That was the message the BPO tried to bring to Olean City School District students Tuesday in the Olean High School auditorium as part of its annual Music for Youth Concert Series. Students in kindergarten through second grade were treated to the orchestra’s classical music and accompanying narration in the morning before students in third through sixth grade had their own concert in the afternoon.

The Music for Youth Concert Series, which the orchestra has run in some form since 1935, played for about 50,000 students last year, including all Buffalo Public Schools elementary students. OHS is one of just four Western New York schools the group annually travels to, as the majority of schools travel to Kleinhans Music Hall in Buffalo to view the concerts, or view the BPO’s annual on-demand concert.

Sanders started Tuesday’s concert with “In the Hall of the Mountain King” by Norwegian composer Edvard Grieg, which he hoped would be familiar to many of the students after it appeared in the animated film “Trolls” last year.

“We wanted to play something that would capture their attention and that they would be familiar with right off the bat,” he said.

For this year’s program, the BPO commissioned new poetry from Buffalo-based poet Amy Ludwig VanDerwater to accompany Benjamin Britten’s time-honored musical composition, “The Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra.” A narrative that briefly describes the different instruments of the orchestra is often spoken to the audience during the piece, but the BPO decided to create a narrative of its own.

“It’s a little more poetic and artistic rather than just describing the instrument in a prose style,” Sanders said.

The orchestra also played “God Bless America” and had the students sing along. Much of the concert was interactive, with students being encouraged to clap, wave their hands and tap their feet to the sounds of the concert.

Performing for a child audience is different than performing for an adult audience in a “wonderful and innocent way,” Sanders said.

The conductor called the Music for Youth Concert Series some of the more important concerts the BPO does, as he said the students they perform for are not only the country’s future, but the future BPO audience.

“We take this very seriously and it’s important for us to engage young people on this level, to introduce them to the orchestra, its repertoire, music and how fulfilling music education can be to one’s development into adulthood,” he said.