Category: Featured

New Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra recording features works custom-made for the Nickel City

BUFFALO, NY — The follow-up to 2015’s ultra-popular “Built For Buffalo” recording is here.

“Built For Buffalo 2” is now available through the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra box office and website. Released on the BPO’s house label, Beau Fleuve, and recorded over four years, it features the world premiere recordings of three pieces commissioned for BPO musicians.

Reflecting on the music, all of which she conducted, BPO Music Director JoAnn Falletta said “The works are a fascinating reflection of the individual personalities of the soloists — composed to mirror their characters and their very special musicianship. The CD features the musicians as stars as they step to the front of the stage.”

Jaakko Kuusisto’s Concerto for Trumpet and Orchestra was composed for BPO Principal Trumpet Alex Jokipii and commissioned by the Marquette Symphony Orchestra in honor of Finland’s centennial celebration. Finnish-American philanthropists John and Pauline Kiltinen funded the project. Jokipii spent a year studying at the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki and became acquainted with fellow student Kuusisto there. The two men reconnected in 2015 when Kuusisto came to the BPO for the American premiere of his violin concerto, and the idea for the trumpet concerto was born. In May 2018, Jokipii and the BPO gave the Buffalo premiere of the piece.

Kuusisto is a renowned composer, arranger, conductor and violinist. He has composed more than 40 works, including two operas and served as concertmaster of the Lahti Symphony Orchestra from 1998 to 2012. Jokipii has been the BPO’s Principal Trumpet since 1998 and is on the performance faculty at the State University of New York at Fredonia. He has performed as soloist with the BPO, and has also served as guest principal trumpet with the New York Philharmonic, Dallas Symphony, Helsinki Philharmonic and other distinguished orchestras.

Robert Deemer’s “Vox Humana” for English horn, Soprano and Orchestra was first performed at Canisius College in 2016. Deemer is head of composition in the school of music at the State University of New York at Fredonia. He wrote “Vox Humana” in response to the international refugee crisis. The title is a reference to an obsolete instrument related to the English horn, to the inclusion of a soprano, and to the voice of humanity.

Anna Mattix is the featured BPO soloist on the piece. Since 2007, she has served as the orchestra’s oboe/English hornist. Prior to her tenure at the BPO, she was principal oboe with the Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra and English horn with the Owensboro Philharmonic. Her 2014 performance of Jean Sibelius’ “The Swan of Tuonela” was also recorded for the BPO’s Beau Fleuve label. Brooklyn-based Canadian soprano Danielle Buonaiuto also performs on the piece. Buonaiuto specializes in art song and new music. She has received grants from New Music USA, Peabody Conservatory, and has held fellowships at the Lucerne Festival, Bang on a Can at Mass MOCA, and Avaloch Farm Music Institute.

Caroline Mallonee’s “Whistler Waves” for Cello and Orchestra was first heard at Canisius College. BPO Associate Principal Cellist Feng Hew is the soloist on this piece, which was inspired by the eponymous waves: audible frequencies produced in the atmosphere after a bolt of lightning. Each movement of the piece corresponds to a type of whistler wave. Mallonee is based in Buffalo, and holds a Ph.D from Duke University, a master’s degree from Yale School of Music, and a bachelor’s degree from Harvard University. Her work has been performed throughout the world. Hew has been the BPO’s Associate Principal Cellist since 1999. A native of Taiwan, she earned both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the New England Conservancy of Music on a full scholarship. She has performed in Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Canada, and she worked extensively with Emmanuel Ax and Yo-Yo Ma at the Irving Gilmore International Music Festival.

The disc is available through the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra at or at the Kleinhans Music Hall box office.


Announcing the 2018-19 Kurt Weill Festival

Announcing the
2018-19 Kurt Weill Festival
A collaboration of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra and
the University at Buffalo College of Arts and Sciences’ Collaboratory

Buffalo, NY — The Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra and the University at Buffalo College of Arts and Sciences’ Collaboratory are pleased to announce the Kurt Weill Festival, a major creative partnership and one of the firsts of its kind between the two institutions from October 2018 to May 2019.

Kurt Weill was one of the most influential composers of the last century. Born in Germany in 1900, he rose to prominence as a composer of opera. Nazi Germany turned Weill into a refugee and then an immigrant. Before his immigration to America, he focused largely on art song and German classical traditions; once in America, he scrupulously studied the American popular song, and used his classical training to create a genre all its own, eventually becoming a famous Broadway composer and writing one of the 20th century’s most popular songs, “Mack The Knife.” Many of the themes of Weill’s work continue to resonate today: the immigrant experience, interracial conflict, greed, corruption, and exploitation of the poor.

Through cabaret performances, art exhibits, talks, humanities symposia, masterclasses, and chamber and orchestral concerts, Weill’s musical legacy will come alive in an accessible and exciting way. Events will be held at Kleinhans Music Hall, and on the UB campus and have been created with assistance from the Kurt Weill Foundation for Music.

UB and the BPO have had a long and substantial history of collaboration, dating to the early 20th century and the near-simultaneous founding of the BPO and the music department at UB. The BPO is a regular performer on the school’s June in Buffalo new music festival and worked with UB in 2012 to host Russian dissident poet Yevgeny Yevtushenko. Yevtushenko worked with students, hosted a screening of a film he directed, and read his famous poem “Babi Yar” at a BPO performance.

“The University at Buffalo is proud to enter into this new, ambitious collaboration with the BPO,” said Robin Schulze, Dean of UB’s College of Arts and Sciences. “At UB, we have a staunch commitment to meaningful community involvement. This project will enhance the experience of UB students and BPO patrons, and will offer substantial scope to our faculty and to BPO musicians. We’re pleased to be a part of this.”

For the BPO, the program is supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities through a grant for the Music Unwound orchestral consortium created by the Joseph Horowitz. The goal of Music Unwound is to find new audiences for classical music through exploration of its broader context.

For tickets to events, visit or, or call (716) 885-5000 or (716) 645-2787. Updated information will be available at The schedule of events is as follows:

Kurt Weill Festival
Thu Oct. 11, 7:30 PM; UB Center for the Arts Mainstage Theater (Table Seating on Stage)
“Change the World, It Needs It” A Weill, Blitzstein, Brecht Cabaret
Lisa Vroman, soprano and William Sharp, baritone with pianist Shane Schag
Join these star performers on stage for an intimate and provocatively timely multi-media evening posing the questions “What is art for?” “Can it change the world?” Created by Kim Kowalke and Joe Horowitz; visual track by Peter Bogdanoff; Tickets: $25 Genral Admission; $15 students

Tue Oct 30, 7:30 PM, Kleinhans Music Hall (stage seating)
Weill and Blitzstein: String Quartets
A BPO string quartet takes on two seminal early pre-war works:
Kurt Weill’s String Quartet No.1, Op. 8 and Marc Blitzstein’s “Italian” String Quartet.
Andrea Cone and Amy Licata, violin; Janz Castelo, viola; Eva Herer, cello
Ticket cost: $25 general admission, $10 students

Thu Jan 17, 7:30 PM, Kleinhans Music Hall
Kurt Weill On Broadway
Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra
Adam Turner, conductor; Lisa Vroman, soprano; Hudson Shad, vocal group
This multi-media program explores Weill’s dramatic saga of immigration – from Hilter’s Germany to Broadway, where his smash hits were Lady in the Dark and One Touch of Venus. Part One begins with Mack the Knife (condemned by the Nazis) and his Paris sensation The Seven Deadly Sins. Part Two is a sparkling and witty Broadway medley including September Song, and Weill himself singing That’s Him. Post-concert audience talk-back with Joe Horowitz. Tickets: $49 reserved; $25 general admission; $10 students

Thu Mar 28, 7:30 PM Baird Recital Hall
Degenerate Music: Weill, Eisler and Schoenberg
Tiffany Du Mouchelle, soprano; Jonathan Golove, cello; Eric Huebner, piano; and special guest Kathrein Allenberg, violin. Weill, Cello Sonata and Seven Pieces from The Threepenny Opera (arr. Frankel); Eisler, Duo Op. 7 and 14 Ways of Describing Rain, Op.70; and Cabaret songs of Weill and Schoenberg.
Ticket cost: $17-$22; seniors/students: $12-$17

Thu May 2, 7:30 pm; Fri May 3, 7:30 pm, Sat May 4, 2:00 pm & 7:30 pm, Sun May 5, 2:00 pm
Drama Theatre, UB Center for the Arts
Book and Lyrics by Bertolt Brecht, Music by Kurt Weill, Adaptation by Simon Stephens
Produced by the UB Department of Theatre and Dance
A milestone of 20th century music theatre, THE THREEPENNY OPERA reaches its 90th anniversary in 2018. This gripping, macabre masterpiece, a criticism of capitalism and middle-class morality set in a world of corrupt money and unpunished evil, is one of the most produced works of music theatre worldwide. Weill’s celebrated score parodies operatic conventions and embraces the musical styles of jazz, period dance music, and cabaret. The work’s opening number, “The Ballad of Mack the Knife,” became one of the most popular songs of the 20th century. This newly-conceived and designed full production with orchestra will be directed and music directed by Nathan R. Matthews.
TICKETS: $20 General Public $10 Student/Senior Admission

Other Weill Festival Events

Wed, Oct. 10, 4 PM
Vocal Master Class
Lisa Vroman, soprano and William Sharp, baritone
UB Baird Recital Hall, Free

Mon Nov 19
Free Student Cabaret
UB Department of Music and Dance
UB CFA Atrium

Wed Jan 16
Weill Lecture: Joe Horowitz
Buffalo Erie County Library

Fri Mar 8
Humanities to the Rescue
An Evening with Molly Crabapple
UB Humanities Institute

Mon April 8
UB North Campus, 120 Clemens Hall, 9 AM-5 PM
“Sounds: Avant-Garde, Modernism and Fascism”
UB Humanities Institute One-Day Symposium
The intersection between aesthetic experimentation, critical theory, and political upheaval that is historically associated with the first decades of the twentieth century has undeniable echoes in today’s world. The symposium organized by the Humanities Institute Modernisms Research Workshop will explore music and sound, performance and spectatorship, in a variety of different geographical and national contexts and across several fields of intellectual endeavor: literature, visual arts, theater and stage design, film, and music.
Invited Speakers: Kim Kowalke – President, Kurt Weill Foundation for Music; Jacques Lezra, Professor – UC Riverside; Peter Szendy, Professor – Brown University; UB Participants: James Currie – Music; Damien Keane – English; Fernanda Negrete – Romance Languages and Literatures; William Solomon – English;Robin Schulze, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences
Organizers: Laura Chiesa – Romance Languages and Literatures, and Damien Keane – English

Feb 2-May 12
Photographic Recall: Italian Modernist and Fascist Architecture in Contemporary German Photography
Just as Weill and Brecht set out to redefine opera, the photographers of this exhibition explorecritical visual languages to question the assumptions anbout the cultural and political ideologies of the 1920s through 1940s. Just like Weill and Brecht’s works, these images “dramatize, they “perform” through compositional and formal choices, the claims of an authoritarian regime and their repercussions today. The resulting photographic works are examples of art as a critical medium.
UB Anderson Gallery, Free Admission

Listening Post: Wagner

Review by Jeff Simon, Buffalo News, April 6, 2018

Wagner, Orchestral Music from “Der Ring des Nibelungen” performed by Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by JoAnn Falletta (Naxos). If you take an historical overview of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra you have to conclude that no BPO conductor has achieved anything close on record with the orchestra to the recording presence that Falletta has. Foss’ avant-garde influence on the BPO was profound on the orchestra and the city, but the recordings he produced weren’t. Michael Tilson Thomas’ decision to use the  BPO to record the complete music of Carl Ruggles was the BPO’s most consequential recorded moment, along with its recording of Terry Rley’s “In C.” But you could argue that the BPO’s records for Naxos have been the fulfillment of the orchestra conducted years ago by Steinberg and Krips. It’s Naxos’ marvelous insistence on using the BPO for “big” works with a “big” orchestral sound are making every new disc a potential wonderment. They aren’t all on the level of the BPO’s version of Gliere’s “Ilya Murometz” Symphony no. 3 (probably the orchestra’s most arresting performance on record), but this is a work of immense musical substance performed by the orchestra with the sonic size and authenticity one could hope for. The significance can’t be overstated. Wagner’s “Ring” cycle requires, from listeners, an investment of time and dedication hard to come by in the digital age. To hear so much of its wonderful music, this one disc Falletta anthology of Wagner’s “Ring” sans voices presents a near-perfect distillation for novices of the genius of a composer who was a historical horror in countless ways (racial, personal) but, undeniably one of the most sublime who ever lived along with it. ★ ★ ★ ★

Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra announces its 2018-2019 season

Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra announces its 2018-2019 season and your connection to the world’s music


BUFFALO, NY – The Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra celebrates the vast array of music that makes up our world in the upcoming season. The 2018-19 season is filled with major works, superstars, drama, multimedia and masterpieces old and new that will resonate throughout Kleinhans Music Hall.

M&T Bank Classics Series strikes balance between cutting-edge and traditional

JoAnn Falletta has artfully programmed a classics season that features beloved works, new voices, and works of a truly global character. The season opens on Saturday, Sept. 15 with operatic superstar baritone Thomas Hampson in a program that also includes Beethoven’s iconic Ninth Symphony, featuring the Buffalo Philharmonic Chorus. Hampson is a Metropolitan Opera Guild “Met Mastersinger” and has a distinguished international career that includes more than 80 operatic roles performed in the world’s foremost opera houses. His award-winning discography comprises more than 170 recordings. The BPO’s annual gala takes place that evening, with pre-concert dinner and cocktails, premium concert seating, and a post-concert dessert reception. Proceeds from the gala benefit the BPO’s award-winning educational programs, which serve more than 50,000 students every season.

The next two Classics concerts highlight both European masterworks and New York-based composers. On Sept. 29 and 30, George Tsontakis’ May the River be Unbroken complements Prokofiev’s Symphony No. 5 and Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1. On Oct. 12 and 13, Samuel Barber’s Violin Concerto and Buffalo native Robert Paterson’s Dark Mountains are featured with Rachmaninoff’s Symphony No. 3. JoAnn Falletta, a native New Yorker herself, leads both concerts.

On Oct. 27 and 28, the BPO celebrates the centennial of Poland’s independence, the country’s rich musical heritage, and the warm relationship between Poland and Buffalo, exemplified by the BPO’s Poland Tour. Piotr Sulkowski,General and Artistic Director of the Warmia and Masuria Philharmonics, guest-conducts a program featuring Paderewski’s Piano Concerto performed by Polish pianist Lukasz Krupinski, Nowowiejski’s Praetorian March from Quo Vadis, and Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 3, “Polish.”

Joan Tower is one of today’s most celebrated female composers. Her work has been commissioned by leading soloists like Evelyn Glennie and Carol Wincenc, and by major orchestras such as the Saint Louis Symphony and Florida Orchestra. She will be in attendance on Nov. 16 and 17 for the performance of two of her best-known works: Tambor and Fanfare for the Uncommon Woman. The striking program includes Mussorgsky’s beloved Pictures at an Exhibition, and a Concerto for Rock Band, Violin and String Orchestra performed by former R.E.M bassist Mike Mills and violinist Robert McDuffie.

On Feb. 2 and 3, 2019, conductor Ken Lam leads the BPO in a Chinese New Year celebration. Xu Ke is the world’s foremost erhu virtuoso, and will perform the Butterfly Lovers Concerto by He Zhanhao and Chen Gang. Also on the program is the popular Train Tocatta by contemporary Chinese composer Liu Yuan, and Stravinsky’s Song of a Nightingale.

Violinist Sarah Chang has been in the international spotlight since she was eight. The former child prodigy has matured into one of the most respected violinists of our time. She will return the BPO for the first time in more than a decade on March 2 and 3, 2019 to perform Brahms’ Violin Concerto. The rest of the program continues the orchestra’s exploration of the works of Florent Schmitt. A popular French composer during the early 20th century, Schmitt won the Prix de Rome, but his works faded from the repertoire over time. In 2015, the BPO released a disc of his works on the Naxos label, and his Musique sur l’Eau and La Tragedie of Salome will be performed on this concert and recorded for a follow-up disc for Naxos.

One of the major highlights of the season comes on April 13 and 14. Throughout his life, composer Richard Danielpour has wished to write a Passion that depicts the timeless story of the death of Jesus Christ in a manner that speaks to modern people. Using both English and Hebrew texts, Danielpour’s The Passion of Yeshua will receive its East Coast premiere and first full-scale performance. Soprano Hila Plitmann, who recorded with the BPO on their Grammy-winning Mr. Tambourine Man album, will be the guest soloist. JoAnn Falletta will conduct, and the Buffalo Philharmonic Chorus will lend their voices to this powerful work, commissioned by the BPO.

The season concludes on June 1 and 2 with Carmen in Concert. One of the most popular operas of all time, its music has become woven into the fabric of popular culture, frequently used in commercials, films, television shows and cartoons. Its accessible, action-packed storyline has made it a perennial favorite at opera houses around the world. A stellar cast will join the BPO and Buffalo Philharmonic Chorus in a semi-staged production of highlights from this opera.

There is much more in store for the Classics season, including a guest appearance by eminent conductor Hans Graf; a celebration of Mozart’s birthday featuring BPO musicians performing his Sinfonia Concertante; Holst’s The Planets; Copland’s Clarinet Concerto performed by New York Philharmonic Principal Clarinet Anthony McGill and conducted by Leon Botstein; Schubert’s Symphony No. 9 on a program that includes Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 3 performed by Sara Buechner; and the United States premiere of Sheridan Seyfried’s Violin Concerto performed by Concertmaster Dennis Kim on a program that includes Beethoven’s Eroica Symphony.

“I can’t tell you how proud we are to be bringing this season to our Western New York audience,” Falletta said. “When we develop a season, we try to balance classical masterworks with the bold new works that are being written in our own time. Today’s audiences love Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony and Holst’s The Planets, but these works are available for us to enjoy today because audiences took a chance on them in the past. Buffalo has always embraced new works, and we can’t wait to share these gems with you in the coming season.”

Click here to view the entire Classics season.

Kristin Chenoweth headlines the Pops Series

Principal Pops Conductor John Morris Russell has created a series filled with variety from Broadway to over the rainbow and a galaxy far, far away. He conducts six of the concerts on the series, this year including the season kickoff, Happy Birthday Gershwin on Sept. 22. This program celebrates the 120th birthday of this quintessentially American composer, who brought jazz from the clubs into the concert hall and penned such classics as Rhapsody in Blue and Porgy and Bess.

The performance of Emmy and Tony award winner Kristin Chenoweth on April 6, 2019 is the highlight of the Pops Series. Chenoweth is possibly best-known as the original Glinda in Wicked, but she also appeared in Pushing Daisies, The West Wing, Disney’s Descendants, and more. In 2009, she wrote a candid, comedic chronicle of her life so far, A Little Bit Wicked, which debuted on the New York Times Hardcover Non-Fiction Bestseller list.

Russell will be back on Oct. 6 to conduct Melinda Doolittle. Doolittle rose to prominence on American Idol, when Simon Cowell called her his “personal favorite.” Since then, Doolittle has performed everywhere from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame to Carnegie Hall. She makes her BPO debut singing the ‘American Soulbook,’ with classic and modern soul super hits.

Russell will also conduct a special Thanksgiving weekend presentation of “Superheroes!” This concert will start an hour earlier than usual, at 7 p.m. Nov. 24, and will feature scores from the Marvel Universe of films, as well as the iconic music associated with Batman, Superman, Spiderman and more. He will also, of course, be on the Holiday Pops podium as Mr. Christmas, with the panoply of Christmas delights the Western New York audience has come to cherish. In response to extraordinary demand, there will be an additional morning performance of this concert on Thursday. Dec. 13 at 10:30 a.m, replacing the Friday night performance offered in previous years.

On Feb. 9, The Hot Sardines make their BPO debut under the baton of John Morris Russell. Bandleader Evan Palazzo and lead singer Elizabeth Bougerol met in 2007 after they both answered a Craigslist ad about a jazz jam session above a Manhattan noodle shop. The pair bonded over their love for Fats Waller and founded The Hot Sardines to make old jazz new again. They channel New York speakeasies, Parisian cabarets and New Orleans jazz halls, and their self-titled debut album was named one of the best jazz albums of the year by iTunes. Russell closes the Pops season on May 24 and 25 with the traditional Memorial Day salute to American veterans and American ideals.

The rest of the series is a romp through some of the best music from the stage, screen and AM radio. “Hello Broadway!” on Oct. 19 and 20 celebrates the work of Jerry Herman, composer of Hello, Dolly!, La Cage aux Folles, and Mame, among other Broadway smash hits. November 2 and 3 will see the world premiere of Ann Hampton Callaway’s “The Linda Ronstadt Songbook.” Michael Cavanaugh will return on Feb. 23 with the music of Billy Joel, Elton John and more. On March 15 and 16, “The World of Oz” pays tribute to the L. Frank Baum classic as told on Broadway in “The Wiz” and “Wicked,” by Hollywood in “The Wizard of Oz,” and on the radio in songs like “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road.” The BPO also takes the “May the Fourth Be With You” celebration from social media to the Kleinhans stage with a Star Wars concert on that date, featuring the Academy Award winning iconic music spanning the franchise’s four decades.

“We have so much spectacular music to share with Buffalo next season,” said John Morris Russell. “We put the ‘pop!’ in  ‘popular’ orchestral music everyone loves. I can’t wait to revel in the exceptional artistry of the BPO, our amazing guest artists, and the flat-out fun we all have together at Kleinhans Music Hall!”

Click here to view the entire Pops Season.

The BPO goes to Florida

The BPO has visited Florida several times in the past decade, performing for sold-out crowds in some of the state’s cultural hotspots and reconnecting with the many supporters and friends who have left Buffalo for warmer climes. From March 30 to April 4, 2019, the orchestra will again pay a visit to the Sunshine State, with engagements in St. Augustine, Dayton Beach, West Palm Beach, Sarasota, and Vero Beach. Buffalo favorite Fabio Bidini will be the featured soloist on the 2019 Florida Friends tour, performing Brahms’ Piano Concerto No. 2 on a program that includes Borodin’s Overture to Prince Igor and Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet. The program will be performed at Kleinhans on March 23 and 24.

Subscribe now for best seats to these concerts

As always, a subscription to the BPO is your best value. Patrons who subscribe save substantially on handling fees, lock in their seats early, and get the first chance to add other concerts to their package before the general public. With Western New York’s most flexible ticket exchange policy, your tickets can change when your schedule does. Single tickets will go on sale for all events on August 11.

This year, subscribers who renew by March 19 will be able to keep the same price as the previous year. Prices will increase after March 19. Subscription packages range from as few as five concerts, to full seasons of Pops or Classics. To subscribe, call (716) 885-5000 or visit today.

About the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra

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

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Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra announces “Buffalo Sings Champion” contest

BUFFALO, NY – The Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra is looking for Buffalo’s top vocal talent.

The winner will perform “Over the Rainbow,” written by Buffalo native Harold Arlen, with the BPO at the “Buffalo Sings” concert on Saturday, April 14. Principal Pops Conductor John Morris Russell will lead the concert, which will feature some of the region’s top vocal ensembles.

The contest is open to anyone who is 14 or older and resides within a 60-mile radius of Buffalo. To enter, contestants must submit a video of themselves performing the song using the MIDI accompaniment available at, along with an application. Applications must be received by 11:59 PM on Wednesday, Jan. 31. Up to twenty finalists will be selected on Feb. 19 to face off in the live finals held in Kleinhans’ Mary Seaton Room on Thursday, March 1 at 7 p.m. The Buffalo Sings champion will be selected that night. That event will be free and open to the public. All information is available at

Judges for the finals include Adam Luebke, Buffalo Philharmonic Chorus music director; Mary Kate O’Connell, founder and artistic director of the musical theater company O’Connell and Company; Drea D’Nur, Buffalo-based recording artist and creator and star of the critically-acclaimed show “The Spirit of Nina”; and BPO Principal Pops Conductor John Morris Russell.

The “Buffalo Sings” concert is part of the KeyBank Pops Series, and is a tribute to the power and beauty of the human voice, as well as a way of recognizing the musicality within every person. There will be a chance for the audience members to raise their own voices at the end of the concert. To purchase tickets to this unique interactive concert experience, call (716) 885-5000 or visit


About the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra

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

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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.

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.