Category: Press Releases

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

BPO names names Jaman Edward Dunn as first-ever appointee to new Community Engagement conducting position

BUFFALO, NY – Jaman Edward Dunn will become the first-ever Assistant Conductor,
Community Engagement of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, starting later this month.
The one-year Assistant Conductor position was funded by Round VII of the New York
State Council on the Arts Regional Economic Development Council initiative and is part
of the BPO’s ongoing efforts to engage with all parts of the Buffalo community in a
meaningful way and to serve diverse audiences.

Dunn was selected from a slate of six candidates who came to Buffalo from as far away
as Germany and Argentina for a closed conducting audition. Each candidate had an
opportunity to conduct the orchestra, deliver a speaking presentation to members of the
orchestra, board and community, and take part in an interview process.
Dunn will lead the May 2019 Side-By-Side concert with the Buffalo Academy for Visual
and Performing Arts, which includes not only the music students performing onstage
with the BPO, but dance, theatrical and visual elements put together by students in the
other programs. He will also take part in the Music for Youth education concert series,
BPO Kids concerts, school outreach, cover conducting duties and will participate in the
BPO Diversity Council.

Dunn has been studying conducting since high school. A Chicago native, he began his
musical education as a violinist at the age of 8. He attended The Ohio State University
for vocal performance, where he founded the Buckeye Philharmonic, which remains
Ohio State’s only student-run and operated orchestra. He is a recent graduate of The
Boston Conservatory at Berklee with a Master’s of Music degree in conducting.
During his studies, he led the Conductor’s Orchestra at Berklee in works of Strauss,
Brahms, Walton, and Dvořák; and he has assisted the Boston Conservatory Orchestra in
works of Mahler, Shostakovich, and Prokofiev. Separate from his program requirements,
Dunn has conducted self-promoted concerts of Vaughan Williams, Respighi, John
Williams, Mendelssohn, and Elgar. Maestro Dunn has also conducted the Berklee
Boston Conservatory Recording Orchestra in compositions by rising composers in the
fields of classical and film music. He balances this with a continued career as a vocalist.

“I am extremely excited to be appointed to this position with the Buffalo Philharmonic
Orchestra,” Dunn said. “I am very passionate about conducting, but even more than
that, I am very passionate about the presence of minorities in classical music. One of the
biggest challenges I have experienced is the underrepresentation of African-American
role models in this field. I hope that with this position, I can add to the presence of
African-American conductors in the performance field in order to make visibility that
much stronger. I can’t wait to begin this journey with the Buffalo Philharmonic.”

About the BPO
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 45 new recordings on
the Naxos and Beau Fleuve labels.

Bokyung Byun becomes first female winner of JoAnn Falletta International Guitar Concerto Competition

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Following tonight’s final round performance with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, Bokyung Byun of  South Korea won first place and Musician’s Choice in the eighth biennial JoAnn Falletta International Guitar Concerto Competition. Byun is the first woman to win the Competition. Tengue “TY” Zhang of China captured Audience Favorite and second place. Congyi Zhang won third place, and also received the inaugural William and Carol Greiner Award, encouraging the performance of lesser-known works, for his performance of Ernesto Cordero’s Concierto Antillano.

Eight classical guitarists, representing five nations, competed throughout the week. After a round of semi-finals performed with an accompanist, the judges’ panel chose three finalists to perform with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra under Music Director JoAnn Falletta, herself a classical guitarist.

Byun will receive a solo concert at the Fondazione La Società dei Concerti in a recital among the series “Winners!” of Incontri Musicali at Gaber Auditorium in Milano, Italy, along with a $10,000 cash prize, national and international broadcast exposure, and a return engagement with the BPO.

Byun began playing guitar at age 6. At the age of 11, she began going on concert tours in Korea. By her teen years, she had won competitions held by the Korea Guitar Association, the Music Association of Korea, and the Guitar Foundation of America. She was the first guitarist ever to be admitted to Juilliard’s undergraduate guitar program. She is now pursuing a doctoral degree at the University of Southern California as the recipient of the prestigious International Artist Fellowship. She is 23. Byun performed Concerto pour Guitare et Petit Orchestra by Heitor Villa-Lobos and Salseado from Sonata for Guitar by Roberto Sierra.

Tengue Zhang, who often goes by “TY,”  was the First Prize winner of the 2017 Guitar Foundation of America International Concert Artists Competition. He studied in China at the Music School of the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing, and has been a student of Sharon Isbin at The Juilliard School since 2012, where he received his B.M. and M.M. His debut CD will be released on the Naxos label later this month. He is 24. TY will receive $3000.

Congyi Zhang is from Beijing, China, and is currently living in New York City. Congyi first learned to play classical guitar under his father’s instruction at age 8. He attended Central Conservatory of Music of China Middle School, graduated from Central Conservatory of Music of China in Beijing in 2016 with his Bachelor of Music degree, and is now a first year Master of Music scholarship student at Mannes School of Music in New York City. Congyi will receive a $1000 cash prize for his third-place win and a $3000 cash prize from the Greiner Award.

Buffalo-based Joanne Castellani and Michael Andriaccio, a well-known international chamber   ensemble guitar duo, are the Competition’s artistic directors. In addition to Castellani and Andriaccio, the live competitions were judged by guitarists Francisco Bernier and Irina Kulikova; composer Eric Sessler; guitarist and educator Michael Newman; artistic agent Sean Samimi; and audio engineer David Dusman.


Facebook: We have a winner! Bokyung Byun of South Korea is the first female winner of the  JoAnn Falletta International Guitar Concerto Competition #fallettacomp18

Twitter: Bokyun Byun of South Korea wins 2018 @fallettacomp — first woman to do so! #fallettacomp18

  About the Competition

Founded in 2004 and organized by WNED ǀ WBFO and the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, the competition is one of the foremost musical events in the world and the first concerto competition for classical guitarists. It is named in honor of the BPO’s music director, JoAnn Falletta. Past winners include Marcin Dylla, Marko Topchii, and Celil Refik Kaya. For more information about the competition, visit .

# # #


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

# # #



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

From a beatboxing flutist to the Poland tour send-off, a busy six weeks of music at the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra

From a beatboxing flutist to the Poland tour send-off, a busy six weeks of music at the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra

BUFFALO, NY – Kleinhans Music Hall will be a busy place in the weeks leading up to the BPO’s Poland tour.

Pianist Tony DeSare lights up the KeyBank Pops Series at 8 p.m on Feb. 3 with music from rock to romance from artists such as Billy Joel, John Lennon, Elton John and Ray Charles. The evening culminates with Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue,” considered to be the ultimate American piece of music performed with DeSare’s personal style.

For Immediate Release
Jan. 29, 2018
Contact: Kate Jenkins
BPO Communications Coordinator
(716) 242-7819

The genre-bending Project Trio will be in residence for several days, starting with a BlueCross BlueShield BPO Kids concert at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 4. The trio consists of beatboxing flutist Greg Pattillo, cellist Eric Stephenson, and bassist Peter Seymour. They perform their own compositions and arrangements of well-known works in a show that encourages audience interaction. They are one of the most-watched instrumental ensembles on YouTube, and are passionate about engaging young people in music-making. On Feb. 6, they perform in Kleinhans’ Mary Seaton Room in a solo recital at 7 p.m. They will also visit schools and perform on the West Side Connection education concert taking place on Feb. 7, and available on demand to teachers in Western New York’s eight counties free of charge.

On Saturday, Feb. 10 and Sunday, Feb. 11, JoAnn Falletta will be on the podium to lead one of her favorite works: Scheherazade, by Rimsky-Korsakov. The BPO has recorded this piece and performed it on the inaugural Know the Score concert, led by Falletta in 2012. The piece spins a tale of courage, wit and creativity. Scheherazade was forced to marry an evil sultan who was notorious for slaying his bride after their wedding night. Determined to survive, she spun a captivating tale for the sultan, with a cliffhanger ending that she pledged to reveal the next night – when she also began a new story. This legend frames the “1001 Nights,” a work that dates from approximately 850 AD and became known to the Western world in 1710. On the same concert, Finnish violinist Elina Vahala returns to perform Sibelius’ Violin Concerto. The BPO will also perform Symphony No. 1 “Awakening” by Wang Jie, a one-of-a-kind composer who was raised in China and now lives in the United States. Wang describes herself as “part cartoon character, part virtuoso” and characterizes this symphony as her most personal work.

The Glenn Miller Orchestra began touring in 1938, and except for a few years following Miller’s death in World War II, has never stopped. On Friday, Feb. 16 and Saturday, Feb. 17, the Glenn Miller Orchestra brings its signature sound to Kleinhans and the BPO. Today, their repertoire exceeds 1700 compositions, and they perform for approximately half a million people a year. Since 2012, conductor and vocalist Nick Hilscher has led the group. Hilscher has had an affinity for big band music since his youth, and did a stint as the lead male vocalist with the group before becoming its conductor. The lead female vocalist, Natalie Angst, had a similar love for the music of the 1940s, and together, they are bringing the classic, All-American sound of the Glenn Miller Orchestra into the 21st century. On Feb. 17, the audience is invited to stay after the concert for the annual Sweetheart Dance, with music by the Katy Miner Quintet.

On Friday, Feb. 23 and Saturday, Feb. 24, conductor Rebecca Miler makes her BPO debut. Born in California, Miller holds several conducting positions with British orchestras and universities: Associate Conductor of the Southbank Sinfonia, Principal Conductor of the Bishop’s Stortford Sinfonia, Director of Orchestras at Royal Holloway University of London, and conductor at the junior department of the Royal Academy of Music. The program she will lead features Beethoven’s Symphony No. 4, Brahms’ Variations on a Theme by Haydn, and the concert’s centerpiece, Schumann’s Piano Concerto in A minor, which he wrote for his wife, composer and pianist Clara Wieck Schumann. Pianist Fei-Fei Dong makes her own BPO debut with this piece.

The days prior to the BPO’s departure for Poland will be packed. On Friday, March 2, Dave Mason performs with the BPO on the BPO Rocks series. Mason is a founding member of Traffic, a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee, a multi-gold album solo artist, and an accomplished studio musician and songwriter. He brings his signature songs like “Feelin’ Alright” and “We Just Disagree” with him, enhanced by the power of the full BPO.

“A Night at the Oscars” takes place on Saturday, March 3. John Morris Russell conducts iconic movie music like “Tara’s Theme” from “Gone With the Wind;” the symphonic suite from “Lord of the Rings;” and John Williams’ music from “E.T.” After the concert, the BPO is throwing an Oscars party. The audience is encouraged to dress up for their red carpet moment, which will be captured by paparazzi and documented by interviewers. Oscar props, movie snacks, signature drinks, and live music by JoyRyde, which includes several Buffalo Music Hall of Famers, complete the party atmosphere.

Kids take over Kleinhans on Sunday, March 4 for “Peter and the Wolf.” The BlueCross BlueShield BPO Kids concert is employing close-up video to help introduce each instrument to the audience. Free activities begin at 1:30 p.m, with the concert starting at 2:30 p.m.

The BPO’s first international tour in 30 years kicks off in Buffalo on Saturday, March 10 and Sunday, March 11. JoAnn Falletta will lead the BPO in a program showcasing American composers: Leonard Bernstein’s Symphonic Dances from “West Side Story;” Samuel Barber’s Symphony No. 1; and George Gershwin’s Concerto in F, performed by composer/pianist Conrad Tao. The program also includes a nod to eminent Polish composer/conductor Krzysztof Penderecki, with the Adagietto from “Paradise Lost.” Penderecki guest-conducted the BPO in 2016, and his wife, Elzbieta Penderecka, is president and founder of the Ludwig van Beethoven Easter Festival, at which the BPO will be performing in Poland. The audience is invited to come early on Sat. March 10 for a champagne toast to a successful tour.  The orchestra will tour six cities in Poland from March 15-22.

All concerts take place at Kleinhans Music Hall, 3 Symphony Circle. Tickets are available by calling (716) 885-5000, visiting, or going to the Kleinhans Music Hall box office at 3 Symphony Circle, Buffalo. Subscription packages are available in all sizes and offer many great benefits to subscribers. Student season passes are available for $29. Individual event tickets are $11 for students with valid ID.

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


West Side Connection week features community and school events

West Side Connection week features community and school events

BUFFALO, NY – The BPO’s award-winning West Side Connection education program takes place during the first week of February, and this year, its influence will spread beyond the schools.

For Immediate Release
Jan. 30, 2018
Contact: Kate Jenkins
BPO Communications Coordinator
(716) 242-7819

Robin Parkinson
BPO Education Director
(716) 242-7808

The program is a partnership between the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra and the Buffalo Public Schools. Through educational activities, guest artist visits and a culminating concert, this project involves students in the 12 Buffalo Public Schools in the neighborhood of Kleinhans, including three Spanish bilingual schools, a Native American magnet school and three international schools serving the West Side population of recent and past immigrants from diverse countries. Its goals are to explore diversity through music, to reinforce and enhance the school curriculum, and to connect the BPO with the community in a meaningful way. The culminating concert is always made available on demand to classrooms around the region, with upwards of 15,000 students experiencing it each year.

The community will also have several opportunities to hear the guest artists in concert. Project Trio is a Brooklyn-based ensemble educated at the Cleveland Institute of Music. Consisting of a cellist, bassist and flutist, they are among the most-watched ensembles on YouTube and are passionate about expanding the boundaries of classical music and guiding children in exploring what instruments can do. On Sunday, Feb. 4, they will perform with the BPO on the BlueCross BlueShield BPO Kids series at Kleinhans Music Hall. The concert begins at 2:30 p.m., with doors opening at 1:30 for free activities. On Tuesday, Feb. 6, they will perform on their own in Kleinhans’ intimate Mary Seaton Room at 7 p.m. Tickets are available at for both events.

Cellist Ifetayo Ali is the winner of the 2017 Sphinx Competition. The Sphinx Organization was founded to address the stark under-representation of people of color in classical music and to create positive change in the arts and in communities. Fifteen-year-old Ali was also the second-place winner in the 2016 Sphinx Competition. Based in the Chicago area, she has performed with the Wilmington (NC) Symphony, New World Symphony, and Detroit Symphony. On Sunday, Feb. 4, she will give a free recital at 3 p.m. at St. Martin de Porres Church, 555 Northampton St., Buffalo. She will be joined by the All-City Gospel Youth Choir and the Muhammed School of Music Chamber Players. The recital, titled “In Harmony Community Concert,” is sponsored by the BPO’s Diversity Council.

Project Trio and Ali will spend Monday and Tuesday at the schools that participate in the West Side Connection program. Ali will visit Lafayette High School at 9 a.m. and Dr. Antonia Pantoja Community School of Academic Excellence at 11 a.m. on Feb. 5; and International Prep and West Hertel at 9 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. on Feb. 6, respectively. Project Trio will visit Hutch Tech at 10:15 a.m on Feb. 5. Students from the other participating West Side Connection schools will be bused to these locations.

On Wednesday, Feb. 7 at 10 a.m., Ali and Project Trio will be back at Kleinhans to perform with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of Stefan Sanders. The students that they engaged with earlier in the week will comprise the live audience for the concert, which is being captured on video and streamed on demand to classrooms in Western New York’s eight counties. An estimated 1,800 students will attend the concert. Registration is still available, and teachers may go online at to gain access to the program.

“Each West Side Connection program is more than a year in the making,” said BPO Education Director Robin Parkinson. “I work closely with a team of educators and musicians to develop the program. The result is an event that truly connects children to the power of music and helps them gain an appreciation for the beautiful mosaic of cultures and ethnicities that can be found right in Kleinhans’ neighborhood. The BPO is everyone’s orchestra, and this concert helps fulfill that promise.”


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


BPO chamber orchestra to perform in area churches

Buffalo Philharmonic to perform chamber concerts in area churches

January 10, 2018
For Immediate Release
Contact:Kate Jenkins
Communications Coordinator
Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra
Buffalo, NY – For three engagements, a small group of BPO musicians are trading the concert hall for a more intimate setting.

BPO Concertmaster Dennis Kim is once again directing a small group of Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra musicians in performance in Western New York churches.

The Buffalo Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra will visit Orchard Park Presbyterian Church at 4369 South Buffalo Street

on Wednesday, Jan. 31; Clarence Presbyterian Church at 9675 Main Street on Thursday, Feb. 1; and St. Stanislaus Church at 123 Townsend Street in Buffalo on Friday, Feb. 2. Each concert begins at 7 p.m., and tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for students. Tickets are available by calling (716) 885-5000 or visiting

The program features Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 3 and Dvorak’s Serenade For Strings. The centerpiece of the concert is Bach’s Concerto for Two Violins, featuring Kim and young violinist Alice Lee. Lee is the winner of the BPO’s inaugural Young Artist Violin Competition, which took place in June 2017. Eighteen-year-old Lee has been playing violin since she was 5, and has already performed with the Victoria Symphony Orchestra and the Sooke Philharmonic. She is currently studying at the International Menuhin Music Academy in Switzerland.

Kim has organized chamber performances in Finland and in Asia while serving as concertmaster with orchestras there. He says that it’s a chance for him and his orchestral colleagues to stretch themselves and to connect with audiences in a different way.


“This music was written for intimate settings, which is why it’s the perfect program to present in Western New York churches. The Dvorak, and especially the Bach, work much better in a church setting. All of us are in this to connect people with music, especially people who have not come to the concert hall,” Dennis Kim said.  “If you talk to most classical musicians, you’ll find that they have a passion for chamber music. We work collaboratively to make this music, and there’s something so special about that. It’s never the same twice. We can’t wait to perform this program for Western New Yorkers.”


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

# # #



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

# # #