BUFFALO, NY – Disney’s Fantasia Live in Concert, the BPO debut of Traffic’s Dave Mason, and the chance to experience the epic Carmina Burana live are just a few of the exciting moments planned for the BPO’s 2017-18 season.
Superstar violinist opens season
The season begins with its traditionally glamorous gala opening on Saturday, Sept. 16. Violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter, one of today’s most respected classical musicians, is performing with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra for the first time since 1989 in a rare North American tour. JoAnn Falletta will conduct her performance of Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto. The Gala Concert Package also includes a pre-concert dinner catered by Oliver’s, premium seats for the concert, and a post-concert dessert reception. Funds raised at the Gala support the BPO’s award-winning educational programs. For the full package, call (716) 242-7928.
Both the M&T Bank Classics Series and the KeyBank Pops Series will celebrate the best of American music, coinciding with the international centennial celebration of Leonard Bernstein’s birth. The Classics Series gets underway with a two-week American Masters Festival on Sept. 29 and Oct. 1, and Oct. 7 and 8, including music by Bernstein, Ellington and Copland, as well as Phillip Glass’ Violin Concerto performed by concertmaster Dennis Kim, and Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue” performed by Charlie Albright.
On Oct. 21 and 22, trailblazing bassist Victor Wooten will perform “The Bass Whisperer: Concerto for Electric Bass,” which he wrote with renowned composer Conni Ellisor. Wooten is a founding member of Bela Fleck and the Flecktones and has won five Grammy Awards. This all-American work will be paired with two Russian classics, Borodin’s Polovtsian Dances from “Prince Igor” and Prokofiev’s “Alexander Nevsky.”
Other series highlights include Debussy’s “La Mer,” conducted by former BPO music director Maximiano Valdes; Ravel’s “Bolero,” “Scheherazade” conducted by JoAnn Falletta;Bernstein’s Symphonic Dances from “West Side Story;” Respighi’s Fountains and Pines of Rome; and a multimedia exploration of the American immigrant experience with Dvorak’s “New World Symphony” and Peter Boyer’s “Ellis Island,” featuring actors from Road Less Traveled Productions and images projected on a screen above the orchestra. The epic Carmina Buranawith the Buffalo Philharmonic Chorus and soloists is paired with a new concerto by Jaakko Kuusisto written for the BPO’s principal trumpet Alex Jokipii.
The series kicks off Sept. 23 with Disney’s Fantasia Live in Concert, including animation and music from both the classic “Fantasia” and “Fantasia 2000.” John Morris Russell steps into the roles pioneered by Leopold Stokowski and James Levine, conducting the Buffalo Philharmonic in his own inimitable style.
Russell will return throughout the season to conduct a Halloween-themed Cirque de la Symphonie show; four Holiday Pops performances with the music and images from “The Polar Express;” A Night at the Oscars – including a red carpet experience and post-concert Oscar party; and Buffalo Sings, starring the area’s premier vocal groups and featuring the debut of the BPO’s “Buffalo Sings” champion. Details on the search and auditions for this singer will be announced soon.
The Pops season also includes a Hispanic Heritage Month celebration with Rochester-based Mambo Kings; the Neil Diamond tribute show Super Diamond; the return of the Glenn Miller Orchestra; A Night at the Cotton Club with Byron Stripling; a celebration of piano rock and jazz with Tony DeSare; and Fire and Rain, a tribute to the singer-songwriters of the 1970s featuring AJ Swearingen, who filled Kleinhans last season with a tribute to Simon and Garfunkel, and Jayne Kelly.
The Buffalo Philharmonic has a national reputation for its innovative work in the rock genre. Working with artists like Alan Parsons and Steve Hackett, creating original shows for Canalside, and presenting top-flight tribute bands are hallmarks of BPO Rocks. This season, Rock And Roll Hall of Famer Dave Mason makes his BPO debut with a show featuring both his work with Traffic and music from his long and successful solo career. The seriesleads off with “Just Imagine,” a multimedia John Lennon experience. Windborne Music returns with The Music of The Doors, and Brass Transit joins the BPO with their superb tribute to the music of Chicago. All concerts include rock show lighting and a full band for a complete experience.
The BPO delivers a magical holiday season through four very different concerts. On Dec. 6, the Irish Tenors (Ronan Tynan, Finbar Wright and Anthony Kearns) bring their holiday tour to the BPO. Dec. 8 and 9 are all about the classical tradition, with JoAnn’s Classical Christmas featuring the Buffalo Philharmonic Chorus and soprano Aundi Moore. Santa Claus himself is the star of the show at Jingle Bell Jam on Dec. 10, sharing his story through music with the BPO’s youngest fans. And of course, Mr. Christmas himself is back for John Morris Russell’s Holiday Pops on Dec. 15, 16 and 17.
The series that takes you inside the music is back. On Oct. 3, the Colored Musicians Club joins the BPO for a centennial celebration. When jazz was the new genre on the scene, everyone who was anyone came to Buffalo and performed at the Colored Musicians Club. This show celebrates its history through the music of luminaries like Ella Fitzgerald, Dizzy Gillespie, Billie Holiday, and Al Tinney. The George Scott Big Band will be front and center with the orchestra and will also perform at a post-concert party.
The BPO has presented Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2 many times before, but never the way it will be presented on Jan. 17. The concerto is dedicated to Rachmaninoff’s psychiatrist, who helped him through a deep depression and serious writer’s block. Pianist and psychiatrist Richard Kogan will recount this tale and perform the dramatic and challenging work.
When tickets for “Bill Murray, Jan Vogler and Friends: New Worlds” went on sale in June, the demand crashed the BPO’s website. Yet, tickets are still available for this performance, taking place on Oct. 11. Murray and Vogler developed the performance together to blend literature and music. Murray will recite Whitman, Hemingway, and Twain while a trio of internationally acclaimed musicians provides a soundtrack of Schubert, Bach and Piazzolla.
2018 will also see the return of the JoAnn Falletta International Guitar Concerto Competition from June 6-9. This event is a collaboration between the BPO and WNED. It brings eight rising classical guitar stars to Western New York from around the world for a week of music and excitement. The finals take place on June 9 at Kleinhans.
BlueCross BlueShield BPO Kids
For five afternoons, kids take over Kleinhans for music and fun. The Oct. 29 Halloween concert will be extra-special this year, with a performance by Cirque de la Symphonie. The genre-bending Project Trio performs with the BPO on Feb. 4, with their signature blend of jazz, rock, classical, and hip-hop. Peter and the Wolf takes you up close and personal with each instrument in the orchestra on March 4, and kids are the center of the action in Buffalo Kids Sing on April 15. Pre-concert activities get the wiggles out and the creative juices flowing starting at 1:30 PM.
Subscriptions and student tickets available
Tickets to all BPO concerts go on sale at 10 a.m. Saturday, August 11.
Subscribing to the BPO is always your best value, and subscribers receive a number of additional benefits, including opportunities to meet the members of the BPO. Concert packages are available in many sizes, with pricing to fit all budgets. Flex passes are also available to provide the greatest flexibility to decide on concerts now or later. First time subscribers save up to 50 percent off the single ticket price.
College students with valid ID can purchase a season pass for $29, allowing them to attend all concerts in the M&T Bank Classics Series, KeyBank Pops Series and Know the Score. High school students can join Symphony Scholars for $35 and receive a season pass, attend special events and enjoy extra perks. High school and college students may purchase tickets for individual concerts for just $11. More information is available at bpo.org.
To subscribe or purchase individual tickets, contact the BPO at (716) 885-5000, visit bpo.org, or stop by the box office at Kleinhans Music Hall, 3 Symphony Circle, Buffalo.