Category: Press Releases

BPO Announces Staff Promotion

Buffalo, NY – Daniel Hart, Executive Director of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, today announced the promotion of Jennifer Barbee to Associate Director & Director of Development.

Barbee joined the BPO as Director of Development in 2010 after serving in the same position at the Virginia Symphony from 2002 to 2010. She previously held positions at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC. She received her undergraduate degree from Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music and did her graduate work at the University of Colorado-Boulder. She is a graduate of the League of American Orchestra’s Executive Leadership Program for Marketing and Development Professionals.

Barbee leads a seven-member department responsible for securing contributed income and government support totaling more than $6 million each year. Additionally, since her arrival she served as the staff point person for the BPO’s 2013 Carnegie Hall Tour Campaign that became the most successful fundraising event in the history of the orchestra; has led two successful fundraising campaigns for the BPO tour to Florida; and coordinates a $30 million endowment campaign that has now surpassed its goal.

Barbee will continue lead the development efforts but will add responsibilities in the areas of special projects, external affairs and staff leadership.

Hart stated, “Jen has done wonders for the BPO in her seven years, so in addition to filling a very important organizational need, this promotion recognizes her ongoing contributions and her desire to grow professionally and do even more for the orchestra.”

For Immediate Release
Contact:Kate Jenkins
Communications Coordinator
Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra

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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Buffalo Philharmonic celebrates the holiday season with Irish Tenors, Polar Express, classical treasures and a visit from Santa

The Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra is gearing up for another busy holiday season, with four chances to experience the joy and magic of the holidays in concert.

For Immediate Release
Contact:Kate Jenkins
Communications Coordinator
Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra


The season begins at 7 p.m Wednesday Dec. 6 with a performance from the Irish Tenors on their Holiday Tour. Ronan Tynan, Finbar Wright and Anthony Kearns lend their soaring voices to a program of holiday classics and familiar Irish tunes such as “Forty Shades of Green,” “Let There Be Peace” and “Whiskey in the Jar.” Tynan is especially recognizable to Buffalonians, having sung “God Bless America” at many Sabres games. The tenors are known worldwide for giving fresh life to old favorites from Ireland as well as popular and classical music from around the world, and their collaboration with the BPO this holiday season is sure to inspire and delight.


On December 8 at 10:30 a.m. and December 9 at 8 p.m., JoAnn Falletta leads a treat for lovers of classical music in JoAnn’s Classical Christmas, part of M&T Bank’s Classics Series. The program features the BPO debut of acclaimed soprano Aundi Marie Moore, singing favorites such as “Ave Maria” and “Gesu Bambino.” Moore is an award-winning soloist originally from Virginia, as well as a former member of the Domingo-Cafritz Washington National Opera Young Artist Program. Benjamin Mekinulov will share the stage with his father, Roman Mekinulov, the BPO’s principal cellist performing Vivaldi’s Concerto for Two Cellos. Benjamin attends Amherst High School. The Buffalo Philharmonic Chorus led by Adam Luebke will perform seasonal pieces by Rutter, Bach and Handel with the BPO. The program includes classical holiday treasures such as the “Hallelujah Chorus” from Handel’s”Messiah,” “Dance of the Tumblers” from Rimsky-Korsakov’s “Snow Maiden,”and selections from Tchaikovsky’s “The Nutcracker,” as well as an audience sing-along of favorite Christmas carols.


Santa himself plays an integral part in the BlueCross BlueShield BPO Kids Jingle Bell Jam at 2:30 p.m. Sunday Dec. 10 when he flies into town to share stories and his favorite holiday music.This budget-friendly family concert is complete with selections from “The Nutcracker” featuring dance performances from the Royal Academy of Ballet and Verve Dance Studios and a sing-along. Come at 1:30 p.m. to make cards for the men and women in the United States military stationed far from home this holiday season. After the show, children and parents are invited to have milk and cookies with Santa and Mrs. Claus. The BPO also encourages audience members to bring a new, unwrapped donation for Toys for Tots to the show, as Kleinhans is an official drop-off location for the charity.


The BPO’s holiday season concludes with John Morris Russell’s Holiday Pops. There are four opportunities to enjoy this show: Friday Dec. 15at 10:30 a.m. and 8 p.m., Saturday Dec. 16 at 8 p.m., and Sunday Dec. 17 at 2:30 p.m. Tickets often sell out, as thousands of Western New Yorkers attend this family tradition.

Russell’s Holiday Pops programs are inspired by the records his father used to get at Goodyear Tire or Firestone when he got the snow tires put on the car. Just like those albums, the Pops programs are varied and engaging. “It would always just be this panoply of music,” Russell recalled. “I like to have that kind of wild diversity in my holiday programs. We’re celebrating peace, love and joy and I’d like to make sure every single piece of music on the program exudes it.”

This year, the concert features Buffalo’s own Katy Miner as a soloist. Miner was formerly a section leader in the Buffalo Philharmonic Chorus, and currently performs around the city with the Katy Miner Jazz Quintet and the Cabaret Big Band and is also recognizable from her roles in local professional theater productions. The Buffalo Philharmonic Chorus and Buffalo Girlchoir lend their voices to a tremendous array of holiday music. The Normal Street Exit Trio also makes an appearance on this program, featuring the BPO’s own violinist Amy Licata, Associate Principal Bassist Brett Shurtliffe, and classical guitarist Matthew Sperber. The trio brings classical training to a Celtic sound. The centerpiece of the program is “The Polar Express,” narrated by well-known local actor Mike Randall of WKBW-TV. The BPO plays selections from the lush film score while the original illustrations from the beloved children’s book are displayed on screen above the orchestra. There are sure to be surprises when JMR brings his boundless energy to his favorite time of year!


The BPO offers a wide selection of gifts for music lovers. More than 40 CDs are available for purchase online, as well as in the Kleinhans gift shop alongside other music-themed gifts. Tickets also make the perfect gift. Concerts coming up in 2018 include classical favorites such as Bolero and Carmina Burana and Pops with the Glenn Miller Orchestra, as well as rock shows like Music of The Doors and Brass Transit: the Music of Chicago. Gift certificates are available in any amount – they offer flexibility to the recipient and never expire.


As in previous years, Kleinhans will function as a drop-off location for the Toys for Tots drive this holiday season. Toys can be brought to Kleinhans from Dec. 4-17 whenever the box office is open or a concert is held. Toys for Tots requests new, unwrapped toys to make a child’s holiday special.

For tickets to any of these concerts, visit or call (716) 885-5000. The BPO’s box office is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, Saturdays 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., and Sundays from noon until to the first intermission of the event. If there is no event scheduled for Sunday, the box office will be closed.

Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra Invited to Perform at the Prestigious Ludwig van Beethoven Easter Festival in Warsaw

BUFFALO, NY – JoAnn Falletta is taking the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra to Poland in March to perform in four different cities and four acclaimed concert halls. The tour comes at the invitation of Elzbieta Penderecka, president and founder of the Ludwig van Beethoven Easter Festival, an annual two-week festival in Warsaw that features many of Europe’s leading orchestras, ensembles and the world’s great soloists. First organized in 1997 as part of the Krakow 2000 European City of Culture program, the festival has taken place in Warsaw since 2004. 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.

This will be the BPO’s first trip overseas tour since 1988.

Falletta will make history as the first American woman to lead a concert at the Festival. Although a number of American ensembles have appeared under the Festival auspices, the BPO will be the first full orchestra to perform in Warsaw during the two-week Festival. Additional stops have the full BPO performing in four cities:

  • March 18: the BPO performs at The National Forum of Music in Wrocław, the city’s institution of culture,and a state-of-the-art multifunctional concert venue. Home to a number of instrumental and vocal ensembles and the site of several international festivals, it was completed in 2015 and has 1800 seats.
  • March 20: the BPO makes its appearance at Philharmonic Hall in Warsaw, the centerpiece of the tour as one of 12 concerts taking place during the Festival.
  • March 21: the BPO travels to Katowice to perform in the Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra (NOSPR) Concert Hall. This hall is among the many that have been constructed in the country in recent years. Completed in 2014, it is the home of one of Poland’s leading symphonic orchestras.
  • March 22: the tour concludes in Lublin at the Centre for the Meeting of Cultures. The Centre opened in 2016, replacing an older building that was never completed. It boasts a large concert hall, a recital space, and smaller rooms for lectures and workshops.

The program puts the spotlight on American master composers, including Barber’s Symphony No. 1; Gershwin’s Piano Concerto in F, featuring pianist Conrad Tao; and Bernstein’s Symphonic Dances from West Side Story. Also on the program is Krzysztof Penderecki’s Adagietto from Paradise Lost.

Falletta is thrilled that this has all come together. “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. We are honored that we have been chosen by this prestigious festival to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the legendary Leonard Bernstein, and in addition, to mark the 85th birthday of iconic Polish composer Krzysztof Penderecki. We are very proud to be able to represent Buffalo and Western New York at the festival,” she said.


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 on March 15 and 16. Plans are being confirmed for the ensemble to perform on March 17 in Rzeszow, Buffalo’s sister city, before joining the rest of the orchestra in Wroclaw.

Maestro Falletta has built a strong relationship with the local Polish community and the Polish musical community through a variety of projects over the years, so the tour is an extension of her artistic vision. BPO Principal French Horn Jacek Muzyk and section French Horn Daniel Kerdelewicz both hail from Poland. Falletta has conducted in Krakow and Warsaw. In 2014, a small group of BPO fans joined her in Poland to tour this famously musical country. In December 2016, the BPO was privileged to have Maestro Penderecki lead the BPO in a stunning performance of his Concerto for Violin and Cello featuring Concertmaster Dennis Kim and Principal Cellist Roman Mekinulov. Polish Maestros Antoni Wit and Michal Nesterowicz have appeared with the BPO in recent years and the BPO has made a recording of important Polish works. Beethoven Festival artist Konrad Skolarski will appear with the BPO this November.

“The BPO’s ability to mount this tour speaks to our ever-growing global reputation, the consistently high level of artistic excellence we deliver to our audiences and strong local support,” said BPO Board of Trustees Chair Stephen Swift. “This is truly a landmark moment in the orchestra’s history. We still hear from patrons about the 1988 European tour. It is rare for an orchestra of our size to be afforded such a unique opportunity, and we look forward to representing all of Western New York at this prestigious event.”

Additional Information:

Buffalonians are invited to come along on the VIP BPO Poland Tour. This experience includes an opportunity to hear a performance featuring violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter who just opened the BPO’s 2017-18 season, and tickets to the BPO’s performance. The group will also visit attractions, enjoy other concerts and recitals, fine dining, and cultural experiences. The tour includes Warsaw and Krakow, and concludes in Prague, where JoAnn Falletta will join the group. Trustee Cindy Abbott Letro is leading the committee to organize this aspect of the tour. Travel arrangements can be made through The Travel Team. For more information, call 1-866-289-7511, or email Ron Luczak at

Pianist-composer Conrad Tao made his BPO debut in October 2015. Born in 1994, Tao is earning a reputation for innovation as well as excellence. His current season is marked by world and regional premieres of both his own work and the works of others. He has won an Avery Fisher Grant, been named a Presidential Scholar of the Arts, and was named a Gilmore Young Artist, an honor awarded every two years highlighting the most promising American pianists of the new generation. In 2013, he inaugurated the UNPLAY Festival in New York City, a three-night festival of new music which he curated and produced.

The BPO is grateful for the support of its Poland Tour sponsors: John and Carolyn Yurtchuk, Mark Chason and Mariana Botero-Chason, ABC Amega, Anonymous, Robert and Carol Morris, Jim and Michal Wadsworth, Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation, Reid Group, Anthony Baldi and Associates, and Mark Cerrone.

The BPO will perform the tour program with Conrad Tao at Kleinhans Music Hall on March 10 and 11, 2018. Tickets for what will be the official tour send-off for the orchestra are available by calling (716) 885-5000, by visiting, or by going to the Kleinhans Music Hall box office at 3 Symphony Circle, Buffalo.

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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Buffalo Philharmonic celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month with church performances, Mambo Kings concert

BUFFALO, NY – It’s Hispanic Heritage Month and the BPO is celebrating.

BPO violist Janz Castelo is leading a string quartet composed of himself, BPO violinists Andrea Blanchard-Cone and Amy Licata and cellist Eva Herer in performances at several churches that serve the Hispanic community. Castelo is the Artistic Director of the Buffalo Chamber Players, is active in the Puerto Rican community, and speaks fluent Spanish. He selected the music to be performed, and will speak on behalf of the BPO at each visit. Casimiro Rodriguez Sr. of the Hispanic Heritage Council of Western New York and the BPO Diversity Council will introduce the quartet to each congregation.

On Sept. 24, the quartet performs during the Spanish-language masses at 10:15 a.m. at Holy Angels, 348 Porter Ave. and at 12:15 p.m. at Holy Cross, 345 Seventh Street. On Oct. 15, the final day of Hispanic Heritage Month, the quartet will perform at 10:15 a.m. at Destiny International Church, 172 15th Street and at 11:30 a.m. at Primera Iglesia Metodista at 62 Virginia St.

On Oct. 14, the BPO is performing with the Rochester-based Mambo Kings at Kleinhans Music Hall. The BPO Diversity Council has arranged performances of Hispanic dance music by Hutchinson Tech’s Tech Tones and Olmsted High’s Jazz F.L.O. at 7 p.m. in the Mary Seaton Room. The Mambo Kings take the main stage with the BPO at 8 p.m. Bradley Thachuk conducts this tour of Latin jazz, featuring music by everyone from Astor Piazzolla to The Beatles, from Dave Brubeck to Tito Puente. The Mambo Kings have been together since 1995 and have earned a reputation as America’s top Latin jazz ensemble, performing with The Florida Orchestra, Detroit Symphony, Baltimore Symphony, Dallas Symphony, Oregon Symphony, and more. The concert is part of the KeyBank Pops Series.

The Hispanic Heritage Month celebration was spearheaded by the BPO Diversity Council. The Council formed in July 2016 to assist the orchestra in realizing its longstanding goals of presenting diverse programming, supporting artists of color, and engaging with every part of the Western New York community in a meaningful way.

The formation of the Diversity Council places the BPO at the vanguard of a national movement to diversify the American classical music scene. The Council will help the orchestra work towards the goals of featuring artists of color (soloists, conductors, composers) in concerts; creating programs tied to community events and history that are relevant to diverse audiences; establishing collaborative partnerships with diverse organizations; supporting music education in under-served areas and encouraging broad participation in music programs; and seeking diversity at all levels of the organization including the Board of Trustees, staff, volunteers and the orchestra itself.

Tickets to The Mambo Kings range from $29 – $84, with student tickets available for $11 with ID. Purchase tickets by visiting, by calling (716) 885-5000, or by stopping at the Kleinhans box office at 3 Symphony Circle, Buffalo, NY 14201. Tickets include the pre-concert performances by Hutchinson Tech and Olmsted High School.


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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John Yurtchuk to purchase and donate historic Clement Residence to the BPO

The Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra and the American Red Cross, Western New York Chapter, announced that local developer and philanthropist John Yurtchuk will purchase the property at 786 Delaware Avenue and will donate the campus centerpiece, the Clement Residence, to the BPO as a gift to the orchestra’s Crescendo Campaign. It will soon house both the Red Cross and BPO administrative staffs. This gesture ranks among the biggest and most creative donations in the history of the BPO.

“I am so pleased to be able to bring together and assist two major non-profit organizations that I’ve been close to for years.  I’m very happy to have found the ideal steward in the BPO for the iconic Clement Residence and to preserve this important part of Buffalo history.  Collaboration between non-profits is the wave of the future and this is a prime example of creative and strategic thinking by the leadership of both organizations,” John Yurtchuk said.

The 17,000 square foot building was designed by E.B. Greene and was built in 1912. It was given to the Red Cross in 1941 and has served as its local headquarters ever since. Under the terms of a lease agreement, the two organizations will essentially split the space, with the Red Cross occupying a portion of the first floor and the entire third floor while the BPO staff will occupy the second floor. The foyer and conference rooms on the main floor will be shared by the two organizations. Overall, the building will accommodate nearly 50 people across both organizations.

“The Board of the Western New York Chapter of the Red Cross is very happy to see this historic property purchased by a local philanthropist and donated to a local partner like the BPO. This will allow us to continue to be a resident in the building that was so generously donated by the Clement family to us, and be positioned to serve our many clients in the core of the city of Buffalo,” said Murray Covello, American Red Cross, Western New York Chapter Board Chair. “After review and consultation with the Board, the Clement family and other stakeholders we believe the sale of the entire property is the right decision that will position us for the long term. We look forward to working with the BPO and other tenants to make the campus a thriving hub in this community.”

By remaining in the building, the Red Cross continues to honor Carolyn Tripp Clement’s donation 75 years ago. This new collaboration also returns music to this historic building directly supporting the Clement family legacy.

“The recent news about ‘786,’ the former home of Carolyn Tripp Clement, is exciting indeed,” said Stephen M. Clement, III, Carolyn’s great-grandson. “As a Clement Trustee of the Western New York Chapter of the American Red Cross, I have followed closely the real estate transactions which have culminated in today’s announcement. I have communicated with over fifty relatives and descendants of our great grandmother. One cousin put it very well: ‘It sounds like a complete win-win-win for the Philharmonic, the Red Cross and for the family.'”

This move provides potential new revenue opportunities for the BPO. The Clement Residence was built for a very musical family. There is a stunning two-story music room that will once again be utilized for concerts with the BPO and other organizations which may host musical events in the space. The BPO looks forward to providing greater access to the community through concerts, events, tours of the historic building, and new benefits for its donors and subscribers.

“The BPO is grateful for this extraordinary gift from John and Carolyn Yurtchuk, who serve our community in many quiet and meaningful ways. The Clement Residence has significant value today and its value is likely to grow well into the future. This donation is transformative and addresses each of the Orchestra’s strategic priorities – finding new and innovative ways to connect with our community, continuing our artistic growth and development by showcasing our musicians, and strengthening our fiscal position while ensuring the organization is able to control of own destiny. We look forward to our stewardship of this historic building that has been part of Western New York for over 100 years,” said Stephen Swift, Chairman of the BPO Board.

About the BPO Crescendo Campaign:

The BPO is in the final phase of the Crescendo Campaign to increase its endowment past the $50 million mark and strengthen its annual operating budget.  Once complete, the BPO will operate under orchestra industry standards with an endowment five times its operating budget of $11 million. To make a gift or learn more information about the campaign, please contact Katie Bates Johnson, Crescendo Campaign Coordinator, at 716-242-7828 or, or visit

About the American Red Cross:

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit or, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.

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At annual meeting, Buffalo Philharmonic announces balanced budget, touts record-breaking season, honors partners, names new trustees and officers

BUFFALO, NY – On Sept. 12, Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra Society, Inc. stakeholders gathered at Kleinhans Music Hall for its annual membership meeting to review the past season, to elect trustees, and to get updates on the state of the orchestra.

For the 2016-17 season, Treasurer Jim Beardi reported that the BPO broke records in ticket sales, subscriptions, and fundraising. Earned revenue hit an all-time high of $4.4 million, with season tickets accounting for $1.9 million. Fundraising brought the orchestra $4.3 million in contributed revenue, including a new record for the annual fund. Endowment income from increasing assets from the success of the Crescendo Campaign contributed a record $1.7 million and helped the organization achieve another balanced budget, the 12th in the past 13 years.

Executive Director Daniel Hart reported attendance of 210,000 people over the 38-week season, an increase of more than 20,000 from the 2015-16 season, and reported a total of 129 performances of the full orchestra and dozens by BPO musicians in the schools. The BPO education program was lauded as attendance passed the 50,000 mark.

Music Director JoAnn Falletta reflected on numerous artistic success and presented the first-ever “BPO Partner Awards” to several artistic partners. Irish Classical Theater Company collaborated with the orchestra on a successful three-concert performance of “Amadeus.” LehrerDance and the BPO presented “An American Siddhartha” on the UB campus, which fused dance, music and literature and brought the classic Herman Hesse novel to a new generation. A two-year collaboration with Projex and the Richardson Olmsted Campus bore fruit in the landmark “enLIGHTen Buffalo” concert on the grounds of the Campus. The board recognized Vincent O’Neill and Fortunato Pezzimenti of Irish Classical Theatre Company, Jon Lehrer of Lehrer Dance, and Keith Harrington of Projex and Corey Fabian Borenstein of the Richardson Olmsted Campus.

Members also heard presentations from Otis Glover, co-chair of the new BPO Diversity Council, BPO bassoonist and Trustee Martha Malkiewicz, and Carl Klingenschmitt on the activities of the Friends of the BPO.

Alex Montante and Robin Schulze, PhD were elected to three-year terms as trustees. Montante has extensive experience in non-profit board service, including a stint as president of the Junior League of Buffalo. She also serves on the boards of the Western New York Women’s Foundation, Nichols School, and Hauptman-Woodward Medical Research Institute. Schulze is the dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and Professor of English at UB, and is also a former professional harpist who studied at Eastman School of Music.

Trustee Nicole Tzetzo reported the election of officers for the 17-18 season, including Stephen Swift, Chair, Ange Fatta, Vice Chair, and Jim Beardi, Treasurer. Scott Stenclik was named Secretary, and John Yurtchuk became an additional Vice Chair. Cynthia Zane, Doug Bean, and Cindy Abbott Letro were each elected to a second three-year term. BPO French hornist Daniel Sweeley and BPO bassist Jonathan Borden took over as musician representatives from violinist Megan Prokes and trombonist Tim Smith.

Board Chair Stephen Swift honored outgoing secretary and board member Nicole Tzetzo. Tzetzo served on the board for 11 years, most recently holding the position of secretary, and is now Executive Vice President for the Ralph C. Wilson Foundation.

Director of Sales and Patron Service Mike Giambra was honored for his service to the orchestra as he moves from full to part-time status. Giambra joined the BPO staff in 1999 and oversaw the development and implementation of many of the orchestra’s signature sales promotions.

“The successes we’ve had over the past season really speak to the success of the broader Western New York community,” said Swift. “The BPO is proud to be a driving force in the revitalization of the region. We continue to strive towards fulfilling our strategic priorities of growing our audience, developing and growing artistically, and operating with excellence and fiscal responsibility. We have a clear strategy that works and leverages the talent available to us, ensuring that we can serve this community for many decades to come.”

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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Buffalo Philharmonic starts season with glamour and panache

BUFFALO, NY – The Buffalo Philharmonic’s 2017-18 season celebrates American ingenuity while honoring the European roots of the classical tradition.

The season begins on Sept. 16 with a performance starring eminent violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter. Mutter rarely performs in North America, and has not performed with the BPO since 1988. She will play Tchaikovsky’s sole violin concerto on a program which opens with the Austro-Hungarian flair of Brahms, Weiner and Schmidt. JoAnn Falletta will conduct.

The evening also includes the BPO’s annual Gala. The Mary Seaton Room will be professionally decorated for pre-concert cocktails, appetizers and dinner catered by Oliver’s. Gala guests will receive premium seating for the concert, and attend a post-concert dessert reception. The Gala is sponsored by the Louis P. Ciminelli Family Foundation. Proceeds benefit the award-winning education programs of the BPO.

The KeyBank Pops Series gets underway on Sept. 23. Principal Pops Conductor John Morris Russell is on the podium for Disney Fantasia Live in Concert. The BPO provides the music, while iconic scenes from “Fantasia” and “Fantasia 2000” play on-screen. JMR steps into the role of Leopold Stockowski, introducing each piece with his customary wit and energy. “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice,” “The Firebird,” and Beethoven’s Fifth and Sixth Symphonies are among the pieces featured. A terrific way to introduce young people to the orchestra, a family four-pack is available for $119.

From George Gershwin’s blend of jazz and classical to the minimalism of Phillip Glass, American music is always fresh and innovative. The BPO celebrates that spirit by kicking off the M&T Bank Classics Series with a two-week American Masters festival. On Sept. 29 and Oct. 1, Gershwin’s Rhapsody features pianist Charlie Albright, a young performer/composer/educator who exemplifies this spirit, to perform Gershwin’s iconic “Rhapsody in Blue.” Ferde Grofé burst on to the American music scene as the orchestrator of “Rhapsody in Blue.” His success inspired him to finish his own tone poem, “Grand Canyon Suite,” also featured in this concert. Short pieces by John Adams and Duke Ellington complete the program. There is no performance on Sept. 30 in recognition of Yom Kippur.

BPO concertmaster Dennis Kim is in the spotlight for the festival’s second week, Copland’s Fanfare, performing Philip Glass’ Violin Concerto No. 1. Glass’ music is heard in unexpected places: in addition to his operas, symphonies, concertos and chamber works, he composed the music for “The Truman Show” and “The Hours” and for American Express, Verizon and the Super Bowl. Falletta likened this concerto to a rock song. This year, the world is celebrating Leonard Bernstein’s centennial, and the BPO is participating by including Three Dances from “On The Town” on this program. Paired with Aaron Copland’s Symphony No. 3, which includes his famous “Fanfare for the Common Man,” this program embodies the nation’s post-World War II optimism.

“Very often, I conduct in Europe, and I’m asked to bring American music there,” Falletta said about the festival. “Witnessing how audiences in England, Germany and Spain love American music makes me realize we have so much to be proud of.”

On Oct. 3, at 7 PM, the BPO celebrates the Colored Musicians Club centennial in a Know The Score concert. This series offers a closer look at the story behind the music.The Club has hosted jazz greats such as including Ella Fitzgerald, Dizzy Gillespie, Billie Holiday, and Lionel Hampton. Today, the Club is a designated local landmark, and the oldest of its kind in the nation. The George Scott Big Band performs front-and-center with the BPO in a concert that tells the tale of this Buffalo icon through music, words and images. Stefan Sanders will conduct, and the audience is invited to a post-concert party, with more from the George Scott Big Band.

When the news broke that Bill Murray was coming to town with a chamber group, everyone thought it was a hoax. But it’s happening on Oct. 11. Joined by cellist Jan Vogler, pianist Vanessa Perez and violinist Mira Wang, the innovative “New Worlds” program sees Murray reading Whitman and Twain and singing Gershwin to illuminate the ties between great American authors and composers, and explore how they reinvented European traditions in music and literature to create a wholly American aesthetic. The string trio will provide the soundtrack with works by Schubert, Bach and Piazzolla.

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. All events take place at Kleinhans Music Hall.

For the first time in decades, the International Conference of Symphony and Opera Musicians meets in Buffalo

For Immediate Release
Contact:Kate Jenkins
Communications Coordinator
Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra
BUFFALO, NY – When the International Conference of Symphony and Opera Musicians last met in Buffalo, Jimmy Griffin was the mayor, and the Buffalo Sabres still played at the Aud.
The organization representing the top 52 orchestras in the nation hasn’t held their conference here since 1988. But thanks to the efforts of Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra French horn Daniel Sweeley, who sits on the national board and serves as the BPO’s delegate to the organization, ICSOM is meeting at the Adam’s Mark Hotel from August 22-26.
Each member orchestra will send at least one representative to the conference, and other leading figures in the industry are expected to attend. BPO Music Director JoAnn Falletta will speak on one of the panel discussions, as will BPO tuba Don Harry. Discussion topics will include diversity in the workplace, pension concerns, negotiating healthcare, and crafting community relations program for musicians. There will be a talk on orchestra stability from those coming back from near extinction and those that have avoided it. Overall, 110 people are expected to attend.
The event will also include a volunteer service involving the BPO Kids for Exceptional Kids program taking place at 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 22 at the Adam’s Mark Hotel. The BPO Kids for Exceptional Kids program has served children with special needs for several seasons, and is an integral part of each BlueCross BlueShield BPO Kids concert. The program offers noise-cancelling headphones, quiet pre-concert activities, and seating near exits so that children with sensory sensitivities or similar issues can better experience the concert. ICSOM delegates will perform for the families in this program in an informal environment, and offer an instrument demonstration. The media is invited to attend this event.
“Much has changed in our city and our orchestra since 1988, and I’m happy to showcase both. It was a natural choice to hold the conference downtown so our guests can enjoy Canalside and the many wonderful restaurants. The guests will enjoy an outing to Niagara Falls during the week. I’m grateful for the financial support both from the BPO and the American Federation of Musicians local #92,” Sweeley said.
The Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra is a founding member of ICSOM. ICSOM’s mission is to promote a better and more rewarding livelihood for the skilled orchestral performer and to enrich the cultural life of our society. The BPO and American Federation of Musicians Local 92 are serving as hosts, with BPO Associate Librarian Travis Hendra as conference coordinator.


Tickets for all Buffalo Philharmonic concerts on sale Aug. 12

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.

M&T Bank Classic Series

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.
KeyBank Pops Series

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.
BPO Rocks

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.

Holidays at the BPO

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.

Know the Score

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.

Other season highlights

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

To subscribe or purchase individual tickets, contact the BPO at (716) 885-5000, visit, or stop by the box office at Kleinhans Music Hall, 3 Symphony Circle, Buffalo.
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


Comedy legend Bill Murray & cellist Jan Vogler bring collaboration to Kleinhans


Tickets on sale June 9, 10 AM

BUFFALO, NY – Bill Murray’s fans know to expect the unexpected from the multifaceted comedian and actor.

Murray became famous on “Saturday Night Live,” and cemented his reputation with blockbuster comedies like “Ghostbusters,” “What About Bob,” and “Groundhog Day.” In recent years, he’s become equally as well-known for his serious work in films like “Lost in Translation” and “Broken Flowers;” for his passions for baseball and poetry; and for delighting his fans with surprise encounters. But it was a surprise encounter of his own that led Murray to venture into classical music.

Four years ago, Murray was seated across from cellist Jan Vogler on a transatlantic flight. The two men struck up a conversation, and then a friendship. They bonded over a shared love of poetry, and decided to embark on an artistic collaboration.

On October 11, Murray and Vogler bring “New Worlds” to Kleinhans Music Hall. The simple title speaks to both the project’s origins as a collaboration between two different artistic worlds, and to the theme of the project itself.

“New Worlds” uses chamber music performed by Vogler, violinist Mira Wang and pianist Vanessa Perez and literary readings by Murray to communicate America’s core values. The program seeks to illuminate the ties between great American authors and composers, and explores how they reinvented European traditions in music and literature to create a wholly American aesthetic.

Jan Vogler began his career as principal cellist of the Staatskapelle Dresden, and left to focus on solo work. He has been Artistic Director of the Moritzburg Festival near Dresden since 2001. In 2006, he received the European Award for Culture and in 2011 the Erich-Kästner Award for tolerance, humanity and international understanding. Vogler plays the 1707 ex-Castelbarco/Fau Stradivarius cello. Violinist Mira Wang, a native of China, is the winner of the International Violin Competition in Geneva and the First Prize of the International Violin Competition in New Zealand. She gave the premiere of Wolfgang Rihm’s “Duo Concerto” on three continents in two months, and is featured on multiple recordings for Sony Classical and Berlin. She and Vogler are married and are at home in New York City with their two children. Venezuelan pianist Vanessa Perez holds degrees from the Royal Academy of Music and Yale University, and has released a number of solo and collaborative discs. In addition to her thriving chamber and recital career, she was also seen on the Amazon TV show “Mozart in the Jungle” last December.

The project premiered on June 4 at the Dresden Festival in Germany, and makes its United States debut on July 20 at the Festival Napa Valley in California before heading east to Chicago, Toronto and New York City’s Carnegie Hall. Their Buffalo stop takes place on October 11 at 8 p.m. in the Main Hall at Kleinhans Music Hall, 3 Symphony Circle, Buffalo. The BPO is not part of this performance. Tickets range from $59 to $99. A limited-availability Platinum VIP package is available for $250, and includes premium seating, a poster, and an exclusive meet-and-greet. Tickets go on sale at 10 a.m. Friday, June 9 and are available online at, over the phone at (716) 885-5000, or in person at the Kleinhans box office.