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Signature Stars and Stripes

Our Memorial Day weekend tradition pays a musical tribute to the men and women of the armed forces who defend our freedom.

The Coffee Concert Series is presented by Highmark.


Stuart Chafetz, conductor
Dee Donasco, vocalist
Jeffrey Biegel, piano
Buffalo Philharmonic Chorus
Adam Luebke, BPC music director
Silver Creek High School Chamber Choir
Phillip McMullen, director

LAVALLEE / arr. Fenwick O Canada
SMITH / arr. Skrowaczewski The Star-Spangled Banner
BRUCE HEALEY American Dream Fanfare
SOUSA Semper Fidelis March
arr. Ryan Murphy Simple Gifts
BERLIN / arr. Daryl McKenzie Alexander’s Ragtime Band
GERSHWIN / arr. Riddle Fascinating Rhythm
PETER BOYER Rhapsody in Red, White & Blue


ROBERT JAGER Esprit de Corps
SOUSA Liberty Bell March
MICHAEL GIACCHINO Main Theme from Medal of Honor
JAN HORVATH Immigrant’s Anthem
arr. Lowden Armed Forces Salute
BATES & WARD / arr. Sam Shoup America the Beautiful
BERLIN / arr. Bruce Healey God Bless America

About Stuart Chafetz

Stuart Chafetz is the Principal Pops Conductor of the Columbus Symphony and Principal Pops Conductor of the Chautauqua and Marin Symphonies. Chafetz, a conductor celebrated for his dynamic and engaging podium presence, is increasingly in demand with orchestras across the continent, and takes the podium this season for several appearances. He enjoys a special relationship with the Phoenix Symphony, where he leads multiple programs annually.

Chafetz has had the privilege to work with renowned artists including Leslie Odom, Jr., En Vogue, Kenny G, David Foster and Catherine McPhee, The O’Jays, Chris Botti, 2 Cellos, Hanson, Rick Springfield, Michael Bolton, Kool & The Gang, Jefferson Starship, George Benson, Richard Chamberlain, John Denver, Marvin Hamlisch, Thomas Hampson, Wynonna Judd, Jim Nabors, Randy Newman, and many others.

He previously held posts as Resident Conductor of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra and Associate Conductor of the Louisville Orchestra. As principal timpanist of the Honolulu Symphony for twenty years, Chafetz would also conduct the annual Nutcracker performances with Ballet Hawaii and principal players from the American Ballet Theatre. It was during that time that Chafetz led numerous concerts with the Maui Symphony and Pops. He has led numerous Spring Ballet productions at the world-renowned Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University.

When not on the podium, Chafetz makes his home near San Francisco, CA, with his wife Ann Krinitsky. Chafetz holds a bachelor’s degree in Music Performance from the College-Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati, and a master’s degree from the Eastman School of Music.

About Dee Donasco

Praised as an artist who embraces vocal versatility, Philippine-born soprano Dee Donasco has attracted attention with a voice that crosses a variety of musical genres. Equally at home with opera, oratorio or recital, jazz and pop, musical theater, and accomplished in classical works ranging from Baroque to modern contemporary, she brings rewarding vocal and dramatic range to her work.

This performance season, Dee makes her singing debut with the Edmonton Symphony, in addition to the BPO. She returned to perform with the Columbus Symphony for a series of Holiday Pops concerts, and returns to the Nashville Opera to perform the role of Papagena for Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte. In a very busy 2022-23 season, Dee made her mainstage debut with Nashville Opera as Mrs. Gobineau in Menotti’s The Medium. She also made her performance debuts as a featured guest artist with the Columbus Symphony for the Patriotic Pops concert and gala event, and with the Seattle Symphony for Holiday Pops. At less than a day’s notice she made her debut with the Nashville Symphony for Music City Christmas, getting to perform alongside country music star, Mickey Guyton. Other performances for that season include her return to sing with the Chautauqua Symphony for the Independence Day Celebration, the Marin Symphony for Holiday Pops, and the Gyros String Quartet in Dallas, for Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater.

Dee made her international debut on a concert tour of Ireland in 2016. She has appeared as a featured guest artist with the Detroit Symphony, Chattanooga Symphony and Opera, Kingsville Symphony, North Carolina Symphony, Jacksonville Symphony, and the Dallas Symphony. She also performed for the Duke Ellington Foundation’s Holiday Celebration in New York City, in addition to her critically acclaimed performances as the title role in Mozart’s Bastien und Bastienne and as Alba in Rodriguez’ La Curandera with Opera Piccola San Antonio. She made her Dallas Symphony debut as the featured guest artist for the 2011 New Year’s Eve concert. She also appeared as Mahalath in the world premiere of Mark Peterson’s A New Nation, and later performed as a guest artist on the U.S. national tour of the world-renowned group, The Priests – Irish tenors – in 2013.

A prodigy, winning the National Music Competition for Young Artists (NAMCYA) of the Philippines at age 10, she has continued to win numerous awards, including first place in the San Antonio Vocal Competition and the SMU Meadows Concerto Competition, second place in the Dallas Opera Guild Vocal Competition, and third place in the Lois Alba Aria Competition and the Jensen Foundation Voice Competition. A regional finalist for the Metropolitan Opera’s Laffont Competition in 2011, Dee returned to Opera North to sing Susanna in Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro, after making her company debut in 2010 as Zerlina in Mozart’s Don Giovanni. In 2009, she made her debut at the San Antonio Opera as Ines in Verdi’s Il trovatore. Other noted operatic roles she has performed are Laurie in Copland’s The Tender Land, Euridice in Offenbach’s Orpheus in the Underworld, and Aminta in Mozart’s Il re pastore. Her concert works include the Coronation Mass and Requiem by Mozart, Haydn’s Lord Nelson Mass, Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater, Michael Haydn’s Requiem, Bach’s Magnificat, Orff’s Carmina Burana, Handel’s Messiah, Couperin’s Leçons de ténèbres, Britten’s Les Illuminations, Chausson’s Poéme de l’amour et de la mer, and Vivaldi’s Gloria.

Dee earned her master’s degree in music and Performance Diploma at Southern Methodist University with a full artistic scholarship. She graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance and a Bachelor of Science in Biology with a minor in chemistry from Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi. She served as Adjunct Professor of Voice and Lyric Theatre at the University of Dallas for four years prior to moving to Tennessee. Her most cherished and greatest achievement to date is being a mother of two beautiful human beings.

About Jeffrey Biegel

In an age when many artists’ fortunes begin with a meteoric ascent and quickly cool with the inexorable free-fall, pianist Jeffrey Biegel has managed to buck that trend, fashioning a career of steady success studded with concerts at major venues with major orchestras, a GRAMMY-winning recording, and more than 25 commissioned works by living composers. His life takes its roots from age three, barely able to hear nor speak, until corrected by surgery. The ‘reverse Beethoven’ phenomenon explains his lifelong commitment to music, having heard only vibrations in his formative years. The pandemic year of 2020 focused on composing original “Waltzes of Hope,” “Sonatina,” and “Three Reflections: JFK, RBG and MLK” for solo piano, and for piano and orchestra, orchestrations by Harrison Sheckler. 2021 saw the world premieres of his “Reflection of Justice: An Ode to Ruth Bader Ginsburg” with the Dallas Symphony, and Ellen Taaffe Zwilich’s “Remembering Ruth Bader Ginsburg” for mezzo-soprano, piano and orchestra in tribute to the late Supreme Court Justice, with mezzo-soprano Denyce Graves. 2021 also saw the world premiere of Ellen Taaffe Zwilich’s “Shadows,” newly arranged for piano and seven players with the Idaho State Civic Symphony. In 2022, he premiered Jim Stephenson’s piano concerto, Daniel Perttu’s “A Planets Odyssey” for piano and orchestra, Farhad Poupel’s “The Legend of Bijan and Manijeh” for piano, orchestra and chorus, his own concerto, “Three Reflections: Freedom (JFK), Justice (RBG) Equality (MLK),” and Christopher Marshall’s “Thanksgiving Variations on ‘We Gather Together'”. For 2023, the 50-state Rhapsody National Initiative began with the Utah Symphony leading a three-season effort with Peter Boyer’s “Rhapsody in Red, White & Blue,” with a world premiere recording of the new Rhapsody with Peter Boyer conducting the London Symphony Orchestra for a February 2024 Naxos digital release. The 2024-25 season foresees a new work for piano and orchestra by Adolphus Hailstork with the Pacific Symphony and Carl St. Clair conducting, and GRAMMY-winning singer/songwriter Melissa Manchester’s “AWAKE” for piano and orchestra.

Considered the most prolific artist of his generation, Moravian College in Bethlehem, PA conferred the honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters upon Mr. Biegel in 2015, for his achievements in performance, recordings, and chamber music as a champion of new music, a composer, arranger, and educator. In 2019, Kenneth Fuchs’ “Piano Concerto: ‘Spiritualist'” with the London Symphony Orchestra led by JoAnn Falletta received a GRAMMY Award for Best Classical Compendium, featuring Mr. Biegel as its soloist. In 2019, the first digital recordings were released on Mr. Biegel’s Naturally Sharp label: “Cyberecital: An Historic Recording,” “A Pianist’s Journey,” and the September 2021 release of George Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue” – the 1924 version with the Adrian Symphony and Bruce Kiesling conducting.

Mr. Biegel created the first largest consortium of orchestras in 1998 for Ellen Taaffe Zwilich’s “Millennium Fantasy,” premiered with the Cincinnati Symphony in 2000, followed by Charles Strouse’s “Concerto America” with the Boston Pops, Lowell Liebermann’s Concerto No. 3 with the Milwaukee Symphony, William Bolcom’s “Prometheus,” Richard Danielpour’s “Mirrors” with the Pacific Symphony and Pacific Chorale, Ellen Taaffe Zwilich’s “Shadows” and Jake Runestad’s “Dreams of the Fallen” with the Louisiana Philharmonic and Symphony Chorus of New Orleans, Lucas Richman’s “Piano Concerto: In Truth” with the Knoxville Symphony and recorded with the Pittsburgh Symphony, and Kenneth Fuchs’ “Piano Concerto: ‘Spiritualist'” with the Springfield Symphony (MA). He also premiered and recorded Giovanni Allevi’s “Concerto for Piano and Orchestra,” and commissioned Christopher Theofanidis’ “Concerto No. 2 for Piano and Orchestra” with the Harrisburg Symphony, the “Peanuts Concerto” by Dick Tunney, based on music by Vince Guaraldi, Jimmy Webb’s “Nocturne for Piano and Orchestra, ” and PDQ Bach’s “Concerto for Simply Grand Piano and Orchestra” by Peter Schickele with the Colorado Symphony. Bringing new music to youth orchestras saw the world premiere of Daniel Dorff’s piano concerto with the Etowah Youth Orchestra, conducted by Michael Gagliardo.

Mr. Biegel studied at The Juilliard School with Adele Marcus, herself a pupil of Josef Lhevinne and Artur Schnabel, and is currently on faculty at the Conservatory of Music at Brooklyn College.


Friday, May 24, 2024
10:30 am
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Kleinhans Music Hall
3 Symphony Circle
Buffalo, NY 14201 United States
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(716) 885-5000

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