Know the Score series kicks off with three-day exploration of Aaron Copland’s life, influences

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


Know the Score series kicks off with three-day exploration of Aaron Copland’s life, influences

Events to take place at Burchfield Penney Art Center, Albright-Knox Art Gallery and Kleinhans Music Hall



BUFFALO, NY – The Buffalo Philharmonic is taking a deeper look at Aaron Copland’s life and legacy this fall.

Today, Copland is celebrated for his melodic, accessible works such as his “Rodeo” ballet; “Fanfare For the Common Man,” and “Appalachian Spring.” This music belies a nomadic early adulthood that led to investigation by the House Un-American Activities Committee during the McCarthy years. Over a three-day period, the BPO and its partners will explore these aspects of Copland’s life through the Music Unwound Consortium program created by Joseph Horowitz and supported by a grant from the National Endowment for Humanities.

During the 1930s, Copland was involved in New York City’s Group Theater, working with such notables as Lee Strasburg and Elia Kazan. Dedicated to producing modern plays dealing with social issues, the company existed for 12 years. After World War II, most of those involved with Group Theater were investigated as Communists, including Copland. A program exploring Copland and the Cold War will take place at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 14 at the Burchfield Penney Art Center. Admission is free.

Through music, a re-enactment of Copland’s Congressional testimony, and a talk by program creator Joseph Horowitz, the program explores external influences on Copland’s musical development. Pianist Matthew Marco will perform Copland’s 1920 piece “The Cat and the Mouse” and his 1930 “Piano Variations;” and will be joined by musicians from the Buffalo Chamber Players for his 1950 Piano Quartet. Choral director Suzanne Fatta has assembled Buffalo’s top vocalists for “Into The Streets May First.” Colleen Marcello, Jacqueline Quirk, Leah Schneider Wietig, John Clayton, and Valerian Ruminski will join Fatta in leading an audience sing-along of this Copland song.

Excerpts from the 1939 film “The City,” which Copland scored, will be shown. Victoria Perez, artistic director of Raices Theater Company, directs the re-enactment of Copland’s testimony. Horowitz serves as the host for the evening, and will illuminate the connections between the music, the testimony, and Copland’s life and times.

The investigation into Copland’s Communist ties focused on his activities in Latin America. During his Group Theater years, Copland spent a lot of time in Mexico, composing his early signature work “El Salon Mexico.” He also had a profound influence on Mexican composers Carlos Chavez and Silvestre Revueltas. University at Buffalo professor Bruce Jackson and the BPO will explore different facets of these relationships.

Among Revueltas’ major works was the score to the Paul Strand film “Redes,” about Mexican fishermen victimized by the monopolization of their market. At 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 15, Bruce Jackson, SUNY Distinguished Professor, James Agee Professor of American Culture, University at Buffalo, will present a free talk on Strand at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery in the auditorium. In “Paul Strand: Genius of Form, and the Discovery of Context,” Jackson explores the ways in which Strand’s time in Mexico spurred his development as a photographer and cinematographer. Strand stands with Edward Weston and Alfred Stieglitz as a master of American modernist photography, and his work is preserved in some of the nation’s most influential galleries.

The three-day event culminates with the BPO concert at 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 16. “Copland in Mexico,” features works by Copland including Hoe Down from “Rodeo” and “El Salon Mexico,” and Revueltas, melded with film, photos and discussion. WNED-FM’s Peter Hall will be the evening’s host, and Rolando Gomez will do readings. “Redes” will be shown in its entirety as the BPO performs the score.

“Redes” has been fully restored by Martin Scorsese’s World Cinema Foundation. About the film, Scorsese said, “A very special film . . . Strand brought his camera eye . . . Zinnemann brought his tremendous sensitivity to actors . .  . and with his score Revueltas gave the film a terrific majesty and grandeur.”

The audience is invited to stay after the concert for a discussion led by Joseph Horowitz and a party. General admission tickets are only $29.

Stefan Sanders conducts this concert, which serves as the kickoff to the 2015-16 Know The Score series. Designed to meet the public desire for musical knowledge, the three-concert series explores the stories behind iconic pieces of music, well-known composers, or musical trends. Concerts start earlier, have a low ticket price, and include post-concert parties where audience members can mingle with the musicians of the orchestra. The BPO will present “Orchestra Meets Jazz,” featuring the Colored Musicians Club to illustrate the important role Buffalo played in the birth of jazz in America, on Jan. 21. On April 29, “Holst’s Planets” will be complemented by visuals developed by Chicago’s Adler Planetarium and KV 265. Patrons may subscribe to the full series of three concerts with reserved seats for $99.

Since 2011, the BPO has been part of the nationwide “Music Unwound” orchestral consortium supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities. The consortium funds contextualized symphonic programs in collaboration with colleges and universities. Its goal is to develop a new concert experience to attract 21st-century audiences to classical music. Music Unwound brought “Charles Ives’ America” to Buffalo in April 2015, and “Dvorak and America” in April 2012.

Horowitz has written all Music Unwound programs. He began his work in creating interdisciplinary classical programs during his tenure as executive director of the Brooklyn Philharmonic, and continues this work with the PostClassical Ensemble in Washington DC, which he founded. Peter Bogdanoff is the videographer for all Music Unwound programs and is also digital media specialist in the UCLA School of the Arts and Architecture.

Schedule of events:

  • Wednesday, Oct. 14, 7 PM, Burchfield Penney Art Center, 1300 Elmwood Ave: “Copland and the Cold War.” Free presentation by Joseph Horowitz including music, film and discussion.
  • Thursday, Oct. 15, 5:30 PM, Albright-Knox Art Gallery Auditorium, 1285 Elmwood Ave: “Paul Strand: Genius of Form and Discovery of Context.” Free talk by Bruce Jackson, SUNY Distinguished Professor, James Agee Professor of American Culture, University at Buffalo.
  • Friday, Oct. 16, 7 PM, Kleinhans Music Hall, 3 Symphony Circle: “Copland in Mexico.” Buffalo Philharmonic Know The Score concert featuring discussion, music and film. Tickets are $29 and are available at or by calling (716) 885-5000.

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

# # #