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 bpo.org or at the Kleinhans Music Hall box office. JoAnn Falletta and the BPO musicians featured on the disc will be signing CDs during the Classical Christmas concerts on Friday, Dec. 7 at 10:30 AM and Saturday, Dec. 8 at 8 PM.