June 29, 2010

Bravo, Michael Butterman!

Did you know that the RPO performed more than 30 concerts this past year for schoolchildren and for families? From the various school concerts, to the orKIDStra Family Series, to the “Around the Town” community concerts, the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra has a deep commitment to music education and community engagement.
When Michael Butterman was named Principal Conductor for Education and Outreach (The Louise and Henry Epstein Family Chair) in 2000, he was the first conductor in America to hold a position devoted to programming for young people. This pioneering move for Rochester and the RPO was a major milestone along a path that dates back to the early days of the Orchestra.

The Rochester Civic Orchestra (predecessor to the RPO) was among the first ensembles in the U.S. to be devoted to presenting educational concerts. This includes the innovative “School of the Air” beginning in October 1929, when orchestra concerts were broadcast over the radio to schools around the area, and in later years, throughout the state. George Eastman himself contributed new radio receivers to 36 schools so they could hear the concerts. After each one, students could vote for their favorite composition (and this was way before “American Idol”), and the most popular works were later performed in an all-request program.

Michael Butterman’s extraordinary ability to communicate the glories of great music to audiences of any age has made him a natural for this position. Michael tells us, “Sharing the magic of music and finding ways of igniting that spark of imagination in young minds is among the most gratifying work I can imagine.”

And while his career has taken off over the past decade to include music directorships in Boulder and Shreveport and Resident Conductor status in Jacksonville — in addition to an impressive array of guest conducting engagements across the country — we are grateful that he continues to serve in this vital role here in our community. Happy 10th Anniversary, Michael!

By the way, you have three chances to hear Michael conduct the RPO this summer: a free concert at Ontario Beach tomorrow, June 30, the "Red, White, and Boom!" concert at CMAC this Saturday, July 3—which also will include pre-concert activities for families—and the free July Fourth concert in downtown Rochester. Kids 12 and under are FREE on the lawn for the CMAC concerts this summer!

And you can click here for more information about next year’s series of family concerts conducted by Michael Butterman — which includes Green Eggs and Ham and Peter vs. The Wolf. When you subscribe now to the orKIDStra Series, you can add on tickets to a special matinee of Bugs Bunny at the Symphony, at a 75% discount.

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