July 28, 2010

Maestro Ling Leads RPO in Mozart and Dvorak

Next Wednesday, August 4, the RPO welcomes back guest conductor Jahja Ling for an evening of works by Mozart and Dvorak - in the air-conditioned comfort of the Performance Hall at Hochstein for the last of the “Midsummer Classics” concerts this summer.

The concert opens with the animated overture to Mozart’s opera The Marriage of Figaro, and then the brilliance of Mozart continues with pianist Jessie Chang and the sparkling Piano Concerto in G major. Then in the second half, you’ll hear Dvorak’s joyful Eighth Symphony. Use this link for more concert information.

The concert starts at 7:30 pm, but come early and you can enjoy wine tastings beginning at 6:00 pm and pre-concert chamber music at 6:30 pm. A trio of RPO musicians will perform Spanish-flavored music by Williams, Granados, and Turina. Among the featured wineries are Mayers Lake Ontario Winery and Eagle Crest Vineyards. Holly Howell of the Democrat and Chronicle also will be on hand to answer questions about wine.

Plus, the Rochester Plaza Hotel - just a few blocks from Hochstein - is offering RPO patrons free on-site parking and a dining discount at the State Street Bar and Grill. Click here for details about all the pre-concert activities.

Maestro Ling is now in his seventh season as Music Director of the San Diego Symphony and recently celebrated his 25th Anniversary with the Cleveland Orchestra, including six seasons as director of the Blossom Festival. Born in Jakarta, Indonesia, of Chinese descent and now an American citizen, Mr. Ling studied at Juilliard and with renowned conductors, among them Leonard Bernstein.

Tickets are $30. Call 454-2100, or use this link to purchase online.

July 13, 2010

Cirque Acrobats Perform with RPO at CMAC

The circus is coming to town, but in the more elegant form of “cirque,” featuring the amazing aerial flyers, acrobats, contortionists, dancers, jugglers, balancers, and strongmen of Cirque de la Symphonie!

Back by popular demand after a sell-out performance in 2009, they will perform for one acrobatic evening only on Saturday, July 24 at 7:30 pm, with ALL NEW performances customized for our own Jeff Tyzik and the RPO! Bring your entire family – kids 12 and under are FREE on the lawn at CMAC!

You’ll have a chance to watch many of the best Cirque artists in the world — including world record holders, gold-medal winners, and Olympians — as they literally drop into CMAC, right above the orchestra as it performs live. The combination of live music and acrobatics is totally mesmerizing. Click here to read more about the show from the perspective of one of the RPO musicians.

Click this link or the image below to view video of Cirque de la Symphonie performing with the Cincinnati Pops.

Alexander “Sasha” Streltsov, the company’s chief aerial artist, grew up in the circus world of Moscow. At age 12 he started working with future Cirque du Soleil choreographer Pavel Brun, and went on to perform on Broadway at the Gershwin Theater. CMAC audiences will see him soaring above the stage – suspended from silk fabric – in a spectacular display of aerial artistry, or performing his riveting spinning cube act.

The program also features the amazing strongmen Jarek and Darek, Irina Burdetsky’s twirling hula hoops, and Vladimir Tsarkov’s spellbinding combination of mime and juggling feats.

While all this is going on, you’ll hear the orchestra performing selections from Carmen, Swan Lake, The Firebird, and John Williams’ scores to Harry Potter: The Sorcerer’s Stone and Star Wars: Attack of the Clones, among others.

Tickets start at $20. Order your tickets online today or call 454-2100 to order by phone.

July 7, 2010

RPO’s “Mozart and Marriage” Concert Features Musical Couple

RPO Concertmaster Juliana Athayde and Principal Oboist Erik Behr — a husband and wife team — will be featured in next week’s Midsummer Classics concert at Hochstein. Christopher Seaman conducts music of Mozart, Bach, and Beethoven on Wednesday, July 14 at 7:30 pm, his final summer performance as the RPO’s Music Director. (Click here for concert information).

We had a chance to talk with Juliana about the works they will be performing, and their summer activities.

Tell us a little about the pieces you’re performing for the “Mozart and Marriage” concert.

First off, the Bach double concerto for violin and oboe is obviously a favorite of ours. It’s a beautiful piece, especially the slow movement, and shows off both instruments' lyrical and technical abilities. The violin and oboe are wonderfully matched due to the similar ranges of the instruments as well as the voice-like qualities of each. We have performed this piece a number of times and discover something new in every performance.

I have fond memories of the Bach A minor violin concerto from my childhood as a Suzuki violin student. This piece is "in the books," as they say (referring to the set of 10 Suzuki books pertaining to the Dr. Suzuki method of violin playing), and I probably first played it when I was no more than 6 or 7 years old. I am most looking forward to hearing what Christopher's harpsichord playing along with the orchestra will bring to this work — I've only ever played it accompanied by the piano!

What have you been doing this summer to occupy yourselves while the RPO is on break?

We are lucky to be busy during the time off from the RPO. In June, we visited four different cities in as many weeks! The first week of June, Juliana performed as a guest concertmaster with the Kansas City Symphony with Michael Stern (son of late virtuoso violinist, Isaac Stern) conducting. The middle two weeks of June we both performed in San Diego as members of the Mainly Mozart Festival. The last week of June we flew to Maryland where Juliana is on the faculty of the National Orchestral Institute at the University of Maryland. Finally, Juliana was flown to Aspen, Colorado, under the auspices of the Aspen Music Festival, to deliver the convocation speech to all 700 students and 75 faculty members. After the RPO finishes the summer season in July, we will be headed to Sun Valley, Idaho for the Sun Valley Summer Symphony during the month of August. And if that wasn't enough travel, in September we plan to visit Erik's family in Cape Town, South Africa!

When do you practice? Are you early risers or night owls? Do you practice together?

Whenever we need to! As an oboist, Erik has to make reeds — a daily endeavor which starts with bamboo cane, includes many different steps, and after a few hours, results in new oboe reeds — constantly and has a very nice "reed room" in which to do so. We are both more prone to nighttime practicing and thankfully, our neighbors like the sounds of our instruments! We are definitely night owls and often stay up past 1 am — something we try to avoid when we have 9:30 am RPO rehearsals the next morning. While we don't ever practice together, we try to practice at the same time — that way we can enjoy our free time together. Speaking of which, we're heading to the pool right now!