June 27, 2011

Celebrate Independence Day with Your RPO!

The Fourth of July is right around the corner, and this year, the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra is bringing you a patriotic extravaganza to remember, with two spectacular concerts, each followed by a fireworks display!

On Saturday, July 2 at 7:30 pm, Michael Butterman (The Louise and Henry Epstein Family Chair) and the RPO will be at CMAC in Canandaigua for an Independence Day celebration. 

The concert will include iconic American composer George Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue, with piano soloist Ilya Yakuskev, and a tribute to our nation’s Armed Forces. The concert also features The Glory and the Grandeur by Russell Peck, a dazzling work featuring three brilliant percussionists: Jim Tiller (RPO Principal Percussionist), Mark Hodges, and Brad Fuster.

Here’s what Jim had to say about the work: “It's a high-energy piece that begins very dramatically, with the three soloists playing a multi-drum trio throughout the opening section, building to the orchestra's entrance. The soloists move and play their way through a maze of 36 percussion instruments throughout the piece, even sharing the SAME instrument at times. Mark and Brad are good friends of mine and great musicians. We're really looking forward to the July 2nd performance!” To read more about Jim Tiller (including his other interests and favorite composers), click here.
And of course, no July Fourth celebration is complete without the 1812 Overture and Stars and Stripes Forever! Children 12 and under are free on the lawn at CMAC concerts. Tickets start at $13 for the CMAC concert on July 2. Call 454-2100 or click here to purchase online.

Then, on Monday, July 4 at 9:00 pm, Michael Butterman and the RPO will bring the musical celebration to downtown Rochester for a free outdoor concert on the Main Street Bridge that will include all your favorite patriotic tunes, and will culminate in a magnificent fireworks display. Food and beverages will be available for purchase, and attendees are encouraged to bring chairs or blankets. Fireworks will start at approximately 10:00 pm.

June 22, 2011

Summer's Here! Spend it with Your RPO

There's no better way to spend the long days of summer than by listening to great music, and this year, the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra has something for everyone!

To kick off the 2011 Summer Season, the RPO will return to CMAC in Canandaigua for two spectacular concerts. Come to CMAC on Saturday, July 2 at 7:30 pm for Red, White and Boom, an Independence Day celebration to remember, complete with fireworks and patriotic selections such as Stars and Stripes Forever and the 1812 Overture!

Then, on Saturday, July 9 at 7:30 pm, we'll have wizards, Stormtroopers, and much more as Jeff Tyzik and the RPO bring you the iconic movie music of John Williams, including selections from the scores to Star Wars, Harry Potter, and Indiana Jones. Tickets start at $15 for CMAC concerts and children 12 and under are free on the lawn!

You'll also be able to beat the summer heat as the RPO performs its first summer concerts in the elegant - and air-conditioned - Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre. Jeff Tyzik and the RPO perform highlights from Gershwin's Porgy and Bess - with soloists Kevin Deas and Janice Chandler-Eteme - and music by Duke Ellington on Saturday, July 16 at 8:00 pm.

 On Saturday, July 23 at 7:00 pm, bring the whole family to Kodak Hall to experience the magical music of Disney! This enchanting concert will include music from classic animated films and Broadway shows, including Beauty and the Beast, Mary Poppins, The Lion King, Tarzan, and more. Kids' tickets start at just $10!

 And help us celebrate Jeff Tyzik's 60th birthday in style with Jeff's Benefit Birthday Bash on Saturday, July 30 at 8:00 pm. You'll hear an incredible range of your favorite works, including some of Jeff's own, featuring RPO musicians and special guests Tonio Di Paolo and the Mambo Kings. Plus, proceeds benefit the RPO Musicians' Pension Fund.

The "Midsummer Classics" series will take place on three Wednesdays - July 6, 13, and 27 - at 7:30 pm in Performance Hall at Hochstein, and will feature plenty of timeless masterpieces, including works by Mozart, Bach, Ravel, Schubert, Stravinsky, and Tchaikovsky. There will be pre-concert chamber music and wine tasting beginning at 6:30 pm.

There's much, much more in this year's summer season, including concerts at Ontario Beach, SUNY Geneseo, Frontier Field, and Temple B'rith Kodesh, and an Independence Day Celebration in downtown Rochester. Explore the 2011 summer series for yourself by clicking here.

Use this link for summer ticket information.

June 10, 2011

It’s a Busy Summer for RPO Musicians!

Summer is finally here and the RPO conductors and musicians will be scattering across the country—and world!—to enjoy their summer vacations, play in various music festivals, and enjoy a little rest and relaxation before the start of the RPO summer season on June 29th, or before the next season begins on September 30th. 

For instance, Principal Timpani Charles Ross will spend his fourth summer on the faculty of the Brevard Music Center in Brevard, NC. Located at the western tip of the state, near Asheville, Brevard attracts students and faculty from all over the world. This now-annual trip is something the Ross family greatly looks forward to each summer.

Principal Clarinet Kenny Grant also has a busy summer planned. Kenny will take part in three music festivals this summer—the Round Top Festival outside of Houston, the Aria International Summer Academy at Mount Holyoke College, and the Marrowstone Summer Music Festival, north of Seattle. He then plans to remain incognito until the end of August. 

Round Top will host another RPO musician this summer—Peter Kurau, Principal Horn. In addition to being on faculty at Round Top, Peter also will spend time at the Kendall Betts Horn Camp in Littleton, NH. Then, Peter and his wife, Pamela, will take a much deserved week of rest on Cape Cod with Principal Keyboard and Personnel Manager Joe Werner and his wife, Diane. 

Violinist Lara Sipols will spend time performing with the Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra this summer.  Another familiar face at Chautauqua this summer is Christopher Seaman, who will conduct the CSO on July 19 and 21.  Click here for more information about those two concerts (and a planned bus trip to Chautauqua with the RPO). 

Principal Cello Stefan Reuss plans to perform in a few chamber music concerts in the area. Then, Stefan and his wife, Valerie, towards the end of summer, will spend two weeks in Germany. The Reusses will be in Tegernsee, near Munich, where they plan to hike in Stefan’s beloved Bavarian Alps. The photo to the left is Stefan hiking last year with his son, David.

Cellist Christopher Haritatos plans to perform at the Victoria Bach Festival in Victoria, Texas. Christopher also plans to visit his family in California, as well as his wife’s family in Sweden.

Concertmaster Juliana Athayde and Principal Oboe Erik Behr are spending two weeks in the first part of June performing at the Mainly Mozart Festival in San Diego. Juliana and Erik will be back in Rochester to perform with the Orchestra for the summer season, before leaving for Sun Valley, Idaho in August to play with the Sun Valley Summer Symphony.

Gaelen McCormick, double bass, is playing with the RPO for the summer season before heading out west, along with Bill and Nancy Hunt, to play in the Music in the Mountains festival in Durango, Colorado. Gaelen said, “I always look forward to getting into the dry air and brilliant blue skies of the southwest. I'm bringing my toddler daughter, Clara, and my fiancĂ©, Steve, with me for a real family adventure!” The picture to the left is Gaelen hiking last summer.

As Principal Conductor for Education and Outreach, Michael Butterman, puts it, his summer is pretty low-key—and planned intentionally to be that way! Michael and his family are headed to NYC to spend some time with friends and take in a ballet (or two!) with American Ballet Theater before returning to Rochester to conduct Red, White and Boom! on July 2, an Independence Day Celebration on July 4, and Phenomenal Fortepiano, part of the Midsummer Classics series, on July 6. The Buttermans also plan to spend some time at the beach before visiting family in San Francisco. (Pictured at right are Michael and Jennifer at the Education Luncheon in March.)

To learn more about the RPO’s world-class musicians, click here.

June 7, 2011

Farewell, But Not Goodbye

Photo: Kyle Schwab
This past weekend marked Christopher Seaman's final concerts as Music Director of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra and following his final concert on June 4, the RPO held a special gala—aptly called A Bow Tie Affair—at the Country Club of Rochester to celebrate Christopher, his time with the RPO, and all he has done for and with the Rochester community.

The RPO could not, however, let the concert end with Christopher's final downbeat. Following three curtain calls and a farewell speech to the audience from Christopher, the Rochester Oratorio Society entered Kodak Hall to Elgar's Pomp and Circumstance waving American flags and Union Jacks! But instead of the traditional words (in England, it’s known as Land of Hope and Glory), Christopher's longtime friend and RPO supporter Peggy Savlov had re-written the lyrics to honor our beloved Maestro! The audience was able to sing to Christopher, who spontaneously decided to play the timpani along with the Orchestra. As a backdrop, an enormous British flag was unfurled from the ceiling, capping the moment in grand style.

Visit the RPO's Facebook page to view a photo album of images from this special night. To learn more about Christopher, including a timeline of his career in Rochester, and view pictures from his 13 seasons with the RPO, click here. You can also read the commemorative program book which includes numerous tributes as well as the lyrics to the musical tribute which closed Saturday's concert, by clicking here.

This is not goodbye, however: Christopher will assume the role of Conductor Laureate beginning with the 2011-2012 Season, and will return annually to conduct the RPO beginning in March 2012. Use this link to learn about his concert next season. The Christopher Seaman Chair is supported by Barbara and Patrick Fulford and The Conductor Laureate Society (click here for more information).

Before Christopher returns to Rochester, he’ll be back in New York State conducting the Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra at the Chautauqua Institution. Join us for a special bus trip to see him on Tuesday, July 19th. Click here for details.