March 16, 2018

RPO Donor Commissions Oboe Concerto

When the RPO unveils Allen Shawn’s Oboe Concerto on March 22 and 24, your attention will likely be focused on the performers: RPO Principal Oboe Erik Behr, the orchestra behind him, and Ward Stare on the podium. But one person you won’t see on stage is Ron Fielding, who commissioned the concerto. Without his generous support, you would not be hearing the world premiere of this work.

A Rochester resident for nearly four decades, Mr. Fielding has been an RPO donor for more than 15 years. In 2010, he commissioned Allen Shawn’s Violin Concerto, written for and performed by RPO Concertmaster Juliana Athayde. In 2012 he endowed the Ron and Donna Fielding bassoon chair, currently occupied by Matthew McDonald. With this latest gift, Mr. Fielding aims to further highlight and support the works of contemporary, living composers, and introduce their works to a wider audience.

Ron Fielding

 “Classical music needs to be supported,” Fielding says, adding that many audiences don’t get enough exposure to works composed later than the early twentieth century. Fielding also notes the important role patronage has long played in the arts. Without patrons to support them, composers like Mozart, Beethoven, Haydn, Rimsky-Korsakov, Tchaikovsky, Puccini, and many others would not be able to get on with their work. As gifts like Mr. Fielding’s prove, patronage in the arts is still very much alive and well.

Mr. Fielding himself was introduced to classical music at an early age and has played both piano and saxophone. In 11th grade he entered the Putney School in Putney, Vermont to study music theory. His roommate while at the Putney School was none other than Allen Shawn, with whom Mr. Fielding shares a lasting friendship. (Another Putney alum, Isaiah Jackson, was the RPO's  Music Director from 1973 to 1987). Though Mr. Fielding did not pursue a career in music after graduating from Putney, he remains a passionate supporter of classical and contemporary music. He plans to attend both performances of the Oboe Concerto this month, noting that he enjoys new works even more the second time around!

Allen Shawn’s Oboe Concerto will premiere at Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre on Thursday, March 22 at 7:30pm and Saturday, March 24 at 8pm. Also on the program are Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5 and Haydn’s Symphony No. 22, “The Philosopher.” For more information on the program, read the Bravo program book online, listen to Music Director Ward Stare discuss the program in this short video, or attend a pre-concert chat. Tickets are available at