Shaping Experiences Through Music

The Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra has been enriching the Rochester community with music since 1922.

Here for the Community

The RPO is committed to providing the greater Rochester area with exceptional, engaging performances to enrich and inspire. Each season is crafted to create a diverse mix of education programs, progressive performances that blend genres, and showcase talented musicians. Our passion for educating the community while highlighting the beauty in music remains our utmost priority.


Continuing George Eastman’s Legacy

The Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra was founded in 1922 by George Eastman, quickly becoming a cornerstone of the community. Almost 100 years later, RPO is the community’s orchestra and continues to embrace Eastman’s vision of a musical community for everyone with each season. With nearly 170,000 attendees to more than 150 events each season, 40% of which are free concerts geared towards community and education, the RPO’s reach and influence has extended beyond our local community as we continue to gain recognition nationally.

A Team to Inspire

Under the direction of Music Director Ward Stare, Principal Pops Conductor Jeff Tyzik, and Conductor Laureate Christopher Seaman, the RPO delivers artistically thrilling and meaningful programming each season.

Ward Stare

Music Director

Joined the RPO in 2014 Appointed the 12th music director of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra in July 2014, Rochester native...

Ward Stare

Joined the RPO in 2014

Appointed the 12th music director of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra in July 2014, Rochester native Ward Stare has been described as “inspiring musicians to impressive heights” by The New York Times, and “a dynamic music director” by Rochester CITY Newspaper. This December, Stare will make his debut at the Metropolitan Opera for nine performances of Franz Lehár’s The Merry Widow, with Grammy-winning mezzo-soprano Susan Graham in the title role.

This season at the RPO, Stare will collaborate with Itzhak Perlman and returning favorite pianists Olga Kern and Misha Dichter. Stare will also lead a Beethoven Festival, Bizet’s Carmen in Concert, and two world premieres by celebrated composers Allen Shawn and Jennifer Higdon. 2016–17 season highlights included collaborations with Yo-Yo Ma and Grammy-winning violinist James Ehnes. Stare also led a three-weekend salute to the music of American composers, as well
as Puccini’s La Bohème in Concert and a world-concert premiere by Academy-Award winning composer Eliot Goldenthal.

Stare’s recent seasons have seen a number of highly anticipated debuts with orchestras around the world, including performances with the Baltimore Symphony, Sydney Symphony, Pittsburgh Symphony, Toronto Symphony, and the Calgary Philharmonic. Last season he made his debut with the Hawaii Symphony Orchestra followed by his return to the St. Louis Symphony in December.
Stare’s frequent collaboration with the Lyric Opera of Chicago began with his debut in 2012 conducting performances of Hansel and Gretel; he returned in 2013 to lead Die Fledermaus, and again in November 2014 to lead Porgy and Bess to rave reviews. He made his debut with the Washington National Opera conducting Donizetti’s comic opera L’Elisir d’amore in 2014.

Stare served as resident conductor of the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra from 2008 to 2012. In 2009, he made his highly successful Carnegie Hall debut with the orchestra, stepping in at the last minute to lead H. K. Gruber’s Frankenstein!

The 2013–14 season saw his return to the Atlanta and Detroit symphony orchestras, as well as his debuts with the Syracuse Symphoria, the Jacksonville Symphony, and the Naples Philharmonic with Lang Lang as soloist.

Stare was trained as a trombonist at The Juilliard School in Manhattan. At 18, he was appointed principal trombonist of the Lyric Opera of Chicago and has performed as an orchestral musician with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the New York Philharmonic, among others. As a soloist, he has concertized in both the U.S. and Europe.

Jeff Tyzik

Principal Pops Conductor

Joined the RPO in 1994 Grammy Award winner Jeff Tyzik is one of America’s most innovative and sought after pops...

Jeff Tyzik

Joined the RPO in 1994

Grammy Award winner Jeff Tyzik is one of America’s most innovative and sought after pops conductors, recognized for his brilliant arrangements, original programming, and engaging rapport with audiences of all ages. This season Tyzik celebrates 24 years as principal pops conductor of the RPO, a title he also holds at the Detroit Symphony, the Oregon Symphony, and The Florida Orchestra. This is also the fifth season that Tyzik has held The Dot and Paul Mason Principal Pops Conductor’s Podium at the Dallas Symphony Orchestra.

Frequently invited as a guest conductor, Tyzik has appeared with the Boston Pops, Cincinnati Pops, Milwaukee Symphony, Pittsburgh Symphony, Toronto Symphony, Indianapolis Symphony, Philadelphia Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, and the Royal Scottish National Orchestra.

Tyzik has written more than 200 arrangements, orchestrations, and compositions for orchestra. A
consummate musician, Tyzik regularly appears as a guest conductor in the RPO’s Philharmonics Series. In the 2015–16 season, Tyzik premiered a new violin concerto written for RPO Concertmaster Juliana Athayde on the Philharmonics Series. This season, Tyzik’s original programming includes collaborations with The Mambo Kings, PUSH Physical Theatre, and a Pops opener featuring a tribute to Ella Fitzgerald and other jazz standards.

Tyzik has collaborated with such diverse artists as Megan Hilty, Chris Botti, Matthew Morrison, Wynonna Judd, Tony Bennett, Art Garfunkel, Dawn Upshaw, Marilyn Horne, Arturo Sandoval, The Chieftains, Mark O’Connor, Doc Severinsen, and John Pizzarelli. He has created numerous original programs that include the greatest music from jazz and classical to Motown, Broadway, film, dance, Latin, and swing.

A native of Hyde Park, New York, Tyzik began his life in music at nine years of age, when he first picked up a cornet. He studied both classical and jazz throughout high school, and went on to earn both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the Eastman School of Music, where he studied composition/arranging with Radio City Music Hall’s Ray Wright and jazz studies with Chuck Mangione.

Christopher Seaman

Conductor Laureate

The Christopher Seaman Chair, Supported by Barbara and Patrick Fulford and The Conductor Laureate Society;  Joined the RPO in 1998...

Christopher Seaman

The Christopher Seaman Chair, Supported by Barbara and Patrick Fulford and The Conductor Laureate Society; 

Joined the RPO in 1998

British conductor Christopher Seaman has an international reputation for inspirational music making. His diverse musical interests are reflected in his range of repertoire and he is particularly known for his interpretations of early 20th Century English music, Bruckner, Brahms, and Sibelius.

Seaman was music director of the RPO from 1998-2011, and was subsequently named conductor laureate. During his 13-year tenure- the longest in RPO history, he raised the orchestra’s artistic level, broadened its audience base, and created a new concert series. This contribution was recognized with an award from the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers.

Other key positions have included music director of the Naples Philharmonic Orchestra, conductor-in-residence with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, and artistic advisor of the San Antonio Symphony. In the U.K. he was principal conductor with both the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and Northern Sinfonia.

As a guest conductor, Seaman has recently performed with the Aspen Music Festival, Detroit, Houston, St Louis, Cincinnati, Milwaukee and Seattle symphony orchestras, the Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra, Kristiansand Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra of Opera North, and Orquestra Filarmônica de Minas Gerais in Brazil. He frequently visits Australia and Asia where he has conducted the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra and the National Taiwan, Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, and Singapore symphony orchestras, amongst others.

As a recording artist Christopher has worked with the Royal Philharmonic RPO amongst others, and his RPO recordings have received great critical acclaim

In May 2009, the University of Rochester made Seaman an honorary doctor of music, acknowledging his outstanding leadership as conductor, recording artist, teacher, and community arts partner. In 2013, University of Rochester Press published Seaman’s Inside Conducting, a wise but entertaining look at the art of conducting.

Meet Our Musicians

Our talented orchestra keeps us at the edge of our seats with each performance. Their passion and artistry set the bar higher and higher with each season.

Meet Our Orchestra