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 Hailed by the Chicago Tribune as “a rising star in the conducting firmament,” Ward Stare...

Ward Stare

Joined the RPO in 2014

Hailed by the Chicago Tribune as “a rising star in the conducting firmament,” Ward Stare was appointed the 12th music director of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra in 2014. He has been praised for “inspiring musicians to impressive heights” by The New York Times, and as “a dynamic music director” by Rochester’s CITY Newspaper.

Stare made his debut with the Metropolitan Opera in 2017, conducting nine performances of Franz Lehár’s The Merry Widow, with Grammy-winning mezzo-soprano Susan Graham in the title role. Stare’s frequent collaborations with the Lyric Opera of Chicago began in 2012, conducting a production of Hansel and Gretel, returning in 2013 for Die Fledermaus, and again in 2014 to lead Porgy and Bess to rave reviews. Stare served as resident conductor of the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra from 2008 to 2012 and, in 2009, made his highly successful Carnegie Hall debut with the orchestra, stepping in to lead H. K. Gruber’s Frankenstein!! Stare has enjoyed an ongoing relationship with the SLSO and frequently returns as a guest.

A passionate advocate for arts education, Ward Stare has served as a Distinguished Artist at the Robert McDuffie Center for Strings at Mercer University since 2012. In the fall of 2016, Stare recorded Concerto for Violin, Rock Band and String Orchestra, by R.E.M. bassist and songwriter Mike Mills, with the ensemble and its founder, Robert McDuffie.

Stare is an enthusiastic collaborator and performer of new music, including the world premiere performance of ‘Pravda’, by Academy Award-winning composer Elliot Goldenthal and the regional premiere of Pulitzer Prize and Grammy Award-winning composer Aaron Jay Kernis’ Flute Concerto, performed by Marina Piccinini. In the Spring of 2019, the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra released their first recording with Stare as conductor. American Rapture is an all-American album featuring the world-premiere recordings of Grammy Award-winning composer Jennifer Higdon’s Harp Concerto, with Yolanda Kondonassis as soloist, and Patrick Harlin’s Rapture.

Ward Stare 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 conductors....

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. In 2018-19, Tyzik celebrated 25 years as Principal Pops Conductor. He also holds a similar role with the Detroit Symphony, the Oregon Symphony, and The Florida Orchestra. This is also the seventh 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. His 2007 recording of works by Gershwin with pianist Jon Nakamatsu and the RPO stayed in the Top 10 on the Billboard classical chart for over three months. Alex Ross of The New Yorker, called it “one of the snappiest Gershwin discs in years”. In the 2015-16 season, Tyzik premiered a new violin concerto written for RPO Concertmaster Juliana Athayde.

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.

Tyzik received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the Eastman School of Music.

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

Christopher 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. In May 2009, the University of Rochester made him an honorary doctor of music.

Previous positions include music director of the Naples Philharmonic Orchestra (Florida) for 10 years, conductor-in-residence with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, and artistic advisor of the San Antonio Symphony.

He is recognized for his wealth of repertoire, which ranges from baroque to contemporary, and in particular the works of Bruckner, Brahms, and Sibelius. Seaman also is highly regarded for his work with younger musicians, and he served as course director for the Symphony Services International Conductor Development Program (Australia) for many years.

Recent conducting engagements include 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, among others.

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