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Cannons and Fireworks Light up Final RPO Summer CMAC Concert

Rochester, NY– A stirring and spectacular final concert of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra’s summer series at the Constellation Brands – Marvin Sands Performing Arts Center (CMAC) is on tap for Saturday, July 29 at 7:30 p.m. The all-Tchaikovsky program includes the CMAC debut of the young RPO Concertmaster Juliana Athayde (The Caroline W. Gannett & Clayla Ward Chair) who has wowed audiences with her technique and style. She tackles Tchaikovsky’s dazzling Violin Concerto­ – the perfect complement to the cannons and fireworks of the crowd-pleasing 1812 Overture. This concert is conducted by Michael Butterman, Principal Conductor for Education and Outreach (The Louise and Henry Epstein Family Chair), and is sponsored by Borg Imaging Group LLP; the RPO’s summer series at CMAC is sponsored by Constellation Brands, with Canandaigua National Bank as the CMAC Summer Residency sponsor.

To get into the Russian mood, the concert opens with the lively, folk-inspired “Cossack Dance” from Tchaikovsky’s opera Mazeppa, followed by Ms. Athayde stepping into the spotlight with the famous Violin Concerto in D Major, Opus 35. Although the piece had a rather rocky beginning from both audiences and critics, it has become one of the most beloved concertos in the violin repertoire. The rich opening movement is almost a concerto in itself. Two lyrical themes are contrasted by alternately lightly scored passages for violin and orchestra, with more forceful sections for orchestra. A wistful and elegant second movement is followed by a vivacious finale, with the violin leading an exhilarating chase to the end.

Written in 1880, Tchaikovsky’s Romeo and Juliet Fantasy-Overture is probably the most popular setting of Shakespeare’s tragic love story. Opening with a solemn chorale, the piece contrasts two themes: the conflict between the rival families and the passionate, soaring Romeo and Juliet love theme. The climax is followed by a somber funeral march, but a radiant coda gives the music a sense of transfiguration.

The RPO pulls out all the stops with the ultimate festival piece, the 1812 Overture, Opus 49, which vividly depicts the battle that signified a turning point in the French invasion of Russia under Napoleon. A group of folk songs represents the Russian side. La Marseillaise, the French national anthem, wages war on behalf of Napoleon’s army. With the battle won, the orchestra thunders out the Russian folk tunes and God Save the Tsar, accompanied by cannons and fireworks.

Juliana Athayde was appointed Concertmaster of the RPO in March 2005, just prior to becoming the first student to graduate from The Concertmaster Academy, a new program at the Cleveland Institute of Music. Under the direction of Cleveland Orchestra Concertmaster William Preucil, the program prepares the most qualified students for a career as concertmaster of a major symphony orchestra. In addition, Ms. Athayde has performed as a soloist with the Asheville, Canton, Diablo, Flint, Mid-Texas, Palo Alto, Plymouth and Wyoming Symphony Orchestras. A native of the Bay Area, she made her solo debut at 16 with the San Francisco Symphony.

CMAC tickets are $15-$50 in advance; $20-$55 at the gate. Discounts are available for senior citizens, students and children 12 and under. CMAC tickets are available at the RPO Box Office (585) 454-2100, online at, through Ticket Express, or through Ticketmaster (585) 232-1900. Please note: CMAC summer tickets are NOT available at Wegmans.

CMAC concerts take place rain or shine. The grounds open at 6 p.m. and concertgoers are encouraged to bring their own blanket or lawn chair for relaxing on the hillside. Glass, disposable plastic and metal containers, grills, pets, fireworks, recording devices and cameras are not permitted on the grounds. Reusable plastic containers and vacuum-seal bottles are allowed. There are new ground rules in place for insurance and liability purposes: alcoholic beverages may not be brought into CMAC (beer and wine will be available for purchase).

Celebrating its 83rd season in 2005-06, the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra’s mission is to perform and present a broad range of quality music; attract, entertain and educate audiences with superior musical performances; maintain and build the Orchestra’s national reputation; and enhance the reputation of the Rochester community as a place in which to live, work, play, visit and learn.

RPO performances are made possible in part with grants from the National Endowment for the Arts; the New York State Council on the Arts, a State Agency; the State of New York; the County of Monroe; the City of Rochester; and American Airlines, the official airline of the RPO.