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For Immediate Release:  December 15, 2016
Media Contacts:  Sally Cohen, 585-749-1795, [email protected]


Jan. 6 & 7: Raiders of the Lost Ark, Amy Grant
Ward Stare: Ehnes Plays Beethoven, Shostakovich 5, Mozart’s Requiem
Plus: Music of Mozart & Bugs Bunny at the Symphony II


Rochester, NY – Here’s one more reason to celebrate the New Year: the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra (RPO) kicks off 2017 with a blockbuster weekend of Special Concerts in Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre. On Friday, January 6 at 8 p.m., Indiana Jones pays a visit in Raiders of the Lost Ark: Film with Orchestra. Guest conductor Vinay Parameswaran leads the RPO in performing John Williams’ epic score live, while the classic film plays on the big screen. (Raiders of the Lost Ark licensed by Lucasfilm Ltd. and Paramount Pictures. Motion Picture, Artwork, Photos © 1981 Lucasfilm Ltd. All Rights Reserved.)


The following evening, Saturday, January 7 at 8 p.m., six-time Grammy winner Amy Grant makes her RPO debut, performing #1 hits like “Baby Baby,” “Better than a Hallelujah,” “House of Love,” “Every Heartbeat,” and “Emmanuel” under the direction of renowned musician, arranger, composer, producer and conductor David Hamilton. A special, pre-concert Amy Grant Meet & Greet is a $50 “add-on,” available exclusively through the RPO Patron Services Center (108 East Avenue) at 585-454-2100.


Next up, Ward Stare conducts Ehnes Plays Beethoven, on Thursday, January 12 at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday, January 14 at 8 p.m. in Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre. Admired for artistry that’s “effusively lyrical and hair-raisingly virtuosic” (The Guardian), Grammy-winning violinist James Ehnes is the perfect match for Beethoven’s sublime Violin Concerto, one of the most popular in the classical canon. Strauss’ nod to old-world Viennese waltz and Ravel’s waltz nouveau round out an evening of musical elegance.


From the sublime to the ridiculously entertaining, it’s Bugs Bunny at the Symphony II on Friday and Saturday, January 20 & 21 at 8 p.m. in Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre. The program’s creator and executive producer, guest conductor George Daugherty, leads this Pops concert celebrating the “Wascally Wabbit” and his pals. Classic Looney Tunes favorites like “The Rabbit of Seville” and “What’s Opera, Doc?” are projected on the big screen while the original scores inspired by master composers are performed live by the RPO.  New additions in this second version include “Pepe Le Pew,” “Show Biz Bugs,” “Robin Hood Daffy,” and the East Coast concert premiere of “Long-Haired Hare,” plus two brand-new Warner Bros. 3D animated shorts: “Rabid Rider” and “Coyote Fall.” (Created by GEORGE DAUGHERTY & DAVID KA LIK WONG LOONEY TUNES and all related characters and elements are trademarks of and © Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. [s16]).


Music of Mozart, on Sunday, January 22 at 2 p.m. at the Performance Hall at Hochstein, features a special performance dedicated to the late William L. Gamble: Mozart’s Sinfonie concertante for violin and viola by Principal Viola Melissa Matson, who was recently named The William L. Gamble Chair. The chair’s title honors the legacy and bequest of the late Mr. Gamble, a music lover and RPO patron. Concertmaster Juliana Athayde (The Caroline W. Gannett & Clayla Ward Chair) will also be featured on the Sinfonie, and the program will include Mozart’s Symphony No. 39 as well (performances of both pieces are made possible by The Mozart Performance Fund: Sarah D. Atkinson, M.D. and Steven Hess.) Led by Principal Conductor for Education and Community Engagement Michael Butterman (The Louise and Henry Epstein Family Chair), the concert also features Thomas Ades’ Three Studies from Couperin. Tickets are $27.


January’s monumental finale, Stare Conducts Shostakovich 5, takes place Thursday, January 26 at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday, January 28 at 8 p.m. in Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre. Shostakovich’s Fifth Symphony is a paragon of music’s power to express beyond the notes – at once brutal, mournful, triumphant, and sarcastic. Eastman alumna and winner of the BBC Singer of the World Competition in Cardiff, opera star Nicole Cabell makes her RPO debut, bringing her “liquid gold” (The Times) soprano to Ravel’s Shéhérazade. Music Director Ward Stare leads the program, which also features the World Concert Premiere of Academy Award-winning, contemporary American composer Elliot Goldenthals Waltz and Agitato, Pravda.


That not-to-be-missed evening is the perfect lead-in to the following week’s Mozart’s Requiem on Thursday, February 2 at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday, February 4 at 8 p.m. in Kodak Hall. Ward Stare conducts the now-legendary Requiem that was to become Mozart’s own funeral music, with the Eastman-Rochester Chorus (William Weinert, director) and soloists Kathryn Lewek (soprano), Renée Tatum (mezzo soprano), Anthony Dean Griffey (tenor) and Raymond Aceto (bass). The intricate textures of the piece – a centerpiece of the film, Amadeus – are mirrored by Hovhaness’ Fugue and Stravinsky’s self-proclaimed “War Symphony,” a razor-edged reflection of the atrocities of the age. This concert is made possible by The Mozart Performance Fund: Sarah D. Atkinson, M.D. and Steven Hess.


Tickets for the concerts above, except where noted, start at $23, with student ticket info available at Tickets are available online at, by phone at (585) 454-2100, or in person at the RPO’s Patron Services Center (108 East Avenue) and at all Wegmans That’s T.H.E. Ticket! locations.


The 2016/17 Season is presented by Dawn & Jacques Lipson, The Philharmonics Series is sponsored by M&T Bank, the RPO Pops Series is sponsored by Canandaigua National Bank & Trust and Wegmans, and the OrKIDStra media sponsor is RPO performances are also made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts, with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature. Additional support is provided by Monroe County, the City of Rochester, the Alfred Davis and Brunhilde Knapp Artists Performance Fund, the Mozart Performance Fund: Sarah D. Atkinson, M.D. and Steven Hess, and the Katherine T. and Jon L. Schumacher Orchestra Musician Soloist Fund.


The Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra (RPO) has been committed to enriching and inspiring our community through the art of music since its founding in 1922. The RPO presents approximately 150 concerts and broadcasts a year, serving up to 170,000 people through ticketed events, education and community engagement activities, and concerts in schools and community centers throughout the region. 12th Music Director Ward Stare joins the ranks of former notable RPO music directors, including Eugene Goossens, José Iturbi, Erich Leinsdorf, David Zinman and Conductor Laureate Christopher Seaman. Principal Pops Conductor Jeff Tyzik has earned a national reputation for excellence in pops programming during his 22-year tenure with the RPO. With Michael Butterman as Principal Conductor for Education and Community Engagement (The Louise and Henry Epstein Family Chair) – the first endowed position of its kind in the country – the RPO reaches more than 16,000 children through its specific programs for school-aged children.


Media please note: High-resolution images of 2016/17 concerts are available at, and interviews and photo/footage opportunities can be arranged.