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Make Holiday Memories with Your RPO

For Immediate Release:  November 2, 2016
Media Contacts:  Sally Cohen, 585-749-1795,
RPO Info:,,,,

Nutcracker, Polar Express & Frozen, Messiah & Holiday Pops
PLUS: New VIP Meet-and-Greet with Yo-Yo Ma on December 6

Rochester, NY – Create cherished holiday memories with family and friends this year with five, festive Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra (RPO) programs, beginning with The Nutcracker, opening for six magical performances in Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre on Wednesday, November 23 at 7:30 p.m. This enchanting holiday favorite is brought to life by the Rochester City Ballet (David Palmer, artistic director), the Bach Children’s Chorus (Karla Krogstad, director), and the world-class RPO itself. Principal Conductor for Education and Community Engagement Michael Butterman (The Louise and Henry Epstein Family Chair) conducts Tchaikovsky’s unforgettable score. Continuing Friday and Saturday, November 25 & 26 at 2 & 7 p.m. and closing Sunday, November 27 at 2 p.m., The Nutcracker is sponsored in part by Caldwell.

A brand-new holiday treat this year is an OrKIDStra Holiday Special: Music from The Polar Express & Frozen for two performances on Sunday, December 4 at 2 and 4 p.m. (additional performance recently added) at the Performance Hall at Hochstein. Guest conductor Boon Hua Lien leads the musical program with narration that features baritone Steven Stull and the Rush-Henrietta High School Chorus. The story of a young boy who boards a magical train to the North Pole on Christmas Eve pairs nicely with highlights from Disney’s megahit, Frozen. Kids’ hands-on activities are included and begin an hour prior to each performance. All seats are $25 general admission. This concert is sponsored in part by RG& E.

The season will be bright for RPO subscribers who snagged tickets to the sold-out Yo-Yo Ma on Tuesday, December 6 at 7:30 p.m. in Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre before tickets could even be put on sale to the general public. Music Director Ward Stare conducts a program that opens with Mikhail Glinka’s Russlan and Ludmilla Overture, continues with Schubert’s “Unfinished” Symphony No. 8, and concludes with the world-famous cellist performing Dvorak’s Cello Concerto. New for ticketholders: a VIP Meet-and-Greet with Yo-Yo Ma will immediately follow the concert in the Eastman School of Music’s Cominsky Promenade. The champagne and dessert reception will feature a special performance by students and alumni from the ROCmusic Collaborative (of which the RPO is a proud partner), and all proceeds will benefit RPO Education Initiatives. Call the RPO Development Office at 585-399-3680 for information.

That quintessential yuletide tradition – Handel’s Messiah – returns to the RPO’s Philharmonics Series on Saturday, December 10 at 8 p.m., with a special matinee performance on Sunday, December 11 at 2 p.m. in Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre. The Rochester Oratorio Society (Eric Townell, director) will be joined by soprano Klara Ek, countertenor Christopher Ainslie, tenor Daniel Weeks, and bass-baritone Kevin Deas. Michael Leopold will be featured on the theorbo (a lute-type instrument) and Christopher Warren-Green guest conducts Handel’s glorious masterpiece that includes the rousing “Hallelujah” chorus.

Now in its 23rd year, Gala Holiday Pops returns for four performances beginning Friday, December 16 at 8 p.m., continues Saturday the 17th at 2 and 8 p.m., and closes Sunday, December 18 at 2 p.m. in Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre. Principal Pops Conductor Jeff Tyzik leads Rochester’s favorite holiday tradition – which he originated more than two decades ago – featuring the 200-voice Festival High School Chorale (Amy Story & Harold McAulliffe, co-directors). The 2016 Gala Holiday Pops is sponsored in part by High Falls Advisors.

Tickets for the concerts above, except where noted, start at $23, and are available online at, by phone at (585) 454-2100, or in person at the RPO’s new 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 12,000 children through its specific programs for school-aged children.

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