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Mayor Duffy, Sen. Alesi, RPO Announce 2009 Summer Homecoming Including Downtown Series Debut in New Outdoor Pavilion

Rochester, NY – The summer celebration of the City of Rochester’s 175th Anniversary will be prominently featured when the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra debuts its new RPO Center City Summer Series at the First Niagara Center City Pavilion.  From Symphonic Rock to Rachmaninoff, and from the Blues to the Beatles and Broadway, the First Niagara Center City Pavilion on Main Street downtown promises to be the summer music venue in Rochester, thanks to lead sponsorship from First Niagara, and support from the City of Rochester, Sen. Jim Alesi, and the Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival. 

At a press conference today at City Hall, Senator Alesi said, “I am pleased to join Mayor Duffy and First Niagara in sponsoring the RPO as it commemorates Rochester’s 175th Anniversary. There is no better way to celebrate this historic event than by having our community enjoy a truly spectacular summer series by the RPO, performed in a state-of-the-art outdoor pavilion.  I am especially excited that this event will follow the Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival.”

“I’m confident that, with City Council approval, the creation of this unique and brand new venue will add a special flair to the City’s 175th Anniversary activities and many others this summer,” Mayor Robert J. Duffy said. “I want to thank First Niagara, the RPO, and Sen. Alesi for partnering to bring this wonderful pavilion and concert series to our center city.”

The new First Niagara Center City Pavilion is a complete performance venue that will be assembled in early June on-site at the corner of Main and Gibbs Streets, across the street from the Eastman Theatre.  A short-term summer structure, it will provide complete patron amenities including air-conditioning, seating for approximately 2,000, and many other services, including concessions inside and out.  “First Niagara is proud to support the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, an organization that is a tremendous asset to our community,” said First Niagara Rochester Regional President Patrick Burke, adding that “Rochester is fortunate to have the RPO, and First Niagara is pleased to support our community’s great musical tradition and help it continue to be relevant, vibrant and alive.” 

Prior to the RPO’s concerts, the Pavilion will feature performances by the Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival from June 12-20, followed by the City’s elegant 175th Anniversary Gala on June 27. 

In addition to its Center City Summer Series, the RPO – under Music Director Christopher Seaman – makes the most of the music of Mozart in two “Wolfgang Wednesdays” at the Hochstein School of Music and Dance. On Wednesday, July 8 and July 15, overtures, concertos – with RPO Concertmaster Juliana Athayde and Principal Clarinet Kenneth Grant – and symphonies of the prolific composer will be featured.

The RPO also returns to its popular summer venues at SUNY Geneseo, Frontier Field, Ontario Beach Park, Valley Manor, and Temple B’rith Kodesh, as well as for one special summer concert in Canandaigua at CMAC with the Rochester City Ballet.  Various RPO ensembles also will be appearing in four free concerts throughout the City of Rochester; details TBA.  “This summer’s ‘homecoming’ is a dream come true for the RPO,” said RPO President & CEO Charlie Owens.  “Thanks to the generosity of Jim Alesi, the City of Rochester, and First Niagara, the Center City Pavilion will provide the perfect setting for the terrific variety of concerts that our new series offers.  This, in addition to all our other wonderful summer concerts, promises to be the perfect prelude to our 2009-10 season in the renovated Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre.”

The creation of the Pavilion is a true collaborative effort.  First Niagara is providing $100,000 for the Pavilion, Senator Alesi and the City (with final City Council approval) each is contributing $75,000, and the Xerox International Jazz Festival provided $20,000.  The RPO will be investing more than $400,000 in programming, production, and site amenities.

RPO Center City Summer Series at First Niagara Center City Pavilion

  • BEST OF THE BLUES: Friday and Saturday, July 10 & 11 at 7:30 pm.  Principal Pops Conductor Jeff Tyzik leads the RPO joined by Byron Stripling, trumpet; Bobby Floyd, Hammond organ; Dee Daniels, vocals; with additional guests.
  • RUSSIAN SPECTACULAR! RACHMANINOFF AND TCHAIKOVSKY: Friday and Saturday, July 17 & 18 at 7:30 pm.  Two of the great Russian masterpieces, Rachmaninoff’s Second Piano Concerto, and Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 2 will be conducted by RPO Music Director Christopher Seaman.  Pianist Joyce Yang, the Silver Medal winner at the 2005 Van Cliburn International Piano Competition will make her RPO debut.
  • SYMPHONIC ROCK: The Music of Led Zeppelin: Friday, July 24 at 7:30 pm; and SYMPHONIC ROCK: The Music of Pink Floyd: Saturday, July 25 at 7:30 pm. Classic rock music from two great bands with orchestra; Brent Havens conducts.
  • BEATLEMANIA!  Classical Mystery Tour: Wednesday, July 29 at 7:30 pm.  By popular demand, a repeat performance of the 2008 Beatlemania RPO Pops concerts; Jeff Tyzik conducts.
  • THREE BROADWAY DIVAS: Friday, July 31 and Saturday, August 1 at 7:30 pm.  Singers Jan Horvath, Debbie Gravitte and Anne Runolfsson bring their distinctive “diva-ness,” talent, and personality to the classic musical theater repertoire; Jeff Tyzik conducts.

A summer subscription series will be available; single tickets start at $20, and will be available on Friday, May 8.  Tickets can be purchased online at; by phone at (585) 454-2100; in-person at the RPO Box Office, 108 East Avenue; and at area Wegmans.  A convenience fee may apply. 

“Wolfgang Wednesdays” at Performance Hall at Hochstein School of Music and Dance

  • VIOLIN VIRTUOSITY: Wednesday, July 8 at 7:30 pm. Christopher Seaman conducts the Overture to The Abduction from the Seraglio, Violin Concerto No. 3 with RPO Concertmaster Juliana Athayde (The Caroline W. Gannett & Clayla Ward Chair), and Symphony No. 40.
  • CLASSIC CLARINET: Wednesday, July 15 at 7:30 pm. Christopher Seaman conducts the Overture to The Magic Flute, Clarinet Concerto with RPO Principal Clarinet Kenneth Grant (The Robert J. Strasenburgh Chair), and Symphony No. 41.

Tickets for the Mozart concerts are $20/each; general admission, and will be available on Friday, May 8.  Tickets can be purchased online at; by phone at (585) 454-2100; or in-person at the RPO Box Office, 108 East Avenue.  A convenience fee may apply.

Additional ticketed concerts

  • Red, White, and Boom!: Friday, July 3 at 7:30 pm. The RPO returns for a special evening at Constellation Brands-Marvin Sands Performing Arts Center (CMAC) in Canandaigua for a concert with the Rochester City Ballet culminating in a fireworks display. Jeff Tyzik conducts music by Copland, Tyzik, Sousa, and patriotic favorites.  Tickets range from $15-$50 with grass/lawn tickets at $13.  Children 12 and under are free on the lawn.  For ticket information, visit  Sponsored by Canandaigua National Bank.
  • Summer Spectacular with Fireworks: Jeff Tyzik conducts the RPO’s annual concert at SUNY Geneseo’s beautiful Saratoga Fields (rain location is Wadsworth Auditorium).  A concert of light pops and patriotic favorites, topped off by a spectacular fireworks display.  Bring lawn chairs, blankets, and friends.  Date and ticket information TBA.
  • The RPO’s annual fundraiser for Temple B’rith Kodesh: Tuesday, July 28 at 7:30 pm. The Orchestra performs traditional classical works. Other details TBA.  Tickets will be available through Temple B’rith Kodesh (2131 Elmwood Avenue) at (585) 244-7060.

Free Sponsored Concerts

  • Ontario Beach Concert: Wednesday, June 24 at 7:30 pm. Jeff Tyzik conducts the RPO in the Gazebo at Ontario Beach Park (4799 Lake Avenue) for a lovely outdoor summer musical evening. Sponsored by Monroe County.
  • Take Me Out to the Ballgame: Friday, June 26. The Red Wings and the RPO continue their Rochester summer tradition.  The Red Wings baseball game is followed by the annual RPO concert right at Frontier Field conducted by Jeff Tyzik. Gates will re-open after the game for the 8:30 p.m. concert culminating in a fireworks display.  For more information, call the Rochester Red Wings at (585) 423-9464 or visit  Sponsored by Monroe County.
  • Independence Day Celebration!: Saturday, July 4 at 8:30 pm.  Jeff Tyzik conducts a dazzling free Fourth of July concert, the first time in two decades that the RPO has been back in Rochester for this patriotic celebration. Downtown provides the perfect atmosphere for Rochesterians to hear the RPO. Other details TBA.  Sponsored by the City of Rochester
  • Around the Town: Thursday, July 23 at 12:30 pm: An outdoor summer concert set up in the Valley Manor parking lot (1570 East Avenue).  Conductor TBA. This concert is part of Valley Manor’s Annual Seniorsfirst Musicfest. 

All tickets go on sale Friday, May 8 at, by phone at (585) 454-2100, in-person at the RPO Box Office, 108 East Avenue.  Tickets for the RPO July 3 concert at CMAC are available starting April 24.

The Media sponsor of the RPO Center City Summer Series is the Entercom Marketing Results Group, including 96.5 WCMF, 98.9 The Buzz, 98 PXY, 950 ESPN Sports Radio and 92.5 WBEE. 

First Niagara Financial Group, Inc., through its wholly owned subsidiary First Niagara Bank, has assets of $9.0 billion and deposits of $5.8 billion.  First Niagara Bank is a full-service, community-focused bank that provides financial services to individuals, families, and businesses through 113 branches and four Regional Market Centers across upstate New York.  For more information, visit

Celebrating its 86th season in 2008-09, the RPO inspires and enriches the community through the art of music, presenting nearly 200 performances each season to a combined audience of an estimated quarter of a million people, including more than 70,000 who experience the RPO’s broad range of educational and community programs. The Orchestra is passionately dedicated to outstanding musical performance at the highest artistic levels, and has a unique tradition of musical versatility, commitment to music education in the broadest sense, and a deep and enduring engagement with the community. The RPO has been honored with the New York State Governor’s Arts Award and two ASCAP awards for adventurous programming. For more information, visit


EDITORS: Photos of most performers are available on request.

Click here for a chronological concert calendar in .pdf format