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Rochester Philharmonic Receives NEA Grant

Rochester, N.Y., May 11, 2006 – The success of the Symphony 101 concert series presented by the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra has been rewarded by a recently announced 2006 grant of $22,500 from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) in the category of Access to Artistic Excellence.

Created in 2001, Symphony 101 began as a series of five single concerts, and has grown into a series of six one-hour concert pairs structured to engage individuals who are interested in – but have been reluctant to attend – performances of classical music. Using a casual, interactive “informational concert” format to encourage audience engagement and participation, RPO Music Director Christopher Seaman intersperses portions of some of the greatest orchestral masterworks with insights into historical, geographical, thematic, musical, and other contextual aspects. At the conclusion of each concert, audience members are invited to pose questions to Maestro Seaman and any special musical guest.

Each pair of Symphony 101 concerts takes place in geographically diverse areas: on a Friday night at the Hochstein Performance Hall, with a repeat performance the following Sunday afternoon at the Roberts Cultural Life Center at Roberts Wesleyan College on the western fringe of the suburban Rochester area. Both concert venues are handicapped-accessible. All concert attendees are offered a free copy of A Guide to the Orchestra – a 32-page booklet explaining some of the basics of music and the orchestra. Ticket prices for Symphony 101 are 40 percent less than an average Philharmonic or Pops ticket.

The unique structure of this concert series – in addition to its devotion to removing barriers to attendance at classical concerts – have proven to be very successful in attracting a growing and diverse audience of traditional and nontraditional concertgoers across all age groups.

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.