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RPO Announces 2019/20 Season

For Immediate Release:  February 26, 2019

Media Contact:   Nicole Morelle, 585-399-3645





Celebration of Susan B. Anthony’s 200th Birthday and the 100th Anniversary of 19th Amendment with Commissioned Works and The Mother of Us All

Philharmonics Season to Focus on the Explosion of Music from the

Early 20th Century

Pops Season Explores a Collaboration with Garth Fagan Dance


Rochester, NY – The Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra (RPO) is proud to announce its 2019/20 Philharmonics and Pops Series. From a season-long celebration of Susan B. Anthony and the 19th Amendment to 50 years of Garth Fagan Dance and the music of Prohibition, the RPO is focusing on trailblazers, innovators, rule breakers, and radicals in history and music.


While two of the 14 Philharmonics weekends will focus specifically on Susan B. Anthony and the 19th Amendment, women composers, conductors, and guest artists are featured throughout. The Pops Series takes a look at the music of Prohibition from Rudy Vallee to Josephine Baker, celebrates our country with the U.S. Naval Academy Glee Club, collaborates with Garth Fagan Dance in honor of the company’s 50th year, and brings 100 years of Nat King and Natalie Cole to Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre, before ending season with the music of legendary singer/songwriter Paul Simon. Plus, the immensely popular Harry Potter series continues with Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban – Film with Orchestra.


“The RPO has always been a trailblazing institution and this season we get to up the ante,” said RPO Music Director Ward Stare. “We’ll explore contemporary classical music – from historical icons like Bartók and Debussy, to emerging living composers including our opening weekend featuring works by four living composers and the incredible violinist Leila Josefowicz as our soloist.”


“After 25 years as Principal Pops Conductor, you might think I’ve seen it all, but the truth is, every new season is more exciting than the last,” adds Tyzik. “Each season gives us the opportunity to bring the best in programming, talented artists, and meaningful collaborations. I am thrilled to be working with Garth Fagan Dance this season, to celebrate the company’s 50th anniversary!”


The entire 14-concert Philharmonics Series features a mix of “blockbuster” favorites, world-renowned guest artists, and RPO first performances and debuts:

  • Scheherazade .2 (September 19 & 21): Your RPO takes part in the KeyBank Rochester Fringe Festival in this adventurous and exciting program featuring four living composers: Bates, McTee, Reich, and Adams. The program concludes with world-renowned violinist Leila Josefowicz as soloist in John Adams’ 2.
  • Dvořák 8 (October 3 & 4) Guest conductor David Danzmayr makes his RPO debut with your RPO in a program featuring Dvořák’s decidedly genial and upbeat Eighth Symphony. But first, Orli Shaham performs Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 17 – a delightful piece with an immediately memorable melody. (Note: This concert will be presented on Thursday & Friday rather than the traditional Thursday & Saturday Philharmonics schedule.)
  • Tchaikovsky 4 (October 17 & 19): Conductor Laureate Christopher Seaman brings Tchaikovsky’s incredible Symphony No. 4 to life. The Bruch Violin Concerto No. 1, described by Classic FM as “one of the best works of the Romantic period,” will feature violinist Simone Porter. Hindemith’s Symphony Metamorphosis of Themes by Carl Maria von Weber begins the program.
  • The Firebird (October 31 & November 2): The Firebird was such a tremendous success that Stravinksy instantly became an international sensation. The program also features two works by Lili Boulanger, Nadia’s younger sister. This gifted composer’s career skyrocketed when she became the first woman to win the Prix de Rome at the age of 19. Andrei Ionita is soloist in Elgar’s Cello Concerto; the composer’s last major work, speaks of the anguish and disillusionment the composer felt about the Great War and what it had done to the world. The concert opens with Debussy’s Printemps (Springtime), a misty blend of winds, strings, and brass.
  • Bach to Bartók (November 7 & 9): The program opens with Bach’s Ricercar No. 2 from Musical Offering. Violinist Tessa Lark makes her RPO debut as soloist in Berg’s Violin Concerto; although dedicated to “the memory of an angel,” the piece may very well be a requiem for the composer himself. Bach, arguably one of the most important composers in western music is quoted in Berg’s concerto. Schoenberg’s Five Pieces for Orchestra mirror the expressionist movement of the times, particularly its preoccupation with the subconscious.
  • JoAnn Falletta & Symphonie fantastique (November 21 & 23): There was perhaps no more imaginative orchestrator than Hector Berlioz and his Symphonie fantastique is a quintessential example of his visionary genius. Guest conductor JoAnn Falletta brings this piece alive at Kodak Hall, along with Rouse’s Celtic-influenced Flute Concerto with Principal Flute Rebecca Gilbert (The Charlotte Whitney Allen Chair) as soloist. The program also includes Taillicferre’s Ouverture pour orchestre.
  • Gabel Conducts Beethoven (January 16 & 18) Guest conductor Fabien Gabel returns to lead your RPO in Prokofiev’s Symphonic Suite from War and Peace. Poulenc’s Suite from Les Animaux modéles, a piece of major resistance written when the Nazis occupied Paris, is also on the program. Pianist Juho Pohjonen makes his RPO debut with Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 1. The program opens with Beethoven’s powerfully beautiful Egmont
  • Women’s Suffrage: Past + Present (January 30 & February 1): Ward Stare conducts the world premiere of a new work by an emerging female composer. Plus, playwright Mark Mobley creates a new theatrical work setting the stories of strong Rochester women, past and present, to music.
  • The Mother of Us All (February 6 & 8): The Mother of Us All, an opera by Virgil Thomsonto a libretto by Gertrude Stein, examines the life and legacy of chronicles the life of Susan B. Anthony. In fanciful style, it brings together characters, fictional and non-fictional, from different periods of American history.
  • Tchaikovsky + Athayde (February 27 & 29): Concertmaster Juliana Athayde (The Caroline W. Gannett & Flayla Ward Chair) performs one of the most well-known violin concertos ever written – Tchaikovsky’s. Plus, guest conductor Marcelo Lehninger leads the orchestra in Rachmaninoff’s Symphony No. 2.
  • Brahms 4 (March 19 & 21): Celebrate the Romantic genius of Johannes Brahms. Ward Stare leads the great and noble Fourth Symphony. Pianist Andreas Haefliger returns as the evening’s guest artist.
  • The Year 1905 (April 30 & May 1): Written in 1957, Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 11, “The Year 1905” was written in the aftermath of the Hungarian Uprising. A popular piece, the symphony was an instant success and won Shostakovich the Lenin Prize in 1958. Galina Ustvolskaya, wrote her Symphonic Poem No. 2 around the same time her teacher, Dmitri Shostakovich wrote his Symphony No. 11. In a note to Ustvolskaya, Shostakovich wrote, “It is not you who are influenced by me; rather, it is I who am influenced by you.” Internationally- acclaimed vocalist Isabel Leonard returns to Rochestra as soloist in Berlioz’s Les Nuits d’ete.
  • “Organ” Symphony (May 7 & 9): Christoph König returns to conduct Saint-Saëns’ energetic and powerful “Organ” Symphony. Violinist Alexandra Soumm makes her RPO debut with Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto. The program begins with Liszt’s Les Préludes, taken from one of the composer’s earlier choral works, this piece is one of the earliest symphonic poems. The program concludes with.
  • The “Titan” Symphony (May 28 & 30): Ward Stare continues the exploration of Mahler’s symphonies with “the Titan,” the composers First Symphony. This grandiose and booming symphony incorporates themes and compositions earlier works. There’s no greater way to end the 2019/20 Season that with this overpowering piece!


The 2018/19 Pops Series


  • Prohibition (September 27 & 28): The Music of Moulin Rouge, Boardwalk Empire and more! Imagine time-traveling one night through the dark cabarets and speakeasies of New York, Paris, Berlin, London, and Atlantic City, reliving the 1920s in all its decadence…prohibition, gangsters, ingénues, and intrigue. Prohibition takes you on a journey through the era, from Rudy Vallee to Josephine Baker, and Kurt Weill to King Oliver, featuring the top hits of the decade accompanied by vintage imagery and video from the period. Prohibition, while suitable for all ages, contains imagery and mature themes.
  • Troupe Vertigo (October 25 & 26): Fusing together elements of cirque acrobatics and classical dance, Troupe Vertigo brings audiences on a spellbinding journey through the world of artistic movement—all choreographed to thrilling live music. Brace yourself for a surprising and delightful night of entertainment with world-class aerial artists, contortionists, and dancers as your RPO performs orchestral favorites.
  • America the Beautiful: Patriotic Pops (November 15 & 16): Celebrate America with Jeff Tyzik, your RPO, and the U.S. Naval Academy Glee Club this Veteran’s Day. Stirring Sousa spectaculars, favorite toe-tappers, and inspiring anthems as the orchestra performs your favorite red, white and blue melodies.
  • Gala Holiday Pops (December 20-22): Everyone’s favorite holiday tradition! Enjoy festive carols, joyful melodies, and a 200-member choir to put the merriment in your holidays.
  • Harry Potter and the Prisoner of AzkabanTM – Film with Orchestra (January 10 & 11): Relive the magic of your favorite wizard in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban™ in Concert. Based on the third installment of J.K. Rowling’s classic saga, fans of all ages can now experience the thrilling tale accompanied by live music from your Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra as Harry soars across the big screen.
HARRY POTTER characters, names and related indicia are © & ™ Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. J.K. ROWLING’S WIZARDING WORLD™ J.K. Rowling and Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. Publishing Rights © JKR. (s19)
  • 50 Years of Garth Fagan Dance (January 24 & 25): Celebrate Garth Fagan Dance’s 50th anniversary with a rousing, provocative, and nourishing collaboration with your RPO. Garth Fagan Dance and Jeff Tyzik join forces to inspire and excited audiences with movement and music from our organizations’ rich histories.
  • Unforgettable: 100 Years of Nat & Natalie (February 14 & 15): Two legendary performers. Valentine’s weekend. Your Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra. What more could you ask for? Guest vocalists, and Rochester favorites, Denzal Sinclaire and Dee Daniels bring the music of Nat King Cole and Natalie Cole to Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre. Each Cole put their individual stamp on the jazz and pop music of their day, winning multiple Grammys along the way. Celebrate Nat’s 100th birthday and honor this incredible father/daughter duo whose musical style and undeniable talent continues to influence the best musicians today.
  • American Diva: Shayna Steele (April 17 & 18): Described by Jeff Tyzik as “…one of the most incredible artists I’ve ever worked with”, international vocal powerhouse and Broadway star Shayna Steele returns to Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre with her eclectic style of soul and blues honoring the musical divas who inspired her. With songs from Whitney Houston, Chaka Khan, Aretha Franklin and Mariah Carey, you’ll be taken on a journey that sets up what Shayna has become today: a modern American Diva in her own right. An accomplished composer herself, Shayna also brings her original music to the stage and revamped arrangements with a classic soul edge.
  • Legends: The Paul Simon Songbook (May 22 & 23): Join your RPO and Principal Pops Conductor Jeff Tyzik for an evening of music by the legendary Paul Simon. Explore his unique artistry as a songwriter from his years with Simon and Garfunkel, through his solo albums Graceland and Rhythm of the Saints. Orchestrated by Jeff Tyzik, you’ll enjoy songs including “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” “Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard,” “The Sound of Silence,” and “50 Ways to Leave Your Lover.”


The 2019/20 Season is presented by Rochester Regional HealthDawn and Jacques Lipson Cancer Institute. The RPO Pops Series is sponsored by Canandaigua National Bank & Trust and Wegmans. 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 and the City of Rochester.