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For Immediate Release: November 20, 2017

Media Contact: Sally Cohen, 585-749-1795,




Donations up to $300,000 will be doubled through Dec. 31


Rochester, NY – The Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra (RPO) announces today the start of its biggest-ever Year-End Challenge. Five dedicated patrons have pledged to match every donation to the RPO Annual Fund up to $300,000 through December 31, 2017, doubling every dollar donated.


“We’re reaching out to the community at this time of giving because – like other orchestras – only 40% of our operating, production and community engagement costs are covered through ticket sales revenue,” says RPO President & CEO Curt Long.  “The remaining 60% comes from generous donors who understand that the RPO is a valuable community resource and want to see it flourish. We are tremendously grateful for that support, and wouldn’t be able to continue without it.”  


The Orchestra’s 95th season is well underway – offering everything from Harry Potter to Bernstein, Beethoven, and the Beatles – and thousands of concert-goers have already attended packed performances in Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre.


“The RPO is more than just an orchestra that performs in Kodak Hall, though” adds Music Director Ward Stare. “We currently offer 20 free concerts throughout the community, reaching thousands of music lovers who might not otherwise have the opportunity to hear us. Each year, we reach more than 16,000 preschoolers through sixth graders from all over the greater Rochester area, and students respond with wide-eyed amazement as many hear us play for the first time. This is made possible because the community believes we are an important asset.”


Donors can also be assured that the Orchestra is on the right course for the future. As reported last month, the RPO’s five-year financial plan has achieved a balanced budget for the fiscal year ending August 31, 2017 (the first year of that five-year plan) for the first time in six years.  The past season’s ticket sales were also up by 20%, and the RPO saw an increase of 25% in fundraising during 2016/17.  


“We see those numbers continuing into our current season, so we know we’re on the right path,” explains RPO Board of Directors Chairperson Ingrid Stanlis, “The Board is confident that we will continue to advance the five-year plan, and support from the community is a key factor.”


Donors may make their gifts online at or call the RPO Development office at 585.454.7311 x229.


The RPO’s 2017/18 Season is presented by Rochester Regional Health and the Dawn and Jacques Lipson Cancer Institute. The Philharmonics Series is sponsored by M&T Bank; 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; 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 23-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 2017/18 concerts are available at and upon request, and interviews and photo/footage opportunities can be arranged.