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RPO announces FREE Around the Town Concert Series- The Sounds of America

For Immediate Release: September 1, 2016
Media Contacts:   Sally Cohen, 585-749-1795,
RPO Info:,,,,

Three free community concerts in October feature American music
RPO’s first American Music Festival also debuts this October

Rochester, NY – The Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra (RPO) will present three Around-the-Town concerts entitled The Sounds of America at area high schools this October. The fall series kicks off October 6 at Eastridge High School (2350 E. Ridge Road, Rochester, 14622), continues October 7 at Fairport High School (1 Dave Paddock Way, Fairport, 14450), and closes October 8 at Churchville-Chili High School (5786 Buffalo Road, Churchville, 14428). All concerts are free of charge, begin at 7:30 p.m., and feature a program of American music conducted by Steven Byess. Additional support for these concerts has been provided by the ESL Charitable Foundation and the Xerox Foundation.

“This is such a wonderful opportunity for our Orchestra to engage the community with music that was created by our own country’s great composers and that strikes a familiar chord within all of us,” says RPO President & CEO Ralph Craviso. “It’s also a wonderful way to introduce our first-ever American Music Festival that will happen later in October.”

Although the Around-the-Town concerts will contain totally different pieces than those presented in the Festival, some of the same composers are represented, including Leonard Bernstein (West Side Story Overture), Charles Ives (Variations on America), Aaron Copland (Hoe Down from Rodeo), John Williams (Raiders of the Lost Ark March), and the RPO’s own Principal Pops Conductor Jeff Tyzik (Pleasant Valley).

October’s free Around-the-Town concerts lead into the RPO’s first festival under Music Director Ward Stare. The three-weekend-long American Music Festival opens with Diamond, Gershwin & Copland on Sunday, October 23 at the Performance Hall at Hochstein as part of the Sunday Matinee Series. The program includes renowned Rochester composer David Diamond’s Rounds, Gershwin’s Lullaby, Christopher Rouse’s Iscariot, Alan Fletcher’s If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler, and Copland’s The Tender Land Suite.

The Festival continues on October 27 & 29 with American Music: Stage and Screen (sponsored by Constellation Brands), featuring the RPO debut of Dr. Atomic Symphony by John Adams – arguably America’s greatest living composer – as well as The Unanswered Question, a cosmic soundscape by American maverick, Charles Ives. The program also features the RPO debuts of John Williams’ For New York (Variations on Themes of Leonard Bernstein) and George Gershwin’s “I Got Rhythm” Variations, as well as a suite from Bernstein’s iconic film score for On the Waterfront. Pianist Andre Russo guests.

Stare concludes the Festival on November 3 & 5 with Higdon, Copland & Barber. The RPO debut of Jennifer Higdon’s Grammy-winning Percussion Concerto will feature the “world’s finest percussionist” (The Spectator) for whom it was written, Colin Currie. The concert fittingly concludes with what many have deemed the Great American Symphony: Copland’s Symphony No. 3, which includes the iconic Fanfare for the Common Man.

“It’s not just the Festival and the Around-the-Town concerts that highlight American music – it’s a thread that runs throughout the entire upcoming season,” explains Stare. “I think that American music is more diverse than any other national genre, and our amazing orchestra will dazzle audiences all year long as we explore the vast scope of color, sounds, and styles that make American music so unique.”

Tickets to any of the 2016/17 RPO season concerts 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. A complete concert listing is here:

The 2016/17 Season is presented by Dawn & Jacques Lipson, with The Philharmonics Series sponsored by M&T Bank, the RPO Pops Series 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 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.