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For Immediate Release: December 12, 2017

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




Broadway Superstar Audra McDonald Returns on Jan. 25

Free Season Preview Concert at Kodak Hall Jan. 30


Rochester, NY – The Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra (RPO) blasts off into the New Year with the magic and imagination of E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial TM in Concert on Friday and Saturday, January 12 & 13 at 7 p.m. in Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre. Led by guest conductor Matthew Kraemer, audiences will experience the unforgettable adventure of a little lost alien who befriends 10-year-old Elliott on the big screen, while the world-class RPO performs John Williams’ Academy Award®-winning score. Academy Awards © A.M.P.A.S. E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial is a trademark and copyright of Universal Studios. Licensed by Universal Studios Licensing LLC. All Rights Reserved.


The first Sunday Matinee of 2018 is next, with Bach & Brahms on Sunday, January 14 at 2 p.m. Guest conductor Matthew Kraemer will again lead the RPO, this time in the more intimate setting of Hochstein Performance Hall.  Highlighting the early orchestral compositions of favorite master composers, the program includes Handel’s “Entrance of the Queen of Sheba” from Solomon; J.S. Bach’s Suite No. 1 in C Major, BWV 1066: Overture; and Brahms’ Serenade No. 1 in D Major, Op. 11.


International Tchaikovsky Competition winner Andrei Ioniţă has been dubbed “one of the most exciting cellists to have emerged for a decade” (The Times). Be in Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre as this 23-year-old sensation makes his North American concert debut with Shostakovich’s barn-burning Cello Concerto No. 1 on Thursday, January 18 at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday, January 20 at 8 p.m. Led by guest conductor Marcelo Lehninger, the evening of Russian fire and French luster also features that fiendish favorite by Mussorgsky, Night on Bald Mountain, along with the luminous reveries of Debussy’s Nocturnes.


After wowing a sold-out crowd in 2015, superstar Audra McDonald returns to the RPO for a one-night-only Special Concert with all-new material, led by guest conductor Andy Einhorn. With a record-breaking six Tony® Awards, two Grammy® Awards, an Emmy® Award, and a long list of other accolades to her name, she is among today’s most highly regarded performers. McDonald is known for her roles on Broadway in Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and GrillCarouselMaster ClassRagtimeA Raisin in the Sun, and Porgy and Bess. Tickets start at $50.


The RPO hosts Winter Sing, a community reading session of the Brahms Requiem with full orchestra for area vocalists on Saturday, January 27 at 1 p.m. in Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre. Led by Eastman Professor William Weinert, director of the Eastman-Rochester Chorus, interested vocalists may still apply at


The first OrKIDStra concert of 2018 is a tried-and-true classic with brand-new choreography: Peter and the Wolf on Sunday, January 28 at 2 p.m. at Hochstein Performance Hall. Guest conductor Rachel Waddell, narrator Steven Stull, and the Nazareth College Dance Ensemble (Heather Roffe, director) join forces to tell Prokofiev’s beloved musical tale of an adventurous boy who stands up to the dreaded Wolf with the help of some animal friends – represented by various instruments of the Orchestra. Tickets start at just $14. This concert is made possible in part by Dr. and Mrs. Tae B. Whang.


It’s that time again for an annual tradition begun by Music Director Ward Stare: the FREE 2018/19 Season Preview Concert in Kodak Hall on Tuesday, January 30 at 7 p.m.  Like last year’s packed concert, Maestro Stare and the complete Orchestra will be joined by Principal Pops Conductor Jeff Tyzik for a fast-paced, variety-filled reveal of our exciting, upcoming season. The concert is free, but those interested in attending will need to reserve tickets starting Tuesday, January 9, 2018, in person at the RPO Patron Services Center (108 East Ave., Rochester) or by phone at (585) 454-2100. Season subscription packages will go on sale to the public the following morning, Wednesday, January 31 at 10 a.m. online at, by phone at (585) 454-2100, or in person at the RPO’s Patron Services Center.


Finally, the 2018 Primary Education Concerts, for thousands of school children in grades one through three, will take place Tuesday and Wednesday, January 30 and 31 at 10:15 a.m. in Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre. Principal Conductor for Education and Community Engagement Michael Butterman (The Louise and Henry Epstein Family Chair) will lead the concerts, entitled Strength through Diversity, which will feature the Dr. Seuss story, “The Sneetches,” set to music by composer Lorenzo Palomo, as well as a tribute to Martin Luther King, Jr.  RPO Education Programs are supported by the ESL Charitable Foundation, Glover-Crask Charitable Trust, Farash Foundation, Cornell Weinstein Family Foundation, and the Guido and Ellen Palma Foundation.


Tickets* for all of the above (unless noted) start at $24 and are available online at, by phone at (585) 454-2100, or in person at the RPO’s Patron Services Center (108 East Ave., Rochester) and at all Wegmans That’s T.H.E. Ticket! locations.


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 – 34,000 of them youngsters – 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 almost 17,000 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.