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For Immediate Release: February 5, 2018

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





Also: Mahler 4, Celtic Celebration, Tchaikovsky 5 + World Premiere  

Thousands of 4th-6th graders to attend Intermediate Concerts in Kodak Hall

NOTE: Celtic Celebration with Cathie Ryan conductor change


Rochester, NY – The Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra (RPO) joins 2018’s world-wide celebration of Leonard Bernstein (1918-1990) and his towering musical legacy on Thursday, March 1 at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday, March 3 at 8 p.m. in Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre. Music Director Ward Stare will lead Bernstein Centennial Celebration, a highlight of which will be Bernstein’s Symphony No. 2, known as “Age of Anxiety.” Legendary pianist Misha Dichter – who made his debut with Bernstein and the New York Philharmonic in 1968 – will be featured on this brilliant fusion of symphony and piano concerto that traverses a spectrum of music styles. Samuel Barber’s intensely lyrical Second Essay for Orchestra and Shostakovich’s carnivalesque Symphony No. 9 – both notably interpreted by Bernstein as a conductor – round out this not-to-be-missed “salute to Lenny.” Misha Dichter’s performance is made possible by the Alfred Davis and Brunhilde Knapp Artists Performance Fund.


“Leonard Bernstein’s second Symphony, ‘The Age of Anxiety,’ is one of his most personal works – at times almost autobiographical in its search for faith and skillful use of the solo pianist. I couldn’t be happier to perform it with the RPO and the great Misha Dichter as we celebrate Bernstein’s 100th birthday,” says Stare. “The symphony is a perfect blend of Bernstein’s greatest characteristics as an artist: innovation, depth, theatricality, lyricism and humanity. It is a virtuoso piece for orchestra and soloist alike, and a definite ‘can’t miss’ event for our audiences this season.” 


The following afternoon – Sunday, March 4 at 3 p.m. – the Rochester Philharmonic Youth Orchestra  (RPYO) will present Universal Sounds – A World Odyssey at Kodak Hall. This annual Side by Side Concert, conducted by RPYO Music Director James Mick, will feature the youth orchestra’s RPO mentors joining them on the concert’s final piece: Holst’s The Planets, Mvts. 1, 2, 6 & 4: Mars, Venus, Uranus and Jupiter. (The RPO will perform The Planets in its entirety – accompanied by HD footage from recent NASA space explorations – on April 19 & 21.) This program also includes Rimsky-Korsakov’s Russian Easter Overture, as well as RPYO Concerto Competition winners Owen Cummings and Trevor Heal. Advance tickets are $15, $10 for seniors and students, and are available online at, by phone at (585) 454-2100, or in person at the RPO’s Patron Services Center (108 East Ave.) Tickets will be $2 more at the door.


Later that week, Ward Stare conducts Mahler 4 on Thursday, March 8 at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday, March 10 at 8 p.m. in Kodak Hall. The magical world of Mahler’s Fourth – famous for its ethereal sleigh bells, time-altering beauty, and child-like dream of heaven – casts an exquisite spell. The program begins appropriately with Alban Berg’s Seven Early Songs, rapturous art songs that drift through wondrous landscapes, featuring soprano Emily Birsan.


Thousands of fourth-through-sixth graders from all over the Greater Rochester Area will attend the 2018 Intermediate Education Concerts in Kodak Hall on Tuesday, March 13 – Friday, March 16 at 10:15 a.m. each day. RPO Principal Conductor for Education and Community Engagement Michael Butterman (The Louise and Henry Epstein Family Chair) will lead the four, one-hour, age-appropriate performances of Express Yourself.  This interactive program features a variety of music that includes Aaron Copland’s Fanfare for the Common Man, George Gershwin’s Cuban Overture, Greig’s In the Hall of the Mountain King, and Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 10.


“Any act of creation tells us something about the creator,” explains Butterman. “Through music, composers share their feelings and experiences, and tell us about their lives and the people in them. This program demonstrates that, and gives students several opportunities to share their own impressions through visual art and the written word. I’m always impressed and touched by the quality and insight of the students’ work, and we’re excited to see and share what they come up with this year.”


The RPO Education Concerts are sponsored by The County of Monroe, ESL Charitable Foundation, Glover Crask Charitable Trust, Farash Foundation, Cornell Weinstein Family Foundation, Mary S. Mulligan Charitable Trust, and the Guido and Ellen Palma Foundation.


Perfect for St. Patrick’s Day weekend, Celtic Celebration with Cathie Ryan takes place Friday and Saturday, March 16 & 17 at 8 p.m. in Kodak Hall. March’s only Pops program will also be led by Maestro Butterman (not Ward Stare as originally indicated in our 2017/18 season announcement), and features “one of the leading voices in Celtic music” (L.A. Times), Cathie Ryan. The original lead singer for the Irish music sensation Cherish the Ladies, Ryan brings her own award-winning band featuring Patsy O’Brien on guitar, Matt Mancuso on fiddle, and Brian Melick on percussion. Called a “revelation” by The Wall Street Journal, Ryan is also an endearing and witty entertainer. This concert is sponsored in part by The Melvin and Mildred Eggers Family Foundation.


The month of March closes with Tchaikovsky 5 + World Premiere on Thursday, March 22 at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday, March 24 at 8 p.m. in Kodak Hall. Led by Maestro Stare, Tchaikovsky’s Fifth is a sweeping musical cosmos filled with brooding darkness and aching beauty. The symphony’s colossal ending – replete with blazing brass fanfares and thunderous timpani – is guaranteed to leave audiences exhilarated. This memorable evening will also feature the world premiere of Allen Shawn’s Oboe Concerto, an RPO-commissioned work that was written specifically for RPO Principal Oboe Erik Behr (The Dr. Jacques M. Lipson Chair). The program also includes Haydn’s Symphony No. 22, “The Philosopher.” This performance and the commissioning of Allen Shawn’s Oboe Concerto were made possible by generous support from Ron and Susan Fielding.


“A World Premiere is always an exciting event – made even more so when the piece is written especially for one of our own RPO musicians,” adds Stare. “Our audiences have a wonderful opportunity to experience the birth of a new concerto and, at the same time, enjoy the glorious drama and beauty of one of Tchaikovsky’s greatest symphonies. We are all grateful to Ron and Susan Fielding for making this concert possible!” 


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 and the City of Rochester.


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 24-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 here and upon request, and interviews and photo/footage opportunities can be arranged.