Back to Posts

RPO celebrates music in our schools month

For Immediate Release:  February 13, 2017
Media Contacts:  Sally Cohen, 585-749-1795,


Reaching for the Stars
will reach thousands of 4th-6th graders
OrKIDStra, RPYO Side-by-Side reprises Carnegie Hall concert
Also in March: Brahms, Rachmaninoff & Tchaikovsky, The Hot Sardines


Rochester, NY – Each year, the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra (RPO) reaches more than 16,000 school-aged children in a nine-county area with its excellent educational programming. Last week, for example, thousands of first, second, and third graders attended the 2016/17 Primary Education Concerts: The Science of Sound, led by Principal Conductor for Education and Community Outreach Michael Butterman (The Louise and Henry Epstein Family Chair) in Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre. The 2016/17 Tiny Tots Education Concerts, for children ages three to six, will take place May 16 – 19 at various community locations.

On March 14, 15, 16 and 17 at 10:15 a.m., thousands of fourth-through-sixth graders bused in from all over the Greater Rochester Area will enjoy the one-hour, age-appropriate 2016-17 Intermediate Education Concerts: Reaching for the Stars in Kodak Hall, also led by Maestro Butterman. With lesson plans that follow NY State guidelines written by Kelly Follman and Alison Schmitt of the Rochester City School District, the space-themed, multi-media program will connect orchestral music with the Intermediate curriculum.

“This year’s concerts celebrate the 100th anniversary of President Kennedy’s birth by connecting two related ideas: his moon landing challenge and the role of courage in our lives,” explains Butterman. “We’ll explore the power of an inspiring vision, and the courage that it takes to see it through, with music from Beethoven’s Fifth to Holst’s The Planets to John Williams’ Star Wars. Student works of art and poetry inspired by the music will also be projected above the orchestra during the concert.” 

The following Sunday, March 19 at 2 p.m. at Hochstein Performance Hall, Butterman also conducts the RPO’s kid-friendly OrKIDStra concert: Symphonic Tales from Around the World. Free, hands-on activities begin one hour prior to the concert, which takes children and their families for a trip around the world with engaging music and stories from Russia, France, Norway and the U.S. Tickets are $17, $13 for children.

In addition, the Rochester Philharmonic Youth Orchestra (RPYO), which performs at Carnegie Hall February 19th, will reprise part of that program in its annual Side by Side with the RPO: Mahler’s Magic on Sunday, March 5 at 3 p.m. in Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre. Almost 90 of the most talented and hardworking teenage musicians from the Greater Rochester Area, led by Music Director James Mick, will be joined by their RPO mentors. RPYO Concerto Competition winners Nicholas Pogharian (Pittsford Mendon High School senior, trombone) and Epongue Ekille (Fairport High School senior, violin) will be featured as well. The program includes Mahler’s Symphony No. 1, mvts. 3 & 4; and Franz von Suppé’s “Poet & Peasant” Overture.  Advance tickets: $15 adults, $10 students & seniors; at the door: $17 adults, $12 students & seniors.

March’s Philharmonics Series starts with Stare Conducts Brahms 1 on Thursday, March 2 at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday, March 4 at 8 p.m. in Kodak Hallat Eastman Theatre. It was a creation nearly 20 years in the making, but when Brahms unleashed his symphonic powers at long last, it was with a mighty roar that both invoked the past and heralded the future. Chopin is synonymous with piano fireworks, and his second concerto is in good hands with Argentine pianist Ingrid Fliter, a noted Chopin interpreter. Brahms/Bright Sheng’s Intermezzo Op. 118, No. 2 “Black Swan” opens the powerful program led by Music Director Ward Stare, made possible with support from the Melvin and Mildred Eggers Family Foundation.   

Next, guest conductor James Feddeck leads Rachmaninoff & Tchaikovsky on Thursday, March 9 at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday, March 11 at 8 p.m. in Kodak Hall. Pianist Natasha Paremski’s “astonishing power and speed” (Chicago Classical Review) will be evident in Tchaikovsky’s wildly popular First Piano Concerto, featuring one of classical music’s all-time great openings. Starting off with “exciting composer of the new American generation” (New York Times) Sean Shepherd’s Magiya (written for Carnegie Hall’s newly established National Youth Orchestra), the evening is capped off by Rachmaninoff’s sensuous Symphony No. 3.

Finally – and following closely on the heels of the first official day of spring! – Principal Pops Conductor Jeff Tyzik leads The Hot Sardines on Friday and Saturday, March 24 & 25 at 8 p.m. in Kodak Hall. Dubbed the “charismatic front-runners of vintage jazz” (The Guardian), The Hot Sardines sound like a 1920s speakeasy with a modern edge. The eight-piece band, featuring a powerhouse female lead vocalist (and a tap dancer for added percussion), breathes new life into the hottest jazz of the 20s, 30s, and 40s, updated for a 21st-century palate.

Tickets for the concerts above, except where noted, start at $23, with student ticket info available at Tickets 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.

The RPO’s 2016/17 Educational Concerts are supported by Monroe County, MVP, ESL Charitable Foundation, Xerox Foundation, Glover-Crask Charitable Trust, and Farash Foundation. The 2016/17 Season is presented by Dawn & Jacques Lipson, The Philharmonics Series is sponsored by M&T Bank, the RPO Pops Series is sponsored by Canandaigua National Bank & Trust and Wegmans, and the OrKIDStra media sponsor is 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 2016/17 concerts are available at and upon request, and interviews and photo/footage opportunities can be arranged.