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RPO Inaugurates New CMAC with a Joyful Sound

Rochester, NY; June 14, 2006 – When it comes to music for a celebration, Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony – with its glorious and uplifting “Ode to Joy” fourth movement – often is considered the exemplary choice. So it’s no wonder that the RPO will perform this piece on Saturday, July 8 at 7:30 p.m. as the opener of the Constellation Brands – Marvin Sands Performing Arts Center (CMAC) on Lincoln Hill Road in Canandaigua, followed by a free fireworks display. It also marks the first of four RPO CMAC concerts to be presented on subsequent Saturday nights (July 15, 22, and 29). The RPO’s summer series at CMAC is sponsored by Constellation Brands. Canandaigua National Bank is proud to be the CMAC Summer Residency sponsor; Christopher Seaman’s appearance is made possible by the Louis S. & Molly B. Wolk Foundation.

The forces of the RPO under Music Director Christopher Seaman, will be joined by the Finger Lakes Festival Chorus (Adrian Horn, director), with soloists Jennifer Aylmer, soprano; Jami Tyzik, mezzo-soprano; Gordon Gietz, tenor; and Stephen Powell, baritone. “Our programming of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony was the perfect choice to inaugurate the beautiful new CMAC shell in Canandaigua,” said RPO Music Director Christopher Seaman. “Although the last of Beethoven’s complete symphonies and composed when he was almost completely deaf, the Ninth Symphony is a celebratory testament to the joy of the human spirit.” The evolution of this piece spanned more than three decades. After reading Friedrich Schiller’s poem, “Ode to Joy” in 1793, Beethoven determined to set it to music, but it wasn’t until 1824 that the entire piece was heard for the first time. As an interesting historical footnote, the RPO performed this same piece at the 1983 opening of the former Finger Lakes Performing Arts Center.

The festivities infuse the two other works on the program, Sonata pian’ e forte by Giovanni Gabrieli, and the appropriately titled overture, Consecration of the House, by Beethoven. The Gabrieli work opening this concert is a celebratory one as well. Written to be played in the imposing, gilded interior of Baroque Venice’s St. Mark’s Cathedral, it is one of the earliest pieces in which the composer indicated various dynamic levels.

Overture to The Consecration of the House was written as a suitably festive overture to accompany a pageant to be staged at the opening of the newly renovated Josefstadt Theater in Vienna in 1822. It is a tribute to the esteemed composer George Frideric Handel.

Soloists in the Ninth Symphony – also called the “Choral” Symphony – bring an impressive array of talents and experience. An engaging performer, soprano Jennifer Aylmer is a graduate of the Eastman School of Music and a recipient of the prestigious Performer’s Certificate. Aylmer has both an operatic and oratorio background, having performed with such companies as the New York City Opera, the Metropolitan Opera, the Houston Grand Opera, the Cincinnati Symphony, Minnesota Orchestra, Rochester Philharmonic, and the San Francisco Symphony.

A familiar face to audiences in Rochester, mezzo-soprano Jami Tyzik made her solo debut with the RPO at the age of 17, and subsequently received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the Eastman School of Music and Boston University, respectively. She has performed as guest soloist with the Buffalo Philharmonic, the Minnesota and Milwaukee Symphonies, and has appeared with the Amalfi Coast Opera, the Boston Early Music Festival, and the Utrecht Early Music Festival in Holland.

Gordon Gietz is one of the most promising young tenors of his generation, with a career focused equally on a wide range of operatic and concert repertoire. In addition to his Beethoven Ninth with the RPO, Gietz performs it this summer with the Baltimore Symphony, as well as appearing with the Toronto Symphony and the Minnesota Orchestra. Career highlights include appearances with the Royal Opera at Covent Garden, at La Scala under Riccardo Muti, and creating the role of YONAS in the world premiere of Adriana Mater at l’Opéra National de Paris.

Baritone Stephen Powell is known for his handsome voice, elegant musicianship and robust stage presence. Appearances this past season alone included the Cleveland Opera, Brooklyn Philharmonic, The Florida Orchestra, l’Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal, and Vaughan Williams’ Dona Nobis Pacem at Carnegie Hall. In addition, Powell sang Beethoven’s Ninth with the Philadelphia Orchestra and the Cincinnati Symphony. Future engagements include the Milwaukee, Jacksonville, and North Carolina Symphonies, and the Opera Orchestra of New York at Carnegie Hall.

Now in its fourth year, the Finger Lakes Choral Festival brings together singers from over 50 communities and several states each summer to perform major works for chorus and orchestra. Director Adrian Horn is also the founder of the San Francisco City Chorus and San Francisco Choral Society.

CMAC tickets are $15-$50 in advance; $20-$55 at the gate. Discounts are available for seniors, students and children. CMAC tickets are available at the RPO Box Office (585) 454-2100, online at, through Ticket Express, or through Ticketmaster (585) 232-1900. Discounts are available for senior citizens, students and children 12 and under. Please note: CMAC summer tickets are NOT available at Wegmans.

CMAC concerts take place rain or shine. The grounds open at 6 p.m. and concertgoers are encouraged to bring their own blanket or lawn chair for relaxing on the hillside. Glass, disposable plastic and metal containers, grills, pets, fireworks, recording devices and cameras are not permitted on the grounds. Reusable plastic containers and vacuum-seal bottles are allowed. There are new ground rules in place for insurance and liability purposes: alcoholic beverages may not be brought into CMAC (beer and wine will be available for purchase).

Celebrating its 83rd season in 2005-06, the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra’s mission is to perform and present a broad range of quality music; attract, entertain and educate audiences with superior musical performances; maintain and build the Orchestra’s national reputation; and enhance the reputation of the Rochester community as a place in which to live, work, play, visit and learn.

RPO performances are made possible in part with grants from the National Endowment for the Arts; the New York State Council on the Arts, a State Agency; the State of New York; the County of Monroe; the City of Rochester; and American Airlines, the official airline of the RPO.