Back to Posts

RPO Pops Opens with Gershwin Favorites

For Immediate Release: September 26, 2016
Media Contacts:   Sally Cohen, 585-749-1795,
RPO Info:,,,,

Jeff Tyzik joined by Jon Nakamatsu, Rochester City Ballet & more
OrKIDStra opener: Pirates; Sunday Matinee opener: Beethoven & Haydn

Rochester, NY – The Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra (RPO) opens its 2016/17 Pops Series with Gershwin Favorites this Friday and Saturday, September 30 and October 1 – both at 8 p.m. in Kodak Hall. Principal Pops Conductor Jeff Tyzik will be joined by Van Cliburn winner and Rochester favorite, Jon Nakamatsu, fresh from his triumphant Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto No. 2 at the RPO Philharmonics Series opener September 15 & 17. He’ll celebrate the 10th anniversary of his Gershwin CD release with the RPO and Tyzik – which climbed to #3 on the Billboard charts – by performing the first movement of Gershwin’s Concerto in F and his iconic Rhapsody in Blue. Joining in the fun is tenor Doug LaBreque performing favorites like “I Got Rhythm” and “Embraceable You,” while Rochester City Ballet (David Palmer, artistic director; Jamey Leverett, choreographer) and RPO Principal Clarinet Kenneth Grant (The Robert J. Strasenburgh Chair) will bring Gershwin’s Preludes to life. Tickets start at $23/$15 for students. Friday, September 30th’s concert is sponsored by St. John’s.

“I’m thrilled to be opening the 2016/17 RPO season (also my 23rd RPO season!) with my good friends, Jon Nakamatsu and Doug LeBreque, as well as featuring the Rochester City Ballet and RPO Principal Clarinet Kenny Grant,” says Tyzik. “What a wonderful kick-off to an exciting season ahead!”

The 2016/17 Sunday Matinee Series opens on Sunday, October 2 at 2 p.m. at the Performance Hall at Hochstein with Beethoven & Haydn. Principal Cellist Ahrim Kim (The Clara and Edwin Strasenburgh Chair) makes her first solo appearance with the RPO, performing Haydn’s Cello Concerto in D Major. Plus, Music Director Ward Stare leads one of Beethoven’s greatest early symphonies, Symphony No. 2 in D Major. Also on the program, which does not include an intermission, is Carl Maria von Weber’s Abu Hassan Overture.  Tickets are $27/$10 for students.

One more exciting series opens on Sunday, October 9 at 2 p.m. at the Performance Hall at Hochstein: the 2016/17 OrKIDStra Series! The Pirates of Penzance: Opera for Kids will playfully introduce young audience members to opera in a semi-staged performance of this comic tale, as the RPO joins forces with Eastman School of Music voice students and guest conductor Steven Byess. As always, a free, hands-on activity for kids starts at 1 p.m. Tickets are $17, $13 for children.

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, The Philharmonics Series is sponsored by M&T Bank, and 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 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.