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RPO’S 2020-21 Season to Highlight Anniversaries, Collaborations, and Movies

For Immediate Release:  February 11, 2020
Media Contact:   Marie-Adélina de la Ferrière, 454-7311 ext. 266



Anniversaries, Collaborations, and Movies

2020-21 Season is Ward Stare’s Final as Music Director

Philharmonics Series to Celebrate 250th Anniversary of Beethoven’s Birth with All Nine Beethoven Symphonies Performed throughout the Season

Pops Series Explores a Collaboration with PUSH Physical Theatre

Sunday Matinee Series Moves to Nazareth Performing Arts Center

OrKIDStra Season Brings Coco to Rochester


Rochester, NY – The Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra (RPO) is proud to announce it’s 2020/21 Season, including a season-long celebration of the 250thanniversary of Beethoven’s birth and an exciting collaboration with Rochester’s PUSH Physical Theatre and Jamey Leverett. The 20-21 Season, Ward Stare’s last as music director, highlights projects that are important to him, including Mahler’s Symphony No. 8, often referred to as the “Symphony of 1000.“

The Philharmonic Series features all nine Beethoven symphonies, starting with Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5 to open the season in September 2020. Other pieces by the composer can be found across series, including the Violin Concerto (April 15 & 17, 2020), the Leonore (September 13, 2020) and Coriolan (January 10, 2021) overtures on the Sunday Matinee Series, and a special program on the OrKIDStra Series, commissioned by the RPO, entitled Happy Birthday Beethoven!(May 16, 2021).

“The RPO prides itself on being a trailblazing institution and this season is no exception,” said RPO Music Director Ward Stare. “We present a wide variety of amazing music. From contemporary composers like Jennifer Higdon, Kalevi Aho, and Aaron Diehl, alongside greats like Schubert, Rachmaninoff and, of course, Beethoven, the 20-21 Season explores the rich texture and diversity of classical music.”

The Pops Series highlights two of the largest movie franchises in history. Jurassic Park in Concert (January 22 & 23, 2021) brings John Williams’ iconic score to life. Plus, the immensely popular Harry Potter series continues with two movies in 20/21: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire – Film with (September 18 & 19, 2020) on the Pops Series and Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix – Film with Orchestra as a Special (March 12 & 13). Curated by Principal Pops Conductor Jeff Tyzik, who will celebrate his 27th Season with the RPO in 20/21, the Pops Series also includes the music of Motown, Mardi Gras in New Orleans featuring jazz trumpeter Byron Stripling (February 12 & 13), a collaboration with Rochester’s own PUSH Physical Theatre and choreographer Jamey Leverett (April 23 & 24), and Revolution: Music of the Beatles, arranged by Jeff Tyzik (May 21 & 22).

“Each season gives us a great opportunity to bring the best in programming and talented artists,” adds Tyzik. “I’m always looking to collaborate with some of our other amazing Rochester arts organizations on our Pop Series. Our partnership with Garth Fagan Dance this season was beyond thrilling, and I can’t wait to work with PUSH Physical Theatre and Jamey Leverett in our upcoming season.”

The Sunday Matinee Series moves to Nazareth College’s Beston Hall at the Glazer Music Performance Center next season. The new space coincides with a change in the Sunday Matinee Series all together –from a six concert to a four concert package.

“Beston Hall is a fantastic new space for music performance for our community, and we are excited to partner with Nazareth College as the new home for these Sunday Matinee Concerts,” said Curt Long, RPO President & CEO.  “It’s a beautiful space with great acoustics, ample parking and easy accessibility for our audiences.”

Family-favorites are the anchor of the OrKIDStra Season. Kicking-off with the immensely popular Coco in concert (November 1, 2020) – on los dias de muerte! The season continues with the return of Rochester favorite Enrico Lopez-Yanez conducting Pirates! The Quest for Blackbeard’s Treasure (January 24, 2021) and a new commission by Lopez-Yanez, Happy Birthday Beethoven! (May 16, 2021) in honor of the composer’s 250th birthday. Peter and the Wolf (April 18, 2021) completes the series.

The entire 14-concert Philharmonics Series features a mix of “blockbuster” favorites, world-renowned guest artists, and RPO first performances and debuts:

  • Beethoven 5 (September 24 & 26*): Beethoven’s groundbreaking Fifth Symphony has astounded generations of audiences, transforming its simple opening into a colossal epic of despair and triumph. Christopher Rouse’s Symphony No. 5 was described by The Aspen Times as “The result of a kaleidoscope of colors and a feast of rhythms that grabs an audience by the lapels and propels them into a triumphant finish.” Prokofiev’s unpredictable Violin Concerto No. 1, with Benjamin Beilman making his RPO debut as soloist, completes the first half. *Annual gala dinner. Packages sold separately.
  • Schubert, Vaughan Williams + Stravinsky (October 8 & 10) Schubert’s Symphony No. 5 is fresh, light and just bursting with tunes in every nook and cranny—a description fitting Schubert himself at the time he wrote it. Principal Oboe Erik Behr is featured soloist in Vaughan Williams’ Oboe Concerto. Stravinsky’s Bach-inspired “Dumbarton Oaks,” is ripe with jazzy syncopations. The piece’s moniker is taken from the estate of Robert and Mildred Bliss, who commissioned the piece in honor of their 30th wedding anniversary. Beethoven’s Symphony No. 1 closes the evening with a delightful and high-spirited ode to Mozart and Haydn. Guest conductor Matthew Halls makes his RPO debut in this program.
  • Appalachian Spring (October 22 & 24): Representing the quintessential “American sound,” Aaron Copland’s Appalachian Spring enjoys popularity to this day as the inspiration for countless movie and television soundtracks. Olga Kern brings her extraordinary talent and star power to Barber’s Piano Concerto, a tour-de-force that is both fiendishly challenging and abundantly musical. The performance opens with John Adams’ The Chairman Dances. With hints of big band and jazz, this piece is a cinematic montage that evokes feelings of surreal nostalgia. The world premiere of The Dozens, composed by renowned American jazz pianist Aaron Diehl, is also on the program.
  • Danzmayr + Athayde (November 5 & 7): David Danzmayr leads Beethoven’s Second Symphony, giving Concertmaster Juliana Athayde plenty of time in the limelight! Energetic, cheerful, effervescent, the Second Symphony will delight and amaze; a pivotal work that blazed a path to glory for the young composer.
  • Beethoven’s “Eroica” (November 19 & 21): Music Director Ward Stare leads your RPO in three distinct pieces of work, connected by their differences in this interesting program. Strauss’ Metamorphosen is an elegiac opus for 23 strings that the LA Weekly called, “Solemn, dark, and resigned music from the end of a sorrowing composer’s life.” Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Jennifer Higdon’s Low Brass Concerto has been called a “wonderfully accessible, richly melodic new work…” by the Chicago Sun Times. Beethoven’s powerful “Eroica” Symphony represents a turning point in musical history.
  • Delfs Conducts Beethoven 9 (January 14 & 16): Unlike anything heard before, unlike anything created since: experience Beethoven’s monumental final symphony, a masterpiece for the ages which culminates in the exhilarating, transcendent “Ode to Joy.” The concert begins with Mozart’s popular “Prague” Symphony.
  • Hough Plays Brahms (January 28 & 30) World-renowned pianist Stephen Hough returns to perform Brahms’ passionate and grand Piano Concerto No. 2. Haydn’s Symphony No. 82 earned its bearish nickname due to its heavy, drone-like bass— performed with an animal-like vigor and excitement which carries through the piece. The program begins with Schumann’s Manfred Overture.
  • Paremski + Rachmaninoff (February 25 & 27): Rossen Milanov conducts your RPO in two nights of dynamic and experimental music. Sergei Prokofiev experimented with the musical style of his predecessors to create his Symphony No. 1. Nataska Paremski returns in Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2. Overcoming years of personal and psychological turmoil, his second piano concerto remains a popular and enduring piece of composition. Mason Bates’ Auditorium, meanwhile, mixes electronica and orchestra to create a phantasmic experience. The program concludes with Beethoven’s Eighth Symphony.
  • Francis, Rachmaninoff + Beethoven (March 4 & 6): Michael Francis conducts Beethoven’s spirited Symphony No. 7, featuring the haunting Allegretto that’s captivated listeners from concert hall to movie screen. Exceptionally brilliant orchestration contributes significantly to making the Symphonic Dances one of the finest scores in Rachmaninoff’s catalogue.
  • Beethoven 4 (March 18 & 20): Guest conductor Vinay Parameswaran makes his Philharmonics debut. Jean Sibelius’ En saga opens this program. The adventurous character of the piece has encouraged many listeners to create their own vivid interpretations – from a fantasy landscape, a hunting edition, to even a bard’s storytelling. William Hagen makes his RPO debut in Korngold’s Violin Concerto – a lyrical idiom reminiscent of late 19th century Vienna. Beethoven’s genial Fourth Symphony concludes the program.
  • Jackiw Returns (April 15 & 17): Regarded as “one of the most moving works of Strauss,” Richard Strauss’ Death and Transfiguration is a tone poem portraying the cycles of life, death, and the longed-for transfiguration of the afterlife. Violinist Stefan Jackiw performs in Beethoven’s Violin Concerto—one of the most popular and best known in classical repertoire. Selections from Wagner’s opera, Tannhäuser, is also featured on the program.
  • Mahler: “Symphony of a Thousand” (May 6 & 8): Mahler’s colossal eighth symphony, literally a Symphony of a Thousand, is proof that he was one of the most ambitious and visionary composers of the romantic era.
  • Beethoven’s “Pastoral” (May 27 & 29): A lover of nature, Beethoven spent a great deal of his time on walks in the country, and his Sixth Symphony is “more the expression of feeling than painting” of Vienna’s beautiful countryside. Kalevi Aho’s Sieidi (Percussion Concerto) opens the concert with an explosive percussion workout, featuring returning guest, Colin Currie.
  • Tosca (June 3 & 5): Puccini’s thrilling tale of love and despair takes center stage alongside your RPO in our annual semi-staged opera concert! Tosca, one of the finest of Italian grand operas featuring well-known arias such as Vissi d’arte and Recondita armoni, is a must-see in historic Kodak Hall!

The 2020/21 Pops Series

  • Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire in Concert (September 18 & 19): Grab your broom and get ready for the tasks ahead! The Triwizard Tournament comes to Hogwarts™ in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire™ in Concert. Relive the magic of Harry Potter™ soaring across the big screen in high-definition and experience the music of your RPO performing Patrick Doyle’s unforgettable score.

HARRY POTTER characters, names and related indicia are © & ™ Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. Publishing Rights © JKR. (s20)

  • DANCIN’ IN THE STREETS —THE MUSIC OF MOTOWN (October 16 & 17): Experience the magic of MOTOWN! Hear smash hits made famous by artists like Marvin Gaye, The Four Tops, Martha Reeves, Michael Jackson, Diana Ross, The Temptations and the one and only Stevie Wonder. Songs include Ain’t No Mountain High Enough, Reach Out I’ll Be There, Dancing In The Street, I Heard it Through The Grapevine, My Girl, Superstition and more. Audiences will be transformed by the powerful music of Motown with these authentic arrangements and exciting, young talented musicians.
  • Gala Holiday Pops (November 18 – 20): Whether you drive to Kodak Hall or opt for a Sleigh Ride, you won’t want to miss this spectacular holiday concert—complete with the 200 person Festival High School Chorale and a sing-a-long!
  • The Envelope Please (January 8 & 9): An Evening of Grammy, Tony and Academy Award winning songs performed by three of Broadway’s best! Join the original Belle in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, vocalist Susan Egan, and Phantom of The Opera stars Doug LaBrecque and Lisa Vroman for an evening of award winning songs from the world of Broadway, Pop, and American Film.
  • Jurassic Park in Concert (January 22 & 23): Experience Jurassic Park as never before: projected in HD with your RPO performing John Williams’ iconic score live to picture! Welcome… to Jurassic Park!
  • Mardi Gras in New Orleans (February 12 & 13): Celebrate the spirit of Mardi Gras with a night of hot, steamy New Orleans jazz. The good times roll with music from New Orleans natives like Fats Domino, Mahalia Jackson & Louis Armstrong. From street parades in the French Quarter to late night jams in the city’s famed clubs, this party transforms into an unforgettable Mardi Gras celebration with Byron Stripling leading the parade!
  • Superheroes & Villains (March 26 & 27): The clash of iconic heroes and villains comes to life in a symphonic battle of good vs evil: Luke Skywalker vs. Darth Vader, Batman vs. the Joker, Superman vs. Lex Luthor . . . Be entrenched in the breathtaking scores that bring these timeless arch enemies to life!
  • PUSH Physical Theatre (April 23 & 24): Known for their intense athleticism, gravity-defying acrobatics, and soulful artistry, Rochester’s PUSH Physical Theatre sets a new standard for physical storytelling.
  • Revolution: The Music of the Beatles (May 21 & 22): Join your RPO for a unique symphonic experience featuring six of the world’s top vocalists and musicians together with restorative orchestrations from the original sessions at Abbey Road, arranged by Grammy-winner and Principal Pops Conductor, Jeff Tyzik.

The 2020/21 Sunday Matinee Series

  • Stare Conducts Leonore (September 13, 2020)
  • The “Christmas” Concerto (December 13, 2020)
  • From Coriolan to “Tragic” (January 10, 2021), with guest conductor Lina Gonzalez-Granados making her RPO debut.
  • Mozart, Beethoven + Poulenc (May 23, 2021), with guest conductor Matthew Kraemer.

The 2020/21 orKIDStra Series

  • Coco in Concert (November 1, 2020): Bring toda la familia for this Academy Award-winning animated favorite, with the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra performing Michael Giacchino’s beautiful score live.
  • Pirates! The Quest for Blackbeard’s Treasure (January 24, 2021): All hands on deck! When Captain Enrico and First Mate Pip discover a clue to the lost treasure Captain Blackbeard, they recruit the audience of new sailors to sail the seven seas in search of this legendary prize.
  • Peter & the Wolf (April 18, 2021): Bring your family to experience the magic of Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf. The classic musical tale tells the story of an adventurous boy who stands up to the dreaded wolf with the help of some animal friends, represented by various instruments in the orchestra!
  • Happy Birthday Beethoven! (May 16, 2021): Join conductor Enrico Lopez-Yanex and celebrate Beethoven’s 250th birthday with your RPO!

The 2020/21 Specials

  • The Nutcracker (November 25, 27-29): The Nutcracker’s timeless tale of wonder and imagination has captivated audiences for over a century. Be whisked away to a magical land of sparkling snow and delectable sweets as dance from Rochester City Ballet pairs with Tchaikovsky’s unforgettable score, performed in all its glory by your RPO. This beloved story of a young girls’ Christmas Eve dream never fails to touch the heart and is the perfect start to the holiday season.
  • Handel’s Messiah (December 11, 2020): Rejoice with Handel’s glorious setting of the greatest story ever told, conducted by the beloved Christopher Seaman. Filled with mighty choral forces, especially in the rousing “Hallelujah” chorus, it’s a lovely yuletide tradition.
  • Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix in Concert (March 12 & 13, 2021): You-Know-Who is not the only one who has returned – Harry Potter, Ron Weasley, and Hermione Granger are back as well in this unforgettable concert event. Relive the magic with Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix displayed on a giant screen in high-definition and accompanied by your RPO. See Harry and his friends race through the Department of Mysteries, practice Defense Against the Dark Arts in secret, and endure Professor Umbridge – all with Nicholas Hooper’s iconic score!
    HARRY POTTER characters, names and related indicia are © & ™ Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. Publishing Rights © JKR. (s20)