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Ward Stare leads RPO at TBK


Annual Temple B’rith Kodesh fundraiser with RPO is July 9

Concert features 2015 YAA Special Award Winner: pianist Vivian Yu


Rochester, NY – The Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra (RPO) led by Music Director Ward Stare* will perform at Temple B’rith Kodesh (TBK)’s Wolk Family Center (2131 Elmwood Avenue, 14618) on Thursday, July 9 at 7:30 p.m. General admission tickets to the 21st annual RPO @ TBK Summer Fundraising Concert are $25 in advance/$30 at the door, and free of charge for children under 13 accompanied by an adult. Preferred and reserved seating tickets are available for an additional cost. Tickets may be purchased in person at the TBK office, by calling (585) 244-7060 (9 a.m.–5 p.m., Mondays through Thursdays; 9 a.m.–3 p.m., Fridays), or by emailing A free reception immediately follows the concert.

This annual fundraiser represents a long partnership that began in 1994, when Cantor Martha Rock Birnbaum worked with Temple B’rith Kodesh volunteers and RPO management to provide an air-conditioned, summertime rehearsal space for the orchestra. The first concert was designed to be a community event, providing a fundraising opportunity for the temple, but also celebrating the coming together of two community gems. That tradition has flourished, and now continues throughout the year. In addition to being a wonderful and enjoyable event, it serves as one of the Temple’s premier fundraising events, according to TBK Fundraising Chair Sue Lurie.  

“We are especially honored to have RPO Music Director Ward Stare lead our concert this summer,” adds Lurie.

As has become traditional, this year’s fundraiser also features the most recent Rochester Philharmonic League’s Young Artist Auditions (YAA) Special Award Winner. Pianist Vivian Yu won that 2015 title – which provides the opportunity to audition to perform with the RPO – in March, along with winning the YAA’s Ness Award for Pianists. A pupil of Elier Suarez since age five, she has also won the advanced category of the Grand Prize Virtuoso International Music Competition; the David Hochstein Recital Competition; the Crescendo International Music Competition (Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall); the NYS Music Teachers Association’s Empire State Piano Competition; and all four divisions of the Junior All-Star Piano Competition. Yu will play Saint-Saëns’ Concerto No. 2 (1st movement).

“I feel so honored to be able to play with the RPO,” says Yu, who will be a senior at Pittsford-Mendon High School this fall.

The remainder of the program is a mix of classical and pop selections, and will feature works by such composers as Leonard Bernstein, George Gershwin, Johann Strauss, Jr. and Edvard Grieg.

*Ward Stare will also conduct the following RPO summer concerts:

Fri., July 3 at 8 PM:  Patriotic Salute with Ward Stare & the RPO, CMAC

Sat., July 4 at 9 PM:  Independence Day Concert, Main St. Bridge, free

Wed., July 8 at 7:30 PM:  Concert by the Shore, Ontario Beach Park, free

Fri., July 10 at 8:30 PM:  RPO at Geneseo: Summer Spectacular with Fireworks, SUNY Geneseo

Sun., July 12 at 7 PM: RPO at Penfield Country Club

Fri., July 17 at 6:05 PM: Play Ball! RPO at Frontier Field, free with game ticket

Fri., July 24 at 7:30 PM: An Evening with the Symphony, Inlet, NY

Sat., July 25 at 7:30 PM:  RPO in Perinton, Patricia S. Knapp Amphitheatre, free

Sun., July 26 at 7:30 PM:  RPO at Nazareth College, Nazareth College Arts Center, free

The RPO summer season is sponsored by The Elaine P. and Richard U. Wilson Foundation, Constellation Brands, City of Rochester, Monroe County, the Chanler Family and the Gertrude Chanler RPO Fund at the Rochester Area Community Foundation, Christopher and Elaine Pipa, Penfield Country Club, PIMCO, Morgan Stanley, Culligan, Fulton Chain of Lakes Performing Arts Council, the Town of Perinton, Van Bortel, and Nazareth College.

Temple B’rith Kodesh, a Reform synagogue, has been serving the Rochester Jewish community for 167 years. The Rochester Philharmonic League (RPL) was founded in 1929 as a volunteer support group for the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra. The League’s current activities focus on educating young people about music and the RPO, and on fostering the advancement of music talent in the community’s youth. It has held and funded its annual Young Artist Auditions for high school musicians since 1955. Tenth-through-twelfth graders from nine counties compete for a total of $4,500 in cash awards and scholarships.  

The Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra 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. Recently appointed 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 20-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 position of its kind in the country—the RPO reaches more than 12,000 children through its specific programs for school-aged children.