Back to Posts

YOUR RPO: FROM ROCHESTER TO CARNEGIE HALL “Rochester, show us your colors!” at Spring For Music festival

For Immediate Release: November 22, 2013
Media Contacts:   Sally Cohen, 585-749-1795, [email protected]
RPO Info:,,,

“Rochester, show us your colors!” at Spring For Music festival
City/County proclaim May 7, 2014 a day to celebrate hometown pride

Rochester, NY – The Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra (RPO) announced details this morning of its performance at New York City’s prestigious Carnegie Hall on Wednesday, May 7, 2014, at 7:30 p.m., as part of the fourth annual Spring For Music festival. The RPO is one of six orchestras to be invited to participate this year, along with the New York Philharmonic, the Seattle and Cincinnati Symphonies, and the Winnipeg and Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestras. This will be the orchestra’s first time playing at Carnegie Hall since 1985, and Rochester Mayor Thomas Richards announced that a joint City/Monroe County proclamation names May 7, 2014, as a day to celebrate “Your RPO:  From Rochester to Carnegie Hall.”

“The Spring For Music festival was created to showcase imaginative programming from North American orchestras and, in each of those cities, to foster a sense of hometown spirit and pride,” explains RPO President and CEO Charles Owens, who compares it to having a city’s team play in the World Series or the Final Four. “This performance will literally bring Rochester to Carnegie Hall, as it’s not only a Rochester-based piece performed by our own RPO, but its cast will include hundreds of Rochesterians in the Eastman-Rochester Chorus and the Bach Children’s Chorus in residence at Nazareth College, as well as several nationally prominent solo vocalists.”

The RPO will present a historically-rich, Rochester–centric program that was announced earlier this year: a concert performance of former Eastman School of Music Director Howard Hanson’s only opera, Merry Mount, which was commissioned by and made its highly successful world stage premiere at the Metropolitan Opera in 1934. Based on Nathaniel Hawthorne’s short story, “The Maypole of Merry Mount,” its libretto by Richard Stokes has been compared to Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter. Its debut in 1934 still holds the world’s record for the most curtain calls – 50 – at the Met. The Metropolitan Opera Company then took it on a brief national tour that included a stop at the Eastman Theatre, and in1955, the Eastman School of Music staged a student production of the work.

The RPO’s 2014 concert production will be directed by Michael Christie, Buffalo, NY native and music director of the Minnesota Opera. Christie is Music Director Laureate of the Phoenix Symphony and the Colorado Music Festival, and returns for the third time to conduct at the Aspen Music Festival this summer. The New York Times praised the "plush colorings and shimmering sounds" he drew from the orchestra in the recent premiere of The Gospel of Mary Magdalene at the San Francisco Opera.

In addition to the Eastman-Rochester Chorus (William Weinert, director) and the Bach Children’s Chorus of Nazareth College (Karla Krogstad, director), vocal soloists include baritone Richard Zeller (Wrestling Bradford), soprano Sara Jakubiak (Lady Sandys Marigold), bass-baritone Charles Robert Austin (Praise-God Tewke) and tenor Christopher Pfund (Sir Gower Lackland), with others to be announced.  

The RPO wants to entice a healthy hometown crowd to the Carnegie Hall performance as well. Five special AAA Western & Central NY travel packages (ranging from $295 to $1,595 per person) went on sale today, which include such exclusives as lunch and a tour at Lincoln Center and a post-concert reception at the Russian Tea Room, along with priority seating for the concert and a donation to the Orchestra. More information about the Carnegie Hall Travel Packages is available at Packages as well as concert-only tickets (just $25) can be purchased in person at the Eastman Theatre Box Office (433 East Main Street) or by phone at (585) 454-2100. 

Every Rochester-based ticket purchase will include a bandana-like “flag” imprinted with both the RPO and Spring For Music logos. Not merely a souvenir, this interactive “flag” is part of the hometown spirit of the festival, and the RPO has chosen a lilac color to represent the Flower City. At the beginning of the concert, the audience will hear: “Rochester, show us your colors!”, whereupon concert-goers will wave their flags. Participants at this morning’s press conference practiced waving faux flags with great fervor.

“Imagine a sea of colorful flags waving in the historic and elegant setting of Carnegie Hall. I experienced this personally at the 2013 festival, and know that it really is a wonderful way to build excitement and pride,” says Owens. “Why not show the same sort of spirit for your hometown orchestra as you would for your hometown athletic team?”

Those who can’t attend the Carnegie Hall performance are encouraged to attend the preview performances in Kodak Hall on Thursday, April 10 at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday, April 12 at 8 p.m. (Those tickets start at $22/$10 students, and are available in person at the Eastman Theatre Box Office and at all Wegmans That’s T.H.E. Ticket! locations, by phone at (585) 454-2100, or online at  In addition, WXXI will be streaming the concert live on 91.5 FM.

Carnegie underwriters include: Cricket & Frank Luellen, Georgia P. Gosnell, and the Elaine P. & Richard U. Wilson Foundation (Carnegie Ambassadors); an anonymous Carnegie Champion; and Melvin & Mildred Eggers Family Charitable Foundation (Carnegie Benefactors). Sponsorship packages are available by contacting Deborah Bleier, Director of Institutional Giving, at (585) 454-7311 ext. 244, or [email protected] 

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 up to 150 concerts a year, serving nearly 200,000 people through ticketed events, education and community engagement activities, and concerts in schools and community centers throughout the region. Notable former music directors include 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 Outreach (The Louise and Henry Epstein Family Chair) – the first position of its kind in the country – the RPO reaches 14,000 children through its specific programs for school-aged children. The RPO’s 2013-14 season highlights include Principal Pops Conductor Jeff Tyzik’s 20th anniversary celebration, and a performance at Carnegie Hall on May 7, 2014, as part of the Spring For Music festival.

Spring For Music is a four-year festival at Carnegie Hall, celebrating and exhibiting the quality and creativity of North American orchestras. During its inaugural season, Spring For Music was categorized by the press as "bold," "gripping," "vibrant," "inspired," "virtuosic," and "brilliant." The New Yorker hailed it as "fresh at every turn," while The New York Times stated that Spring For Music gives "power to the listener." The festival, which is presented in partnership with Carnegie Hall, began in 2011. Tickets are $25 for any seat in the house. Spring For Music firmly believes that great musical ideas and great concert programs are essential to the success of orchestras. The festival allows participating orchestras to showcase their artistic philosophies through distinctive and adventurous programming in one of the world’s most competitive musical environments. Spring For Music is an experiment: an idea to take risks, explore new territory and build involvement. Founding Sponsors of Spring For Music are The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Jan and Daniel R. Lewis, Marguerite and Gerry Lenfest.

Media please note:  High-resolution images for Philharmonics concerts (including Merry Mount) are available at; high-res photos for Pops and other concerts are available at More details are available at and upon request. Interviews, as well as photo and footage opportunities, can also be arranged.