Rochester, NY – Your world-class Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra (RPO) looks forward to performing live once again this month, starting with Don Quixote on Thursday, February 10 at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday, February 12, at 8 p.m. in Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre.
Music Director Andreas Delfs opens the pre-Valentine’s Day program with Symphony No. 2, “Romantic” by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Howard Hanson, who was director of the Eastman School of Music for 40 years. Written in Rochester as a commission for the Boston Symphony Orchestra’s 50th Anniversary in 1930, it was immediately hailed as a triumph and “the epitome of the twentieth-century symphony.”
The second half of the program features Richard Strauss’s 1897 tone poem based on Miguel de Cervantes’ novel from the early 1600s, The Ingenious Gentleman Don Quixote of La Mancha, which also inspired the Broadway musical, Man of La Mancha. It uses varied orchestra instruments to represent a colorful array of amusing characters. World-renowned cellist Claudio Bohórquez depicts Don Quixote, while RPO Principal Viola Aaron Mossburg (The William L. Gamble Chair) is his squire, Sancho Panza.
“Musical storytelling does not come better than in this splendid, full orchestra piece – every bit as grand as Also sprach Zarathustra,” explains Maestro Delfs. “Strauss’s virtuoso score inspired several generations of movie composers, and when you hear Adventure at the Windmills, Ride through the Air, or Battle with the Magicians, you will know why! As far as Hanson’s Second Symphony – with its heartwarming, emotional theme song and brilliant, exciting finale – it is our tribute to the long friendship between Eastman School and the RPO.”
Then, on Friday and Saturday, February 18 & 19 at 8 p.m. in Kodak Hall, Principal Pops Conductor Jeff Tyzik will lead a 90th birthday celebration for one of America’s greatest composers: Happy Birthday, John Williams! The concert includes music from some of the most iconic films of the 20th century, including Raiders of the Lost Ark, Jaws, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, and – of course – Star Wars. It will also feature Concertmaster Juliana Athayde and Principal Oboe Erik Behr on Williams’ “Theme” from Schindler’s List and “Theme” from Angela’s Ashes respectively.
“John Williams is one of the world’s most celebrated composers of film music in a career that began in the early 1960s. His music is known and loved by billions of people. Whether it’s Star Wars, Jaws, Harry Potter, E.T., Raiders of the Lost Ark, Lincoln, or Schindler’s List, his music has ‘told the story’ for Steven Spielberg and many other film directors in a way that enhanced their cinematic vision,” Tyzik explains. “In this celebration of John Williams in his 90th year, we offer a variety of his distinctive music that gives a snapshot of his extraordinary ability to capture our imaginations through the symphonic sound.”
Next up, Enrico Lopez-Yañez conducts his rescheduled program, Pirates! The Quest for Blackbeard’s Treasure, for the second OrKIDStra concert of the season, now on Sunday, February 20 at 2 p.m. at Hochstein Performance Hall. Costumes, actors, and storytelling will launch families on a musical journey to sail the seven seas in search of Blackbeard’s legendary prize. Due to COVID, the pre-concert activity will be replaced by take-home activity kits. Tickets are $20 for adults, $10 for children.
Patrons who hold tickets for the originally scheduled concert will receive updated tickets (same seats) with the new concert date by the second week of February. Alternatively, they may exchange tickets to a different show within our 21/22 season, donate the value for a tax credit, or receive a ticket credit. Please email email@example.com or call them at (585) 454-2100 (M-F, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.) with any questions.
Those ticketing guidelines hold true as well for the rescheduled 2022 kick-off concert, Andreas Conducts Beethoven on Thursday, February 24 at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday, February 26 at 8 p.m. in Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre. Updates on the RPO@Home digital version of this performance will be shared closer to the performance date.
This belated tribute to the composer’s 250th birthday in 2020 offers the perfect opportunity for audiences to experience his astounding growth during the 13 years that separated the first performances of Symphony No. 1 (1800) and Symphony No. 7 (1813). In between, Beethoven created four more symphonies, three piano concertos, the violin concerto, his opera Fildelio, 10 violin sonatas, 16 piano sonatas, and three string quartets. The Seventh was received especially warmly, with the audience demanding an immediate encore of the now familiar second movement, famously used in many films and television shows, including The King’s Speech and Mr. Holland’s Opus (video montage of 16 different titles here). Following the Seventh’s debut, Beethoven’s acclaim as one of the great masters of his day became virtually unanimous.
“The symphonies of Ludwig van Beethoven are the holy books of every musician. The privilege of doing not one, but two of them in a single concert with one of America’s finest orchestras is beyond description,” says Maestro Delfs. “A true testimony to the exciting relationship that the wonderful RPO players and I have been building, this is an evening of stimulating, profound, and powerful music that you don’t want to miss!”
Also in February, the orchestra will present a Primary Education Concert for more than 16,000 students in grades 1-3. The Education Version of Symphony in Space, an intergalactic musical adventure conducted by Enrico Lopez-Yañez, will be taped live in Kodak Hall earlier in the month, and safely streamed to schools on February 28.
Tickets start at $30 for adults/$18 for children (ages 3-17), and are available online anytime at rpo.org, by phone at 585-454-2100 (Monday-Friday, 10 am –5 pm, please note that the Patron Services Center is currently closed to in-person purchases), and in person 90 minutes prior to curtain at the Eastman Theatre Box Office (433 East Main St.) for Kodak Hall concerts.
Please note: The RPO is currently reevaluating its COVID protocols and will announce changes prior to any February concerts. Current protocols call for patrons aged 12 and up to show proof of vaccination plus photo ID, and all patrons are required to wear masks during the entire performance. Venue capacity is currently at 80%, and areas are available for those who feel more comfortable with social distancing.
The Pops Series is sponsored by Wegmans and Canandaigua National Bank. Since the 2020-2021 Season, M & T Bank has sponsored the Philharmonic and Pops Series and continues its commitment as a Co-Sponsor for the 2021-22 Season. They are joined by Co-Sponsor Rochester Regional Health, now in its fourth year as a season sponsor. All concerts, artists, and schedules are subject to change.
ABOUT THE RPO: The Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra (RPO) has been committed to enriching and inspiring our community through the art of music since its origins 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. Music Director Andreas Delfs joins the ranks of former notable RPO music directors, including Erich Leinsdorf, David Zinman, Mark Elder, and Conductor Laureate Christopher Seaman. Principal Pops Conductor Jeff Tyzik, now in his 28th season, has earned a national reputation for excellence in pops programming during his tenure with the RPO. The RPO reaches more than 15,000 youth through its specific education programs.
Media please note: High-resolution images are at https://tinyurl.com/yuj7ktfz. Interviews and photo/footage opportunities are also available.