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Rochester, NY – Your Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra (RPO) packs a whole lot of music into March, beginning with Olga Plays Gershwin on Thursday, March 3 at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday, March 5 at 8 p.m. in Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre. A pre-concert talk starts one hour prior to each evening’s performance.

Led by Cincinnati Symphony’s François López-Ferrer* – son of the late CSO Music Director Jesús López-Cobos – this rhythm-filled celebration of culture begins with Alberto Ginastera’s Four Dances from Estancia, a ballet, featuring music inspired by his native Argentinian rural landscape. George Gershwin, similarly, was inspired by the sounds and rhythms of Havana when he composed his Cuban Overture. World-renowned pianist and Rochester favorite Olga Kern will bring her extraordinary talent to Gershwin’s jazzy Concerto in F, also known as his “New York Concerto.” Closing the program will be the Rochester premiere of contemporary composer Gabriela Lena Frank’s Leyendas (Legends): An Andean Walkabout, which blends elements from classical and Andean folk music traditions. 

On Sunday, March 6 from 4-5 p.m., the Rochester Philharmonic Youth Orchestra (RPYO) will perform its annual RPO/RPYO Side-by-Side concert Turning to Classical Composers – at the Auditorium Theatre (855 E. Main St.) for the first time. RPYO Music Director Dr. James Mick will conduct a program that includes Bach, Wagner, Tchaikovsky, and Smetana, with RPO members playing alongside their young RPYO counterparts. Tickets are available online at this link or in-person at the Auditorium Theatre Box Office (M-F 10am–5pm, Sat. 10am–2pm & Sun. 3/6: 1-4 p.m.).

Then, for one night only on Saturday, March 12 at 7:30 p.m. in Kodak Hall, the RPO welcomes back Conductor Laureate Christopher Seaman for a very special 80th birthday celebration concert: Happy Birthday, Christopher Seaman! A special pre-concert chat with the beloved former RPO Music Director will take place, with details to be announced. Then, Maestro Seaman will lead the orchestra in a popular program, beginning with Benjamin Britten’s “Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra,” Opus 34. This famous tour of the orchestra sections was an important influence on Christopher as a player in the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain. He follows that with two much-loved favorites: Smetana’s symphonic poem, “The Moldau” from Ma vlast (My Fatherland), and Dvorak’s lyrical and optimistic Symphony No. 8, Op 88.

“I am delighted to be celebrating this significant birthday by conducting our great orchestra, and to reconnect with so many wonderful Rochester friends,” says Maestro Seaman.

Next up, current Music Director Andreas Delfs takes his turn on the Pops series with Ann Hampton Callaway: “Diva to Diva” on Friday and Saturday, March 18 & 19 at 8 p.m. at Kodak Hall. The Tony nominee and platinum-selling singer/songwriter fuses a unique blend of jazz and pop that keeps her in demand around the world. In “Diva to Diva,” she honors all the great women of song, from Ella Fitzgerald to Nina Simone, and from Carole King to Judy Garland, with her on-point musicality. 

The following day – Sunday, March 20 at 2 p.m. – Maestro Delfs will lead a completely different program, Delfs Conducts Mozart, in Nazareth College’s Beston Hall at Glazer Music Performance Center. The Sunday Matinee opens with J. C. Bach’s Symphony in G minor Op 6 No. 6, considered to be a signature work of the 18th century. That’s followed by Dmitri Shostakovich’s Cello Concerto No. 1 in E-flat major, Op 107 – widely considered to be one of the most difficult concerted works for cello – featuring RPO Principal Cello Ahrim Kim (The Clara and Edwin Strasenburgh Chair). Mozart’s passionate Symphony No. 40, one of his most greatly admired works, closes the program. General admission tickets are $40/adults, $15/students, and $26/child (17 & under). 

Beginning on Monday, March 21, teachers of students in grades 4-6 throughout the Greater Rochester area will be able to safely stream the RPO’s Intermediate Education Concert for 30 days, in lieu of live performances in Kodak Hall. Conductor/RPO trumpeter Herb Smith will lead the orchestra in Music Paints a Picture!, featuring the music of Beethoven, Rossini, and Saint-Saëns. Just as an artist has a palette full of colors, the instruments’ many timbres allow the orchestra to paint pictures through sound. Students will have the chance to create their own art in response to the music and see how other artists were inspired in similar ways.

Later that week, Maestro Delfs once again takes the podium for Emperor Concerto on Thursday, March 24 at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday, March 26 at 8 p.m. in Kodak Hall. A pre-concert talk starts one hour prior to each evening’s performance. A Rochester premiere opens the program: Sarah Kirkland Snider’s Something for the Dark is a musical journey of adversity, growth, and hope. A rising star on the American compositional scene, Snider’s music has been hailed as “rapturous” (The New York Times) and “groundbreaking (The Boston Globe). Next, world-renowned Mexican pianist Jorge Federico Osorio joins the RPO for Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 5 in E-flat major, Op. 73. Known as the “Emperor Concerto,” it has astounded audiences for generations with its grandeur and bold melodies. Finally, Sergei Prokofiev’s uplifting Fifth Symphony, written during WWII, “glorifies the human spirit.” 

Clarinet and His Friends: A Story of Diversity, Acceptance and Unity on Sunday, March 27 at 2 p.m. at Hochstein Performance Hall. RPO trumpeter Herb Smith will once again conduct this family-friendly OrKIDStra concert that centers around nervous Clarinet, who has been invited to perform with the RPO. He’s worried about fitting in because he looks and sounds different from the other instruments in the orchestra. Audiences will join Clarinet as he meets all of the instruments and learns how – though all different – they can create beautiful music together. Tickets are $10 for children 17 & under, $20 for adults. 

Tickets for Kodak Hall shows start at $30 for adults/$18 for children (ages 3-17) and are available online anytime at, 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 60 minutes prior to curtain at the Eastman Theatre Box Office (433 East Main St.). Both Beston Hall and Hochstein Performance Hall tickets are also available at the venue beginning one hour prior to show. 

Please note: COVID protocols have been updated and will be in effect through March 11: Patrons aged five and up are required to show proof of COVID vaccination, with the second shot taking place at least 14 days prior to the concert. All patrons are required to wear masks during the entire performance. (Accepted forms of masks in Kodak Hall only are: Surgical, KN95 and N95.) Venue capacity is at 65%, 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.

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