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Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra Kicks Off the New Year With Four Upcoming Concerts

Learn more about the performance lineup here!

Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra Kicks Off the New Year With Four Upcoming Concerts

The Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra (RPO) kicks off the new year with four wonderful concerts, starting with Juliana Plays Mendelssohn on Thursday, January 12 at 7:30 PM and Saturday, January 14, 2023, at 8 PM in Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre (pre-concert talks begin one hour prior to performance).

Beloved RPO Concertmaster Juliana Athayde (The Caroline W. Gannett & Clayla Ward Chair) takes center stage alongside Music Director Andreas Delfs for Felix Mendelssohn's Violin Concerto, a romantic masterpiece that has been a favorite with audiences for almost two centuries. Athayde, who became the RPO's youngest concertmaster ever when she was appointed in 2005 at the age of 24, is a frequent guest concertmaster, soloist, and collaborator as well as a passionate educator. She and her husband, RPO Principal Oboe Erik Behr (The Dr. Jacques M. Lipson Chair), are also co-artistic directors of the Society for Chamber Music in Rochester.

"I'm thrilled to be joining my colleagues as the soloist to perform the Mendelssohn Violin concerto," she explains. "One of the most beloved concertos in the violin repertoire, it brings back fond memories of hearing it as a young violinist and learning it for the first time with my wonderful teacher in the San Francisco Bay Area. It's a piece I've visited many times as a student, performer and now as a teacher, and it holds an incredibly special place in my heart because of Mendelssohn's innocent lyricism and playful spirit. Though I have performed this concerto many times, this performance is incredibly special to me as I am now playing on a J.B. Vuillaume violin that was made in Paris in 1845, the same year the concerto was premiered in Leipzig, Germany. Playing an instrument from this time fills me with reverence, gratitude and inspiration."

The program opens with Wagner's colorful Prelude to his romantic opera, Lohengrin - a precursor to the operatic innovations that the composer would soon develop. It closes with Anton Bruckner's dynamic, rhythmically inventive, sophisticated, and masterfully subtle Sixth Symphony, which the composer himself described as "saucy."

Next up is the first Pops concert of the new year: Gershwin, Berlin & Friends on Friday and Saturday, January 20 & 21, 2023, at 8 PM in Kodak Hall. Principal Pops Conductor Jeff Tyzik's good friend and fellow Eastman School alum, the multi-talented Byron Stripling will conduct, play trumpet, and sing in this upbeat program that spotlights the music of great, early 20th-century composers, including George Gershwin ("Fascinating Rhythm"), Irving Berlin ("Alexander's Ragtime Band"), and Isham Jones ("It Had To Be You"). Joined by jazz vocalist Sydney McSweeney, Byron will create an inspiring musical portrait of how these songs shaped the Great American Songbook.

Fun Frozen Favorites, the first OrKIDStra concert of 2023, is next on Sunday, January 22 at 2 PM in Hochstein Performance Hall (50 N. Plymouth Ave.). Guest conductor Austin Chanu leads a family-friendly program that celebrates the sounds of winter, featuring musical highlights from Disney's Frozen. Themed, hands-on activities and crafts start at 1 PM.

Closing out January, Music Director Andreas Delfs conducts a program featuring RPO Principals Juliana Athayde, Jeanelle Thompson (Second Violin), Joshua Newburger (Viola), and Ahrim Kim (Cello) in Tchaikovsky's "Pathétique" on Thursday, January 26 at 7:30 PM and Saturday, January 28 at 8 PM in Kodak Hall (pre-concert talk begins one hour prior to curtain). The concert opens with Haydn's Symphony No. 44, one of the composer's few symphonies written in a minor key, nicknamed "Trauer," or mourning because he requested the slow movement be played at his funeral. The program continues with Concerto for String Quartet and Wind Orchestra by Erwin Schulhoff, a student of Debussy's, who was among the first classical composers to use jazz as an influence. Tchaikovsky's beloved final work, his Symphony No. 6, ends the program. The piece was titled as the "passionate" symphony by the composer, then translated from Russian into French as "Pathétique.

"I look forward to this program of intensely personal works, starting with a Haydn symphony in his best "Sturm-und-Drang" style (that is "Durmstrang" to you Harry Potter fans!), centered around a warm and gentle middle movement," says Maestro Delfs. "Erwin Schulhoff's driving and quirky concerto gives us a glimpse of this very talented composer's potential future had it not been tragically cut short in a Nazi concentration camp. And Tchaikovsky wears his heart on a sleeve with this symphony-biography that caused endless speculation about the composer's dark secrets."

Tickets for all Kodak Hall shows start at $24/$12 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), and in person at RPO Patron Services at 225 East Avenue (Monday -Friday, 10 AM-5 PM) and one hour prior to curtain at the Eastman Theatre Box Office (433 East Main St.). Incentivized subscription packages for the remaining 2022-23 Season are also available via the locations above.



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