Rochester Philharmonic Sets 2015-16 Season; Full Lineup!

The Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra (RPO) announced its 2015-16 season, presented by Dawn and Jacques Lipson, this evening in grand style in Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre. With the entire orchestra performing selected excerpts on stage, 12th Music Director Ward Stare previewed his inaugural -- and the RPO's 93rd -- season to an enthusiastic full house that included longtime patrons, local VIPs, media, and the general public.

"We're thrilled to have the community share our excitement about the upcoming season," expressed the Pittsford, NY native, as he invited the audience to tweet questions to him during the event, promising more initiatives in digital technology and social media in the future. "Our 2015/16 Philharmonics Series will not only showcase our world-class orchestra, but will expose audiences to new works -- both contemporary as well as older repertoire never before performed by the RPO -- and introduce rising star soloists."


Maestro Stare will conduct eight of the 12 Philharmonics Series (sponsored by M&T Bank) concerts, beginning with Season Opener: Ward Stare Conducts Pines of Rome on Thursday, September 17, 2015 at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday, September 19 at 8 p.m. in Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre. Showcasing the orchestra itself, this musical kaleidoscope includes four unforgettable sonic showpieces: Dukas' The Sorcerer's Apprentice, Tchaikovsky's Francesca da Rimini -- the finale to tonight's event -- and Barber's Adagio for Strings, in addition to Respighi's breathtaking Pines of Rome.

Only four guest conductors will lead Philharmonics Series concerts listed below (minus opener):

· Sibelius and Britten (October 1 & 3, 2015)

· Seaman Conducts Brahms 4 (October 15 & 17, 2015), with RPO Conductor Laureate Christopher Seaman (The Christopher Seaman Chair, Supported by Barbara and Patrick Fulford and The Conductor Laureate Society)

· Prokofiev's Romeo and Juliet (November 19 & 21, 2015)

· Tchaikovsky's Pathétique (January 14 & 16, 2016), with Fabien Gabel

· Beethoven 4 (February 4 & 6, 2016)

· Mozart 29 (February 25 & 27, 2016), with Günther Herbig

· Ein Heldenleben (A Hero's Life) (March 3 & 5, 2016)

· Strauss' Four Last Songs (March 17 & 19, 2016)

· Yuja Wang Plays Bartók (April 14 & 16, 2016)

· World-Premiere Tyzik (May 5 & 7, 2016), with Principal Pops Conductor Jeff Tyzik

· Daphnis and Chloé (June 4 & 6, 2016)

"Almost every Philharmonics concert has something new for our audience, but each also features familiar works that will balance the concert experience for listeners," explains Stare.

Exciting Firsts, Premieres & Debuts:

· Arnold's Four Scottish Dances and Britten's Serenade for Tenor, Horn, & Strings will both have their first performances with the RPO in Sibelius and Britten (Oct. 1 & 3), which will also feature the RPO debut of tenor Andrew Kennedy.

· Violin sensation, 18-year old Simone Porter, will make her RPO debut on Barber's Violin Concerto in Prokofiev's Romeo and Juliet (Nov. 19 & 21), which will also feature the first RPO performance of Vaughan Williams' Toward the Unknown Region.

· Cellist Julie Albers will make her RPO debut with returning violinist Karen Gomyo in Brahms' Concerto for Violin and Cello in Tchaikovsky's Pathétique (Jan. 14 & 16), a program that also includes the first RPO performance of Scriabin's Rêverie.

· "The Heifetz of the flute" (Gramophone), Marina Piccinini, makes her RPO debut in the RPO premiere of Aaron Jay Kernis' Flute Concerto, an RPO co-commission. Beethoven 4 (Feb. 4 & 6) also features the first performance of Haydn's Symphony No. 67 on the Philharmonics Series.

· Bass trombonist Jeffrey Gray makes his RPO debut in the first RPO Philharmonics performance of Eastman School of Music alumnus Eric Ewazen's Bass Trombone Concerto.

· Stephanie Berg's Ravish and Mayhem will have its first RPO peformance during Ein Heldenleben (A Hero's Life) (March 3 & 5).

· Soprano Erin Wall makes her RPO debut in Strauss' Four Last Songs (March 17 & 19), a program which also features the first RPO performance of Patrick Harlin's Rapture.

· International phenomenon, pianist Yuja Wang, makes her RPO debut in the first-ever RPO Philharmonics performance of Bartók's Piano Concerto No. 1.

· Principal Pops Conductor Jeff Tyzik's Violin Concerto -- written especially for RPO Concertmaster Juliana Athayde -- will have its world premiere on May 5 & 7. The concert will also include the first Philharmonics performance of Piazzolla's Tangazo with choreography by Rochester City Ballet.

Show-stopping Guest Artists:

In addition to the soloists making their RPO debuts (listed above), including pianist Yuja Wang and violinist Simon Porter, the RPO Philharmonics series will also welcome:

· Pianist Christopher O'Riley (multi-talented host of NPR's From the Top) performs Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 22 in Seaman Conducts Brahms 4 (Oct. 15 & 17)

· Pianist Vadym Kholodenko (Van Cliburn winner) returns to perform Prokofiev's Piano Concerto No. 3 in Ein Heldenleben (A Hero's Life) (March 3 & 5)

· Pianist Olga Kern (Van Cliburn winner) returns to perform Rachmaninoff's Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini in Daphnis and Chloé (June 4 & 6)

2015/16 POPS SERIES:

Principal Pops Conductor Jeff Tyzik, currently leading a week of performances with the Florida Orchestra, made his season announcement via video during tonight's event, as did Principal Conductor for Education and Community Engagement Michael Butterman (the Louise and Henry Epstein Family Chair). The RPO will kick off its 2015/16 Pops Series (sponsored by Canandaigua National Bank & Trust and Fibertech Networks) in Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre on Friday and Saturday, September 11 and 12, 2015 at 8 p.m. with An Evening with Megan Hilty. Vocalist Hilty -- who's dazzled on NBC's Smash, taken Broadway by storm with starring roles in Wicked and 9 to 5, and been crowned "the new princess of Broadway" by Time Magazine -- will make her RPO debut with Maestro Tyzik.

The nine-concert Pops Series also includes (* indicates new Tyzik-created programming):

· Disney in Concert: Tale as Old as Time (October 23 & 24, 2015) with Jeff Tyzik (RPO first performance)

· Swing is the Thing* (November 13 &14, 2015) with Jeff Tyzik and dancers/choreographers Stephen Edward Sayer and Chandrae Roettig

· Gala Holiday Pops (December 18-20, 2015) with Jeff Tyzik, the Festival High School Chorale (Amy Story and Harold McAulliffe, co-directors) and the Community Children's Chorus (Karla Krogstad, director)

· Cirque Musica (January 8 & 9, 2016) with Jeff Tyzik

· Doc Severinsen (January 22 & 23, 2016) with guest conductor and trumpeter Doc Severinsen

· Heart and Soul *(February 12 & 13, 2016) with Jeff Tyzik and vocalist Michael Lynche in his RPO debut

· Broadway Rocks (March 11 & 12, 2016) with guest conductor Ward Stare and vocalists TBD

· A Night at the Cotton Club II* (May 27 & 28, 2016) with Jeff Tyzik; Byron Stripling, trumpet; Ted Levy, tap dancer; and Miche Braden, vocalist

"I think Rochester can expect a great Pops season," Tyzik exclaimed. "I'm excited to share three new programs that I've created, along with sharing the podium with both Ward Stare and my good friend, Doc Severinsen."


Next season's three Special Concerts (non-subscription) in Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre will continue to appeal to new RPO audiences:

· On Thursday, October 29, 2015 at 7:30 p.m., the RPO will present Distant Worlds: Music from Final Fantasy for the first time. Led by Grammy Award-winning conductor Arnie Roth and featuring the music of Japanese video game composer Nobuo Uematsu, this global entertainment phenomenon includes music from all 14 games and an HD-video presentation of exclusive content from game developers SQUARE ENIX.

· From the Top Live with Host Christopher O'Riley takes place Sunday, January 17, 2016 at 3 p.m. Music Director Ward Stare conducts one of the most popular classical music programs on the radio and the preeminent showcase for young musicians-all featuring a full orchestra. An afternoon of amazing performances and captivating personal stories of young musicians from Rochester and around the country will be taped before a live audience and aired on NPR.

· The third 2015/16 Special features pop pianist Jim Brickman, Saturday, April 30, 2016 at 8 p.m. Brickman takes the audience on a musical journey with his romantic melodies and engaging wit. Hear chart-topping songs including "Valentine" during this one-night-only event with the RPO.

The RPO's 2015/16 Holiday Concerts in Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre -- which include the aforementioned 22nd annual Gala Holiday Pops -- will again feature The Nutcracker for six performances, opening for the first time on Wednesday, November 25, 2015 at 7 p.m. (the night before Thanksgiving), and continuing Friday and Saturday, November 27 & 28 at 2 & 7 p.m.; and Sunday, November 29 at 2 p.m. Rochester's only full-length, live-music performance of this holiday favorite features Rochester City Ballet (Jamey Leverett, artistic director) and the Bach Children's Chorus (Karla Krogstad, director).

And, for the first time, the RPO will present Home Alone on the big screen with live orchestral accompaniment on Saturday, December 12, 2015 at 7 p.m. With John Williams' delightful score and its star Macaulay Culkin as the boy who's accidentally left behind when his family leaves for Christmas vacation, this concert is holiday fun for the entire family.


The upcoming season's Sunday Matinee Series has been redesigned to feature well-known composers and RPO soloists in chamber works that complement the intimate setting of the Performance Hall at Hochstein. Ward Stare conducts two of the six 2 p.m. concerts (Haydn's "Il Distratto," November 8, 2015; and Mozart 40, April 24, 2016), Michael Butterman conducts three (Brahms and Haydn, October 25, 2015; Appalachian Spring, January 10, 2016; and Vaughan Williams and Beethoven, May 29, 2016), and guest conductor TBD will lead one (Royal Fireworks Music, February 28, 2016).

The 2015/16 OrKIDStra Series (sponsored by Wendy's) features four 2 p.m. concerts at the Performance Hall at Hochstein, with pre-concert activities starting at 1 p.m. It opens on Sunday, November 15, 2015 with Blast Off to Space with guest conductor Matthew Kraemer. Michael Butterman conducts the remaining three: Carnival of the Animals (Sunday, January 24, 2016); Dr. Seuss' The Sneetches (Sunday, May 1, 2016) and The Magic of Animation (Sunday, May 22, 2016).


RPO subscriptions went on sale immediately following the announcement, several starting at lower price points than previous seasons. Philharmonics Series packages begin at $121, rather than $127 for the same number of concerts; and Pops packages start at $105 for the same amount of concerts. OrKIDstra subscriptions are available for $38 and the Sunday Matinees Series for $136. New subscriber benefits include an open rehearsal -- some with free parking and access to a VIP phone line -- in addition to discounted single tickets, free exchanges, presale priority, a discount restaurant coupon book, a subscriber-only Will Call table and more. Subscribers can also add non-subscription tickets to their purchase immediately, guaranteeing priority seating. To subscribe, call (585) 454-2100 or visit Single tickets, which will also start at a lower price point, will go on sale in July 2015.

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 160 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 21-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 endowed position of its kind in the country -- the RPO reaches more than 12,000 children through its specific programs for school-aged children.

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