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ARTS: RPO schedules guest conductors for January concerts



The Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra announced today that guest conductors will fill in for its January programs devoted to works by Mozart -- concerts that were originally scheduled to be conducted by RPO Music Director Arild Remmereit. These were to be the first RPO concerts featuring Remmereit on the podium since the orchestra's board voted in late November to terminate his four-year contract two years early, with his tenure now set to expire at the end of the current season.

According to the press release -- which appears in full below -- the decision to bring in guest conductors for the programs was necessitated because Remmereit has yet to confirm that he will conduct the concerts.

In related news, a group identifying itself as the RPO Community Supporters has announced that it will hold a press conference on Thursday, January 10, to "address the present situation and the future of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra." Remmereit himself is said to be speaking at the event. The group has set up a website in which it has posted several open letters to the RPO board and the community in support of Remmereit, and questioning other decisions by the board.

Regardless of what happens with the Remmereit situation, a few weeks ago Mark Berry, vice president of marketing and communications for the RPO, said that the Spring for Music festival has confirmed its invitation to the RPO to perform at Carnegie Hall in May 2014. The program remains up in the air, Berry said, but the orchestra is still slated to perform at the iconic hall.


Rochester, NY - The Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra (RPO) celebrates the anniversary of Mozart's (257th) birthday this month with two programs:  Mozart and More on Thursday, January 24 at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday, January 26 at 8 p.m. in Kodak Hall in Eastman Theatre (also Friday, January 25 at 7:30 p.m. at Smith Opera House in Geneva); and A Mozart Family Affair on Sunday, January 27 at Hochstein Performance Hall at 2 p.m.

Current RPO Music Director ArildRemmereit was originally scheduled to conduct both programs, but hasn't confirmed that he will do so.  The RPO has therefore secured celebrated conductor YoavTalmi, currently Principal Guest Conductor of the Israel Chamber Orchestra in Tel Aviv and Conductor Emeritus of the Quebec Symphony in Canada, to conduct Mozart and More on January 24 and 26.  Andrew Constantine, Music Director of the Fort Wayne Philharmonic as well as the Reading Symphony Orchestra in Pennsylvania, will conduct January 27th's A Mozart Family Affair. 

"We're very fortunate to have been able to arrange, on short notice, for both of these exciting conductors to lead our orchestra in the Mozart concerts," says RPO President and CEO Charles H. Owens. "We're especially pleased to welcome back Mr. Talmi, who made an auspicious RPO debut in March 2011, and are looking forward to having Mr. Constantine join us for the first time."

Continuing this season's spotlighting of individual orchestra members, Mozart and More will also feature RPO Principal Trombonist Mark Kellogg (The Austin E. Hildebrandt Chair) on Concertino for Trombone and String Orchestra, Op. 45 No. 7 (1955) by the late Swedish composer, conductor, teacher, music critic, opera coach and radio producer, Lars-Erik Larsson.  An RPO member since 1989, Kellogg is also a jazz musician, recitalist, soloist and Associate Professor of Trombone, Euphonium and Chamber Music at the Eastman School of Music.  He is married to RPO flutist Joanna Bassett.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was born on January 27, 1756 in Salzburg, Austria, and showed prodigious ability from his earliest childhood.  Beginning with his first composition at age five, Mozart wrote more than 600 pieces, including at least 41 symphonies. Mozart and More highlights his Symphony No. 40 in G minor, completed in the summer of 1788, along with his 39th and 41st (and final) symphony. Although interpretations differ, the 40th Symphony is unquestionably one of Mozart's most greatly admired works, and it is frequently performed and recorded. 

Also on the Mozart and More program is Ludwig Van Beethoven's Symphony No. 1 in C Major, Op. 21. Beethoven's first symphony (published in 1801) is clearly indebted to his predecessors, particularly Mozart as well as Beethoven's teacher, Joseph Haydn, who wrote of Mozart that "posterity will not see such a talent again in 100 years."

Mozart and More also features Machine by Pulitzer-prize winner, Jennifer Higdon, one of the U.S.'s most-performed living composers. In 2010, she received a Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Classical Composition for her Percussion Concerto.  Higdon wrote Machine as a tribute to composers such as Mozart and Tchaikovsky, who were able to "write so many notes and so much music that it seems like they were machines!"  This work was commissioned and premiered by the National Symphony Orchestra of Washington, D.C. in 2003.

Additional support for Mozart and More is provided by the Mozart Performance Fund:  Sarah D. Atkinson, M.D. and Steven Hess.  Tickets start at $22.

A Mozart Family Affair - on Mozart's actual birthday - will feature music from three generations of Mozarts:  Wolfgang, his father Leopold, and his son Franz Xaver. Wolfgang Mozart's work will be represented by music from his Symphony No. 1 and one of his last, the 40th Symphony; excerpts from one of his most popular pieces, EineKleineNachtmusik; and one of his opera overtures, Overture to the Marriage of Figaro.  Leopold's Trumpet Concerto will feature RPO Principal Trumpet Douglass Prosser (The Elaine P. Wilson Chair). The concert will also include one of his Divertimenti (Divertimento in D Major, "Bauchernhochzeit" or "Peasant Wedding"), a programmatic piece that contains sounds of the hurdy gurdy, bagpipes, gunshots and hootin' and hollerin'. Franz Xaver, much of whose music is no longer in existence, will be represented by his 2nd Piano Concerto. All in all, the concert will traverse about 70 years (1760-1810) of composition through the Classical Period. Tickets are $24.

Tickets for all concerts are available in person at the Eastman Theatre Box Office (433 East Main Street) or at area Wegmans; by phone at (585) 454-2100; or online at NEW:  $10 student tickets are now available to all Philharmonics Series concerts and selected Pops concerts: Tickets and info for the RPO at Smith Opera House are available at, by e-mailing or by calling 1-866-355-5483 (toll free).

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