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ARTS: RPO announces 2014-15 season

Midori, Michael Feinstein, Preservation Hall Jazz Band among guest performers


Sunday morning Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra announced the concert line-up for its 2014-15 season. As with the current season, the 2014-15 season Philharmonics Series will be led by a series of guest conductors as the RPO continues the search for a permanent music director following the departure of Arild Remmereit during the 2012-2013.

Several of the guest conductors from the 2013-14 season will return to the RPO podium next season, including Rochester native Ward Stare, who will open the season September 18 & 20 with guest-star violinist Midori; Jun Märkl, Daniel Meyer, and RPO Conductor Laureate Christopher Seaman. Other conductors familiar to RPO patrons from past seasons include Daniel Hege, Yoav Talmi, and Jeffrey Kahane.

Guest performers for the Phils Series include 2014 Musical America Instrumentalist of the Year, pianist Jeremy Denk, and 2013 Van Cliburn Gold Medalist Vadym Kholodenko, along with returning favorites pianist Jon Nakamatsu, violinist Augustin Hadelich, and pianist Stephen Hough.

Big-name guests also fill the Pops Series schedule, again overseen by Principal Pops Conductor Jeff Tyzik. Emmy- and Grammy-nominated vocalist and pianist Michael Feinstein will perform in May 2015; other guest artists this season include the Preservation Hall Jazz Band and Peking Acrobats.

The season will see changes in the approach to programming, with 12 weekends of Philharmonics offerings instead of the usual 14, and nine Pops weekends instead of 10. The RPO release says that the change "[opens] up three weekends for a set of innovative and new concert offerings," noting that those concerts will be announced in late March.

Series subscriptions are currently available to current subscribers, and new subscriptions open to the public starting Friday, February 21, at 10 a.m. Packages start at $108, or $19 per concert. They can be purchased by phone at 454-2100, online at the RPO website, or in person at the Eastman Theatre Box Office (433 E. Main St.). Single-concert tickets will go on sale in August.

In the meantime, the 2013-14 season continues for the RPO. Highlights include Jeff Tyzik's 20th Anniversary Celebration on March 21-22, the return of Christopher Seaman on March 6 & 8, the performance of Howard Hanson's opera "Merry Mount" in both Kodak Hall (April 10 & 12) and New York City's Carnegie Hall (May 7), the music of John Williams (May 9-10), and the season finale featuring Holst's "The Planets" (May 29 & 31).

The full RPO announcement follows:


Highlights include Midori, Michael Feinstein, Beethoven's Fifth

Dance collaborations take center stage with RCB, FuturPointe

Rochester, NY - The Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra (RPO) announces most of its 92nd season today, presented by Dawn & Jacques Lipson, which will officially open on September 18 (with a Gala Opening Celebration) and 20, 2014, with mega-star violinist Midori and Rochester native Ward Stare as guest conductor, and will close on June 4 and 6, 2015, with Orff's haunting CarminaBurana.

In between, the Philharmonics Series will showcase some of the world's greatest virtuosos and familiar showstoppers: 2014 Musical America Instrumentalist of the Year Jeremy Denk and 2013 Van Cliburn Gold Medalist VadymKholodenko, along with returning favorites Jon Nakamatsu, Augustin Hadelich and Stephen Hough. In addition to CarminaBurana, audiences will hear masterworks including Beethoven's 5th Symphony andDvořák's picturesque "New World" Symphony.

Principal Pops Conductor Jeff Tyzik has planned a spectacular Pops Series, sponsored by Canandaigua National Bank and Trust and Fibertech Networks, and anchored by Emmy and Grammy® Award nominee Michael Feinstein. The 2014/15 Pops series will open on September 12 and 13 - one week prior to the Philharmonics opener - on September 12 and 13 with Broadway's Golden Age and Beyond, featuring vocalists Lisa Vroman and Doug LaBrecque. Other tempting Pops offerings include the jaw-dropping Peking Acrobats, New Orleans' own Preservation Hall Jazz Band, a tribute to Nat King Cole, and the Halloween-themed Phantom of the Opera Silent Film.

"We've been tremendously gratified at the overwhelmingly positive response from our audiences this season, and so next season builds upon this year's programming philosophy that emphasizes compelling repertoire and first-rate visiting artists," says RPO President and CEO Charles Owens. "The unsung hero in program planning at the RPO is Richard Decker, our Vice President of Artistic Administration, who has worked closely with the musicians of the RPO Artistic Advisory Committee to create a beautifully balanced season of popular favorites and less-familiar works - all designed to provide our audiences with stimulating and uplifting experiences week after week."

As announced at its annual meeting last month, the RPO has restructured its program offerings for the 2014/15 season. There are now 12 Philharmonics weekends instead of 14, and nine Pops weekends instead of 10, opening up three weekends for a set of innovative and new concert offerings. These will be announced in late March, along with lineups for the 2014/15 OrKIDStra Series, Sunday Matinees and Ithaca Series.

Dance takes center stage this season, with Rochester City Ballet collaborating on three programs: annual holiday favorite TheNutcracker; world-premiere choreography of Jeff Tyzik's Images on the Pops season; and Philharmonics program, A Night of Dance, which will also feature Rochester's FuturPointe Dance.

"We are so excited to be expanding the RPO/RCB relationship to include three performances this season," exclaims Rochester City Ballet Artistic Director Jamey Leverett. "Celebrating 16 years of our annual Nutcracker, bringing George Balanchine's legendary Serenade to the Eastman stage, and collaborating once again with the great Jeff Tyzik - I'm thrilled! This is a season not to be missed."

Involvement by the Eastman School of Music continues, with Piano Professor Douglas Humpherys featured in Brahms & Rachmaninoff,and former Eastman conductor Donald Hunsberger leading Phantom of the Opera Silent Film. And, once again, the RPO will be joined by local arts organizations including the Bach Children's Chorus for The Nutcracker, the Festival High School Chorale for Gala Holiday Pops, and the Rochester Oratorio Society for both Handel's Messiah and CarminaBurana.

The RPO shines the spotlight on its own luminaries as well: Principal Bassoonist Matthew McDonald (The Ron and Donna Fielding Chair) will make his first RPO solo performance with Mozart's Bassoon Concerto in Mozart & Prokofiev, and Concertmaster Juliana Athayde(The Caroline W. Gannett & Clayla Ward Chair)will solo on Sibelius' Violin Concerto in Dvořák's "New World" Symphony program as well as for Pops audiences on Piazzolla'sFour Seasons in Tango Caliente.

Debuting and returning guest conductors continue to bring an anticipatory energy to the 2014-15 season, as the RPO narrows down its search for a new music director. Returning from the current season are Ward Stare, Jun Märkl, Daniel Meyer and RPO Conductor Laureate Christopher Seaman. Returnees from recent seasons include Daniel Hege, YoavTalmi and Jeffrey Kahane. And, making their RPO debuts are conductors ChristophKönig,Case Scaglione, José Luis Gomez, Marcelo Lehningerand Gregory Vajda.

Subscription renewals(which include free concert parking in the East End Garage if renewed by March 7)are available now, with new subscriptions available to the public starting Friday, February 21 at 10 a.m. In addition to the best seats at the best prices, subscribers receive free and easy ticket exchanges, a complimentary seat upgrade for one performance, discounted prices for additional tickets, presale priority for special concerts, and pre-concert dinner discounts at local restaurants. Subscriptions packages start at just $19 per concert (lowest-price package is $108) and are available in person at the Eastman Theatre Box Office (433 East Main Street), by phone at (585) 454-2100, or online at Single tickets will go on sale in August, and will also be available at all WegmansThat's the Ticket! outlets.

The 2014/15 concert lineup: a list including program information is available on request

9/12 & 13, 8pm:Broadway's Golden Age and Beyond

Jeff Tyzik, conductor; Lisa Vroman and Doug LaBrecque, vocalists

9/18 & 20, 8 pm: Season Opener with Midori and Ward Stare

Ward Stare, guest conductor; Midori, violin

10/2, 7:30pm & 10/4, 8 pm:Denk Plays Beethoven PlusSymphonieFantastique

Jun Märkl, guest conductor; Jeremy Denk, piano

10/9, 7:30pm & 10/11, 8pm:An American in Paris

Jeffrey Kahane, guest conductor and piano

10/23, 7:30pm & 10/25, 8 pm:Mozart & Prokofiev

Case Scaglione, guest conductor; Matthew McDonald, bassoon (The Ron and Donna Fielding Chair)

10/31 & 11/1, 8pm:Phantom of the Opera Silent Film

Donald Hunsberger, guest conductor

11/6, 7:30pm & 11/8, 8pm:Brahms & Rachmaninoff

ChristophKönig, guest conductor; Douglas Humpherys, piano

11/13, 7:30pm & 11/15, 8pm:Van Cliburn Gold & Mozart's "Jupiter"

José Luis Gomez, guest conductor; VadymKholodenko, piano

11/28, 29 & 30, 2 & 7pm: The Nutcracker

Michael Butterman, conductor; Rochester City Ballet, Jamey Leverett, artistic director; Bach Children's Chorus, Karla Krogstad, director

12/13, 7:30pm: Handel's Messiah

Rochester Oratorio Society, Eric Townell, director

12/14, 2pm: The Snowman

12/19 & 20, 8 pm; 12/20 & 21, 2 pm:Gala Holiday Pops

Michael Butterman, conductor (The Louise and Henry Epstein Family Chair); Festival High School Chorale, Amy Story and Harold McAulliffe, co-directors

1/23 & 24, 8pm: Tango Caliente

Jeff Tyzik, conductor; Eva Lucera & Patricio Touceda, tango dancers: Juliana Athayde, violin (The Caroline W. Gannett & Clayla Ward Chair); MalenaDayen, vocalist; Hector Del Curto, bandoneon

2/5, 7:30pm & 2/7, 8pm:Beethoven's Fifth

Marcelo Lehninger, guest conductor; Stephen Hough, piano

2/13 & 14, 8pm:Preservation Hall Jazz Band

3/5, 7:30pm & 3/7, 8pm:Copland & Dvořák

Daniel Hege, guest conductor; Augustin Hadelich, violin

3/12, 7:30pm & 3/14, 8pm:A Night of Dance

Daniel Meyer, guest conductor; Rochester City Ballet, Jamey Leverett, artistic director; FuturPointe Dance, N'Jelle Gage and Guy Thorne, co-founders

3/20 & 21, 8 pm:DenzalSinclaire Sings the Nat King Cole Songbook

Jeff Tyzik, conductor; DenzalSinclaire, vocalist

4/17 & 18, 8pm:The Peking Acrobats

Jeff Tyzik, conductor

4/30, 7:30pm & 5/2, 8pm:Seaman & Nakamatsu Return

Christopher Seaman, Conductor Laureate (The Christopher Seaman Chair, Supported by Barbara and Patrick Fulford and the Conductor Laureate Society); Jon Nakamatsu, piano

5/8 & 9, 8pm:Tyzik'sImages

Jeff Tyzik, conductor; Rochester City Ballet, Jamey Leverett, artistic director

5/21, 7:30pm & 5/23, 8pm:Dvořák's "New World" Symphony

YoavTalmi, guest conductor; Juliana Athayde, violin (The Caroline W. Gannett & Clayla Ward Chair)

5/29 & 30, 8pm:Michael Feinstein

TBD, guest conductor; Michael Feinstein, vocals and piano

6/4, 7:30pm & 6/6, 8pm:CarminaBurana

Gregory Vajda, guest conductor; Rochester Oratorio Society, Eric Townell, director

Vocal soloists TBA

Season sponsors in addition to those already mentioned include Wendy's (OrKIDStra series); County of Monroe; City of Rochester; NYSCA; The Alfred Davis and Brunhilde Knapp Artists Performance Fund; The Mozart Performance Fund: Sarah D. Atkinson, M.D. and Steven Hess; and Katherine T. and Jon L. Schumacher Orchestra Musician Soloist Fund.

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 150 concerts and broadcasts a year, serving up to 200,000 people through ticketed events, education and community engagement activities, and concerts in schools and community centers throughout the region. Notable former music directors include 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 20-year tenure with the RPO. With Michael Butterman as Principal Conductor for Education and Outreach (The Louise and Henry Epstein Family Chair) - the first position of its kind in the country - the RPO reaches more than 13,000 children through its specific programs for school-aged children. The RPO's 2013-14 season highlights include Principal Pops Conductor Jeff Tyzik's 20th anniversary celebration, and a performance at Carnegie Hall on May 7, 2014, as part of the Spring For Music festival.