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ARTS: RPO announces program, conductor for 2014 Carnegie Hall concert

Today the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra and the Spring for Music festival announced the programming for the RPO's scheduled 2014 concert at New York City's Carnegie Hall, as well as the conductor who will lead the orchestra during the performance.

Michael Christie, the music director of the Phoenix Symphony, Colorado Music Festival, and the Minnesota Opera, will stand at the podium for the concert. He will replace outgoing RPO Music Director Arild Remmereit, who was originally supposed to conduct when the Spring for Music booking was announced last year.

The full press release follows:

ROCHESTER - The Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra (RPO) and Spring For Music are delighted to announce that the RPO will pair with singers from the Voice and Opera Department of the Eastman School of Music to perform Howard Hanson's opera Merry Mount in concert on May 7, 2014 as part of the 2014 Spring for Music festival at Carnegie Hall.

RPO President and CEO Charlie Owens said, "It was a thrill to be selected last year to participate in Spring for Music, and it's now a great pleasure to announce that we'll be taking a program to Carnegie Hall reflecting both the remarkable musical history of Rochester and its bright future with the RPO and Eastman as a national center for music making."

Howard Hanson, the first American to win the storied Rome Prize in 1921 and the director of the Rochester's Eastman School of Music from 1924-1964, composed Merry Mount on commission from the Metropolitan Opera in 1933. At its premiere in February 1934, the work, based on the Nathaniel Hawthorne story "The Maypole of Merry Mount" with a libretto by Richard L. Stokes, received over 50 curtain calls.

Joining the RPO and the Eastman singers in this concert performance of Merry Mount will be conductor Michael Christie, the music director of the Phoenix Symphony, Colorado Music Festival, and the Minnesota Opera.

Over the course of its 89-year history, the RPO has performed at Carnegie Hall 16 times. The last performance was in 1985 under the direction of then-music director, David Zinman.

Fundraising efforts for the upcoming trip to Carnegie Hall are underway, and the RPO has already secured a significant commitment from the Elaine P. and Richard U. Wilson Foundation.

The 2014 Spring For Music festival begins on May 5, 2014 with a performance by the New York Philharmonic, and runs to May 11. Other orchestras include the Seattle Symphony, Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and May Festival Chorus Orchestra, and the Pittsburgh Symphony.

Spring For Music is a four-year festival at Carnegie Hall, celebrating and exhibiting the quality and creativity of North American orchestras. During its inaugural season, Spring For Music was categorized by the press as "bold," "gripping," "vibrant," "inspired," "virtuosic," and "brilliant." The New Yorker hailed it as "fresh at every turn," while The New York Times stated that Spring For Music gives "power to the listener." The festival, which is presented in partnership with Carnegie Hall, began in 2011. Tickets originally priced at $25 for any seat in the house still remain at this very popular price.