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RPO announces 2013-2014 season

The Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra this morning announced the programming for its 2013-14 season. This will be the first season since the orchestra's split with Music Director ArildRemmereit, and as such will feature a string of guest conductors at the podium.

One of the primary concerns following the dismissal of Remmereit was whether the orchestra would turn away from its recent commitment to works by little-played or minority composers, which were championed by Remmereit. The announcement takes pains to point out that next year's programming is "a thoughtful balance of classic and contemporary works," with pieces by Aaron Jay Kernis, Jennifer Higdon, Roberto Sierra, Kevin Puts, Joseph Schwantner, and James Beckel sharing the bill with canonical pieces by classical idols like Mozart, Beethoven, Strauss, and Mahler.

Of the 14 announced guest conductors -- including Conductor Emeritus Christopher Seaman -- City Newspaper classical writer Paloma Capanna notes that none of them are women. Additionally, of the 43 pieces listed on the announcement, only three are by female composer (and only one of them will be played in full), which equates to 7 percent of the season programming.

Next season will also be the 20th anniversary for RPO Principal Pops Conductor Jeff Tyzik, and will see the RPO perform at Carnegie Hall as part of the Spring For Music Festival, at which it will perform "Merry Mount," the only opera by former Eastman School of Music Director Howard Hanson.

The full press release of the season announcement appears below:


Highlights include Tyzik's Twentieth, Beethoven's Ninth & Carnegie Hall

Opening Weekend:  Mahler's First Symphony with Jun Märkl and Jennifer Koh, Sept. 26 & 28


Rochester, NY - The Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra (RPO) announces its 2013-14 season today, one that features a thoughtful balance of classic and contemporary works, world-renowned guest artists and RPO soloists, top guest conductors, Principal Pops Conductor Jeff Tyzik's 20th anniversary season, and a performance at Carnegie Hall. 

"We couldn't be more excited to move forward with the important work of this orchestra - enlightening, educating, entertaining and enhancing the greater Rochester community," says RPO President and CEO Charles Owens. "Thanks to our VP of Artistic Administration Richard Decker, the RPO musicians on our Artistic Advisory Committee, and all of our resident and guest conductors, we're in excellent shape to do just that."

Kicking off the 14-program Philharmonics Series are two young, American, classical-music stars:  36-year old violinist Jennifer Koh (Mendelssohn's Violin Concerto in E Minor on Phils 1, September 26 and 28 at 8 p.m.) and 32-year-old pianist Jonathan Biss (Brahms's Piano Concerto No. 1 on Phils 2, October 17 at 7:30 p.m. and October 19 at 8 p.m.). Other renowned guest artists include cellist Edward Arron, violinist Philippe Quint, and pianists Barry Snyder, Joyce Yang and Jon Kimura Parker.

The RPO continues to shine the spotlight on its own luminaries as well:  Concertmaster Juliana Athayde, The Caroline W. Gannett & Clayla Ward Chair (Piazzolla's The Four Seasons on Phils 3, October 24 at 7:30 p.m. and October 26 at 8 p.m.), Principal Oboe Erik Behr, The Dr. Jacques M. Lipson Chair (R. Strauss' Oboe Concerto on Phils 5, November 14 at 7:30 p.m. and November 16 at 8 p.m.) and Principal Trumpet Douglas Prosser, The Elaine P. Wilson Chair (Arutiunian's Trumpet Concerto on Phils 13, May 22 at 7:30 p.m. and May 24 at 8 p.m.). 

Debuting and returning guest conductors will bring an anticipatory energy to the 2013-14 season. They include Jun Märkl (Opening Weekend:  Mahler's First Symphony on September 26 and 28), Bernhard Gueller (Phils 2:  Brahms & Bartók on October 17 and 19),  Larry Rachleff (Phils 3:  Appalachian Spring on October 24 and 26), ChristophCampestrini (Phils 4:  Mozart & Tchaikovsky on November 7 and 9), Junichi Hirokami (Phils 5:  Rachmaninoff's Second Symphony on November 14 and 16)), NirKabaretti (Phils 6:  Haydn & Beethoven on November 21 and 23), James Feddeck (Phils 7:  Bach & Respighi on December 12 and 14), Hugh Wolff (Phils 8:  Beethoven's Ninth on January 16 and 18, 2014), Fabien Gabel (Phils 9:  An Evening in Paris on January 30 and February 1), Michael Morgan (Phils 10:  Gershwin & Ellington on February 6 and 8), Michael Christie (Phils 12:  Carnegie Hall Preview:  Howard Hanson's Merry Mount on April 10 and 12), Thomas Wilkins (Phils 13:  Shostakovich's Tenth Symphony on May 22 and 24) and Michael Francis (Phils 14:  Holst's The Planets on May 29 and 31). RPO Conductor Laureate Christopher Seaman will return for Phils 11: Berlioz, Beethoven & Bruckner on March 6 and 8. 

RPO's 2013-2014 Philharmonics season includes a balanced mix of popular classical compositions and outstanding works by America's leading contemporary composers. Major symphonic works include the season opener, Mahler's Symphony No. 1; Bartok's signature Concerto for Orchestra; and three celebrated Russian symphonies: Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 5, Rachmaninoff's Symphony No. 2 and Shostakovich's Symphony No. 10. The list continues with three acclaimed works by Beethoven - his choral symphony, Symphony No. 9; a concert presentation of Act II of his opera, Fidelio; and his piano Concerto No. 2 - as well as Holst's The Planets, Stravinsky's Firebird Suite and Copland's Appalachian Spring Suite. America's leading composers, including Aaron Jay Kernis (New Era Dance), Jennifer Higdon (City Scape: Skyline), Roberto Sierra (Fandangos), Kevin Puts (Inspiring Beethoven), Joseph Schwantner (New Morning for the World) and James Beckel (Toccata for Orchestra) will be featured. And notable works from canonic composers, Bach, Mozart and Haydn, to important compositions by Ellington, Gershwin, Florence Beatrice Price, Piazzolla, Ravel, Strauss, Walton, Respighi and Debussy further complement the wide range of repertoire to be presented.

Of particular note this season is a concert performance of former Eastman School of Music Director (from 1924-1964) Howard Hanson's only opera, Merry Mount, at the Spring For Music Festival at Carnegie Hall on May 7, 2014. Loosely based on Nathaniel Hawthorne's short story, "The Maypole of Merry Mount," Richard Stokes' libretto has been compared to Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter. It was commissioned by and made its well-received stage debut at the Metropolitan Opera in 1934, but has been performed rarely since. The RPO and singers from the Eastman School of Music Opera Department present Carnegie Hall Preview:  Howard Hanson's Merry Mount on April 10 and 12, 2014.

The 10-program Pops Series celebrates Jeff Tyzik's 20th season, kicking off on October 4 and 5 with Midtown Men Sing Hits from the '60s, featuring the original cast of Broadway's Jersey Boys. Tyzik conducts Disney's Fantasia - with scenes from both the classic 1940 and 2000 films - on November 1 and 2, as well as the 20th anniversary edition of his Gala Holiday Pops on December 20 and 21. Cirque de la Symphonie returns (Cirque Returns) by popular demand on January 10 and 11, 2014, followed by Dancin' and Romancin' - The Best of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers on January 24 and 25. Former RPO conductor Peter Bay guest conducts Singin' in the Rain on February 14 and 15 as the timeless romantic comedy plays on the big screen, and singer/songwriter/actress Ann Hampton Callaway Sings Streisand on February 28 and March 1. On March 21 and 22, Tyzik's Twentieth Season Celebration marks the Grammy Award winner and Rochester Music Hall of Famer's 20th anniversary as RPO Principal Pops Conductor with special guests, trumpeter Allen Vizzutti and tenor Doug LaBrecque. An Evening with Curtis Stigers features the jazz vocalist and saxophonist on April 25 and 26, and The Music of John Williams - conducted by Rochester native and former RPO Artistic Director and Principal Conductor Bob Bernhardt - closes next season's Pops Series on May 9 and 10.  

Special Events of the 2013-14 season include an Opening Night Gala on Friday, September 26, 2013, and the return of The Nutcracker with Rochester City Ballet on November 29 - December 1, 2013. The 20th annual Gala Holiday Pops has special matinee performances on December 21 and 22, and a special matinee performance of Beethoven's Ninth with the Rochester Oratorio Society takes place on Sunday, January 19, 2014.

The popular OrKIDStra Series (Sundays at 2 p.m. at the Performance Hall at Hochstein) with RPO Principal Conductor for Education and Outreach, Michael Butterman, The Louise and Henry Epstein Family Chair, continues with four concerts:  Orchestra Games (October 13, 2013); Tales of Russia (January 26, 2014); Lemony Snicket:  The Composer is Dead (March 16, 2014) and Picardy Penguin:  Let's Build the Tower of Music! (April 6, 2014).

Next season, the RPO presents two Sunday 2 p.m. concert series at the Performance Hall at Hochstein. Each of the three concerts in the Baroque Sundays series emphasizes Baroque-era repertoire and features a guest artist:

1. November 3, 2013:  Baroque and More, with guitar virtuoso Eliot Fisk and music of Boccherini, Vivaldi, Ginastera and Rodrigo's popular Concierto de Aranjuez

2. Jan. 12, 2014:  Bach and the Boys, with RPO Concertmaster Juliana Athayde featured on J.S. Bach's Violin Concerto No. 1, along with music by Bach's sons Johann and C.P.E., and J. S. Bach's Brandenburg Concerto No. 3 with its well-known Air on a G String

3. March 23, 2014:  Fireworks, with Allen Vizzutti on piccolo trumpet featured in J. S. Bach's Brandenburg Concerto No. 2, along with Handel's Royal Fireworks Music and Franz Joseph Haydn's "Fire Symphony" No. 59.

Each of the three concerts in the Musical Connections series - conducted by Maestro Butterman - explores the fusion of music and other art forms:

4. October 6, 2013:  Music and Art includes Jeff Tyzik's Images:  Musical Impressions of an Art Museum, Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition and Dave Brubeck's America

5. March 2, 2014:  Music and Dance includes Bartok's Dance Suite and Piazzolla'sTangazo

6. May 25, 2014:  Music and Literature includes Richard Danielpour's A Woman's Life and Debussy's Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun.  

The RPO's overarching commitment to education and outreach continues with its Education Concerts (Primary, Intermediate and Tiny Tots) that reach more than 14,000 school children from the greater Rochester area each year. Its 2013-14 Regional/Outreach Concerts include the continuation of the Ithaca Series, participation in the Geneva Concert Series, Holiday Regional Concerts (in Midlakes, Newark, Keuka College, Livonia, Canandaigua Academy and Brockport), Around the Town Concerts, Live at Hochstein broadcasts/performances and more.

Subscriptions for the 2013-14 season go on sale today at noon, with discounted renewal rates (for 2012-13 subscribers only) available through April 18, 2013. Subscriptions 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 on Monday, August 26, and will also be available at all WegmansThat's the Ticket! outlets.

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 up to 150 concerts a year, serving nearly 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 19-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 14,000 children through its specific programs for school-aged children.