Rock classics get a symphonic twist in the 2013-14 "BPO Rocks" series, which features performances by America and Lou Gramm of Foreigner, as well as the music of Queen, the Rolling Stones, ABBA and The Beatles.
It all starts Saturday, Sept. 21, with "The Music of Queen." Conductor/arranger Brent Havens, known for bridging the gulf between rock 'n' roll and classical music with his suite of successful symphonic rock shows, takes the podium. Las Vegas star Brody Dolyniuk steps into the formidable role of Freddie Mercury.
"When he came out to audition for the show, we knew immediately that he had something special. He not only knew the music, but he had clearly listened to every aspect of Freddie's performances," Havens said. "His inflections were spot-on, and even the wailing rock sound had that Freddie resonance."
The music of ABBA has enjoyed a tremendous revival in the past few years. The band's songs have been covered by musicians as diverse as The Lemonheads and Sinead O'Connor. Their music formed the basis of the hit musical "Mamma Mia," which was adapted into a movie of the same name. In 2010, they were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. "ABBA: The Hits" sold out the last time it came to the BPO, and returns on Saturday, Oct. 12.
Mick Jagger, Keith Richards and company may have bypassed Buffalo on their latest tour, but "The Music of the Rolling Stones" will come to the area on Friday, Nov. 8. The Rolling Stones' signature blues-influenced rock blends effortlessly with the horns, winds, strings and percussion of the BPO. Havens will once again take the podium for a high-energy show featuring the music of rock's ultimate bad boys paired with the BPO's extraordinary musicianship.
Fifty years ago, The Beatles redefined the meaning of superstardom, with record-breaking chart positions, two movies in the theaters, and a world tour that sparked Beatlemania everywhere they went. The BPO celebrates the golden anniversary of the breakout year of the band that defined a generation with "Classical Mystery Tour" on Saturday, March 1, 2014. Four talented artists join the BPO to present songs that span The Beatles' career, from "Penny Lane" to "Eleanor Rigby."
On Friday, March 28, Grammy-award winning band America will come to Kleinhans. With more than 40 years on the road, the band has mastered classic rock 'n' roll. America will pair with the rich sounds of the BPO to lend a new texture to their signature style.
America was founded when Gerry Beckley, Dewey Bunnell and Dan Peek were teenagers. At the time, the three were living on an American Air Force base in London with their families. Peek left the band in 1977, and Beckley and Bunnell have continued to perform and record as a duo, evolving as songwriters and musicians while performing the crowd-pleasing classics "Horse With No Name," "Sister Golden Hair" and "Ventura Highway."
Lou Gramm, the voice of Foreigner, will close the "BPO Rocks" series with a show on April 25. A Rochester native, Gramm led Foreigner to superstardom in the 1970s and 1980s with hits including "I Want to Know What Love Is," "Hot Blooded," "Say You Will" and "Juke Box Hero." Gramm found solo success in the late 1980s and 1990s with "Midnight Blue."
2013 has been a landmark year for Gramm. He told the incredible story of his life in his autobiography, "Juke Box Hero," released in May. After five decades as a musician, he is redefining his sound and launching his first symphonic tour. The BPO will be one of the first orchestras to perform this new symphonic show with Gramm.
For more information, or for tickets, call 716-885-5000 or visit www.bpo.org.