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Bernadette Peters, Yo-Yo Ma, Music of Queen usher in new Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra season

by jmaloni

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Tue, Sep 10th 2013 05:00 pm

After its much-lauded "Spring For Music" performance at Carnegie Hall, the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra returns to the Kleinhans Music Hall stage to bring superstars, rising stars, classical masterworks and cutting-edge new works to Western New York audiences.

During August, the newest phase of the restoration and renovation of Kleinhans Music Hall was completed. When this National Historic Landmark reopens, patrons will notice the parking lot has been resurfaced and restriped, and the carpet has been removed from the lower balcony. The women's restroom on the lower level has been expanded, and credit cards will now be accepted at the hall's bar. To further improve the patron experience, a shuttle will run between the D'Youville College parking lot on West Avenue and the hall before and after Saturday night concerts.

Single tickets to all shows are available now, with great seats still remaining.

M&T Bank Classics Series

The M&T Bank Classics series starts with the opening night gala and "An Evening with Yo-Yo Ma" on Wednesday, Sept. 18, sponsored by the Louis P. Ciminelli Family Foundation. Only a few tickets remain for the highly anticipated concert, which marks Ma's first appearance with the BPO in nearly 10 years. He will be performing a work never before heard in Kleinhans: "Azul," written for him by Osvaldo Golijov.

Joining Ma onstage will be percussionists Keita Ogawa and Jamey Haddad. Ogawa has studied percussion at Berklee and with many of Brazil's most respected percussionists. Haddad has performed with Paul Simon and was named the top world percussionist by Drum Magazine in 2012. Also joining Ma is Michael Ward-Bergeman, who developed the hyperaccordion, a traditional acoustic accordion with an extended range and expressive capabilities. The program also includes Stravinsky's "The Firebird Suite (1911)."

On Friday, Oct. 4, and Saturday, Oct. 5, the BPO will present a concert of accessible classical music featuring violinist Vadim Gluzman in a performance of Bruch's Concerto No. 1 for violin. Music director JoAnn Falletta has called this "A romantic masterpiece; one of the most beloved pieces written for the violin, which sings with a poetry and emotional richness that make it completely irresistible." The concert also includes Brahms' Symphony No. 1; and "Medea's Meditation and Dance of Vengeance" by American composer Samuel Barber, of "Adagio for Strings" fame.

Ricardo Morales, the principal clarinetist of The Philadelphia Orchestra, makes his BPO debut on Saturday, Oct. 19, and Sunday, Oct. 20, performing Mozart's only clarinet concerto. The program also includes Ravel's endearing "Mother Goose Suite" and Bartok's Suite No. 1, which will be recorded for an upcoming Naxos release of Bartok pieces. In addition to his performance, Morales will take time out to teach when he kicks off the 2013-14 series of BPO masterclasses at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 16. The masterclass series, in its second year, is free to attend and is open to the entire community.

BlueCross BlueShield Pops Series

Broadway legend Bernadette Peters opens the BlueCross BlueShield Pops Series on Saturday, Sept. 28. Peters is a three-time Tony winner who has gained renown for her appearances in television shows and films, and for her charitable efforts.

BPO Associate Conductor Matthew Kraemer, now entering his final season with the orchestra, will conduct the concert. Kraemer is leaving the BPO after this season to focus on his work as music director for the Butler County Symphony Orchestra and the Erie Chamber Ensemble, both based in Pennsylvania, and to further explore his many guest conducting opportunities.

Saturday, Oct. 12, marks the much-anticipated return of "ABBA: The Hits." The show, which features the band Waterloo, sold out when it came to Buffalo three years ago, and another capacity crowd is anticipated for this fun-filled evening of music that defined the 1970s and inspired the hit musical and film "Mamma Mia."

Known to America as the bandleader from Johnny Carson's "Tonight Show" and to Western New Yorkers as the former BPO principal pops conductor, Doc Severinsen returns to the BPO on Oct. 25 and 26 with a high-energy show. Severinsen's career has included stints with the Tommy Dorsey and Benny Goodman bands, and more than 30 recordings spanning genres from jazz-fusion to big band to classical. He has a reputation as not only a talented musician, but also a consummate showman with a long history of delivering memorable performances.

BPO Rock Series

On Saturday, Sept. 21, the BPO will perform "The Music of Queen," with Windborne Productions founder Brent Havens conducting. Windborne's "Music Of" shows have played to more than 600,000 people and topped $20 million in ticket sales. The BPO has had a long and successful collaboration with Windborne, providing an incubator for developing concerts that mix classic rock with symphony orchestras.

Havens returns to the BPO stage on Friday, Nov. 8, with "The Music of the Rolling Stones," and on Friday, April 25, as conductor of the first-ever symphonic tour of Lou Gramm, the voice of Foreigner. "The BPO Rock Series" is presented by KegWorks.

Subscriptions are available to the six-concert series, which also includes "ABBA: The Hits"; "The Beatles Classical Mystery Tour"; and a performance by the band America.

BPO at Buffalo Riverfest Park

On Sunday, Sept. 22, the BPO showcases one of Buffalo's newest public spaces and honors the history of the Old First Ward with a free performance at Riverfest Park, located at 249 Ohio St. Tim Bohen, author of "Against The Grain: The History of Buffalo's First Ward," will speak at 1 p.m. At 1:30 p.m., BPO Associate Concertmaster Amy Glidden will perform Celtic favorites with a string quartet comprised of members of the BPO. At 2:30 p.m., Kraemer will lead the full BPO brass and percussion sections in an eclectic program that includes music from "Carmen" and "West Side Story," as well as a selection of Irish tunes.

Know the Score

The BPO's newest series returns for its second season. BPO staff conductor Paul Ferington leads the opening of the series on Thursday, Oct. 10, with an exploration of musical retellings of "Romeo and Juliet." With help from Shakespeare in Delaware Park, he will explore the story as viewed by composers such as Tchaikovsky, Berlioz, Prokofiev and Leonard Bernstein.

Romeo and Juliet's Caffe will provide desserts at the post-concert party, where audiences can mingle with the musicians. Doors open at 6 p.m., and the concert begins at 7 p.m.

These Thursday night concerts feature a post-concert party, an earlier start time and networking opportunities. At each installment, audiences will go on a journey of musical exploration as the conductor examines a work, theme or composer. Remaining "Know the Score" concerts are Jan. 23, 2014 ("Copland's America"), and May 1 ("Stravinsky's Petrushka").

BPO Kids

The 2013-14 season features a revamped "BPO Kids" series designed to introduce elementary-school-age children to symphonic music in a fun, age-appropriate setting. It begins at 2:30 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 27, with "Symphonic Spooktacular." The concert includes the traditional costume parade across the Kleinhans stage and makes a great grandparent outing. Anyone showing their Buffalo and Erie County Public Library card at the box office will get a $1 discount on their ticket for any "BPO Kids" concert. Subscriptions for the full, six-concert "BPO Kids" Series are also available.

BPO for the Holidays

It's not too early to start thinking about special holiday memories with family and friends. The BPO's holiday season kicks off with a classic event: "The Nutcracker" ballet, presented in collaboration with Neglia Ballet Artists and Shea's Performing Arts Center on Saturday, Nov. 30, and Sunday, Dec. 1.

On Dec. 2, The Texas Tenors will join the BPO for a one-night-only holiday-themed show, "Deep in the Heart of Christmas." The Texas Tenors' career was launched after their 2009 appearance on "America's Got Talent," when they became the highest-rated vocal group in the show's history. In the four years that have passed, they have performed more than 500 concerts in 20 countries, and earned the distinction of having the only album to debut at No. 1 on both the independent country and independent classical charts. Their Dec. 2 performance comes as they prepare for the release of their second album and for the broadcast of their first PBS special. Tickets go on sale Sept. 21.

On Dec. 6 and 7, Ron Spigelman guest-conducts "Classic Christmas," featuring the Castellani Andriaccio Guitar Duo. Amherst residents Joanne Castellani and Michael Andriaccio have a distinguished career as performers as well as a successful teaching studio in Snyder. They are also the artistic directors for the biennial JoAnn Falletta International Guitar Concerto Competition, taking place in June 2014.

The whole family can get in the spirit of the season on Dec. 8 with "Jingle Bell Jam," when children can visit with Santa and sing along to holiday favorites. Sponsored by Fisher-Price, the concert is an interactive twist on the traditional holiday show.

Falletta will lead four performances of "Holiday Pops" on Friday, Dec. 13, Saturday, Dec. 14, and Sunday, Dec. 15. Fresh from a well-received performance as Mama Rose in the Hangar Theater's production of "Gypsy," Buffalo native Michele Ragusa lends her characteristic warmth and charm to a concert that also features the Buffalo Philharmonic Chorus and a local all-star high school choir. Audiences are encouraged to plan ahead, as "Holiday Pops" is one of the most popular seasonal events in Buffalo.

Subscriptions and tickets

Subscriptions are also available, with packages starting with as few as five concerts. The benefits of subscribing include guaranteed seats, a flexible ticket exchange program and access to discounts at top restaurants and retailers through the BPO Perks card.

Tickets can be obtained by visiting bpo.org; by calling 716-885-5000; or by visiting the Kleinhans Music Hall box office at 3 Symphony Circle, Buffalo, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, or 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturdays.

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