Lang Lang, FinnFest USA, Celtic Woman, Jason Alexander among early season highlights
Saturday, Aug. 8, marks the first opportunity for non-subscribers to obtain tickets to the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra's 2015-16 season, with performances by Lang Lang and Celtic Woman, a "Holiday Pops" show with the debut of Principal Pops Conductor John Morris Russell, and tributes to Journey and to the music of the "Mad Men" era.
Tickets range from $29-$83 and are available by visiting bpo.org, calling 716-885-5000, or visiting the BPO Box Office at Kleinhans Music Hall, 3 Symphony Circle, Buffalo.
The 75th anniversary season of Kleinhans Music Hall begins Sept. 16 as the BPO welcomes piano sensation Lang Lang. Born in a small town in China, Lang Lang has become one of the most famous people in his home country and has electrified audiences worldwide with performances at the 2014 World Cup, the 2008 Summer Olympics and the 2014 and 2015 Grammy Awards. He will perform Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No. 2 under JoAnn Falletta's baton, in a concert that includes music by Tchaikovsky and Glinka.
The BPO's annual gala, sponsored by the Louis P. Ciminelli Family Foundation, takes place that night. The gala includes a pre-concert dinner catered by Oliver's, premium concert seating and a post-concert dessert reception. Proceeds benefit the BPO's educational programming. For gala information and reservations, call 716-242-7899. Tickets for the concert alone range from $60 to $100.
The BPO was among the first orchestras to blend rock with symphonic music. The orchestra continues that tradition with its "BPO Rocks Series" presented by Key Private Bank. The series kicks off Sept. 18 with "Faithfully: A Tribute to Journey." The music of one of the most popular American rock bands gets the full symphonic treatment as the top Journey tribute band in the country joins the BPO. With hits "Faithfully," "Wheel in the Sky" and "Don't Stop Believing," rock show lighting and the musicianship of the BPO, this show is not to be missed.
On Sept. 24, the BPO presents a celebration of Buffalo's best sounds. The Albrights worked with the BPO to develop orchestral charts to their signature songs. Local gypsy jazz sensation Babik performed with the BPO during the height of their popularity, and reunites for this evening only.
Each band will perform with the orchestra, and the program will also introduce the audience to rock and EDM-inspired compositions by today's top composers, including Sufjan Stevens and Mason Bates. Tickets are $10 for students and $20 general admission. They include a complimentary slice of pizza and beer or soft drink at a post-concert party, featuring a DJ and Verve Dance Studios.
The Bank of America "Pops Series" opens with "Music of the "Mad Men" Era" on Sept. 26. The hit television show made audiences fall in love with the music and aesthetic of mid-20th century America. Cheyenne Jackson, star of Broadway and TV's "30 Rock," takes you on a musical tour of this era just before his star turn on "American Horror Story: Hotel."
Jason Alexander is best-known for his portrayal of hapless George Costanza on "Seinfeld." He is also a master of live theater, winning several Tony awards and amassing an impressive collection of acting and directing credits on and off Broadway. He joins the BPO on Oct. 17 for an evening of song, dance and comedy.
Falletta programmed the M&T Bank Classics Series to showcase Kleinhans Music Hall's resonant sound during its 75th anniversary season. The series starts with a two-week exploration of Finnish music to coincide with FinnFest USA, taking place in Buffalo Oct. 9-12. Finnish guest artists join the BPO during the first two weekends in October for programs that feature music by Finland's favorite son, Jean Sibelius, and by the composers he inspired.
Other early classics highlights include Beethoven's Eroica Symphony on Oct. 24 and 25, ukulele sensation Jake Shimabukuro's performance on Nov. 7 and 8, and Elgar's Enigma Variations on Nov. 20 and 21.
The BPO's "Know The Score" series returns for a fourth season of musical exploration and discovery. On Oct. 16, Associate Conductor Sanders presents "Copland in Mexico." The program explores how Mexico's culture influenced Aaron Copland, and how Copland, in turn, influenced a generation of Mexican composers. The multimedia concert culminates with a screening of the film "Redes" with a live orchestral score by Silvestre Revueltas.
BlueCross BlueShield "BPO Kids" returns for another season of family fun Oct. 18 with "Symphonic Spooktacular." This year's Halloween tradition is bigger than ever, with a sing-along, a costume parade and audience participation. Families are invited to come at 1:30 p.m. to explore the "Instrument Zoo" and the BlueCross BlueShield Activity Cruiser, and to enjoy activities with Tutor Doctor and Monkey See Monkey Do Books.
The BPO's holiday season is full of extra cheer this year. John Morris Russell is crafting a charming "Holiday Pops" experience for his first concert in his new role, slated for Dec. 18-20. Celtic Woman has thrilled audiences worldwide for 10 years, and stops in Buffalo during their "Home For Christmas Symphonic Tour" on Dec. 9.
Falletta also leads the orchestra for a concert full of timeless music treasures in "JoAnn's Classical Christmas" on Dec. 11-12.
Other season highlights include the return of Chris Botti on Feb. 13 and of pianist Andre Watts on Feb. 20 and 21; the BPO debut of the "little orchestra" Pink Martini on March 12; and a performance of Richard Strauss' Alpine Symphony with images by Tobias Melle on June 4 and 5.
Subscriptions are still available and remain the best value, saving patrons significant money on handling fees and allowing them to lock in the best seats. Call 716-885-5000 to learn more. Individual tickets to the full season of Buffalo Philharmonic concerts are available at 9 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 8, by calling 716-885-5000, visiting bpo.org, or going to the box office located at 3 Symphony Circle off Porter Avenue in Buffalo.