This summer, the Buffalo Philharmonic will perform at 11 of Western New York's most iconic parks and venues.
The summer season begins with a performance at the Ellicottville Music Festival at 8 p.m. Saturday, July 2, featuring the music of heroes and villains. The orchestra will be in downtown Buffalo the following night for the annual Independence Eve celebration following the Buffalo Bisons-Scranton Wilkes-Barre RailRiders game at 6:05 p.m. The concert will be conducted by Stefan Sanders and includes a spectacular post-concert fireworks display.
Return to Artpark
JoAnn Falletta's sole appearance on the BPO podium this summer will come on Sunday, July 24, as the orchestra returns to Artpark with an all-Beethoven program. Beethoven's iconic Symphony No. 5 is the centerpiece of this program, which also includes the Egmont Overture.
Igor Lipinski will return to perform Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 2. Since his last appearance with the BPO in 2012, Lipinski has completed his doctoral degree from Northwestern University. He is becoming well-known for his "Piano Illusions" show, which blends classical performance with stage magic.
The concert takes place at 3 p.m. in the Mainstage Theatre. Tickets are available at artpark.net or by calling 716-754-4375.
On Tuesday, July 19, the BPO joins the global commemoration of the 400th anniversary of the death of William Shakespeare with a free concert in Delaware Park. Actors from Shakespeare in the Park join the BPO for an evening of music and scenes from Shakespeare's works, presented on the newly renovated Shakespeare in the Park stage.
Bowie at Canalside
David Bowie's death in February prompted an international outpouring of admiration and respect for his music. After an extremely well-received performance with the BPO in March, the Jeans n' Classics band returns to join the BPO on July 28 to perform "The Music of David Bowie" on the Free Thursday Summer Concert Series at Canalside. Gates open at 5 p.m. with the BPO taking the stage at 8 p.m.
Patriotic Flair at Old Fort Niagara
The BPO's summer season concludes with an outdoor concert at Old Fort Niagara at 8 p.m. Sunday, July 31. Concert tickets include admission to the fort, and everyone is encouraged to come early to explore Western New York's oldest historic site. Sanders leads this concert, featuring patriotic favorites by John Williams and John Phillip Sousa, music from the "Batman" and "Star Trek" film and television franchises, and more. A fireworks show and Tchaikovsky's "1812 Overture" provides a dramatic conclusion to the summer season of music.
Family four-packs are available for $60, and include two adults and two children under 18, or students. Tickets are available at bpo.org.
Free Concerts in the Parks
On Thursday, July 7, the orchestra begins a series of free park concerts led by Sanders. They will perform at Knox Farm in East Aurora at 7 p.m. with a rain date of July 8 at the same time. Bubbles and Brews, a fundraising event for Knox Farm, will be held in the Main House from 5-9 p.m. July 7 (rain or shine). This year, the food and beverage will be prepared by The Roycroft Inn.
Proceeds from this event support the concert and renovations to the Main House. Tickets are $100 per person and can be purchased at friendsofknoxfarm.org.
At 7 p.m. Sunday, July 10, the BPO returns to Tonawanda's Niawanda Park for the second year in a row. On Tuesday, July 12, the orchestra performs on the M&T Bank Plaza Summer Series. This daily series brings together the best of Buffalo's musical acts for free lunchtime performances. The concert begins at 11:45 a.m. at 1 M&T Bank Plaza in downtown Buffalo.
On Saturday, July 16, the BPO performs a 7 p.m. concert at one of Western New York's natural jewels: Chestnut Ridge Park in Orchard Park. In case of rain, the concert will be held at 7 p.m. Sunday, July 17. The free parks series winds down on Wednesday, July 20, with a 7 p.m. concert in the bandshell at Clarence Town Park, located at 10405 Main St.
The concert programs are designed to celebrate several significant anniversaries in both U.S. and pop culture history, with nods to the 50th anniversaries of "Batman" and "Star Trek"; the 40th anniversary of "Rocky"; the Olympic Games in Rio; and the 75th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor.
BPO 'Fantasy Camp'
On July 18, 48 adults from six countries and all over the U.S. will come to Western New York for a weeklong "Fantasy Camp" experience with the BPO. Participants will receive coaching from orchestra members, experience chamber music workshops, and spend the week rehearsing with Falletta and the orchestra to prepare for a concert on Friday, July 22. This special private concert will be presented for the BPO's subscribers and donors in recognition of their support of the orchestra.
Attendees will be asked to bring a boxed Lego set appropriate for all ages and for both boys and girls to benefit pediatric patients in Children's Hospital. The concert marks the growth of the BPO's partnership with the John R. Oishei Children's Hospital, which started with the "Doctors of the World" concert with the BPO in 2014 and expanded into the BPO "Kids for Exceptional Kids" program. This is the fifth year the BPO has hosted a side-by-side experience for amateur musicians.
As Buffalo's cultural ambassador, the Grammy Award-winning BPO, under the leadership of music director Falletta, presents more than 100 concerts each year. Since 1940, the orchestra's home has been Kleinhans Music Hall, a National Historic Landmark with a reputation as one of the finest concert halls in the U.S. During Falletta's tenure, the BPO has rekindled its history of radio broadcasts and recordings, including the release of 36 new recordings on the Naxos and Beau Fleuve labels.
For more information about the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, visit www.bpo.org.