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BPO announces 2016-17 M&T Bank Classics season


Mon, Feb 1st 2016 11:30 am

Superstar violinist Joshua Bell opens season

When Western New Yorkers are asked who they'd most like to see perform with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, they mention violinist Joshua Bell. In addition to his thriving international career as a soloist and recording artist, Bell has gained attention for his participation in a social experiment about art and context, which saw him performing incognito in a Washington, D.C., subway station. The reporter who created the experiment won a Pulitzer Prize for his story, which ignited a firestorm of online discussion.

Bell last performed with the BPO in 2012. He returns at 8 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 17, to perform Bruch's Violin Concerto under the baton of JoAnn Falletta. The concert opens with a Spanish flair with works by Falla, Granado and Rimsky-Korsakov.

The BPO's annual Opening Night Gala takes place the same evening and is sponsored by the Louis P. Ciminelli Family Foundation. The gala includes a dinner catered by Oliver's and a post-concert dessert reception. Proceeds benefit the BPO's award-winning educational programs.

Other events announced as part of the 2016-17 Classics season include:

Itzhak Perlman's Cinema Serenade

Itzhak Perlman is one of the 20th century's most admired violinists. A native of Israel, his accolades include a Lifetime Achievement Grammy Award and 14 other Grammys; four Emmy Awards; and, most recently, a Presidential Medal of Freedom. He returns to the BPO stage on Feb. 25, 2017, for the first time since 2008 to perform music from films as varied as "Casablanca," "Cinema Paradiso" and "Schindler's List."

This concert is not included on any subscription series, but can be purchased by subscribers before the general public.

Classics Abound

Bach, Beethoven, Brahms' Requiem, "Amadeus" with the Irish Classical Theatre, Wagner's Ring and Tchaikovsky festival are highlights of the Classics season.

The 2016-17 M&T Bank Classics Series kicks off with a two-week Tchaikovsky festival, celebrating his most popular works from each facet of his career: ballet, opera, piano works and symphonies. Pianist Fabio Bidini returns to perform Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto No. 3 on a program that includes Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 5 and his "Sleeping Beauty" Suite on Oct. 1 and 2. On Oct. 15 and 16, the Buffalo Philharmonic Chorus joins the BPO for a rarely performed version of the rousing 1812 Overture. Other program highlights include the polonaise from his opera "Eugene Onegin"; the Serenade for Strings; and Cleveland Orchestra Principal Cellist Mark Kosower's performance of the Rococo Variations.

Stewart Copeland's career spans the worlds of rock, classical and film. He is best known as the drummer for The Police, but has forged a new path as a composer for film, opera and ballet. Buffalo will be one of the first cities to hear his latest work, "Tyrant's Crush," which receives its world premiere in February in Pittsburgh, and its Buffalo premiere on Oct. 28 and 29.

Composer and conductor Kryzstof Penderecki is the most distinguished figure in Poland's classical music scene. His many honors and awards include a UNESCO Award for his "Threnody for the Victims of Hiroshima"; The Order of the White Eagle, Poland's highest honor; and multiple Grammys. On Dec. 3 and 4, he conducts the BPO in a performance of works by Dvorak and Beethoven, as well as his own Concerto for Violin and Cello. Concertmaster Dennis Kim and Principal Cellist Roman Mekinulov are featured soloists in their first collaboration since Kim was named concertmaster.

To celebrate Mozart's birthday, The Irish Classical Theater Co. will join the BPO in three performances of the Peter Shaffer play "Amadeus," on which the Academy Award-winning film was based. From Jan. 20-22, Falletta and the BPO will weave the music of Mozart throughout the play, as it explores the contradictions of Mozart's life and the mysteries of his death.

The venerable organ has been a classical music mainstay for centuries, but it has never had a superstar performer like Cameron Carpenter. He has toured the world with his custom-built, digitally operated travelling organ, earning a reputation for his virtuosity and splashy persona. Buffalo audiences will experience his performances on March 10 and 11 under Falletta's baton. The program features Poulenc's Organ Concerto and Saint-Saens' Organ Symphony (Symphony No. 3).

Angela Hewitt has emerged as this generation's pre-eminent Bach interpreter. The Canadian-born pianist has garnered critical acclaim for her 10-year recording project of Bach's complete works for keyboard. For a week in March, she is artist-in-residence at Kleinhans. She will perform the complete Goldberg Variations in recital on March 22, and will give a piano master class. On March 25 and 26, she will join with the BPO to perform Bach's Piano Concerto in D minor, BWV 1052 and his Piano Concerto in D Major, BWV 1054.

On May 6 and 7, the BPO explores the singular world of Wagner's Ring Cycle operas. Orchestral selections from the monumental works combine with powerful narration and images, taking the audience through the epic tale of love, greed, defiance and death that spans both the mortal realm and the world of Norse gods.

Other season highlights include the American premiere of Helge Evju's reconstruction of Grieg's unfinished Piano Concerto No. 2 performed by Carl Petersson; Brahms' Requiem featuring the Buffalo Philharmonic Chorus; a rare performance of "Belshazzar's Feast" by Walton; Sibelius' Second Symphony; and the return of several BPO favorites: violinists Tianwa Yang and Benjamin Beilman, and pianist Natasha Paremski.

Canadian pianist Alain Lefevre joins the BPO to celebrate Canada's 150th birthday and the friendship between Canada and the U.S., with works by Canadian composers Michael Colgrass and Mathieu and by American composers Copland and Gershwin. Three concerts feature works by Beethoven, including his violin concerto and his Symphony No. 6, "Pastoral."

"I believe that this is our most dramatic season ever, and it also presents the most diverse programs we have offered," Falletta said. "From superstars Joshua Bell and Itzhak Perlman, to theatrical presentations of Amadeus with the music of Mozart and 'The World of the Ring,' which will reveal the story of Wagner's Ring in great orchestral music and narration, to the visit of Poland's Maestro Krzysztof Penderecki, to the classical debut of Stewart Copeland, we have a year of magical events that will dazzle our audiences."

Subscribe Now for Best Seats

As always, a subscription to the BPO is one's best value. Patrons who subscribe save substantially on handling fees, lock in their seats early, and get the first chance to add other concerts to their package before the general public. With Western New York's most flexible ticket exchange policy, tickets can change when one's schedule does. Single tickets will go on sale for all events Aug. 13. Subscription packages range from as few as five concerts to the full season of classics. To subscribe, call 716-885-5000 or visit bpo.org.

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


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