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'Centerstage' concert series returns to Kleinhans Music Hall featuring Polish pianist, local vocals & classical guitar phenom

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Fri, Dec 6th 2019 07:00 am

Audiences enjoy unique and intimate experience sitting on stage for 3 performances

Kleinhans Music Hall is bringing back its “Centerstage” concert series after a successful launch during its inaugural season last year. The three-event series gives audiences an up-close-and-personal concert experience, with the performer in the middle of Kleinhans’ main stage and the audience seated onstage surrounding them. Limited tickets will be available to each event.

The series kicks off with Polish pianist Konrad Skolarski in a concert sponsored by the Permanent Polish Chair at Canisius College. Skolarski wowed Buffalo audiences in 2017 in his performances with the BPO, so much that he was immediately re-engaged by the BPO to play the Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto No. 3 this spring. He will precede his March 7 and 8 BPO engagements with a “Centerstage” recital at 7 p.m. Wednesday, March 4. His program includes Ludwig van Beethoven’s Sonata “Pathetique” in C minor op. 13 – a nod to the composer’s 250th birthday being celebrated worldwide this year – as well as several works by Chopin.

“(Konrad) is a world-class musician with a distinct voice, astonishing technical ability, beautiful tone and charismatic personality – one of the leading pianists in the world today,” BPO Music Director JoAnn Falletta said.

At 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 24, “Centerstage” will pay tribute to the birthday of another great composer, Johann Sebastian Bach, featuring The Women of Vivaldi. The vocal group was founded in 2018 by Suzanne Fatta to promote early music in the Buffalo Niagara Region. It is one of the few full all-female choirs in the nation, replete with female tenors, baritones and basses, joined by SUNY Buffalo State College professor Dr. Abigail Rockwood Puehn on harpsichord.

In this fun birthday program, The Woman of Vivaldi pay homage to Vivaldi’s contemporary, J.S. Bach, with one of his most popular sacred cantatas, “Wachet auf,” his delightful “Coffee Cantata,” and "Agnus Dei" and "Dona Nobis Pacem" from the Mass in B minor. 

The “Centerstage” series rounds out with classical guitarist Raphaël Feuillâtre at 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 14, in a concert co-sponsored by the BPO and Castellani Andriaccio Guitar Studios.

Born in France in 1996, Feuillâtre began classical guitar lessons at the age of 9. In 2012, he entered the Conservatory of Nantes and, three years later, was accepted to the Paris National Superior Conservatory of Music and Dance. He was the winner of the 2018 Guitar Foundation of America Competition, the performance of which he is preparing for his second recording under the Naxos Label (2019).

His performance at Kleinhans is part of a nine-month tour sponsored by Augustine Foundation, D’addario Foundation, Mel Bay, Savarez, Strings by Mail and Acoustic Guitar Magazine. His program includes solo guitar works by Leo Brouwer, Heitor Villa-Lobos, Sergio Assad, Alexander Scriabin, Sergei Rachmaninoff, Jean-Philippe Rameau, Ariel Ramirez, Miguel Llobet and Agustin Barrios Mangore. This performance is free to members of Friends of Falletta, a group of donors who support the JoAnn Falletta International Guitar Concerto Competition. 

“The ‘Centerstage’ series is such a unique and fun way for our audiences to experience a wide variety of world-class musicians in an intimate setting,” Kleinhans Music Hall Director Daniel Hart said. “The audience response to the series last year was terrific. This series allows our audience to fully explore the acoustic splendor of Kleinhans Music Hall in a nontraditional way, and we love that.”

Tickets to “Centerstage” events are on sale and cost $25 for general admission or $10 for students. To purchase tickets, call 716-885-5000, visit kleinhansbuffalo.org, or stop by the Kleinhans box office between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. weekdays or 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturdays. 

About Kleinhans Music Hall

Kleinhans Music Hall was built in 1940 thanks to the generosity and vision of Edward and Mary Seaton Kleinhans, who made their fortune from the clothing store that bore their name, and the stewardship of their charitable dreams by the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo. The hall was designed by the Finnish father-and-son team of Eliel and Eero Saarinen, along with architects F.J. and W.A Kidd. Kleinhans is known for its combination of graceful structural beauty and extraordinary acoustics. In 1989, the hall was designated a National Historic Landmark, the highest designation of significance a site or structure can receive. Today, the hall plays hosts to performances by the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra and Buffalo Chamber Music Society, the Just Buffalo Literary Center’s Babel series, and touring acts such as Fiona Apple, Cowboy Junkies and Bill Burr. For more information, visit kleinhansbuffalo.org.

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