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RPO Announces its 2007-2008 Season Celebrating Two Milestone Anniversaries: Orchestra's 85th and Christopher Seaman's 10th

March 11, 2007

Orchestra bookends season with celebratory symphonic Red Carpet Opening Night and special Spring concert with cellist Yo-Yo Ma

New co-commission, Seaman’s British “connection,” repertoire and soloists recognize the past and look to the future; Pops goes from silent movies to the Beatles, Dreamgirls and more

Rochester, NY – With the announcement of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra’s 2007-08 Season, the anticipation is bubbling as will the champagne, as the RPO celebrates both its own 85th anniversary and Music Director Christopher Seaman’s decade-long tenure with the Orchestra.  “I personally have had more satisfaction as music director here than in any of my associations with other orchestras, mainly due to the excellent and positive attitudes of our fine musicians and the support of our wonderful community,” says Seaman.
In describing programming for the 2007-08 Season, the music director says, “This concert season celebrates the present and points forward toward the future.  The orchestra has reached an unprecedented artistic standard, as our audiences will hear in all of our programs beginning with Opening Night.” 

On Saturday, October 6, Opening Night at the Eastman Theatre kicks off the season with an “RPO Red Carpet Spectacular” concert at 7:30 p.m.  Christopher Seaman opens with Benjamin Britten’s The Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra, the first piece that Seaman guest conducted with the RPO in 1984.  The British connection continues with Vaughan Williams’ sublime choral symphony, Serenade to Music and ends with Igor Stravinsky’s sonically spectacular Rite of Spring to “blow off the roof ” of the Eastman Theatre.  Special $200 tickets include a pre-concert dinner, special concert seating, complimentary champagne, anniversary gift and attendance at the post-concert “Stars & Streetlight Soiree” with live music and dancing.  Regularly priced tickets are $85, $65, $50 and $35 and also include the Soiree.

Looking toward the opposite end of the season is the special concert on Monday, May 5, 2008 at 8 p.m. featuring renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma, undoubtedly one of the world’s most sought-after instrumentalists who has changed the musical landscape thanks to his numerous innovative artistic and project collaborations.  This concert will be the first time since 1999 that he has performed with the RPO. 

The regular season unfolds with Christopher Seaman, Principal Pops Conductor Jeff Tyzik, Principal Conductor for Education and Outreach Michael Butterman (The Louise and Henry Epstein Family Chair) and the RPO in a season characterized by a number of “big” works to match the significance of this anniversary year. “We have a very distinguished roster of soloists and guest conductors who will add – in their own way – to the continuing growth, distinction and fame of our great orchestra,” raves Seaman. The orchestra will present 14 pairs of Philharmonics Series concerts; eight pairs of Pops concerts plus a week’s worth of Gala Holiday Pops; six pairs of Symphony 101 concerts; four Casual Sunday Matinees; the popular orKIDStra series; Nutcracker with the Rochester City Ballet; Messiah; and a special May 5 concert featuring acclaimed cellist Yo-Yo Ma.  Series highlights follow:


Guest Artists:

  • Six pianists appear this season, including the engaging Jon Kimura Parker in Ravel’s impressionistic Piano Concerto; Terrence Wilson performing the Rochester premiere of Deus ex Machina, the consortium-commissioned piano concerto by Michael Daugherty; the powerful William Wolfram performing Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 5 “Emperor”; Canadian Louis Lortie in Greig’s Piano Concerto as part of a retrospective 85th anniversary concert and the musically eloquent Joseph Kalichstein performing Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 22;
  • String players William Preucil (Cleveland Orchestra concertmaster, and our own Juliana Athayde’s teacher from the esteemed Concertmaster Academy at the Cleveland Institute of Music); Juliana Athayde (The Caroline W. Gannett & Clayla Ward Chair) herself in Bruch’s Violin Concerto; Principal Cellist Stefan Reuss (The Clara and Edwin Strasenburgh Chair) in Haydn’s Cello Concerto; the “risk-taking, high-octane” violinist Jennifer Koh in Stravinsky’s Violin Concerto and Grammy award-winning guitarist Sharon Isbin performing Rodrigo’s beloved Concierto de Aranjuez and a special Tyzik arrangement;
  • Singers Jane Eaglen, dramatic soprano, and the theatrical bass-baritone Dean Elzinga with the Rochester Oratorio Society in Vaughan Williams’ Symphony No. 1 “A Sea Symphony” and Carl Orff’s powerful and rhythmically driving Carmina Burana with three guest soloists and the forces of the Rochester Oratorio Society;
  • The RPO’s own Principal Trombonist Mark Kellogg (The Austin E. Hildebrandt Chair) performing Jeff Tyzik’s jazzy Trombone Concerto, written especially for Mr. Kellogg and premiered in 2003.

Guest Conductors:

  • American Hugh Wolff (Mendelssohn’s “Scottish” Symphony); the brilliant Estonian conductor Eri Klas (Also sprach Zarathustra); a return visit by one of the RPO’s favorites, Jerzy Semkow (Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 6); Omaha Symphony Music Director Thomas Wilkins (Respighi’s Fountains of Rome) and the gifted young Alexander Mickelthwate (Sibelius’ Symphony No. 5).

Significant Repertoire:

  • In addition to opening night, other significant repertoire includes the actual 85th anniversary concert featuring three of the pieces from the inaugural RPO concert on March 28, 1923: Herbert’s Irish Rhapsody, Grieg’s Piano Concerto and Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 6 “Pathetique.” 
  • Also noteworthy is Beethoven’s Symphony No. 6 “Pastoral”; Mendelssohn’s Symphony No. 3 “Scottish”; Richard Strauss’ huge tone poems Also Sprach Zarathustra and Don Juan; Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 6 and Rimsky-Korsakov’s gorgeously evocative Scheherazade. In a more contemporary vein, Henri Dutilleux’s Metaboles; John Corligliano’s Fantasia on an Ostinato; Tobias Picker’s Old and Lost Rivers; Ravel’s haunting Bolero and Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana finish out the Philharmonics season.

All Philharmonics concerts take place Thursday and Saturday evenings at 8 p.m. in the Eastman Theatre.  A free “pre-concert chat” at 7 p.m. precedes each Philharmonics concert.  Christopher Seaman usually hosts these popular programs, which give musical and historical background into the music for that evening.  Subscription packages for five, seven and 14 concerts are available.  Until April 28, 2007, renewal prices range from $85 to $607 depending on package and seating locations.  Prices for all new subscribers range from $100 to $635.


“Next season’s Pops programming represents a fantastic line-up of artists and concerts,” says Principal Pops Conductor Jeff Tyzik.  “As always, we have a great variety of styles and repertoire to appeal to our wide-ranging audiences.”

  • The Pops Season opens with Jeff Tyzik and vocalist Jennifer Holliday, one of the original “Dreamgirls” inspiring the recent Academy award-nominated film of the same name.  Ms. Holliday and the RPO will perform songs from the film as well as jazz, gospel and Broadway tunes.
  • This season, audiences filled the Eastman Theatre to watch classic Bugs Bunny cartoons on-screen accompanied by the RPO.  Next season in Silent Movie Night, the RPO accompanies the classic silent but dizzying 1923 high-story thrill comedy Safety Last, featuring “The Man on the Clock” Harold Lloyd. 
  • The Festival High School Chorale once again joins Tyzik and the RPO for five Gala Holiday Pops concerts in one week, this time with acclaimed and versatile bass-baritone Kevin Deas.
  • The RPO celebrates Mardi Gras with guest conductor Michael Krajewski and the Side Street Strutters jazz band.  New Orleans Dixieland and blues mix with popular jazz melodies of Porter and Carmichael and the swing sounds of the big band era.
  • Three Broadway Divas with Broadway stars Jan Horvath, Debbie Gravitte and Anne Runolfsson who grace the Eastman Theatre stage with their larger-than-life presence in songs from Evita, Jekyll & Hyde, Gypsy, Wicked, The Music Man, Follies and more.
  • John McDermott – one of the beloved “Irish Tenors” – performs an all-Irish program just in time for St. Patrick’s Day.
  • What would it have sounded like if The Beatles played in concert with a symphony orchestra?  Beatlemania provides an emotional and nostalgic connection with original members of the Broadway show of the same name, performing 30 Beatles’ tunes performed exactly as they were written.
  • One of the RPO’s favorite pianists Jon Nakamatsu returns, this time with tenor Doug LaBrecque in an All-Gershwin Night with repertoire from the summer 2007 RPO/Nakamatsu Gershwin CD release.
  • The RPO shares its 85th anniversary with 85 Years of Jazz in the season’s final Pops concert.  Tyzik conducts jazz “heavyweights” Byron Stripling, Wycliffe Gordon, Peter Appleyard and Chris Vadala.

All WPOP Series concerts take place Friday and Saturday evenings at 8 p.m. in the Eastman Theatre.  Subscription packages for four, five and nine concert series are available.  Until April 28, renewal prices range from $73 to $401, depending on the package and seating location.  Prices for all new subscribers range from $81 to $410.


Christopher Seaman once again plays host, educator and conductor in this series of six informal concerts using musical illustrations played by the orchestra, anecdotes and pertinent background information to provide an informative look at different types of orchestral music.  Next season, the series explores music by the great composers from Bach to Bartók and beyond.  Following each concert, Mr. Seaman takes questions from the audience.  The concerts take place on Friday evenings at 7:30 p.m. in the Performance Hall at Hochstein and on the west side of the city on Sunday afternoons at 2 p.m. at Hale Auditorium, Roberts Cultural Life Center, Roberts Wesleyan College.  The subscription price for the six-concert series is $119.


This season, Jeff Tyzik conducts all four concerts in the popular Casual Sunday Matinee Series opening with the fascinating Birth of Jazz concert, then on to a retrospective of the Masters of American Musicals including Irving Berlin, Rodgers & Hammerstein, Lerner & Loewe and more. The second half of the season presents an afternoon of music dedicated to the variations on love, and a tribute to composer Leroy Anderson. All Casual Sunday Matinee concerts take place on Sunday afternoons at 2 p.m. in the Eastman Theatre.  The subscription price for the four-concert series is $49.


The popular four-concert orKIDStra Series returns under the direction of Michael Butterman, providing some musical answers to What’s Your Inspiration?  Is it scary sounds, the noises of nature, amazing people, how you feel, or something completely different?  Find out at these fun kids concerts! Although ideal for children of all ages, these concerts are designed especially for families with young children ages 3-9.  These orKIDStra concerts take place on Sunday afternoons at 2 p.m. in the Performance Hall at Hochstein.  Pre-concert activities begin at 1 p.m. The subscription price for the four-concert series is $41. 


  • What better way to celebrate the 85th anniversary of the RPO than by featuring the Orchestra itself?  In addition, we celebrate Music Director Christopher Seaman’s 10th anniversary with the Orchestra in an RPO Red Carpet Spectacular on Saturday, October 6 at 7:30 p.m.  This special Opening Night concert features works by Benjamin Britten, Vaughan Williams and Igor Stravinsky.  Tickets are $35-85 and include the post-concert Stars & Streetlights Soiree.  Eastman 400 Circle tickets are $200 and include dinner, valet parking and champagne.
  • Thanksgiving time means turkey at the table and sugar plum fairies at the Eastman Theatre.  We continue our successful collaboration with the Rochester City Ballet and the Nazareth College Bach Children’s Chorus for six performances of The Nutcracker over Thanksgiving weekend, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, November 23, 24, and 25 at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. daily.  Tickets are $20-60.
  • Families with children get their own annual orKIDStra Holiday concert on Sunday, December 9 at 2:00 at Eastman Theatre, Michael Butterman conducting.  General admission ticket prices are $15 for adults and $10 for children.
  • After this season’s hugely successful performances of Handel’s Messiah reuniting the RPO and the Rochester Oratorio Society, we once again present this traditional favorite on Friday, December 14 and Saturday, December 15 at 7:30 p.m. in the Eastman Theatre. Christopher Seaman conducts the combined forces with vocal soloists Danielle de Niese, Nancy Maultsby, Michael Colvin and Stephen Powell.  Tickets are $22-57.
  • World-renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma, one of today’s most sought-after instrumentalists, performs for one evening only on Monday, May 5 at 8 p.m.  Tickets for this special concert are $35-85.

Tickets for special event concerts are available only to subscribers at this time.  Single tickets go on sale on Monday, August 27, 2007.


Early subscriber renewals (by Saturday, April 28) receive rewards of guaranteed great seats and great savings. 

Subscribers renewing by this date will pay a special lower subscription price than new subscribers.  In addition, renewing subscribers will be able to purchase add-on tickets to the May 5 concert with Yo-Yo Ma before tickets go on sale to the general public.  Subscribing now also guarantees priority season seating, with savings of up to 20% and no-hassle ticket exchanges (excludes Opening Night and Yo-Yo Ma concert).  

To receive a free brochure detailing the 2007-08 season, please call the RPO box office at (585) 454-2100.  Complete information also is available online at www.rpo.org.  Individual tickets for events in the 2007-08 Season go on sale to the general public on Monday, August 27, 2007.


Now in its 84th season, the RPO inspires and enriches the community through the art of music.  The Orchestra is passionately dedicated to outstanding musical performance at the highest artistic levels, and has a unique tradition of musical versatility, commitment to music education in the broadest sense and a deep and enduring engagement with the community.  The RPO has been honored with the New York State Governor’s Arts Award, and two ASCAP awards for adventurous programming in recent years.

RPO performances are made possible in part with grants from the National Endowment for the Arts; the New York State Council on the Arts, a State Agency; the State of New York; Monroe County; the City of Rochester; and American Airlines, the official airline of the RPO. 

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