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Temple B'rith Kodesh Fundraiser Gets Extra Dose of Talent From RPO

July 03, 2008

Tyzik Raises Baton for a Good Cause with RPO Principal Flute and Young Rising Star

Rochester NY – The Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra takes the stage for Temple B’rith Kodesh’s annual benefit concert (2131 Elmwood Avenue) at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, July 24, with a seasoned RPO professional and a rising star.  Principal Pops Conductor Jeff Tyzik is joined by Principal Flute Rebecca Gilbert and 18-year old pianist Benjamin Hopkins, 2008 Rochester Philharmonic League (RPL) Young Artist Audition Special Award winner.

Opening the program is Jean Sibelius’s powerful Finlandia (1899), a rebellious and stirring cry against Finnish censorship.  One of Sibelius’ best-known works, Finlandia is a lasting patriotic tribute to the composer’s native land.  Poem for Flute and Orchestra, a miniature tone poem by American composer Charles Griffes follows, with RPO’s Principal Flute Rebecca Gilbert as soloist.  Influenced by his French contemporaries Debussy and Ravel, Griffes utilized the impressionistic style in his 1918 Poem while still retaining a truly distinctive “American” musical voice.  The piece was both inspired and premiered by George Barrere, one of the world’s great flutists of the time, and is full of lush yet fleeting musical themes. 

Selections from Frederick Loewe’s ever-popular musical Camelot close the first half, followed after intermission by Verdi’s Overture to La Forza del destino. This work combines the sounds of the opera’s frantic fate with a lyrical melody sung by a doomed soprano in the second act – rumor has it that the opera itself is cursed.  The spotlight then shines on young pianist Benjamin Hopkins performing the first movement from Edvard Grieg’s 1868 Concerto in A minor for Piano and Orchestra, his only finished work for solo instrument and orchestra.  One of the most popular concerti ever written, the piece was influenced by composer Robert Schumann and by the folk music of Grieg’s native Norway.  The theme in the first movement has been used in numerous films, television programs and commercials. The evening closes out with Tyzik as a “triple threat,” conducting and playing trumpet in his own Tribute to Jelly Roll Morton featuring RPO brass and woodwind soloists.

Rebecca Gilbert (The Charlotte Whitney Allen Chair) has been gracing the RPO stage with her expert and versatile musicality as Principal Flute since September 1996. She also has performed as Acting Principal Flute of the St. Louis Symphony and Guest Assistant Principal Flute with the Boston Symphony at Tanglewood. An active soloist and recitalist, Ms. Gilbert has performed in numerous festivals and chamber groups, including the Society for Chamber Music in Rochester, Charleston’s Piccolo Spoleto and the Charles Ives Center for the Arts Contemporary Music Festivals. She is a regularly featured soloist with the RPO and has performed concerti with the St. Louis Symphony, the Charleston (SC) Symphony, Cincinnati Philharmonia Orchestra and the Penfield (NY) Symphony Orchestra.

A 2008 graduate of Rochester’s School of the Arts, city resident Benjamin Hopkins is one of the region’s most exciting young pianists.  As a result of winning the RPL’s Special Award (the top prize), Hopkins was given the opportunity to audition for this coveted appearance.  In addition to the Special Award, he also had the distinction of winning the top prize in both the Piano and Instrumental categories. In 2007, he was awarded first prize at the Thousand Islands International Piano Competition for Young People, subsequently winning first prize at the 2008 Hochstein Recital Competition and the Howard Hanson Award from the Rochester Piano Teachers’ Guild.  A versatile keyboardist, Hopkins was awarded first prize in the American Guild of Organists High School Organ Competition (Rochester chapter) earlier this year.

Tickets for this concert are $20/advance and seniors; $25/at the door; $15/student (with ID); $50/family (2 adults plus children living at home. Ticket information is available by calling Temple B’rith Kodesh at (585) 244-7060 or by visiting www.tbk.org.  

Celebrating its 85th season in 2007-08, 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 recent ASCAP awards for adventurous programming.  RPO performances are made possible in part by grants from Monroe County; City of Rochester; National Endowment for the Arts; and New York State Council on the Arts, a State Agency. 

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