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Celebratory Tchaikovsky Concludes RPO CMAC Season

July 09, 2008

Guest Pianist Creates Fireworks at Keyboard; 1812 Overture Looks to the Sky

Rochester/Canandaigua, NY – The Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra celebrates the finale of its 2008 summer season at Canandaigua’s Constellation Brands – Marvin Sands Performing Arts Center (CMAC) under the baton of RPO Conductor for Education and Outreach Michael Butterman (The Louise and Henry Epstein Family Chair) on Saturday, August 2 at 7:30 p.m. with special guest pianist Norman Krieger, a flourish of fanfares, folk music and fireworks, plus a dash of youthful exuberance.  Pre-concert activities from 6-7:15 p.m. include an instrument petting zoo, face painting and the opportunity to meet the artillery team and learn about the cannons.  After the concert, audience members can catch a thrilling fireworks display.

Tchaikovsky Finale – 1812 Overture with Fireworks! opens with Richard Strauss’ Fanfare arranged by the RPO’s own trumpeter Wesley Nance.  Taken from the grandest of all of Strauss’ “ceremonial” works, the Festival Music for the City of Vienna (1943) was composed for that city’s brass choir.  Wes Nance remains a common thread as the Orchestra continues to shine a light on that section, with Sonata for Brass by Nance’s 17-year old trumpet student Evan Henry.  Performed this past April at an RPO orKIDStra concert, the piece features three main themes performed by various brass instruments flowing through a variety of different styles.

Pianist Norman Krieger takes the stage in Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1 (1874-75), a piece strongly influenced by the composer’s Russian nationalism and incorporating two authentic Ukrainian folk melodies in the opening and closing movements.  Interestingly, the piece was given its world premiere in America, after which it was proclaimed a triumph.  The middle movement quotes a French popular song of the time, before a vigorous Finale ends the piece with a thunderous conclusion.

Mr. Krieger is highly regarded as an artist of depth, sensitivity and virtuosic flair.  He appears regularly with the major orchestras of North America and abroad, and has been heard throughout the world in recital and recordings.  The Gold Medal Winner of the first Palm Beach Invitational Piano Competition, Mr. Krieger also was the recipient of the Paderewski Foundation Award, the Bruce Hungerford Memorial Prize and many others.  “He owns a world of technique - take that for granted,” raved the Los Angeles Times. “He is alert to every manner of nuance and at every dynamic level his tone flatters the ear.”

After intermission, two favorite crowd-pleasers “rev up” the audience – Handel’s Music for the Royal Fireworks and Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture, done RPO-style with cannons.  Handel was commissioned by King George II to write a work commemorating the 1748 treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle.  Although the accompanying fireworks turned out quite badly – some refused to ignite and part of the scaffolding caught fire – the music was a great success and remains one of the most skillfully crafted and enjoyable of all scores written for ceremonial occasions.  Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture is the ultimate festival piece, stirring and spectacular.  A solemn Russian folk song, God, Preserve Thy People is followed by a vivid battle depiction.  A group of folk songs represents the Russian side, and the French national anthem, La Marseillaise, the other.  The battle won, the Orchestra thunders out both the Russian folk tunes and God Save the Tsar, the Russian national anthem at the time, to the accompaniment of live cannons.

A variety of ticket options are available.  Advance single ticket prices range from $13-$50; single tickets purchased at the gate range from $18-$60.  Discounts are available for senior citizens, students and children 12 and under in the shell.  New this summer: lawn seats are free for children 12 and under.  Subscription packages are available through July 11 at www.rpo.org or at the RPO Box Office.  CMAC tickets are not available at Wegmans.  Tickets also are available through Ticketmaster and its outlets; additional fees may apply.

CMAC concerts take place rain or shine; except for lawn seating, all other seats are covered.  The grounds open at 6 p.m. and concertgoers are encouraged to bring their own blanket or lawn chair for relaxing on the hillside.  Visit www.cmacevents.com for venue ground rules.  Parking is free in the main lot at Lincoln Hill and East Lake Roads.  RPO concertgoers may park in the preferred lot on Lake Shore Drive by purchasing preferred parking passes online, by phone or in person: $10/concert or $30/four-concert series.

The RPO’s CMAC Series is sponsored by Constellation Brands; its CMAC residency is sponsored by Canandaigua National Bank & Trust. 

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