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Three Composers, Three Visions of 1876

January 21, 2009

Familiar Melodies, Diverse Inspirations Showcased in RPO’s Symphony 101; New $10 Student Pricing on Sunday!

Rochester, NY –The Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra continues its Symphony 101 series with contrasting music written in the same year by composers taking very different musical directions. On Friday, January 30 at 7:30 pm and Sunday, February 1 at 3:00 pm (this year’s new Sunday time and venue), both at the Performance Hall at Hochstein, RPO Music Director Christopher Seaman conducts selections from a suite by Grieg, operas by Wagner and a symphony by Brahms with one thing in common: all were premiered in 1876. 

Edvard Grieg based many of his compositions on Norwegian folk music.  His Suite No. 1 from Peer Gynt is part of a score written for a play by the same name; its fourth movement is the eerie and instantly recognizable In the Hall of the Mountain King.  The selections from Richard Wagner’s Ring cycle almost certainly will “ring” a bell with many listeners, especially the iconic Ride of the Valkyries often quoted in numerous films and cartoons.  Wagner’s dramatic style paired perfectly with the grandiose Norse and Germanic myths that found their way into many of his operas. While Grieg and Wagner were inspired by their native cultures, Johannes Brahms’ muse for his Symphony No. 1 was fellow composer Ludwig van Beethoven.  Intent on carrying on Beethoven’s musical legacy, Brahms labored over the symphony for more than 15 years before its first public performance.

This season’s Symphony 101 Series focuses on six groundbreaking periods in the history of music when composers of contrasting symphonic styles were writing some of their most influential works at the very same time.  Music Director Christopher Seaman leads these engaging and innovative 50-minute concerts that feature discussion, musical examples, selections from significant works and complete pieces.  Following each concert, Mr. Seaman takes questions from the audience. 

Beginning with these concerts, special new $10 student pricing will be in effect for the Sunday Symphony 101 performances.   All other general admission tickets are $22, available online 24/7 at www.rpo.org, by phone (454-2100) in-person from the RPO Box Office and at area Wegmans.  A convenience fee may apply.  RPO Box Office hours are Monday-Saturday, 10:00 am-5:00 pm (non-concert Saturdays, 10:00 am-3:00 pm). 

The Symphony 101 Series is sponsored by PAETEC Communications, Inc. 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; and the City of Rochester. 

Celebrating its 86th season in 2008-09, the RPO inspires and enriches the community through the art of music, presenting nearly 200 performances each season to a combined audience of an estimated quarter of a million people, including more than 70,000 who experience the RPO’s broad range of educational and community programs.  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. 

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