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Opening of Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre is Hall-Mark of RPO's 2009-2010 Season

March 02, 2009

World Premieres, New Faces, Rising Stars, Box Seats, Theatrical Productions, and “Triple Plays” Highlight RPO’s Historic New Season

Rochester, NY – After an extensive and long-awaited renovation, the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra’s fabled concert home, the Eastman Theatre, will make its debut as Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre with a three-concert grand opening of the RPO’s 2009-2010 Season on Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday, October 8, 10, and 11, 2009.  As befits the historic new season, the opening weekend of the RPO’s 87th season includes a Red Carpet Spectacular gala event and RPO Music Director Christopher Seaman conducting the world premiere of Geo. by Eastman School of Music Dean Douglas Lowry paired with Beethoven’s glorious Ninth Symphony featuring a quartet of nationally recognized singers including mezzo-soprano Jami Tyzik, tenor Charles Reid, and baritone Kevin Deas.

“With this historic re-opening of our ‘right-sized’ concert hall, the RPO’s inaugural season in Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre will provide us the opportunity to transform the concert-going experience,” said RPO President & CEO Charlie Owens.  “Audiences will see new guest artists, hear a balanced variety of premieres and symphonic gems, and experience even more community collaborations.  From our Red Carpet season opener onward, it will be an exhilarating season!”

The new season also will give the Rochester community a glimpse of the future of the RPO with programming that showcases several of the artistic and diversity initiatives described in the organization’s new, three-year Transformation Plan.  “Our audiences will experience more new works and theatrical projects, more artists of color, and a great concentration of brilliant young artists as part of the RPO’s new Rising Star Initiative,” Owens added.  “Over time, we want the RPO to be recognized internationally as an orchestra that identifies outstanding artists early in their careers, introduces them to Rochester audiences, and builds a relationship with them for the long term.”

A new expansion of the Eastman Theatre stage will make possible the RPO’s presentation of great operas and musicals presented in concert settings, the realization of longtime dreams of both Christopher Seaman, who marks his 12th year as music director next season, and of Jeff Tyzik, in his 16th year as principal pops conductor.  Seaman will conduct Verdi’s masterpiece Aida in concert as the conclusion of the Philharmonic Series in May 2010, and Tyzik will lead Rodgers and Hammerstein’s South Pacific in a concert version next April.

In recognition of the new seating capacity of 2,260 – reduced from 3,022 currently – the RPO has expanded its concert opportunities, adding a third performance on Sunday afternoons at 2:00 pm to some of its Kodak Hall concert pairs.

Nearly 20 guest artists will make their RPO debuts throughout the Philharmonics and Pops Seasons, which boast three RPO-commissioned world premieres – by Lowry, Allen Shawn (Violin Concerto), and Jeff Tyzik (Timpani Concerto).  Many other innovations dot the season with Music Director Christopher Seaman, Principal Pops Conductor Jeff Tyzik, and Principal Conductor for Education and Outreach Michael Butterman (The Louise and Henry Epstein Family Chair), celebrating his 10th anniversary with the Orchestra.  The RPO will present 13 pairs and an Opening Weekend triple of its flagship Eastman Kodak Company and Bausch & Lomb Philharmonics Series.  After Opening Weekend, all subsequent Thursday evening Philharmonics concerts have a new, earlier start time of 7:30 pm. 

Nine Wegmans Pops programs (five pairs, three triples, and four Gala Holiday Pops) swing from Motown to the music of ABBA to Benny Goodman and Artie Shaw; four pairs of Symphony 101 concerts run the gamut of musical eras, plus a new Symphony 201 (for those ready to “graduate” to the next level); four enchanting orKIDStra series concerts plus an encore of the orKIDStra Holiday concert featuring The Snowman; and two specials: The Nutcracker with the Rochester City Ballet and A Classical Christmas with the Rochester Oratorio Society.

Subscribers renewing by Friday, April 10 receive rewards of guaranteed great seats and great savings.  These subscribers will pay a special lower subscription price at the current 2008-2009 levels, and will have immediate access to the best seats in Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre, for the Red Carpet Spectacular and holiday events. 

To receive a free brochure detailing the 2009-10 Season, please call the RPO box office at (585) 454-2100.  Complete information also will be available online at www.rpo.org by March 5.  Single tickets for concerts in the 2009-10 Season go on sale to the general public in September.

Adding to the excitement of next season will be the opportunity to experience RPO concerts from new box seating. As part of the theatre renovations, a dozen boxes will be installed this summer—opening up 90 box seats for each performance.  Both individual and corporate subscriptions to the boxes are available.  To learn more about the RPO’s Box Seat Society, contact Steve Schwab, Vice President for Development, at (585) 454-7311 x249.

Celebrating its 87th season in 2009-10, and the opening of Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre, 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 ASCAP awards for adventurous programming.  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. 

The Eastman Kodak Company and Bausch & Lomb Philharmonics Series

Guest Artists:
  • Next season brings four pianists to the RPO: the prodigious Misha Dichter performing the ravishing Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini both on the Philharmonics Series and, as an added bonus, on the introductory Sunday Symphony 201 concert; the young Russian pianist Kirill Gerstein featured in Leonard Bernstein’s Symphony No. 2 , “Age of Anxiety” for piano and orchestra; Orli Shaham, making a return engagement performing Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 23;  and the still-to-be-determined Gold Medal Winner of the 2009 Van Cliburn Competition, to be announced in June.
  • String players include the RPO’s own Concertmaster Juliana Athayde (The Caroline W. Gannett & Clayla Ward Chair) in the world premiere of Allen Shawn’s Concerto for Violin commissioned specifically for her; Israeli violinst Vadim Gluzman making his RPO debut in the gorgeous Sibelius Violin Concerto; German violinist Augustin Hadelich bringing his dazzling technique to Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto in his RPO debut; and RPO Principal Viola Melissa Matson performing Berlioz’s poetic Harold in Italy.
  • Rarely heard in a solo role, Charles Ross, the RPO’s principal timpanist (the Harold and Joan Feinbloom Chair), will be featured in the world premiere of Jeff Tyzik’s RPO-commissioned Timpani Concerto.
  • The virtuosity of the RPO’s Principal Trumpet, Douglas Prosser (The Elaine P. Wilson Chair), will be featured in Henri Tomasi’s popular 1948 Trumpet Concerto.
  • Eight vocalists – including names such as Angela Brown, Nancy Maultsby, Stephen Powell, Charles Reid, Twyla Robinson, Kevin Deas, and Jami Tyzik – will lend their talents to great works by Beethoven, Barber, Richard Strauss, and Verdi.

    Guest Conductors:
    A half-dozen guest conductors from around the world will grace the stage of Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre in this season’s Philharmonics Series.  One of Great Britain’s leading conductors, Justin Brown, debuts with the RPO (Berlioz and Richard Strauss); the gifted young American conductor James Gaffigan – associate conductor of the San Francisco Symphony – makes his third appearance in as many years (Barber, Bernstein, and Beethoven); a rising star also makes his RPO debut, Finnish conductor Hannu Lintu (Rautavaara, Shostakovich, and Tchaikovsky); Bulgarian conductor Rossen Milanov, currently associate conductor of the Philadelphia Orchestra (Ginastera, Tomasi, and Rachmaninoff); the celebrated American John Nelson (Schumann, Haydn, and Berlioz); and the multi-talented Norwegian-born Arild Remmereit (program to be announced).

    Significant Repertoire:

  • In addition to Opening Weekend, other significant repertoire includes Arvo Pärt’s Cantus in Memory of Benjamin Britten; Einojuhani Rautavaara’s Icons; Selections from Elgar’s Wand of Youth; Barber’s Knoxville: Summer of 1915; Richard Strauss’ Four Last Songs and Suite from Der Rosenkavalier; Mahler’s Symphony No. 5; Barber’s Medea’s Meditation and Dance of Vengeance; Brahms’ Symphony No. 3; Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 1; Mendelssohn’s Symphony No. 5; and John Corigliano’s Gazebo Dances.
  • Particularly noteworthy is the season closer, Verdi’s enormous “Aida” in concert with Mercury Opera Rochester and four celebrated vocal soloists, including the superb Angela Brown.

    Except for the special Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday Opening Weekend, all Philharmonics concerts take place Thursdays at 7:30 pm, and Saturdays at 8:00 pm in Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre.  A free “Pre-Concert Chat” for all ticket-holders takes place one hour prior to 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 Friday, April 10, 2009, renewal prices range from $100 to $649 depending on package and seating locations.  After April 10, prices will range from $100 to $698.

    Wegmans Pops

    • The Pops Season opens with a triple header: The Magic of Motown on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, October 23, 24 and 25 (Friday and Saturday at 8:00 pm and Sunday at 2:00 pm).  Principal Pops Conductor Jeff Tyzik brings chartbusting hits performed by two dynamic vocal quartets, Spectrum and Radiance.
    • Opera Passions go casual with a quartet of first-rate vocalists in popular opera favorites.
    • The region’s talented voices of the Festival High School Chorale with tenor Doug LaBrecque once again join Tyzik and the RPO for four Gala Holiday Pops performances.
    • The RPO spotlights its own gifted players in All in the Family, performing featured solo roles in an evening of musical favorites conducted by Michael Butterman.
    • Local gospel choirs join the RPO and trombonist Wycliffe Gordon for The Glory of Gospel, an inspirational and powerful evening.
    • Guest conductor Jack Everly brings music from some of Hollywood’s Big Screen Epics! – from Gone with the Wind and Dr. Zhivago to Star Wars and Titanic – and featuring the powerful voices of the Rochester Oratorio Society.
    • ABBA Mania hits the stage of Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre with a three-concert tribute to the enduring band from the mid-70s, bringing iconic songs such as Mamma Mia and Dancing Queen.
    • The humorous yet poignant South Pacific is brought to the concert stage with three performances in April.
    • A Centennial Celebration pays tribute to jazz masters Benny Goodman & Artie Shaw to close the first Pops season in Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre, with the Dave Bennett Quintet including vocalist Carol McCartney.

    Pops concerts take place Friday and Saturday evenings at 8:00 pm in Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre, except for the Opening Pops Weekend, the ABBA tribute concert, and South Pacific, which have additional Sunday performances at 2:00 pm.  Subscription packages for five or nine concerts are available.  Until April 10, renewal prices range from $105 to $428, depending on the package and seating location.  Prices after that date will range from $110 to $455.

    SYMPHONY 101 AND 201

    Christopher Seaman once again plays host, educator, and conductor in this series of four 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 takes a whirlwind tour of four musical eras, from the Glory of the Baroque to the Modern Classics.  Following each concert, Mr. Seaman takes questions from the audience.  At the end of next season is the first Symphony 201 with pianist Misha Dichter, for those “graduating” to the next level.  On Sunday, April 18 in Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre, Mr. Dichter will join Christopher Seaman for a discussion, deconstruction, and demonstration of Rachmaninoff’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, followed by a performance of the complete work.  The Symphony 101 concerts take place on Friday evenings at 7:30 pm and Sunday afternoons at 2:00 pm in the Performance Hall at Hochstein. The subscription price for the five-concert series (four Symphony 101 plus one Symphony 201) is $110.


    The popular five-concert orKIDStra Series returns under the direction of Michael Butterman, who celebrates his 10th anniversary with the RPO next season.  The centerpiece of each concert is a complete and compelling musical story. After the box office success this season of the classic children’s animated film “The Snowman” with live orchestra, the RPO will reprise this heart-warming holiday favorite for its orKIDStra Holiday concert on Sunday, December 13 at 2:00 pm in Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre.  Although ideal for children of all ages, the series is designed especially for families with children ages 3 and up.  Except for orKIDStra Holiday, all concerts take place on Sunday afternoons at 2:00 pm in the Performance Hall at Hochstein.  Pre-concert activities begin at 1:00 pm. The five-concert series subscription is $50 ($41 without orKIDStra Holiday).


    • In November, the RPO offers its annual opportunity to suspend reality and experience the magical collaboration with the Rochester City Ballet and the Bach Children’s Chorus for five performances of The Nutcracker over Thanksgiving weekend in Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre. Performances are Friday and Saturday, November 27 and 28 at 2:00 pm and 7:00 pm daily, and Sunday, November 29 at 2:00 pm; tickets are $22-$62.
    • The RPO and the Rochester Oratorio Society begin a brand new Christmas tradition with “A Classical Christmas,” performing excerpts from Bach’s Christmas Oratorio, Vaughan Williams’ Fantasia on Christmas Carols, and more, on one special evening, Saturday, December 12 at 8:00 pm in Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre, conducted by Christopher Seaman.  Tickets are $22-$60.







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