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Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra Announces 2011-2012 Season

March 04, 2011

 Downloadable files (please note: you will need Adobe Acrobat ReaderTM to view these files.

2011-2012 Season Announcement (135 KB)
Chronological calendar (125 KB)
List of guest artists (76 KB)
Alphabetical listing of Philharmonics repertoire by composer (86 KB)

For immediate release
March 4, 2010
Contact: Nicole Philipp, 585-399-3680
or nphilipp@rpo.org





RPO’s 89th Season Marks Music Director Arild Remmereit’s
Inaugural Season

Repertoire Highlights Remmereit’s Artistic Vision –
 “Creating Classics” – with Emphasis on Women Composers,
The Sounds of Vienna, and a Spring Festival


Season Includes Launch of a Beethoven Symphony Cycle
and a Mahler Project, Four World Premieres, and
Exciting Collaborations with Eastman School of Music


(ROCHESTER, NY) – The Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra (RPO) announces programming for the 2011-2012 Season, the Orchestra’s first under new Music Director Arild Remmereit, and the 89th since its founding. Arild Remmereit conducts eight of the 14-week Philharmonics Series concerts; Principal Pops Conductor Jeff Tyzik leads nine of the 10-week Pops Series concerts, and Principal Conductor for Education and Outreach Michael Butterman (The Henry and Louise Epstein Family Chair) continues the successful orKIDStra series.

Arild Remmereit said, “One of my passions is searching for under-appreciated or overlooked pieces that trigger in me an immediate emotional connection—works, which while unknown, are ones I believe musicians will love to play and audiences will love to hear. This is what I mean by ‘creating classics.’ A number of these works that appear throughout the 11-12 season reflect this passion. I can’t wait to share them and the traditional classics, often placed side by side, with audiences in Rochester, my new home.  And I am counting the days when I can make beautiful music regularly with the amazing musicians of the RPO.”

Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra President & CEO Charles H. Owens comments, “The RPO warmly welcomes Arild Remmereit as our new Music Director. This organization has been anticipating his arrival since we announced last fall he would be joining us. The season is sure to be filled with excitement and surprises as we usher in a new era of music-making under Arild’s bold and visionary leadership. He has planned a Philharmonics Series with repertoire that will be immensely satisfying to our core audience and energizing for new audiences, and that deepens the close partnership between the RPO and the Eastman School of Music that has been our trademark since the days of George Eastman and Howard Hanson.”

This idea of “creating classics” is evident throughout the season, with an emphasis on women composers including Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel and Clara Schumann.  In his first concerts as Music Director, Remmereit has selected joyous works from his three musical homes, Norway, Vienna, Austria, and the United States: From his native Norway, the Romance for Violin of Johan Svendsen, featuring concertmaster Juliana Athayde, and Johan Halvorsen’s Entry March of the Boyars; from his musical home, Vienna, exhilarating selections by Johann Strauss, Jr.; and now, as he moves to America, Arild presents Amy Beach’s Symphony No. 2, “Gaelic,” which ushers in a season-long celebration of women composers and pays tribute to Rochester’s historic role in the women’s rights movement.

The Strauss pieces on this program dramatically set the stage for the rest of the season, which is filled with sounds of Vienna.
Remmereit launches a multi-year Mahler Project when he conducts Mahler’s Symphony No. 2, the “Resurrection,” in October. These concerts will mark the RPO’s first performances of this colossal masterwork since 1985. And in January he leads performances of Mahler’s Symphony No. 4, paired with spectacular Viennese New Year’s music by Johann Strauss, Jr., Franz Lehár, and Imre Kálmán, fellow composers and contemporaries of Mahler’s who worked in Vienna and were rooted in the same musical tradition.

“Mahler is a composer whose music I treasure. It contains a universe of love, sadness, joy, resignation, hope, desire—life itself.  Historically, the RPO has not performed a lot of Mahler and never a complete cycle of his works. I see this as a great opportunity, not just to present Mahler’s music but also to program alongside it the works of other Central European composers writing at roughly the same historical moment. They, like Mahler, were soaking up the incredibly rich cultural atmosphere of fin-de siècle Vienna and responding to the same influences,” remarked Remmereit.

This season the Orchestra features four RPO musicians as soloists:  Juliana Athayde (Concertmaster, The Caroline W. Gannett & Clayla Ward Chair); Peter Kurau (Principal Horn, The Cricket and Frank Luellen Chair); and Rebecca Gilbert (Principal Flute, The Charlotte Whitney Allen Chair) on the Philharmonics Series; and W. Craig Sutherland (Principal Tuba) on the orKIDStra series. Guest artists include conductor Gunther Herbig; pianists Misha and Cipa Dichter, Jon Kimura Parker, André Laplante and John Lill; violinist Stefan Jackiw; and, making their RPO debuts, conductors Kazem Abdullah, Vladimir Verbitzsky, and Christoph Campestrini. Christopher Seaman returns in March 2012 for his first concerts as the RPO’s Conductor Laureate.

In addition to 14 weeks of Philharmonics subscription concerts, the new season offers a Pops Series expanded from nine weeks to ten.  The 2011-2012 Season is filled with old favorites, including Cirque de la Symphonie, which last summer became the RPO’s best-selling summer concert on record, new productions like photographer James Westwater’s images set to music, and the classic Rodgers and Hammerstein musical Carousel.

Principal Pops Conductor Jeff Tyzik remarked, “It is always my goal to top each Pops Season, and I feel that the 2011-2012 Season is the best in Rochester Pops! From Cirque to a semi-staged production of Carousel and stage-and-screen star Maureen McGovern to Let’s Dance!, there is something on this season for everyone.”

Principal Conductor for Education and Outreach Michael Butterman (The Henry and Louise Epstein Family Chair), makes his debut on the Philharmonics Series and continues the orKIDStra series with four exciting concerts for our youngest audiences and their families. Kicking off the season is Margaret Weiss’ best-selling children’s book, Runaway Bunny, set to orchestral music, followed by Tubby the Tuba (featuring the RPO’s own Principal Tuba, W. Craig Sutherland), the enchanting story of how Tubby finds his melody; and a concert designed around April Fool’s Day. In addition, the RPO is proud to announce the world premiere of an orchestral version of Dr. Seuss’ book The Sneetches, written for the RPO by the Spanish composer Lorenzo Palomo under a commission from Rochester physician Dr. Sid Sobel.
Butterman said, “Bringing music to young people is a joy and privilege. It's exciting to see their wide-eyed amazement as they marvel at the power and vividness of orchestral music. It is our hope that, through these concerts, we can create a spark of curiosity that will lead them to a life-long connection with great music."

The Symphony 101 Series will continue in 2011-2012, highlighting many of the same themes of Arild Remmereit’s inaugural Philharmonics Series.  The music of Vienna, works by women composers, and new opportunities for audience engagement are among the highlights.  Details are being finalized and a separate announcement regarding this series will take place in the coming weeks.


2011-2012 Philharmonics Season Overview

Women Composers 

 Beginning with his inaugural season, Music Director Arild Remmereit highlights the works of women composers of the 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries. 
Join us on this journey of their music.

• Remmereit launches his tenure as Music Director with Amy Beach’s Symphony No. 2, “Gaelic,” ushering in a season-long celebration of women composers and paying tribute to Rochester’s historic role in the women’s rights movement.  This large-scale symphony is a milestone in American music history. Beach was compared time and again to the likes of Dvóřak, Grieg, Debussy, and Smetana.  Remmereit has paired this piece with two works by Norwegian composers—Johan Svendsen’s Romance for Violin and Johan Halvorsen’s Entry March of the Boyars—and two of his own personal favorites by Johann Strauss, Jr., the delightful waltz Where Citrons Bloom and the foot-tapping polka Light as a Feather. (September 30 & October 1, 2011).  

• In October, Remmereit conducts a choral program composed of the rarely performed Hiob (Job) by Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel, the sister of Felix Mendelssohn, and Mahler’s epic Symphony No. 2, “Resurrection,” featuring vocal soloists from the Eastman School of Music.  Job is a cantata based on the Bible’s Book of Job (October 20 & 22, 2011).

• In November, Remmereit brings Gabriela Lena Frank’s Three Latin American Dances to the Kodak Hall stage. The program also includes Barber’s Piano Concerto with Jon Kimura Parker, Ravel’s Boléro, and Roberto Sierra’s Sinfonia No. 4.  Sierra’s piece was commissioned by the RPO, along with 12 other orchestras, through the Sphinx Organization (November 17 & 19, 2011).

• Peggy Stuart Coolidge’s 1970s ecological evocation, Blue Planet is featured on a program in late January. The program opens with Mahler’s Symphony No. 4 featuring Christine Brandes as soloist, and also showcases the sparkling music of a typical Viennese New Year’s program, with pieces by Lehár, Strauss, and Kálmán (January 26 & 28, 2012).

• In February, Remmereit leads passionate classics in an early Valentine’s Day program: music from Richard Strauss’ romantic Der Rosenkavalier, which includes waltzes from this beloved opera, Bruch’s Scottish Fantasy featuring violinist Stefan Jackiw, and the delicate Rose Absolute by Japanese-born Karen Tanaka.  This program includes vocal soloists from Eastman School of Music (February 9 & 11, 2012).

• May concerts afford the opportunity to discover the Piano Concerto in A Minor of the 17-year-old Clara Schumann. It was written while she and her future husband (and fellow composer, Robert) were students of Clara’s father, a noted piano teacher—and shortly after the two fell in love. She composed this work about a decade before Robert completed his own Piano Concerto—also in A Minor. The dramatic “Macbeth” Overture, written by William Henry Fry, opens this program. The concert concludes with Beethoven’s graceful Second Symphony, beginning a four-year cycle of the complete Beethoven symphonies. Two Eastman School of Music connections will be highlighted on this program: the soloist in the Clara Schumann concerto will be the student winner of an Eastman piano competition and a work by a yet-to-be-announced Eastman student composer will receive its world premiere (May 10 & 12, 2012).

• The final concerts of Remmereit’s first season coincide with the 2012 International Viola Congress taking place in Rochester and feature two viola concertos—one for each concert: Sofia Gubaidulina’s Two Paths: Dedication to Mary and Marta, Concerto for Two Violas and Olly Wilson’s Viola Concerto, a world premiere. Remmereit and the RPO have commissioned a second world premiere for this final weekend. The new work by Margaret Brouwer, places a capstone on a compelling season celebrating the contributions of women composers. The season concludes with Mussorgsky’s Picture at an Exhibition in the Ravel orchestration. Few works can match its orchestral color, sonic impact, or sheer excitement, and these performances will put the virtuosity of the Rochester Philharmonic with Arild Remmereit on full display (May 31 & June 2, 2012).



Musical Greetings
Maestro Remmereit is bringing musical greetings from his three homes – Norway, Vienna, Austria, and the United States – to his inaugural season.  These greetings combine his love of music from around the world with his desire to “create classics.”

• Remmereit begins his inaugural season with musical “postcards,” including his two favorite pieces by Johann Strauss, Jr: Where the Citrons Bloom and Light as a Feather.  This program also includes American composer Amy Beach’s “Gaelic” Symphony and two works by Norwegian composers: Johan Svendsen’s Romance for Violin and Johan Halvorsen’s Entry March of the Boyars (September 30 & October 1, 2011).

• In his next program, Remmereit brings the quintessential Viennese composer to Rochester—Gustav Mahler. Mahler’s monumental Symphony No. 2, "Resurrection,” a work the RPO will be performing for the first time in more than 25 years, is paired with Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel’s cantata Job (October 20 & 22, 2011).

• Another composer who springs to mind when talking about Vienna is Mozart, whose music appears throughout the season. Michael Butterman makes his Philharmonics Series debut leading the RPO in performances of Mozart’s Symphony No. 31, “Paris.” Also highlighting this program are Misha and Cipa Dichter, who join Butterman and the RPO for Poulenc’s Concerto for Two Pianos, and Saint-Saëns’ “Organ” Symphony (October 27 & 29, 2011).

• Mozart makes another appearance, this time with guest conductor Gunther Herbig at the helm for the composer’s Horn Concerto No. 4 featuring RPO Principal Horn Peter Kurau. The all-Viennese first half also includes the beguiling Fifth Symphony of the 19-year-old Franz Schubert, before concluding with Dvořák’s Symphony No. 9, “From the New World” (November 10 & 12, 2011).

• Remmereit highlights American composer Samuel Barber’s Piano Concerto in November. Guest artist Jon Kimura Parker is the soloist. This dance-accented program pairs the music of Barber with Ravel’s Boléro, Gabriela Lena Frank’s Three Latin American Dances, and Roberto Sierra’s Sinfonia No. 4 (November 17 &19, 2011).

• Vienna comes to Rochester in January with a New Year’s celebration, Viennese style, highlighted by intoxicating favorites of Franz Lehár, Johann Strauss, Jr., and the vivacious Imre Kálmán. The program opens with Mahler’s Symphony No. 4 and also includes Peggy Stuart Coolidge’s Blue Planet (January 26 & 28, 2012). 

• In February Richard Strauss’ Don Juan and excerpts from his opera Der Rosenkavalier are featured in pre-Valentine’s Day concerts conducted by Remmereit.  The program also includes Rose Absolute by Karen Tanaka and Bruch’s Scottish Fantasy featuring violinist Stefan Jackiw (February 9 & 11, 2012).

• The great strength and nobility of Brahms’ Fourth and final Symphony place it among his most profound achievements. Guest conductor Christoph Campestrini leads the Orchestra in this program which opens with Brahms’ Tragic Overture and also features Barber’s Violin Concerto with RPO Concertmaster Juliana Athayde as soloist (March 1 & 3, 2012).

• Christopher Seaman returns as RPO Conductor Laureate to celebrate his 70th birthday in March, and conducts one of Beethoven’s first masterpieces, the youthful First Piano Concerto that confirmed the young composer’s genius. Pianist John Lill, who has been internationally acclaimed for his performances of Beethoven, will illuminate the music with his unique insight.  Also, the regal First Symphony of Sir Edward Elgar and Shostakovich’s Festive Overture (March 8 & 10, 2012).

• This Spring Festival weekend features the music of Mozart and more. Two separate programs highlight the RPO’s string, percussion, and wind sections. On Thursday’s program, the strings and percussion play Bartók and Sibelius; in the second half the winds perform Mozart’s glorious Gran Partita. On Saturday, the winds spotlight Richard Strauss’ Serenade and Stravinsky’s Symphony of Wind Instruments with an additional work for percussion ensemble by Christopher Rouse before the strings play Mozart’s Serenata notturna and Tchaikovsky’s gorgeous Serenade for Strings (April 12 & 14, 2012).

• The dramatic "Macbeth" Overture, written in the midst of the Civil War by one of America’s earliest prominent composers, William Henry Fry, is conducted by Remmereit, who also leads Beethoven’s graceful Second Symphony, beginning a four-year cycle of the complete Beethoven’s symphonies. The program also includes Clara Schumann’s Piano Concerto and a world premiere by an Eastman School of Music student composer (May 10 & 12, 2012).



Guest Conductors
The RPO is proud to present three guest conductors making their RPO debuts in

• In December, guest conductor Kazem Abdullah makes his Rochester debut, as the RPO gift wraps exquisite classics, perfect for the holidays—from Pachelbel’s adored Canon and Corelli’s tender “Christmas” Concerto, to Tchaikovsky’s “Winter Dreams” Symphony and Bach’s sparkling Suite No. 2 with Principal Flute Rebecca Gilbert as soloist (December 8 & 10).

• Christoph Campestrini brings a program of passionate classics that features Concertmaster Juliana Athayde as soloist in Barber’s Violin Concerto and Brahms’ noble Fourth Symphony (March 1 & 3, 2012).

• Vladimir Verbitzky conducts the Ninth Symphony of Shostakovich, a delightful miniature with a subversive subtext. The Toronto Star describes pianist André Laplante, who plays Prokofiev’s blistering Third Piano Concerto, as “one of those rare soloists whose every effort is aimed at serving the music”  (April 19 & 21, 2012).



Pops Season Overview
The 2011-2012 Season provides the best in Pops with favorites from Cirque de la Symphonie and Gala Holiday Pops to new and exciting programs that feature James Westwater’s stunning photography and the Sounds of New Orleans.

• Watch Cirque de la Symphonie’s amazing acrobats drop into Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre for a spectacular and all-new performance celebrating the opening of the RPO’s Pops season. You won’t believe your eyes as some of the best Cirque artists in the world perform magical feats (October 14 & 15, 2011)!

• Audiences will take a trip down memory lane with Maureen McGovern, fresh from her hugely successful run at Geva Theatre in the 2010-2011 Season, as she and our own Principal Pops Conductor Jeff Tyzik bring you favorites from the 60s and 70s such as The Morning After and Can You Read My Mind. McGovern will share personal anecdotes, plus the music of Paul Simon and Bob Dylan in her Long and Winding Road program (November 4 & 5, 2011).

• It’s Rochester’s favorite holiday family tradition: Gala Holiday Pops with the RPO! Whether you drive downtown to Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre, or opt for a Sleigh Ride, you won’t want to miss this spectacular holiday concert—complete with a sing-along and the Festival High School Chorale! Co-directed by Harold McAulliffe and Amy Story (December 16 & 18, 2011).

• The RPO brings you Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Carousel in concert, complete with actors straight from Broadway! Dubbed “the best musical of the 20th century” by Time Magazine, Carousel features iconic characters Billy Bigelow and Julie Jordan, on stage with the RPO and Jeff Tyzik (January 6 & 7, 2012).

• America’s king of swing clarinet—Dave Bennett—presents his latest project, a salute to the greats in jazz history, including Artie Shaw, Jimmy Dorsey, and Benny Goodman. Jeff Tyzik and the RPO will have you swoon and swing and melt away those winter blues during this unforgettable performance (January 20 & 21, 2012).

• Gear up for Valentine’s Day with Lindy Hop Champion—and So You Think You Can Dance choreographer—Carla Heiney. Even the legs on your seat will be dancing as Jeff Tyzik and the RPO bring you the best in swing music and onstage energy you won’t want to miss (February 3 & 4, 2012).

• Celebrate Mardi Gras with a salute to Satchmo, Preservation Hall, and parade time. Double threat Byron Stripling brings his incomparable trumpet virtuosity and distinctive vocal styling to Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre. Get ready for an evening that will shake the rafters with Mardi Gras spirit right here in Rochester.  Jeff Tyzik conducts (February 17 & 18, 2012).

• There’s no better way to throw a Celtic celebration than with Irish music sensation Cherish the Ladies, right here in Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre!  Exuberant step dancing, sensational singing, and a heap o’ humor give this concert the “four-leaf clover” rating (March 16 & 17, 2012).

• It’s a feast for the eyes—and ears—as James Westwater’s stunning photography is choreographed to iconic American music from Copland and Barber in this incredible program. First, you’ll escape to the West for Chaps and Spurs with images of cowboys and untouched, rustic land followed by vast American landscapes and breathtaking vistas in American Fanfare, all displayed on-screen during the concert. Jeff Tyzik then takes you along to Chaco Canyon and Mesa Verde for Reflections of the Spirit, which will nurture your soul and make for a truly extraordinary evening (April 27 & 28, 2012).

• The RPO presents this very special concert, A Memorial Day Tribute, to commemorate all those who have served our great nation. Principal Pops Conductor Jeff Tyzik will lead the Orchestra as we honor our heroes from the Army, Air Force, Navy, Marines, and Coast Guard.  The United States Army Field Band Jazz Ambassadors will join us for this celebration (May 25 & 26, 2012).


orKIDStra Season Overview
Principal Conductor for Education and Outreach Michael Butterman (The Henry and Louise Epstein Family Chair) brings four exciting and engaging programs to the Performance Hall at Hochstein in the 2011-2012 orKIDStra Season.  Audiences will join Butterman and the RPO for a musical journey through children’s literature, fun music on a holiday for “fools,” a delightful story of a special instrument as he finds his voice,
and the world premiere of a Dr. Seuss classic set to music.

• The Runaway Bunny by Margaret Weiss is one of the most beloved and best-selling children’s books of all time—and now the RPO brings it onstage!  This concert features the musical adaptation of Weiss’ book, with a narrator and orchestra taking audiences on a journey with the adorable bunny.  PLUS, in honor of Halloween, be sure to come in your costume! (October 30, 2011).

• Tubby the Tuba’s iconic story is coming to Rochester for the very first time! Your kids will love Tubby and all his friends—including The Violin, Peepo the Piccolo, and The Timpani—as they share in Tubby’s journey to find his melody.  Featuring the RPO’s very own Principal Tuba, W. Craig Sutherland.  Be part of the RPO team on this Super Bowl Sunday (February 5, 2012).

• No foolin’! Have the whole family join us for a program of fun pranks, musical jokes and an all-around good time set to music performed by the RPO (April 1, 2012).

• The RPO premieres a musical adaptation of The Sneetches, commissioned for the RPO by Rochester physician Dr. Sid Sobel and based on the book written by Dr. Seuss—just after he published Green Eggs and Ham. Composer Lorenzo Palomo has adapted this timeless favorite with a special Seussical twist that your family is sure to enjoy (May 6, 2012).



The 2011-2012 Season introduces the first performance by the RPO of 16 works on the Philharmonics Series, from Strauss and Stravinsky to Karen Tanaka and Clara Schumann, and four world premieres.  Also, there are three first performances on the orKIDStra series, and the return of the holiday favorite The Nutcracker with Rochester City Ballet.

World Premieres
• Brouwer  RPO Commission – TBA (May 31 & June 2, 2012)
• Palomo   The Sneetches – Commission (May 6, 2012) ¬
• Wilson   Viola Concerto (May 31 & June 2, 2012)
• TBD   Eastman student composer’s prize-winning work (May 10 & 12)

First RPO Performances
• Beach   Symphony No. 2, “Gaelic” (September 30 & October 1, 2011)
• Coolidge  Blue Planet (January 26 & 28, 2012)
• Frank   Three Latin American Dances (November 17 & 19, 2011)
• Fry   "Macbeth" Overture (May 10 & 12, 2012)
• Glinka   Valse-fantaisie (April 19 & 21, 2012)
• Gubaidulina Two Paths: Dedication to Mary and Martha, Concerto for Two Violas (May 31 and June 2, 2012)
• Kálmán “Heia in de Bergen” from The Gypsy Princess (January 26 & 28, 2012)
• Kleinsinger  Tubby the Tuba (February 5, 2012)
• Lehár   “Vilja Lied” from The Merry Widow (January 26 & 28, 2012)
• Mendelssohn Hensel Job (October 20 & 22, 2011)
• C. Schumann  Piano Concerto (May 10 & 12, 2012)
• Sibelius   The Lover (April 12, 2012) [N.B. Thursday only]
• Sierra Sinfonia No. 4 (November 17 & 19, 2011)*
• J. Strauss, Jr.  Where the Citrons Bloom and Light as a Feather Polka (September 30
& October 1, 2011)
• Tanaka  Rose Absolute (February 9 & 11, 2012)
• Weiss  Runaway Bunny (October 30, 2011)

Additional RPO Performances
• Veteran’s Day Concert (November 11, 2011)

• Tchaikovsky  The Nutcracker (November 25, 26, & 27, 2011)
with the Rochester City Ballet

*Commissioned by the RPO and 11 other orchestras through Sphinx Commissioning Consortium, an initiative of the Sphinx Organization

Programs, artists and dates subject to change.
Last updated 2.11


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