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RPO Education Programs Take Center Stage

March 01, 2013

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For Immediate Release:  March 1, 2013
Media Contacts:   Sally Cohen, 585-749-1795, sally@sallycohenpr.com, @PR4Arts
RPO Info:  rpo.org, facebook.com/SuperRPO, twitter.com/SuperRPO, rpo-land.blogspot.com

Fresh from Carnegie Hall, the RPYO is Side by Side with the RPO March 10
Dr. Seuss’s The Sneetches for grades 1-3 in Kodak Hall March 12 & 13

Rochester, NY – The Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra’s overarching commitment to education takes center stage this month with two of its programs:  the Rochester Philharmonic Youth Orchestra (RPYO), and the RPO’s Primary Education Concerts.

“George Eastman believed that the lives of all Rochesterians could be enriched through musical learning, and providing these opportunities has been a fundamental part of the RPO’s mission from day one,” says RPO Director of Education Barbara Larson. “Each year, our education and community programs span nine counties and touch the lives of more than 30,000 people, and these two programs are prime examples of how we are keeping George Eastman’s dream alive.”

The RPYO is made up of more than a hundred (currently 105) of the most accomplished musicians in grades 6-12 from 30 schools in the greater Rochester area. Sponsored by the Education Department of the RPO, the RPYO was founded in 1970 to provide highly-enriching, musical ensemble experiences to our community’s young people. Coached and mentored by RPO members, it presents three full programs of symphonic works each year – including an annual Side-by-Side concert with the RPO – and it undertakes a major tour every three years. 

More than 1,700 students have been part of the RPYO over the last 43 years. Several RPYO alumni currently perform with the RPO, the New York Philharmonic, the Chicago Symphony, the Cleveland Orchestra, the Pittsburgh Symphony, the Chicago Lyric Opera Orchestra and other major ensembles in the United States and abroad. Rochester native and RPYO alum, Ward Stare, made his RPO conducting debut earlier this season. Many other alumni have become music teachers or are dedicated amateur musicians and supporters of local arts institutions.

This year, in celebration of Conductor and Music Director David Harman’s 20th season with the RPYO, the student orchestra played Carnegie Hall on February 17, 2013 with a special program, World Premiere with Rochester Roots. The concert featured the world premiere of “Lilac Jubilee,” a commission to honor Dr. Harman by young Rochester-born composer, Carson Cooman

"Our students have enormous talent and passion for music and incredible drive," says Dr. Harman. "Wherever they perform, they astound audiences time and time again. It’s been a pleasure leading such accomplished young musicians for the last 20 years.”

The RPYO will reprise and expand upon the Carnegie Hall program on Sunday, March 10 at 3 p.m. in Kodak Hall with the RPO in Tchaikovsky and Friends:  Side by Side with the RPO. Tickets are $15/$10 for students and seniors, and are available in person at rpo.org and at the door, or by phone at 585-454-2100 and 585-454-7311, x224.

The RPO’s Education Concerts reach more than 12,000 school children each year from the greater Rochester area. These are free for Rochester City School District schools, with a nominal charge for suburban and regional districts.
    •  Tiny Tots Concerts: for pre-school and kindergarten children and performed at venues around the region. This season’s Alien Encounter will take place May 14-17.
    •Intermediate Concert Series:  February 11-14,  8,000 4th-6th graders were bused in to Kodak Hall from all over the greater Rochester area to enjoy a one-hour, age-appropriate concert, Symphonic Stories.
    •Primary Concert Series:  for first-through-third graders in Kodak Hall, this season’s Dr. Seuss’s The Sneetches takes place March 12 & 13 at 10:15 a.m.  Written for the RPO by Spanish composer, Lorenzo Palomo, the musical adaptation of Theodor Geisel’s beloved story features narrator with orchestra, plus large-screen projections of the book’s illustrations during the performance.

“Bringing music to young people is a joy and privilege,” says RPO Principal Conductor for Education and Outreach Michael Butterman (The Louise and Henry Epstein Family Chair), who was the first such conductor in the country 13 years ago.  “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.”

"My love for good music was first ignited when the RPO’s educational concerts were brought into Rochester schools via radio broadcasts in the 1940s,” adds RPO Board Member and Education Committee Chair David Ackroyd. “That fire continues to burn, and I firmly believe that our children also deserve the opportunity to be warmed by the great music that is provided by our RPO.”

MEDIA OPPORTUNITIES:  photos, footage and interviews (other opportunities may be available upon request).
•  This Sunday, March 3, 2-5 p.m.:  RPYO, Side by Side rehearsal, Odyssey Academy in Greece at 750 Maiden Lane, 14615 (interviews available with Dr. Harmon, RPYO Manager Susan Basu)
•  Next Sunday, March 10, 3 -5 p.m.:  RPYO, Side by Side performance with RPO, Kodak Hall
•  Tuesday, March 12, 10:15-11:15 a.m.:  Primary Education Concert, Dr. Seuss’s The Sneetches, Kodak Hall (interviews available with Dave Ackroyd, RPO Education Committee Chair)

The Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra has been committed to enriching and inspiring our community through the art of music since its founding in 1922. The RPO presents up to 150 concerts a year, serving nearly 200,000 people through ticketed events, education and community engagement activities, and concerts in schools and community centers throughout the region. Notable former music directors include Eugene Goossens, José Iturbi, Erich Leinsdorf, David Zinman, and Conductor Laureate Christopher Seaman; Principal Pops Conductor Jeff Tyzik has earned a national reputation for excellence in pops programming during his 19-year tenure with the RPO. With Michael Butterman as Principal Conductor for Education and Outreach (The Louise and Henry Epstein Family Chair) – the first position of its kind in the country – the RPO reaches 12,000 children through its specific programs for school-aged children.

Media please note:  High-resolution images of these RPO education programs are available upon request or at docs.google.com/folder, and photo, footage and interview opportunities can be arranged.


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