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"A Sonic Feast" with NEXUS and the RPO

April 24, 2013

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For Immediate Release:  April 23, 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

Conductor Peter Bay returns, Karen Tanaka world premiere
PLUS:  Music Educators’ Night & Haydn’s Big Surprise

Rochester, NY – The Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra (RPO) with guest conductor Peter Bay present NEXUS and the RPO on Thursday, May 9 at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday, May 11 at 8 p.m. in Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre.  Tickets start at $22 ($10 student tickets) and are available in person at the Eastman Theatre Box Office (433 East Main Street) or at area Wegmans; by phone at (585) 454-2100; or online at rpo.org.

Dubbed “the high priests of the percussion world” by the New York Times, NEXUS will perform renowned composer Tōru Takemitsu’s From me flows what you call Time, a 31-minute concerto commissioned by Carnegie Hall for its one hundredth anniversary and premiered by NEXUS, the Boston Symphony Orchestra and conductor Seiji Ozawa in 1990.  NEXUS has since performed this milestone work with orchestras all over the world, including with the RPO in 1991. Austin music writer, Luke Quinton, dubbed the concerto and NEXUS’ performance “a sonic feast” in 2011.

“It is an orchestral work in which the orchestra, like nature, surrounds us limitlessly, and out of that limitlessness the soloists emerge in limited forms such as earth, wind, water and fire, then once again dissolve into limitless nature,” explained the late composer.

NEXUS (nexuspercussion.com) was formed in 1971 by percussion virtuosos Bob Becker, Bill Cahn and Russell Hartenberger. Garry Kvistad joined in 2002, and Ryan Scott has performed with the group in recent performances of From me flows… throughout the U.S. and Japan. 

NEXUS’ firm commitment to music education and a steady output of quality recordings and compositions continue to enhance the role of percussion in the 21st century.  The ensemble tours the world, and is proud to have been the first Western percussion group to perform in the People’s Republic of China. NEXUS was inducted into the Percussive Arts Society Hall of Fame in 1999, and its list of high-profile collaborations includes Steve Reich, Kronos Quartet, Canadian Brass, and clarinetist Richard Stoltzman.

“We’re thrilled to bring this incredible work to Rochester audiences again and also to have our first evening be Music Educators’ Night,” says NEXUS’s Cahn, former RPO Principal Percussionist and current Eastman School Associate Professor of Percussion who founded the RPO Musicians’ Awards for Outstanding Educators 25 years ago. The awards – which are voted on by the orchestra musicians themselves – will be presented immediately following Friday evening’s intermission.

The program also will feature the world premiere of RPO commission Water of Life by Karen Tanaka, a Japanese-born composer who currently lives and teaches in Los Angeles. Tanaka's love of nature and concern for the environment has influenced many of her works, and she calls Water of Life “a prayer for the tsunami victims in Japan.” Her works have been performed by distinguished orchestras and ensembles worldwide including the BBC Symphony Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic and previously by the RPO.

Lili Boulanger’s D’un matin de printemps (On a Spring Morning) will get its first performance by the RPO on the program. This “sweet, playful, and colorfully-scored miniature tone poem” is part of the short-lived French composer’s small but consistently intriguing catalogue of music, which, to quote Claude Debussy, “undulates with grace.” Sister of famous teacher and conductor, Nadia, Lili also displayed phenomenal musical talent, winning the prestigious Prix de Rome prize – the first woman to do so for music – at age 19.

Rounding out the program are two works by impressionistic composer, Maurice Ravel:  Menuet antique and the delectable suite, Le Tombeau de Couprin, both of which have been previously performed by the RPO under conductor Peter Bay.

Bay, currently music director of the Austin Symphony Orchestra and the Hot Springs Music Festival in Arkansas, has held four different conducting posts with the RPO:  Principal Guest Conductor, Assistant Conductor, Conductor in Residence and Music Advisor, as well as Artistic Director of Educational Programming. During his tenure in Rochester, he conducted more than 300 performances with the RPO, among which were the world premiere of Copland’s suite from the film, The Heiress, and the U.S. premiere of Benjamin Britten’s Concerto Movement for Clarinet and Orchestra. His recording, Voices, features NEXUS with the RPO, and he conducted the percussion group’s last performance with the RPO in 1995.  Bay’s last appearance with the RPO was in 2007, and he will conduct during the orchestra’s 2013-14 season. In 2012, Bay completed a 20-year tenure as music director of the Britt Festival Orchestra in Jacksonville, Oregon. He also has held positions with the Erie Philharmonic, Annapolis Symphony Orchestra, Breckenridge Music Festival and Richmond Symphony, and has appeared with more than 65 orchestras.

Bay will also conduct the RPO in Haydn’s Big Surprise on Sunday, May 12 at 2 p.m. in the Performance Hall at Hochstein, with special guest, the RPO’s Joseph Werner (The Lois P. Lines Chair) on piano.  That program will include excerpts selected from the following works by Franz Joseph Haydn:  Symphony No. 31 in D Major, “Horn Signal;” Symphony No. 7 in C Major, “Le Midi;” Symphony No. 22 in E-flat Major, “The Philosopher;” Symphony No. 45 in F-sharp Minor, “Farewell;” Symphony No. 92 in G Major, “Oxford;” Symphony No. 94 in G Major, “Surprise;” Concerto in G Major for Piano and Orchestra; Symphony No. 100 in G Major, “Military;” and Symphony No. 104 in D Major, “London.”  Tickets are $24/$10 students, and are available in person at the Eastman Theatre Box Office (433 East Main Street) or at area Wegmans; by phone at (585) 454-2100; or online at rpo.org.

* The 2013 RPO Musicians’ Awards for Outstanding Music Educators winners and their categories are: Chandra L. Downs, Outstanding Classroom Specialist (Geneseo Central School); Jeremy Rath, Outstanding Choral Director (Elba Central Schools); Kenneth Foster, Outstanding Band Director (North Street Elementary School, Geneva); Beth A. Remming, Outstanding String Director (French Road Elementary School and Twelve Corners Middle School); and a Special Award will be presented to Rebecca Root Davis (South Seneca Elementary School, Interlaken) recognizing her tremendous commitment to music education in our area. More info at:  rpo.org/mea

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 are available upon request and at docs.google.com/folder.  Interviews, as well as photo and footage opportunities, can be arranged.


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