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RPO Honors Late Eastman Dean Douglas Lowry

October 21, 2013

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For Immediate Release: October 18, 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

RPO HONORS LATE EASTMAN DEAN DOUGLAS LOWRY
Appalachian Spring guest conductor Larry Rachleff was close friend 
Oct. 24 & 26 program to open with tribute and Lowry’s own Fanfare for Flora


Rochester, NY – Originally scheduled to be included in this weekend’s Brahms & Bartok program, the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra (RPO)’s tribute to the late Douglas Lowry, who served as the Joan and Martin Messinger Dean of the Eastman School of Music and died from cancer at the age of 62 on October 2, 2013, will take place during the following week’s Philharmonics concert, Appalachian Spring, on Thursday, October 24 at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday, October 26 at 8 p.m. in Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre.

“All of us in the RPO family deeply mourn the passing of this gifted musician, composer, conductor, administrator and visionary leader, and we extend our deepest sympathies to his wife, Marcia, their family, and to the entire Eastman community,” says RPO President and CEO Charles Owens. “On a personal note, Doug and I arrived at about the same time in 2007 and collaborated on so many projects, including the Eastman Theatre renovation project. I am particularly grateful to him for his efforts to deepen the ties that have bound our two institutions together since their founding by George Eastman more than 90 years ago. He set a new standard for encouraging multi-faceted collaborations between the RPO and the Eastman School of Music.”

In October 2011, the RPO awarded its highest honor, The Harmony Award, to Lowry and University of Rochester President Joel Seligman in recognition of their leadership roles in bringing that landmark project to fruition. In addition to serving as an ex-officio member of the RPO Board of Directors and member of its Music Director Search Committee, Lowry also composed two RPO-commissioned works: Geo, a musical tribute to George Eastman written for and premiered at the opening concerts of the renovated Eastman Theatre in 2009; and The Freedom Zephyr, which premiered at the RPO’s Black History Month concerts in February 2013. He was also an enthusiastic supporter of the RPO’s return to Carnegie Hall on May 7, 2014, when the orchestra will be joined by the Eastman-Rochester Chorus and the Bach Children’s Chorus in a concert presentation of the rarely-performed 1934 opera Merry Mount by Howard Hanson, a longtime director of the Eastman School of Music (1924-1964).

After remarks from Owens, the tribute program will open with Lowry’s Fanfare for Flora, a rousing and uplifting work he composed in honor of Flora Thornton, benefactor of the Thornton School of Music at USC, where Lowry was previously associate dean. The rest of the program will remain the same: Aaron Copland’s famous Appalachian Spring Suite; Pulitzer Prize-winner Samuel Barber’s Overture to The School for Scandal; Manuel de Falla’s Suite No. 2 from his ballet, The Three-Cornered Hat; and Astor Piazzolla’s The Four Seasons of Buenos Aires, featuring RPO Concertmaster Juliana Athayde (The Caroline W. Gannett & Clayla Ward Chair). Marcia Lowry, along with Seligman and current Eastman Dean Jamal Rossi, will attend the concert.

The tribute date was changed because Lowry was a close friend of Appalachian Spring guest conductor Larry Rachleff.  Currently music director of the Rhode Island Philharmonic and director of orchestras and the Walter Kirs Hubert chair at Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music in Houston, Rachleff met and became great friends with Lowry at USC many years ago.

 “It’s a bittersweet but deep honor for me to be a part of this tribute,” says Maestro Rachleff, who last conducted the RPO in November of 2010.  “In fact, one of the reasons I was looking forward to returning to conduct the orchestra was to see Doug again. I’m so very sorry for this heartbreaking loss to the Rochester musical community.” He added that he and Lowry had often discussed how much the program’s Appalachian Spring Suite meant to both of them.

Tickets to this third Philharmonics series concert in the 2013-14 season, presented by Dawn & Jacques Lipson, start at $22, with $10 student tickets available. They may be purchased in person at the Eastman Theatre Box Office (433 East Main Street) and at all Wegmans That’s T.H.E. Ticket! locations, by phone at (585) 454-2100, or online at rpo.org. A pre-concert talk hosted by WXXI’s Julia Figueras (included with ticket price) begins an hour before curtain each night.

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 20-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 14,000 children through its specific programs for school-aged children.

Media please note:  High-resolution images for Philharmonics concerts are available at docs.google.com/folder. Interviews, as well as photo and footage opportunities, can be arranged.

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