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RPO 2014 Primary Education Concerts This Week

February 10, 2014

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For Immediate Release:  February 10, 2014
Media Contacts:   Sally Cohen, 585-749-1795, sally@sallycohenpr.com
RPO Info:  rpo.org, facebook.com/SuperRPO, twitter.com/SuperRPO, rpo-land.blogspot.com

Maestro Butterman, Beatboxer Shodekeh help 3,450+ area students Feel the Beat in Kodak Hall

Rochester, NY – The Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra’s overarching commitment to education takes center stage this month with Feel the Beat, its 2014 Primary Education Concert for more than 3,450 first-through-third graders in Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre on February 11 and 12 at 10:15 a.m.

RPO Principal Conductor for Education and Outreach Michael Butterman (The Louise and Henry Epstein Family Chair) has orchestrated the return of Baltimore, Maryland’s Shodekeh (pronounced “SHO-de-kay”), a professional beatboxer or vocal percussionist, who made his Rochester debut at last February’s OrKIDStra Feel the Beat concert.

“Shodekeh connects wonderfully with the kid in all of us, and will help explore music’s most fundamental element: rhythm,” explains Butterman. “In addition, we hope that these annual concerts that expose students to orchestral music can help to create a spark of curiosity that will lead them to a life-long connection with great music.”

Using his mouth, lips, tongue and voice to simulate everything from drum sounds, ocean waves and sleigh bells to musical instruments and turntables, Shodekeh is part of a 45-minute program that opens with RPO percussionists playing a Sousa march while entering through the audience. After a hilarious but historic piece called “Og and the Drum,” Shodekeh is introduced during Rimsky-Korsakov’s “Flight of the Bumblebee,” after which he’s featured on a Mozart piece as well as leading some audience improvisation.

Shodekeh is the founding director of Embody: A Music Series of The Vocal Arts, which strives for artistic synthesis among the many vocal traditions of the world, from opera to throat singing to beatboxing. He recently completed a residency in Kyzyl, Tuva, which allowed him to work with such throat-singing legends as Huun Huur Tu and The Tuvan National Orchestra. This cross-continental adventure is slated to become a motion picture documentary, tentatively entitled Shuda, in 2014. Shodekeh currently serves as faculty and musical accompanist for Towson University's dance department, and has performed with many symphony orchestras and at high-profile events, including opening for President Bill Clinton.

“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 three education concert series – Primary, Intermediate and Tiny Tots – span nine counties and touch the lives of more than 13,000 children.”

The concerts are free for Rochester City School District schools, with a nominal charge for suburban and regional districts. The 2014 Intermediate Education Concert, Inspiration, will take place in Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre on March 11, 12, 13 and 14 at 10:15 a.m. for an estimated 6,500 4th-through-6th graders. This year’s Tiny Tots Concert, Mr. Butterman’s Neighborhood, for pre-school and kindergarten children, will take place May 12, 13, 14 and 15 at 9:45 and 11:15 a.m. at various venues around the region.

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 approximately 150 concerts and broadcasts a year, serving up to 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 more than 13,000 children through its specific programs for school-aged children. The RPO's 2013-14 season highlights include Principal Pops Conductor Jeff Tyzik's 20th anniversary celebration, and a performance at Carnegie Hall on May 7, 2014, as part of the Spring For Music festival.

Media please note: Media are invited to shoot photos/footage of February 11th’s 10:15 – 11 a.m. concert, and Maestro Butterman and Shodekeh will be available for interviews. High-resolution images of last year’s education concerts are available at docs.google.com/folder, and a high-res photo of Shodekeh is also available.


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