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January's Kaddish a Community Call to Action; Audra McDonald on Jan. 17

December 09, 2014

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For Immediate Release: December 8, 2013
Media Contacts
:   Sally Cohen, 585-749-1795, sally@sallycohenpr.com
RPO Info
:  rpo.org, facebook.com/RochesterPhilharmonic, twitter.com/RochesterPhil, rochesterphilharmonic.blogspot.com



Six-time Tony winner Audra McDonald on Jan. 17

Plus: Tango Caliente & Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra


Rochester, NY – The Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra (RPO) kicks off the New Year with a very special concert event, Kaddish – “I am Here, on Thursday, January 15, 2015 at 7:30 p.m. in Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre. Tickets start at $15/$10 for students.   

Kaddish, named for the Jewish prayer for the dead, is a one-hour cycle of 15 original songs for orchestra, chorus and vocal soloists. It was commissioned in 2005 by the Cohen Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies at Keene State College (NH) to commemorate its 25th anniversary. Dividing the work into three sections – The World Before, The Holocaust, and Tikkun Olam (“Repair the World”) – composer Lawrence Siegel also created the libretto, drawn primarily from his first-hand interviews with Holocaust survivors and sung in Hebrew, English and German. The score also incorporates elements of folk songs and Klezmer music (traditional Jewish music, originating in Eastern Europe). This choral masterpiece is intended to raise awareness of genocide as an ongoing global crisis, and was described by the Houston Examiner as “sweet, shocking, melancholy, uplifting, horrific, and finally, powerfully triumphant.” Please visit kaddishproject.org for more information. 

Led by guest conductor Eugene Tzigane, Kaddish will feature a 165-voice community chorus made up of Rochester Oratorio Society (Eric Townell, director) singers as well as vocalists from area temples. Vocal soloists are Rebecca Shorstein (soprano), Carla Dirlikov (mezzo-soprano), Dominic Armstrong (tenor) and John Moore (baritone).

The concert coincides with the 70th anniversary of the Allied Forces liberation of the World War II Nazi concentration camps, and will open with Mieczyslaw Weinberg’s Sinfonietta No. 1, Op. 41. Weinberg, a Polish Jew, lost most of his family in the Trawniki concentration camp. Following the Weinberg piece, award-winning composer Siegel himself will participate in a brief discussion onstage prior to the Rochester debut of his work.

“A window is closing. As the youngest Holocaust survivors now approach their nineties, it is more important than ever to hear their stories,” says Siegel. “I hope that Kaddish, by singing the actual words of Holocaust survivors, will provide a living link from those who actually remember this uniquely tragic chapter of human history, to those who will only know of it as history. May the work create empathy, and may that empathy motivate those who hear it to take a stand against genocide.”

The approximately 50 local Holocaust survivors will be invited to attend this third of the 2014/15 season’s Special Concerts free of charge. Additionally, the RPO recently coordinated a roundtable discussion with leaders in the Jewish community to discuss education and outreach opportunities; dates for these events will be announced soon. Kaddish sponsors are the Max and Marian Farash Charitable Foundation, the William and Sheila Konar Foundation, Elise and Stephen Rosenfeld, Sarah D. Atkinson, M.D. and Steven Hess.

On Saturday, January 17 at 8 p.m., actress/singer Audra McDonald makes her RPO debut in Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre with guest conductor Andy Einhorn in the season’s fourth Special Concert. Known for her roles in Broadway’s Carousel, Master Class, Ragtime, A Raisin in the Sun, Porgy and Bess, and Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill, McDonald has won more Tony Awards – six – than any other actor, and is the only person to win in all four acting categories. She’s also earned two Grammy Awards as well as TV fame for Private Practice. This special, one-night-only appearance by a “one of a kind musical super talent” (The New York Times) is sponsored by Rochester Regional Health System. Tickets start at $40.

The first Pops concert of 2015 is guaranteed to heat up our typically frigid Rochester January! Principal Pops Conductor Jeff Tyzik leads Tango Caliente on Friday and Saturday, January 23 and 24 at 8 p.m. in Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre. World-class tango dancers Eva Lucero and Patricio Toucedo are joined by fellow tango experts Mario Consiglieri and Anabella Diaz-Hojman, vocalist Marlena Dayen and bandoneon (a type of concertina essential to most tango music) player Hector Del Curto. Adding to the sizzle will be Concertmaster Juliana Athayde (The Caroline W. Gannett & Clayla Ward Chair) performing Piazzolla’s tango-inspired Four Seasons. Concert sponsor is the Gouvernet Arts Fund.

January with your RPO closes with the second OrKIDStra concert of the season: Benjamin Britten’s masterpiece, The Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra, on Sunday, January 25 at 2 p.m. at the Performance Hall at Hochstein. With guest conductor Matthew Troy and Classical 91.5’s music director and host Julia Figueras as narrator, children and their families will take a magical listening adventure through the orchestra. Each instrument is highlighted before uniting them all for an unforgettable ending. Adding to the fun will be student violin soloists from the Hochstein School of Music; former Rochester Philharmonic Youth Orchestra (RPYO) member and current Carnegie Mellon student, hornist Brooke Nance; and RPO Principal Bassoonist Matthew McDonald. Free pre-concert, hands-on activities include creating homemade instruments like the bottle flute and hosaphone. Tickets are $15/$10 for children.

Except where noted, tickets for all of the above concerts start  at $23, and 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. The 2014/15 season is presented by Dawn & Jacques Lipson; the Pops series is presented by Canandaigua National Bank & Trust and Fibertech Networks; and the OrKIDStra series is sponsored by Wendy’s with promotions by KidsOutandAbout.com.

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. Recently appointed 12th Music Director Ward Stare joins the ranks of former notable RPO music directors, including 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 Community Engagement (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.

Media please note:  High-resolution images for Special concerts are available at https://drive.google.com/folderview?id=0B8FkJzlaIpThdFBMU0JVWEVKcUE&usp=drive_web. Phils at:  https://drive.google.com/folderview?id=0B8FkJzlaIpThcVY4TS1ScWhlcDQ&usp=sharing; Pops at: https://drive.google.com/folderview?id=0B8FkJzlaIpThNUxERDVDUkdmM0k&usp=sharing. Interviews and photo and footage opportunities can also be arranged.


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