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From the Top Live with Christopher O'Riley Jan. 17 features local teen pianist

December 17, 2015

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For Immediate Release: December 17, 2015
Media Contact:  Sally Cohen, 585-749-1795, sally@sallycohenpr.com
RPO Inforpo.org, facebook.com/RochesterPhilharmonic, twitter.com/RochesterPhil, rochesterphilharmonic.blogspot.com, instagram.com/rochesterphilharmonic

Ward Stare conducts, local teen pianist Raymond Feng featured
Also in January: Doc Severinsen, Fabien Gabel, OrKIDStra & more

Rochester, NY – Rochester audiences have the rare opportunity to be part of a live taping of NPR (National Public Radio)’s popular radio program From the Top Live with Host Christopher O’Riley on Sunday, January 17 at 3 p.m. in Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre. This special program features the entire Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra (RPO) led by Music Director Ward Stare, as well as performances and personal stories from extraordinary young classical musicians. Tickets start at $15, 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.

One of the remarkable young musicians who will be featured is 14-year-old Pittsford pianist Raymond Feng, who recently performed with the RPO during the orchestra’s “Around the Town” community concert series. Feng has been a pupil of Elier Suárez since age five, and recently won first prizes in the Thousand Island Chopin International, the Oberlin Conservatory Cooper Piano Festival, the MTNA Eastern Division Junior Piano Performance, and Ithaca College Piano Competitions. He also plays violin under the tutelage of RPO violinist Nancy Hunt and is concertmaster of the Hochstein Youth Symphony Orchestra. He’ll be featured on the third movement of Grieg’s Piano Concerto, Op. 16.

“I am extremely excited to have been selected to perform on From The Top, one of the largest showcases in the country for young classical musicians, and have the opportunity to get to know other talented musicians who love music just like I do,” says Feng. “The power of music brings all of us together. We can share our musical experiences, and I am sure we will find inspiration from each other.”

Two more young musicians from New York State will be featured, including 17-year-old clarinetist Alec Manasse from New York City, who will be featured as a soloist on Mozart’s Clarinet Concert in A Major, and in a trio with O’Riley (piano) and RPO Principal Viola Melissa Matson on Mozart’s Kegelstatt Trio in E-flat Major. Esther Yu, a 15-year-old cellist from Westport, will perform Elgar’s Cello Concerto, Opus 85. The concert will also feature “Maelström,” the work of 16-year-old composer Benjamin Wenzelberg from Tenafly, New Jersey. Wenzelberg’s opera, The Sleeping Beauty, won the 2014 ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer Award, and his piano trio, “Midnight Tides,” won the 2014 BMI Student Composer Award.

In addition, the RPO will perform opening (Mozart’s Overture to The Magic Flute) and closing (Sibelius’ “Lemminkäinen’s Return” from Lemminkäinen’s Suite) non-broadcast numbers. RPO musicians who will be featured on Poulenc’s Sextet for Piano and Winds (break piece) with O’Riley are: Will Amsel (clarinet), Principal Oboe Erik Behr (The Dr. Jacques M. Lipson Chair), Principal Flute Rebecca Gilbert (The Charlotte Whitney Allen Chair), Principal Horn W. Peter Kurau (The Cricket and Frank Luellen Chair), and Principal Bassoon Matthew McDonald (The Ron and Donna Fielding Chair).

Says Maestro Ward Stare: “I’m excited to be a part of this wonderful program. From the Top is one of the premier national platforms to showcase the next generation of musicians and it is our privilege to be a part of the series this year. I’m particularly pleased that we will not only feature talented young instrumentalists, but also a young composer on our program. The Rochester arts community has always been passionate about nurturing young talent and this concert will be a great opportunity for the public to get a first-hand look at the stars of tomorrow playing together with our fantastic orchestra.”

Broadcast on over 220 stations nationwide to an audience of nearly 700,000 listeners, NPR’s From the Top with Host Christopher O’Riley can be heard weekly on WXXI’s Classical 91.5. The RPO’s January 17th taping will be broadcast on Sunday, February 14, 2016 at 5 p.m., and more information can be found at http://www.fromthetop.org/show/nprs-from-the-top-with-host-christopher-oriley-rochester-new-york-316/. Now in its 15th year, From the Top's live recordings reach more than 20,000 live audience members of all ages across the United States each year. Learn more at www.fromthetop.org.


Principal Pops Conductor Jeff Tyzik and the RPO keep that holiday feeling going with the first concert of the New Year, Cirque Musica, on Friday and Saturday, January 8 & 9 at 8 p.m. in Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre. With an all-new show, Cirque Musica blends the jaw-dropping thrills of the world’s greatest cirque performers with stunning, live symphonic music. Tickets start at $22.

The first Sunday Matinee of 2016 is Appalachian Spring with Principal Conductor for Education and Engagement Michael Butterman (The Louise and Henry Epstein Family Chair) on Sunday, January 10 at 2 p.m. at Hochstein Performance Hall. Audiences will hear Copland's enduring suite – originally composed as a ballet for Martha Graham – and explore the lighter side of three Germanic giants: R. Strauss (Serenade in E-flat Major), Wagner (Siegfried Idyll), and Mahler (Blumine). Tickets are $25/$10 students.

Guest conductor Fabien Gabel returns to conduct Tchaikovsky’s “Pathétique” on Thursday, January 14 at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday, January 16 at 8 p.m. in Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre. In addition to Tchaikovsky’s darkly Romantic – and final – masterpiece, special guests Julie Albers (cello) and Karen Gomyo (violin) bring double the virtuosity to the witty musical dialogue of Brahm’s sparkling Concerto for Violin, Cello and Orchestra. Scriabin’s Rêverie completes the program. Tickets start at $22/$10 students.

Grammy-winning trumpeter Doc Severinsen returns to the RPO Pops Series on Friday and Saturday, January 22 & 23 at 8 p.m. in Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre. Doc will guest conduct as well as play, and bring along a world-class band that includes vocalists Vanessa Thomas and Brad Shermock, as well as Mary Louise Knutson (piano), Kevin Thomas (bass) and Stockton Helbing (drums). Tickets start at $22.

In the first OrKIDStra of 2016, the RPO and guest conductor Matthew Kraemer invite children and families to let their imaginations run wild with Saint-Saëns’ delightful Carnival of the Animals on Sunday, January 24 at 2 p.m. at Hochstein Performance Hall. This classic audience favorite introduces the instruments of the orchestra as lions, elephants, tortoises, roosters, kangaroos and more. Tickets are $16 for adults/$10 for children 12 and under.

TICKETS for all of the above concerts 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 RPO’s 93rd season is presented by Dawn and Jacques Lipson. The 2015/16 Philharmonics Series is sponsored by M&T Bank; the 2015/16Pops Series is sponsored by Canandaigua National Bank & Trustand Fibertech Networks. First Niagara is the concert sponsor for December 19th’s Gala Holiday Pops. RPO performances are also made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts, with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature. Additional sponsors include Monroe County; the City of Rochester; the Alfred Davis and Brunhilde Knapp Artists Performance Fund; the Mozart Performance Fund: Sarah D. Atkinson, M.D. and Steven Hess; City Newspaper; Kids Out and About.com; WARM 101.3; the Katherine T. and Jon L. Schumacher Orchestra Musician Soloist Fund.

The Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra (RPO) has been committed to enriching and inspiring our community through the art of music since its founding in 1922. The RPO presents approximately 160 concerts and broadcasts a year, serving up to 170,000 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 22-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 endowed position of its kind in the country – the RPO reaches more than 12,000 children through its specific programs for school-aged children.

Media please note: High-res images, interviews and photo/footage opportunities can be arranged.


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