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RPO's Around the Town Concerts Bring Music to Greece and Irondequoit

January 12, 2007

Rochester Oratorio Society Conductor Leads Orchestra in Free Concerts

Rochester, NY – Direct from preparing the Rochester Oratorio Society (ROS) for its December performances with the RPO of Handel’s Messiah, ROS Music Director Eric Townell moves seamlessly from voice to orchestra as he guest conducts the next Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra’s “Around the Town” concerts. 

The two free concerts will be held on Thursday, January 25 at Hope Lutheran Church (1301 Vintage Lane, Greece); and Saturday, January 27 at Irondequoit United Church of Christ (644 Titus Avenue, Rochester); concerts begin at 7:30 p.m.  Townell will conduct RPO Concertmaster Juliana Athayde (The Caroline W. Gannett & Clayla Ward Chair) as the featured soloist in the Beethoven Romance No. 2 for Violin and Orchestra.  Other works by Beethoven, Dvoƙák, Verdi, Ravel and Tchaikovsky round out the program.

As only the third music director in the Rochester Oratorio Society's 60-year history, Mr. Townell is widely recognized as a versatile and dynamic conductor of choral, operatic and symphonic repertore.  Although Rochester audiences may be more familiar seeing Mr. Townell in front of a group of singers, he is certainly no stranger to the orchestra world.  He has conducted the Lincoln, Madison, Hershey, Fox Valley (WI), Prince George's and Adrian Symphony Orchestras as well as the Central Wisconsin Symphony, where he was Music Director for 10 years.  A two-time prize winner of the International Opera Conducting Course/Competition, he also directs the Master Singers of Milwaukee, which made its New York City debut in 2005 under his baton.  Townell made his European opera conducting debut with Eugene Onegin at the Silesian State Opera in the Czech Republic.  He holds a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from Peabody Conservatory as well as degrees in music performance and conducting from Northern Illinois Univesity and Indiana University.

The Around the Town program is a community partnership in which the RPO comes out of the concert hall into various neighborhoods to perform six free concerts per year designed to engage audiences with light classics and familiar favorites.  Venues include houses of worship and other community locations.  The partner venues assist with promoting the concert in their neighborhood and serve as liaison between the RPO and their community.  Around the Town concerts are sponsored by the Democrat and Chronicle and The Max and Victoria Dreyfus Foundation.

Now in its 84th season, the RPO inspires and enriches the community through the art of music.  The Orchestra is passionately dedicated to outstanding musical performance at the highest artistic levels, and has a unique tradition of musical versatility, commitment to music education in the broadest sense and a deep and enduring engagement with the community.  The RPO has been honored with the New York State Governor’s Arts Award, and two ASCAP awards for adventurous programming in recent years.

RPO performances are made possible in part with grants from the National Endowment for the Arts; the New York State Council on the Arts, a State Agency; the State of New York; Monroe County; the City of Rochester; and American Airlines, the official airline of the RPO.

Note: Interviews with Mr. Townell are available upon request.


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