RPO announces 2013-14 season

08:34 PM, Feb 22, 2013

Michael Butterman, Principal Conductor for Education and Outreach for the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, conducts the RPO in a youth concert for area school children in Kodak Hall at the Eastman Theatre. (ANNETTE LEIN/Staff photographer)/


The Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra has put together a 2013-14 season that features guest conductors from around the globe, rising guest stars and some concerts featuring soloists from its own ranks.

The next Philharmonics Series is slightly more conservative in character than the two series organized by former music director Arild Remmereit, who was fired last month by the RPO board. But his imprint remains firmly on several aspects of the new programs.

Their mortar and cement will be familiar European, Russian and American masterpieces — including continued cycles of Beethoven and Mahler symphonies, as Remmereit had planned. His emphasis on women composers carries on with works by contemporary American master Jennifer Higdon, the short-lived French genius Lili Boulanger and Florence Price, the first black American woman to win recognition as as a classical composer.

The RPO’s growing partnership with the Eastman School of Music also gets a boost with music by the late Eastman director Howard Hanson, former faculty composer Joseph Schwantner and Pulitzer Prize-winning graduate Kevin Puts.

The guest conductors should be of keen interest to RPO audience, since one of them — at least in theory — could become the next music director in 2014-2015. It’s tough to handicap this race at this early stage, but a few names pop out.

Hugh Wolff was music director of the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra and New Jersey Symphony, while James Feddeck is assistant conductor of The Cleveland Orchestra (and a mean harpsichord player). Equally well-known is globetrotting Austrian maestro Christoph Campestrini, though several other RPO guest conductors can rival him for frequent flier miles.

The season also boasts some strong piano and violin soloists. Jennifer Koh and Philippe Quint are among the hottest young fiddlers around. And critically acclaimed pianists Jonathan Biss, Joyce Yang, Jon Kimura Parker and Barry Snyder will perform concertos with the orchestra. (Snyder, an Eastman professor, is particularly welcome since he suffers from the “Rochester curse”: He’s a world-class talent long taken for granted in town because he happens to live here.)

The RPO’s next Pops Series marks principal pops conductor Jeff Tyzik’s 20th season with the orchestra. Stars will include the acrobats of Cirque de la Symphonie, The Midtown Men (the vocal quartet from the original cast of Jersey Boys), and singers Ann Hampton Callaway and Curtis Stigers. Two Eastman Theater programs will have the RPO accompany scenes from Walt Disney’s Fantasia and the 1952 musical comedy film Singin’ in the Rain.

Season subscriptions are now available, though single tickets won’t go on sale until Aug. 26. Call (585) 454-2100 or go to rpo.org.

RPO Philharmonics Series

Sept. 26 and 28: Mahler’s First Symphony — Jun Märkl, conductor; violinist Jennifer Koh, soloist. Aaron Jay Kernis, New Era Dance; Mendelssohn, Violin Concerto in E Minor; Mahler Symphony No. 1, “Titan.”

Oct. 17 and 19: Brahms & Bartok — Bernhard Gueller, conductor; pianist Jonathan Biss, soloist. Brahms, Piano Concerto No. 1; Jennifer Higdon, City Scape: Skyline; Bartok, Concerto for Orchestra.

Oct. 24 and 26: Appalachian Spring — Larry Rachleff, guest conductor; RPO concertmaster Juliana Athayde, soloist. Roberto Sierra, Fandangos; Copland, Appalachian Spring Suite; Piazzolla, The Four Seasons; Falla, Three-Cornered Hat Suite No. 2.

Nov. 7 and 9: Mozart & Tchaikovsky — Christoph Campestrini, conductor; pianist Barry Snyder, soloist. Stravinsky, The Fairy’s Kiss: Divertimento; Mozart, Piano Concerto No. 23; Tchaikovsky, Symphony No. 5.

Nov. 14 and 16: Rachmaninoff’s Second Symphony — Junichi Hirokami, conductor; RPO principal oboist Erik Behr, soloist. Hindemith, Concert Music for Strings and Brass; R. Strauss, Oboe Concerto; Rachmaninoff, Symphony No. 2.

Nov. 21 and 23: Haydn & Beethoven — Nir Kabaretti, conductor; cellist Edward Arron, soloist. Kevin Puts, Inspiring Beethoven; Haydn, Cello Concerto No. 1; Beethoven, Fidelio, Act II (concert performance).

Dec. 12 and 14: Bach & Respighi — James Feddeck, conductor; with Eastman Chorale. Respighi, Ancient Airs and Dances Suite No. 1; J.S. Bach, Orchestral Suite No. 3; Respighi, Trittico Botticelliano: Adoration of the Magi; J.S. Bach, Magnificat.

Jan. 16 and 18 — Beethoven’s Ninth — Hugh Wolff, conductor; with Rochester Oratorio Society. Lili Boulanger, Psalm 130; Beethoven, Symphony No. 9, “Choral.”

Jan. 30 and Feb. 1: An Evening in Paris — Fabien Gabel, conductor; violinist Phillipe Quint, soloist. Debussy, Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun; Saint-Saens, Violin Concerto No. 3; Ravel, Une barque sur l’océan (A Boat on the Ocean) and Tzigane; Stravinsky, Firebird Suite (1919).

Feb. 6 and 8: Gershwin & Ellington — Michael Morgan, conductor; pianist Joyce Yang, soloist. Florence Price, Symphony No. 3 (3rd and 4th movements); Joseph Schwantner, New Morning for the World, “Daybreak of Freedom”; Gershwin, Piano Concerto; Ellington, Harlem.

March 6 and 8: Berlioz, Beethoven & Bruckner — Christopher Seaman, conductor; pianist Jon Kimura Parker, soloist. Berlioz, Roman Carnival Overture; Beethoven, Piano Concerto
No. 2; Bruckner, Symphony No. 6 .

April 10 and 12: Carnegie Hall Preview: Howard Hanson’s Merry Mount — Michael Christie, conductor. Hanson, Merry Mount (concert performance).

May 22 and 24: Shostakovich’s Tenth Symphony— Thomas Wilkins, conductor; RPO principal trumpeter Douglas Prosser, soloist. Beckel, Toccata for Orchestra; Arutiunian, Trumpet Concerto; Shostakovich, Symphony No. 10.

May 29 and 31: Holst’s The Planets — Michael Francis, conductor. Walton, Henry V
Suite; Holst, The Planets.