RPO Concert Series 2014-2015

Dear friends,

This RPO season is special for many reasons. The level of talent that has appeared with our great orchestra has been incredible; guest artists include pianists Stephen Hough and Jeremy Denk (two of my idols) and returning artists Jon Nakamatsu and Christopher Season.  And Midori!  I think you will be amazed.

It’s a pleasure producing these concerts for you.  If you’re traveling this summer, you can stream the performances anywhere at wxxi.org or via the WXXI app. Please help spread the word, then listen and enjoy.

With warmest wishes for a beautiful summer and fall seasons,

Brenda Tremblay

Host and producer, RPO broadcast concerts on WXXI


Season Opener with Midori & Ward Stare                                    Airs June 1 and August 17

Ward Stare, conductor

Midori, violin


BERLIOZ  Beatrice and Benedict Overture             

BRAHMS  Violin Concerto in D Major                    

TCHAIKOVSKY  Symphony No. 4

From its fiery opening fanfare to blistering, explosive finale, Tchaikovsky's Fourth Symphony is a remarkable musical journey of despair, hope, and fate.  Star violinist Midori joins the RPO for Brahms's famous concerto to make it a blockbuster start to the Philharmonics season.


Denk Plays Beethoven Plus Symphonie fantastique          Airs June 8 and August 24

Ward Stare, conductor 

Jeremy Denk, piano


SAINT-SAËNS  Danse macabre                                          

BEETHOVEN              Piano Concerto No. 1 in C Major                            

BERLIOZ  Symphonie fantastique

An irresistible mix of refinement and macabre, Symphonie fantastique's tale of unrequited love, obsession, and self-destruction has captivated audiences since its premiere.  Jeremy Denk, Musical America 2014 Instrumentalist of the Year, brings his limitless talents to Beethoven's concerto.


An American in Paris                                                           Airs June 15 and August 31

Jeffrey Kahane, guest conductor and piano  


RAVEL  Piano Concerto in G Major                        

GERSHWIN  An American in Paris                                     

LIGETI  Concert Românesc                                      

KODÁLY  Háry János Suite           

Gershwin's iconic musical postcard mixes simmering, saucy melodies with sounds of the city to evoke the bustling energy and flair of 1920s Paris. The multi-faceted Jeffrey Kahane leads the RPO and takes center stage for Ravel's jazz-inspired concerto. Two Hungarian greats come to the forefront in the program's second half, including Kodály's colorful suite, centered on a soldier with a penchant for telling tall tales.


Mozart & Prokofiev                                                              Airs June 22 and September 7

Case Scaglione, guest conductor

Matthew McDonald, bassoon


HOVHANESS             Symphony No. 2, “Mysterious Mountain”  

MOZART  Bassoon Concerto

PROKOFIEV  Symphony No. 5

"I conceived of it as a symphony on the greatness of the human soul," said Prokofiev of his Fifth Symphony. Composed amidst the turbulence of World War II, the symphony's wry humor and clattering finale made it an instant hit and an enduring audience favorite. This concert also affords the opportunity to hear Principal Bassoonist McDonald's first solo performance with the RPO, and a 20th-century gem by a true original, exuding the primordial mystique, sweeping grandeur, and sheer power of nature.


Brahms & Rachmaninoff                                                     Airs June 29 and September 14

Christoph König, guest conductor

Douglas Humpherys, piano


BRAHMS                   Symphony No. 3        

RACHMANINOFF   Piano Concerto No. 1 (1919)                         

KODÁLY                   Dances of Galánta     

Full of soulful, heart wrenching themes—including the famous Allegretto—Brahms's Third Symphony showcases its creator’s signature gift for melody. These concerts continue with ravishing Rachmaninoff, performed by Eastman School of Music professor Douglas Humpherys. Composed when Rachmaninoff was just 18, the first of his four piano concertos is filled with youthful exuberance, rich texture, and stunning technical fireworks.


Van Cliburn Gold and Mozart’s “Jupiter”                                    Airs July 6 and September 21

José Luis Gomez, guest conductor

Vadym Kholodenko, piano


R. STRAUSS  Death and Transfiguration                

PROKOFIEV  Piano Concerto No. 2

MOZART  Symphony No. 41, “Jupiter”

Fresh off a gold-medal win at the 2013 Van Cliburn Competition that had the crowd "cheering him like a rock star," (Cincinnati Enquirer) Vadym Kholodenko's talents are on full display in Prokofiev's scintillating concerto.  The program also features Mozart's 41st and final symphony, an intricate and innovative work that showcases a creative genius at the height of his powers.


Beethoven's Fifth                                                                  Airs July 13 and September 28

Marcelo Lehninger, guest conductor

Stephen Hough, piano


BEETHOVEN              Coriolan Overture                                                    

BEETHOVEN              Piano Concerto No. 3

BEETHOVEN              Symphony No. 5

Beethoven's groundbreaking Fifth Symphony has astounded generations of audiences, transforming its simple opening into a colossal epic of triumph over despair. This all-Beethoven program spotlights acclaimed British pianist Stephen Hough, hailed by The New York Times as "extraordinary.”                                    


Copland & Dvořák                                                               Airs July 20 and October 5

Daniel Hege, guest conductor

Augustin Hadelich, violin


SMETANA  Three Dances from The Bartered Bride           

DVOřÁK  Violin Concerto  

DIAMOND  Symphony No. 4                                              

COPLAND  Billy the Kid Suite                     

With brash, clashing harmonies and broad chords as wide-open as the American prairie, Copland's musical monument to the notorious outlaw-turned-folk hero evokes the swagger, rugged beauty, and ruthless ferocity of the wild west. An all-American second half features music by Rochester legend David Diamond. And, the always-brilliant Augustin Hadelich brings his phenomenal interpretive artistry and "drop dead technique" (Cincinnati Enquirer) to Dvořák's concerto.


Seaman and Nakamatsu Return                                         Airs July 27 and October 12

Christopher Seaman, Conductor Laureate

Jon Nakamatsu, piano


ELGAR  In The South (Alassio)                                

SAINT-SAËNS  Piano Concerto No. 2        

STRAVINSKY  Petrushka (1947 version)

Join us in welcoming back two Rochester favorites! No one does British music like Christopher Seaman, and his 2015 Rochester return kicks off with music by his countryman, along with Stravinsky's wonderfully colorful rendering of a puppet brought to life. The incomparable Jon Nakamatsu re-unites with Seaman for Saint-Saëns' beloved concerto.


Dvořák’s "New World" Symphony                                    Airs August 3 and October 19

Yoav Talmi, guest conductor
Juliana Athayde, violin


SIBELIUS  Lemminkäinen’s Return                         

SIBELIUS  Violin Concerto             

DVOřÁK  Symphony No. 9, “From the New World” 

"These beautiful and varied themes are the product of the soil," said Dvořák of the native folk tunes he heard during his visit to America. Such tunes serve as the foundation for his immortal "New World" Symphony, a stirring love letter to America. RPO Concertmaster Juliana Athayde sparkles on Sibelius's ethereal, icily Romantic concerto.


Carmina Burana                                                                   Airs August 10 and October 26

Gregory Vajda, guest conductor

Rochester Oratorio Society, Eric Townell, director

Bach Children’s Chorus, Karla Krogstad, director
Leslie Ann Bradley, soprano | Anthony Webb, tenor | Anton Belov, baritone


ROBERTO SIERRA  Fandangos                                                    

GINASTERA  Four Dances from Estancia                                      

ORFF  Carmina Burana

Fortune and Fate: these are the looming and inescapable forces that govern the world of Carmina Burana, instantly turning light to dark and happiness to despair. Featuring the famous "O Fortuna," Orff's remarkable masterpiece is hauntingly intense, bawdy and earthy, fiery and visceral, joining the RPO with chorus and soloists for an epic season finale.