by Pete Burakowski

If your daughter is turning 13, the biggest thing you could do for her birthday would be to have Miley Cyrus perform. It would be awesome. You’d be the best parent ever.

If you’re the University at Buffalo and you’re planning the 35th anniversary of your June in Buffalo new music festival, you’d schedule composition superstar Steve Reich to be there. And they did.

Reich, Augusta Read Thomas and a handful of the most buzz-worthy composers and performers in the world will take part in concerts, master classes, open rehearsals, lectures, seminars and installations from May 31 to June 6.

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by Melissa Barrie

Jersey Boys is not just your average musical. It is the biography of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons; from their beginning as blue-collar kids on the wrong side of the tracks to becoming one of the greatest sensations in pop music history, selling 175 million records worldwide before they were 30. The show traces the rise and fall of their careers while satisfying your craving for jukebox hits such as “Sherry,” “Big Girls Don’t Cry,” “Rag Doll,” “Oh What a Night” and “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You.”

Enjoy this Tony, Grammy, and Olivier Award winning musical at Shea’s April 21st- May 9th. Ticket prices range from $22.50-$127.50 and can be obtained through Ticketmaster at 1-800-745-3000 or at the Shea’s Ticket Office at 650 Main Street, Buffalo, NY, 14203.

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by Susan Braun
The Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra and Music Director JoAnn Falletta have just announced the programming for the upcoming 2010-2011 season which will celebrate the Orchestra’s 75th anniversary. Kleinhans Music Hall, home of the BPO, will be celebrating its 70th anniversary as well. The M & T Classics series which begins the first of 16 programs in October, 2010 concludes in June, 2011. Some of the highlights of the classical concert schedule are listed below.

In 1935, the BPO’s debut performance opened with Beethoven’s Egmont Overture. In honor of that event, the BPO will again begin the season by performing the Egmont Overture at the Gala Opening Concert on October 2nd, 2010. The concert will also feature violinist Midori as the guest artist. A program featuring the music of George Gershwin will include the Concerto in F and the Second Rhapsody on November 19th and 20th. The featured artist for that concert will be pianist Orion Weiss. These concerts will be recorded for an upcoming CD on the NAXOS label. The Chinese classical pianist, Lang Lang, who is well-known internationally for his flamboyant playing and personal style, will be making his first appearance in Buffalo on January 29th, 2011. Christopher O’Riley will be returning to the BPO to play Grieg’s Piano Concerto April 30th and May 1st, 2011.

The Pops Concert series, sponsored by BlueCross and Blue Shield, includes 11 programs. Opening Night on September 25th will feature Michael Feinstein. The series includes performances by Jose Feliciano, the Four Tops, ABBA: the Hits Symphonic Tour and ends with the Duke Ellington Orchestra on June 11th, 2011.

The popular Friday morning “Coffee Concerts” have been expanded from 5 to 8 performances. They include classical, pops and a Holiday Pops concert on Friday, December 10th, 2010.

Some special events have also been planned to celebrate the BPO’s 75th anniversary. These include a 75th Anniversary Book, a Commemorative 75th Anniversary Calendar, and the release of a special 5-disc set of music featuring the BPO under the direction of past Music Directors. The BPO is also collaborating with the Buffalo and Erie County Public Library to develop a display which will be on exhibit at many branches of the Library.

More lower-priced seating will be available for the new season and a special section for students has been created on the main floor. For more information about the concerts and tickets, please contact the Box Office at 716-885-5000 or visit

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by Susan Braun

If you love music and want to contribute to a good cause, here’s the perfect opportunity. The Buffalo Philharmonic Chorus Ensemble Singers, the Buffalo Niagara Youth Chorus and the Ohio State University Chorale will hold a musical fundraiser to benefit their respective organizations at Shea’s Performing Arts Center. The performance, entitled A Choral Kaleidoscope, will commence at 7:30pm on April 14th, 2010.

The Buffalo Philharmonic Chorus (BPC), under the musical direction of Doreen Rao since 2008, is the principal guest chorus of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra (BPO). The Chorus was first known as the Buffalo Schola Cantorum when it was organized in 1937; however, in 1992, the name was changed to The Buffalo Philharmonic Chorus to reflect its close association with the BPO. The BPC has 100 auditioned members and is considered the premier choral group of its kind in Western New York.

The Buffalo Niagara Youth Chorus (BNYC) got its start in 1988. It’s mission is to provide talented young performers with the opportunity to perfect their vocal abilities in a challenging environment. Members of the chorus range in age from 9 to 18 and come from school districts and private schools all over Western New York. They strive for excellence by achieving self-discipline, confidence, and respect and enjoyment of quality choral music. The BNYC includes a Preparatory Choir, a Concert Choir, a Chamber Choir and a Pop, Broadway and Jazz Ensemble.

The Ohio State University Chorale is the flagship ensemble of the OSU mixed choirs. It’s comprised of 48 members who participated in competitive auditions to be accepted into the Chorale. The Chorale performs on campus and in the community and occasionally tours. In July 2008, the Chorale sang at the Lucerne International Choral Festival in Switzerland.

The evening promises to be filled with comedy as well as music. All tickets are $12.50 and can be obtained through Ticketmaster at 1-800-745-3000 or at the Shea’s Ticket Office at 650 Main Street, Buffalo, NY, 14203.

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by Susan Braun

This past Saturday, we had an opportunity to attend a Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra classical music concert entitled Serkin Performs Brahms. Usually the classical concerts are offered on Saturday evenings and Sunday afternoons, but this particular concert was a special single performance. In the review by Herman Trotter in Sunday’s Buffalo News, he called the concert a “spotlight performance.” And it truly was! Joann Falletta conducted the orchestra as they played two of Aaron Copeland’s best known works: El Salon Mexico and Appalachian Spring. It is always a joy to watch her conduct! She immerses herself totally in the music and literally dances her way through each performance. Both of these pieces give Buffalonians hope that spring really is only 25 days away!!

After the intermission, pianist Peter Serkin took center stage and joined Ms. Falletta and the orchestra in a masterful performance of Brahm’s Piano Concerto No. 1. The last notes of the piece had barely faded away before the audience, leapt to its collective feet and broke out in a most enthusiastic endorsement of a really great performance.

If you aren’t a classical music fan, the Buffalo Philharmonic still has much to offer in the way of pops concerts and family concerts. For instance, on Saturday, February 27th at 8:00pm, Joseph Young will be on the podium and the guest artist will be Rita Moreno. On Sunday, February 28th at 2:30pm, kids of all ages will enjoy a program entitled To Think That I Saw It on Symphony Circle. Michael Kraemer will conduct the orchestra with Mark Hodges on percussion. You can keep up with happenings at the BPO by checking their website or Facebook. You can purchase tickets online or by calling the box office for tickets at 716-885-5000.

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by Ed Healy

It’s a classic cartoon that’s been a staple of network television holiday programming for generations. Now, in the hands of Buffalo’s Road Less Traveled Theater, it’s become a delightful homage to the music of Vince Guaraldi and the whimsical vision of Charles M. Schulz.

A Charlie Brown Christmas: The Music of Vince Guaraldi is playing in Road Less Traveled’s comfortable home in the Market Arcade Film & Arts Centre in downtown Buffalo through December 13th. The show clocks in at just under an hour, but it’s a sweet and satisfying hour that’s a welcome addition to the wealth of holiday entertainment options offered by Buffalo’s cultural community.

The Road Less Traveled version of A Charlie Brown Christmas is a celebration of jazz pianist Vince Guaraldi’s classic soundtrack. Accompanied by actress Bonnie Jean Taylor’s charming interpretation of the roles of Snoopy, Lucy and Charlie Brown, a jazz trio led by pianist Julie Arlotta gives Guaraldi’s music a vibrant work-out, complemented by a charming group of student singers. Children will be engrossed and entertained by Taylor’s silent film-like personification of the cartoon characters and adults will find pianist Arlotta’s playing to be a genuine musical treat.

Road Less Traveled Theater is located in the Market Arcade Film & Arts Centre, 639 Main Street, Buffalo. Free parking can be found to the theater’s rear along Washington Street in the M&T Bank lot. Just present your parking stub at the Market Arcade concession stand and the parking gate fee of $3 will be refunded to you. For more information, visit

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by Ed Healy

For those of you who may still subscribe to the notion that Buffalo is a sleepy, snowbound city with little to recommend it and even less to do, let’s take a look at the weekend just past and put this nasty and dated (if it was ever remotely true) little stereotype to rest once and for all. Buffalo rocks and most weekends it rocks pretty hard with something for every taste and disposition.

If you happened to be in Buffalo this past Friday you would have done well to make your way to the always engaging and entertaining Gusto at the Gallery. That the Albright-Knox Art Gallery is one of the world’s (yes, world’s) greatest museums of modern and contemporary art is almost beside the point on Friday nights. Yes, the art provides a spectacular, stunning backdrop, but the real action is in Gusto’s provocative programming and party-like atmosphere as the Gallery opens its doors for free programs and events. On Friday night you would have been able to hear acclaimed photographer Gregory Crewdson discuss his amazing images that merge the craft of set design and film lighting with the artistry of still photography. Crewdson spoke about his groundbreaking and hugely influential approach to photography in a conversation with curator Heather Pesanti.

On Saturday night, the Albright’s Art of Jazz series got its groove on with the hard bop blues of legendary alto saxophonist Lou Donaldson. At age 83, Donaldson can still rain a sheet of staggering sound on his listeners in an amazing display of technique or pour his heart into a funky rendering of a soul jazz classic like “Alligator Boogaloo.” This jazz master’s between song patter and charming vocals made this a concert to remember in a series that continues to provide Buffalo’s jazz fans with amazing musical memories.

Across the street, the new Burchfield Penney Art Center was celebrating its first anniversary with Rendezblue, a four-day festival of free art and music. In its brief time in its new home, the Burchfield Penney has established itself as a vibrant center for the arts, presenting multi-disciplinary programs featuring concerts, lectures, performance and installations. The Gwathmey Siegel & Associates-designed space is warm and inviting and the crowds have been prolific, complementing, rather than competing with, the action at the Albright. Elmwood Avenue and Rockwell Road is now the nexus of Buffalo’s vibrant and ambitious art scene – one that any city would be thrilled to call its own.

Elsewhere in the city music, art and theater lovers were able to enjoy a program of Schubert and Strauss by the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra in the spectacular surroundings of Kleinhans Music Hall, the Viva Vivaldi Festival at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, an opening at the new Vault Gallery, a lecture by documentary photographer Brendan Bannon at Studio Hart, even an incredible performance by Liza (with a “Z”) Minnelli at the University at Buffalo’s Center for the Arts.

Oh, and one more thing: the Boss was in town. That’s right, Bruce Springsteen and the legendary E Street Band capped off the weekend with a tour-ending concert at HSBC Arena on the city’s waterfront.

What’s going on in Buffalo? More than you could possibly do in a single weekend!

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