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

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

VivaldiBuffalo’s annual Viva Vivaldi Festival got underway last night in the newly opened Buffalo Religious Arts Center in the city’s Black Rock neighborhood. What a fitting setting for Antonio Vivaldi’s soul-stirring sonatas and concertos! Last night’s program marked the start of the 31st installment of this immensely popular Buffalo musical event and the full house did not leave disappointed. Various members of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra took turns stepping into the spotlight and offering listeners musicality of the highest caliber.

Festival founder and violinist Marylouise Nanna got things off to a delightful start with the help of BPO violinist Ansgarius Aylward on Vivaldi’s Concerto in D Minor for two violins, strings and cembalo. What a treat. The interplay of the two violinists was sublime, filling the former St. Francis Xavier Church with gorgeous sounds and raising expectations for the program to come. What followed was a masterful tour of baroque masterworks by Vivaldi and his contemporaries Tomaso Albinoni and Giovanni Bonocini. In fact, it was Bonocini’s Sinfonia No. 10 in D Major for two trumpets that provided the highlight in an evening filled with them. BPO trumpeters Alex Jokipii and Geoffrey Hardcastle were mesmerizing as they hit notes that were high, bright, light and clear, infusing the former sanctuary with the joy that comes from music performed at the highest level. Bravo Ars Nova Musicians Chamber Orchestra and special guests!

The Viva Vivaldi Festival continues on Nov. 8 at Trinity Episcopal Church, 373 Delaware Avenue, Buffalo; Nov. 15 at First Presbyterian Church, 1 Symphony Circle, Buffalo; and Nov. 22 at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, 1080 Main Street, Buffalo. All concerts begin at 6:30 pm. Admission is $10.

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by Susan Braun

Looking for music and art events to get involved with this coming weekend, October 2-4? Well, here are some great ideas!

The much anticipated Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra’s Opening Night Gala, “Ode to Joy”, will be held at Kleinhan’s Music Hall on October 3rd, 2009. The concert, which begins at 8:00 pm, will be preceded by an optional black tie event including drinks, hors d’ oeuvres and dinner! In the first half of the program, Music Director JoAnn Falletta, and the BPO will be joined by the world-renown violinist, Gil Shaham, in a performance of Sarasate’s Carmen Fantasy. That will be followed by J. S. Bach’s Concerto for Two Violins, featuring Mr. Shaham and his wife, Adele Anthony, a very accomplished violinist in her own right. After the intermission, the BPO and the Buffalo Philharmonic Chorus will present Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony for a grand finale. You may purchase tickets for either the Opening Gala, which includes the concert, or you may opt for the concert only. For more information about this and upcoming classical and pops concerts, go to

There will be plenty of art to see in Buffalo this weekend.

You can get your exercise and your visual arts fix on the evening of October 2nd by joining the Allentown First Fridays GalleryWalk when 16 venues with works by 50 artists will be open from 6 until 9 pm. This free monthly event brings people together to view art work, dine at great restaurants and visit local businesses in the Allentown area. Welcome to El Buen Amigo and Nest Interiors as new participants! Here’s a sampler of the galleries that will be open:

  • Betty’s (restaurant)
    Ilania Kaplan Stanger, paintings
    370 Virginia Street
    8am to 10pm
  • C. J. Jung Center
    Dianne Baker, “Transformations”
    Mixed Media Assemblages
    408 Franklin Street
    6-8pm—Artist Talk at 7pm
  • El Buen Amigo
    Latin American Cultural Association (LACA)
    Building Bridges to the Community
    Works by Nancy Richert, Brian Federick, Ann Miliken, Betsey Roshner and Dan
  • Mika
    114 Elmwood Avenue
    11am to 9pm with opening reception 7-9pm
  • Indigo
    Work by 12 NYFA MARK artists
    74 Allen Street
  • Nest Interiors
    Work by Sandra Bartz
    68 Allen Street

A complete list can be found at

The Burchfield Penney Art Center has devoted most of the gallery space to a wonderful exhibition entitled “Art in Craft Media”. This first craft biennial features works created by Western New York artists who use clay, metal, fiber, glass and wood, all media associated with the craft arts. You can view a wide range of works including such standouts as the “Coffee Cup Conveyor Belt” by Alicia Eggert, tongue-in-cheek embroideries on found objects by Lily Booth, fiber works by Nancy Belfer, disintegrating window screens by Andrea Marquis, beautiful wooden furniture including the “Scotch Cabinet” by Douglas Figler and a silver necklace by Suzanne Hofmeister that is included in a display of other works by Hofmeister and Temi Kucinski. To learn more about the Burchfield Penney Art Center and this exhibit, check out

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