By Jennifer Weber
In the bleak midwinter, thoughts turn to warmer days, longer hours of daylight, sunshine and birds singing . Ah, can you hear the music?
Maybe not under all those feet of snow (or current sheets of ice from the rain…) but the music still exists! It’s alive and well in Western New York, in rain or shine or sleet or snow, with a short drive up the 219 to hear the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra (BPO) at Kleinhans Music Hall in Buffalo.
Sure, every city/region has an orchestra and concert hall. But did you know here in Western New York, we have one of the world’s “most acoustically perfect” concert halls? And have you ever heard an orchestra play a rock-n-roll concert in such a setting? Magnificent!
Kleinhans Music Hall was built in 1939 and designed by Eliel and Eero Saarinen, along with architects F.J. and W.A Kidd. If you look closely you can see that Kleinhans Music Hall was designed to resemble the body of a string instrument. In 1989, the hall was designated a National Historic Landmark.
Kleinhans is home to the beloved BPO, led by JoAnn Falletta, who the New York Times called “one of the finest conductors of her generation.” And even if you know zero about classical music, watching her on the podium is a magical experience.
Under her leadership, the BPO has become one of the most recorded orchestras in America. The BPO has 38 recordings on their own label, Beau Fleuve, and on the international classical music label Naxos.
In 2009, the BPO was honored with two Grammy Awards (along with six other nominations) for their recording of John Corigliano’s Mr. Tambourine Man.
Last year, the Buffalo Philharmonic presented over 120 performances that brought in close to 200,000 concert goers, not to mention the millions who heard the orchestra on national radio broadcasts and recordings.
The 2016-2017 theme for the BPO season is “ignite your passion for music” and the orchestra offers a wide variety of concerts to appeal to light the flame for the masses. Whether your taste is Classical (Amadeus, Gershwin, Wagner), Pops (Carole King, Nat King Cole, Jersey Boys), Rock (Music of Genesis, Music of Prince, Music of ABBA and the B-52s!) or a family concert (Peter Rabbit), there’s a little of all of the above waiting for you.
For more information on the BPO or to purchase tickets please visit www.bpo.org or call (716) 885-5000.
Upcoming concerts include:
Jan. 28 at 8 p.m.
Tapestry: The Carole King Songbook
Timeless favorites of Carole King sung by Tony-award nominee Liz Callaway including: I Feel the Earth Move, Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow, Natural Woman and more.
Feb. 4 at 8 p.m. and Feb. 5 at 2:30 p.m.
Gershwin’s American in Paris
In celebration of Canada’s 150th birthday and the friendship between Canada and America, Canadian pianist Alain Lefevre joins the BPO for a performance of music from both nations.
Feb. 11 at 8 p.m.
A Valentine Romance
Fall in love with Broadway star Lisa Vroman as she sings great love songs from Broadway and the American songbook. John Morris Russell leads this musical valentine.
Feb. 12 at 2:30 p.m.
Family Concert: Drums Around the World
If you can bang on it, it could be a percussion instrument. Come see all the amazing ways to drum. Explore music from around the world with the African American Cultural Center, Lancaster High School’s Carnival Kids Steel Orchestra, Clann Na Cara Dancers, and more.
March 3 at 8 p.m.
Steve Hackett — Genesis Revisited
Steve Hackett was lead guitarist with Genesis as part of their classic line-up with Peter Gabriel, Phil Collins, Tony Banks and Mike Rutherford. An innovative artist at the top of his game, this concert reveals his classical training, with Genesis classics from his recent Genesis Revisited release, as well as solo hits from Out of the Tunnel’s Mouth and Beyond the Shrouded Horizon.
March 4 at 8 p.m.
The Unforgettable Nat King Cole
Denzal Sinclaire brings us the music of Nat King Cole in this gorgeous tribute to one of America’sgreatest jazz vocalists.
March 19 at 2:30 p.m.
Family Concert: Peter Rabbit and Other Tales
One of our cherished children’s stories comes to life in music and beautiful visuals by Beatrix Potter. Help the BPO create its own wacky fairytale as the audience gets involved making musical choices that affect the direction of the story
April 1 at 8 p.m.
The Midtown Men featuring the original cast of Jersey Boys
These four Broadway vets are thrilled to bring their powerhouse seven-piece band and high-spirited, adrenaline-powered signature sound to Kleinhans under John Morris Russell.
April 28 at 8 p.m.
The Music of Prince
Another fantastic tribute show by Brent Havens and the Windborne Music team! Combine dynamic orchestrations and performance of the BPO with the music of the incomparable Prince, add a full rock band and show lighting, and you have an experience not to be missed.
April 29 at 8 p.m.
Arrival from Sweden: The Music of ABBA
One of the world’s most popular ABBA show bands joins the BPO for what has been called the absolute best and most authentic ABBA show touring today.
May 6 at 8 p.m. and May 7 at 2:30 p.m.
Wagner’s World of the Ring
Orchestral highlights from Das Rheingold, Die Walküre, Siegfried and Götterdämmerung weave this timeless mythological fairy tale into a multimedia extravaganza! JoAnn Falletta, the BPO, and a narrator take you through Wagner’s epic work of love, greed, revenge and jealousy in our world and the realm of the Norse gods.
June 7 at 8 p.m.
B-52’s with the BPO
Catch the world’s top party band as you’ve never heard them before – live, with a full symphony orchestra! From groundbreaking songs like Dance This Mess Around and Private Idaho to chart-topping hits like Love Shack, Roam and Deadbeat Club, the B-52s’ unforgettable dance-rock tunes start a party every time their music begins.