Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra will join the worldwide celebration of Leonard Bernstein, 1918-90, and his musical legacy at 7:30 p.m. on March 1 and 8 p.m. on March 3 in Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre, 26 Gibbs St., Rochester.
Music director Ward Stare will lead “Bernstein Centennial Celebration” with Bernstein’s Symphony No. 2, known as “Age of Anxiety.” Pianist Misha Dichter, who made his debut with Bernstein and New York Philharmonic in 1968, will perform. Samuel Barber’s Second Essay for Orchestra and Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 9 — both interpreted by Bernstein as a conductor — will end the program.
“Leonard Bernstein’s second Symphony, ‘The Age of Anxiety,’ is one of his most personal works — at times almost autobiographical in its search for faith and skillful use of the solo pianist,” Stare said. “I couldn’t be happier to perform it with the RPO and the great Misha Dichter as we celebrate Bernstein’s 100th birthday. The symphony is a perfect blend of Bernstein’s greatest characteristics as an artist — innovation, depth, theatricality, lyricism and humanity. It is a virtuoso piece for orchestra and soloist alike, and a definite ‘can’t miss’ event for our audiences this season.”
Rochester Philharmonic Youth Orchestra will present “Universal Sounds: A World Odyssey” at 3 p.m. on March 4 in Kodak Hall. This annual side-by-side concert, conducted by RPYO music director James Mick, will feature RPO mentors on the concert’s final piece, Holst’s “The Planets,” Mvts. 1, 2, 6 and 4: “Mars, Venus, Uranus and Jupiter.”
RPO will perform “The Planets” in its entirety — accompanied by high-definition footage from recent NASA space explorations — on April 19 and April 21. The program also includes Rimsky-Korsakov’s “Russian Easter Overture,” as well as RPYO Concerto Competition winners Owen Cummings and Trevor Heal.
Advance tickets cost $15, $10 for seniors and students. Admission costs $2 more at the door.
Stare will conduct “Mahler 4” at 7:30 p.m. on March 8 and 8 p.m. on March 10 in Kodak Hall. The program will start with Alban Berg’s “Seven Early Songs,” featuring soprano Emily Birsan.
Fourth-, fifth- and sixth-graders from Greater Rochester will attend the 2018 Intermediate Education Concerts at 10:15 a.m. on March 13-16 in Kodak Hall. Michael Butterman, principal conductor for education and community engagement, will lead four, one-hour, age-appropriate performances of “Express Yourself.” This program features Aaron Copland’s “Fanfare for the Common Man,” George Gershwin’s “Cuban Overture,” Greig’s “In the Hall of the Mountain King” and Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 10.
“Any act of creation tells us something about the creator,” Butterman said. “Through music, composers share their feelings and experiences, and tell us about their lives and the people in them. This program demonstrates that, and gives students several opportunities to share their own impressions through visual art and the written word. I’m always impressed and touched by the quality and insight of the students’ work, and we’re excited to see and share what they come up with this year.”
Butterman will lead “Celtic Celebration with Cathie Ryan” at 8 p.m. on March 16-17 in Kodak Hall. March’s only Pops program will feature Cathie Ryan, the original lead singer for Cherish the Ladies. Ryan will perform with her own band that includes Patsy O’Brien on guitar, Matt Mancuso on fiddle and Brian Melick on percussion.
March will close with “Tchaikovsky 5 + World Premiere” at 7:30 p.m. on March 22 and 8 p.m. on March 24 in Kodak Hall. Stare will lead Tchaikovsky’s Fifth before the world premiere of Allen Shawn’s Oboe Concerto, a RPO-commissioned work written specifically for principal bboe Erik Behr. The program will include Haydn’s Symphony No. 22, “The Philosopher.”
“A world premiere is always an exciting event, made even more so when the piece is written especially for one of our own RPO musicians,” Stare said. “Our audiences have a wonderful opportunity to experience the birth of a new concerto, and, at the same time, enjoy the glorious drama and beauty of one of Tchaikovsky’s greatest symphonies.”
Tickets start at $24, except where noted. Tickets are available by phone at (585) 454-2100, online at and in person at RPO’s Patron Services Center, 108 East Ave., Rochester, and all Wegmans That’s T.H.E. Ticket! locations.