The Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by music director Ward Stare, will return to the College at Brockport at 7:30 p.m. on Nov. 1 celebrating “An Evening in Paris,” including works by Stravinsky, Debussy, Ravel and Lili Boulanger.
“A concert that features the Russian-born Igor Stravinsky doesn’t sound very Parisian, but his ‘Firebird’ ballet, written for Diaghilev’s Ballet Russes, did have its premiere in Paris,” said Stuart Ira Soloway, manager of the Fine Arts Series.
The ballet put Stravinsky on the map as a composer and he went on to compose two ballets for Diaghilev: “Petrushka” and “The Rite of Spring.” RPO will play the 1919 version of the “Firebird Suite,” one of several orchestrated after the ballet’s debut, all created to aid Stravinsky’s finances after the difficulties he experienced due to World War I and copyright issues.
Also on the program is Claude Debussy’s “Printemps,” a symphonic suite about which the composer said, “the idea was to compose a work in a very special color which should cover a great range of feelings … I should like to express the slow and labored birth of beings and things in nature, their gradual blossoming, and finally the joy of being born into some new life.”
Boulanger died at the age of 25. She came from a musically talented family, including her sister, Nadia. When she won the Prix de Rome prize at 19, it made international headlines as she was the first woman to win it for music. The two works played by the RPO, “D’un soir triste” and “D’un matin de printemps,” were the final pieces she wrote with her own hand.
Despite composing Latin-themed works such as “Symphonie Espagnole” and “Bolero,” Maurice Ravel was French. The Latin influence is understandable, given he was born 11 miles from the border between France and Spain. Ravel often would disappear from parties to entertain the hosts’ children. He dedicated the 1910 work “Mother Goose Suite” to Mimi and Jean Godebski, just as he dedicated the earlier “Sonatine” to their parents. Originally a piano work for four hands, Ravel later expanded the work for orchestra. Decades after Ravel’s death, Jerome Robbins adapted the piece as a ballet.
“Music is about communication,” Stare said. “Even if this is going to be your first RPO concert, there is no right or wrong way to experience it. Explore and go on a journey … relax and let the music take you wherever you are inspired to go.”
The concert will take place at the Tower Fine Arts Center, 180 Holley St., Brockport. Tickets are $17/general; $12/seniors, alumni, faculty and staff; and $9/students. Call (585) 395-2787 or visit for information.