From fireworks to food trucks, BPO’s summer season surprises - The Buffalo News
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From fireworks to food trucks, BPO’s summer season surprises

The Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra’s summer season, just announced, begins with a free concert July 1 at Knox Farm in East Aurora. It ends with fireworks Aug. 9, after a concert at Old Fort Niagara in Youngstown.

Between these two events comes a very busy, and very summery, grab bag.

One highlight is the concert Aug. 6, complete with fireworks, for the opening of the 175th Erie County Fair. BPO Music Director JoAnn Falletta conducts this concert, the first time the orchestra has played at the fair since the 1950s. There will be music of Sousa, Ellington and Copland.

Another novelty takes place on July 19 in Kleinhans, when the BPO welcomes the Doctors of the World Orchestra. The accomplished 40-musician amateur ensemble, visiting Buffalo for the first time, is joining the BPO for a side-by-side concert. Falletta also conducts the concert, which benefits Women & Children’s Hospital. Music includes Holst’s “The Planets,” Bernstein’s overture to “Candide” and Respighi’s dramatic “The Pines of Rome.”

And a crowd is expected Aug. 7, when the BPO performs for the Canalside concert series. Matthew Kraemer leads the BPO in the music of Michael Jackson and Earth Wind and Fire.

With all these concerts around Western New York, the BPO has not forgotten its home base on Symphony Circle. A miniseries of three concerts, called “Summer Nights @ the BPO,” takes place there, with food trucks handy.

The first, July 17, “Rising Stars of the Stradivari Society,” is in Kleinhans Music Hall. It spotlights the priceless violins owned by Buffalo couple Clement and Karen Arrison, who lend the instruments to up-and-coming musicians through the intervention of Chicago’s Stradivari Society. The concert will feature the “Ex-Kiesewetter” Stradivarius in the hands of the young German violinist Augustin Hadelich, as well as Mayuko Kamio with a 1735 Guarneri del Gesu violin, on loan from an anonymous owner.

Hadelich played with the BPO in spring 2013, when he gave an intense performance of the Brahms violin concerto. This summer’s concert, conducted by Falletta, features music by Sarasate, Bach and Vaughan Williams.

The other two “Summer Nights” concerts are across the street at First Presbyterian Church.

The first of the pair, July 26, is conducted by Stuart Chafetz of the Chautauqua Symphony and celebrates Garden Walk, a growing Buffalo tradition. Food trucks and folk groups will be on hand. The second concert, Aug. 1, is a celebration of jazz conducted by Bradley Thachuk of Symphony Niagara and featuring saxophonist Bobby Militello.

There are traditional treats. The orchestra is playing the Ellicottville Summer Music Festival on July 5, and returns to the M&T Plaza Lunch series July 29, with Paul Ferington on the podium. Ferington also leads the orchestra July 3, in the popular concert at Coca-Cola Field that follows the Bisons game and ends with fireworks.

Rounding out the season is a surprise.

Falletta and the orchestra have been invited to perform at Princeton University in Princeton, N.J., where they will give the world premiere of a flute concerto by Mark Laycock. The soloist is Jasmine Choi, whom Korea Times has dubbed “the goddess of the flute.” The concert also includes Dvorak’s Carnival Overture and Brahms’ Symphony No. 2.

Here is the complete summer lineup:

July 1, 8 p.m.: Knox Farm State Park, East Aurora. Free.

July 3, 10 p.m.: Independence Eve with the Bisons, Coca-Cola Field. Tickets available at

July 5, 8 p.m.: Ellicottville Summer Music Festival. Tickets available at

July 18, 7 p.m.: Rising Stars of the Stradivari Society, Kleinhans Music Hall ($19-$49).

July 19, 8 p.m.: Doctors of the World Orchestra, Kleinhans Music Hall ($25).

July 23, 8 p.m.: Seventh Annual Midsummer Celebration, Princeton University ($35-$55). Call (609) 258-9220.

July 26, 7 p.m.: Garden Walk Celebration, First Presbyterian Church, 1 Symphony Circle ($19-$49).

July 29, noon: M&T Plaza Lunch series. Free.

Aug. 1, 7 p.m.: Bobby Militello, First Presbyterian Church, 1 Symphony Circle ($19-$49).

Aug. 6, 8 p.m.: “American Voices,” Erie County Fair. Free.

Aug. 7, 6 p.m.: The Music of Earth, Wind & Fire and Michael Jackson, Canalside Buffalo. Free.

Aug. 9, 8 p.m.: Old Fort Niagara, Youngstown. ($25 for adults; $10 children; $60 for family four-packs, all including admission to concert and Fort.)

Unless otherwise noted, for information and tickets, call 885-5000 or visit


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