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The classical music scene hits a high note in the summer

Summer invites us to slow down and take in the finer things in life. In other words, it invites us to seek out classical music. Options abound.

The Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra has a rich summer season. JoAnn Falletta is conducting the BPO at the Shaw Festival, and Stefan Sanders is leading the BPO at Artpark in a tribute to John Williams. In the dog days of July, seek refuge in air-conditioned Kleinhans Music Hall for two nights of classics, one of Baroque music, one of Mozart. Or, for no cost, pack a picnic and head out to one of the orchestra’s many free concerts in the parks.

And for the adventurous, the Chautauqua Institution has a colorful season planned. The historic Amphitheatre will play host to a new oratorio by a composer who fuses classical music and hip-hop, and Wynton Marsalis is going to be in residence for a week, helping with rehearsals of his new violin concerto.

Let the summer music begin.

Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra

Here is the complete schedule in chronological order. Unless otherwise indicated, information and tickets may be had by calling 885-5000 or visiting

• 7 p.m. June 30: Elmwood Village Summer Concert Series at Elmwood Avenue and Bidwell Parkway. Free.

• 6 p.m. July 3: Paul Ferington conducts the BPO in the traditional post-Buffalo Bisons performance.

• 8 p.m. July 4: As part of the Ellicottville Summer Music Festival, the BPO plays a pops concert with patriotic music and music from “Star Wars.” Fireworks follow. Tickets are $35 and $25 until June 21, and kids 12 and under are admitted free. Find tickets at, or call (800) 349-9099 or 699-5046.

• 6 p.m. July 5: Free concert at Niawanda Park, Tonawanda.

• Noon July 7: The BPO makes its always-anticipated annual appearance at M&T Plaza downtown. Free.

• 7 p.m. July 9: Free concert at Knox Farm State Park, East Aurora. A fundraiser is being held concurrently for the Friends of Knox Farm. Tickets to the fundraiser are $100 and ticket holders will receive preferred parking, reserved seating and open bar. For fundraiser tickets, visit

• 7 p.m. July 11: At Artpark, BPO Associate Conductor Stefan Sanders conducts a tribute to movie composer John Williams, including music from “Jaws,” “Jurassic Park,” “Harry Potter” and “Star Wars.”

• 6 p.m. July 12: The BPO, along with Crazy Fingers, headlines a festival of Grateful Dead music at Artpark that begins at 2 p.m. and takes place on three stages. Also playing over the course of the day will be the bluegrass/Dead band the Grass is Dead, as well as local bands Savannah and the Kings, the Growlers, Hayden Fogle and the Ambassadors and the Maniacs. Tickets are $12; a VIP ticket is $39 and includes reserved seating and “access to a dedicated bar.”

• 7 p.m. July 15: Free concert in Clarence Town Park, Clarence.

• 7 p.m. July 16: At Canalside, the BPO performs an All-Star Tribute to Stevie Wonder. The concert, which features Critt’s Juke Joint, is free.

• 7:30 p.m. July 20: JoAnn Falletta leads the BPO at the Shaw Festival in Rossini’s Overture to “The Barber of Seville”; Tchaikovsky’s “Souvenirs d’un lieu Cher”; Rodrigo’s “Concerto de Aranjuez”; and Mozart’s “Prague” Symphony. Tickets on sale at

• 7 p.m. July 24: Summer Nights @ Kleinhans begins with Sanders conducting “Baroque and Blues” – Bach, Vivaldi and Handel along with a craft beer tasting. Soloists include BPO cellists Amelie Fradette and David Schmude.

• 7 p.m. July 25: “Mozart and Mingle,” the concluding concert of Summer Nights @ Kleinhans, features Emily Helenbrook singing Mozart arias. Sanders also conducts movements from Mozart symphonies and Haydn’s “Toy” Symphony.

• 8 p.m. July 26: At Old Fort Niagara, the BPO performs a concert that winds up with fireworks and includes the traditional Tchaikovsky “1812 Overture” as well as marches, music from “West Side Story” and “The Sound of Music,” and a special Buffalo favorite, Khachaturian’s “Sabre Dance.” Tickets are $25 (students $10) and include admission to the fort. A family four-pack is $60, including two adults and two students.

The Roycroft Chamber Festival

This festival, led by pianist Eugene Gaub and his wife, violinist Nancy McFarland Gaub, involves a roster of prominent musicians, many from the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra. Concerts are at St. Matthias Episcopal Church, at the corner of Main and Maple streets, East Aurora. Tickets are $20 at the door. Advance tickets are $15 and are sold in East Aurora at the Roycroft Inn, East Aurora’s Tops Market, the Elm Street Bakery and the Copper Shop.

• 7 p.m. Sunday: Music by Benjamin Houge, as well as Fauré’s Sonata in A for Violin and Piano and Mendelssohn’s Quintet in B Flat, Op. 87.

• 8 p.m. Friday: Mozart’s Piano Quartet in G Minor, K. 478, Stravinsky’s “A Soldier’s Tale.”

• 8 p.m. Saturday: Schubert’s Sonatina in A Minor for Violin and Piano; Debussy’s Piano Trio, and Dvorak’s Piano Quintet, Op. 81.

Bach & Beyond

Now celebrating its 20th anniversary, Bach & Beyond presents baroque-themed concerts at the Fredonia Opera House. Join conductor Grant Cooper and selected musicians an hour before every concert for a 30-minute conversation in the second-floor conference room of the adjoining Village Hall.

• 8 p.m. Friday: Music of Corelli, Handel, Bach and Biber, as well as Four Canzonas by Douglas Lilburn and Grant Cooper’s “Homage to Bach.”

• 8 p.m. Saturday: Biber’s “Battalia,” in addition to music of Telemann, Bach, Haydn, Giovanni Pandolfi and Zara Simon-Ogan. Also Rob Deemer’s “The Night Watch,” commissioned for the anniversary year.

• 3 p.m. next Sunday: Bach’s Chorale Prelude in B minor, Suite in C, BWV 1009, and Cantata BWV 199, as well as Schubert’s Symphony No. 5.

A subscription to all three concerts is $51. Individual tickets are $20. Subscription ticket holders receive an invitation to a reception with the musicians following the Sunday performance.

For tickets and info call the box office, 679-1891.

The Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra

Bulgarian-born conductor Rossen Milanov is the new music director of the Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra, and conducts the following concerts unless otherwise noted. Also new this year is a series called “Into the Music,” in which music will be discussed as well as performed. Concerts take place unless otherwise noted at 8:15 p.m. in the Amphitheatre of the historic Chautauqua Institution. For information visit or call 357-6250.

• July 2: Alexander Gavrylyuk is the piano soloist in Rachmaninoff’s “Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini.” Also, Berlioz’s “Symphonie Fantastique,” and Christopher Theofanidis’ “Rainbow Body,” inspired by Buddhist traditions and the chants of St. Hildegard von Bingen.

• July 4: Independence Day Pops, conducted by Stuart Chafetz, who also serves as the CSO’s timpanist.

• July 7: Gavrylyuk returns to assist Milanov in an “Into the Music” concert exploring Moussorgsky’s “Pictures at an Exhibition.”

• July 9: Haitian composer, violinist and bandleader Daniel Bernard Roumain, known for melding classical music with rock and hip-hop, is the guest artist for featuring his own oratorio “Meditations on Raising Boys,” written with librettist Marc Bamuthi Joseph and commissioned by the Chautauqua Institution. Also, Joan Tower’s “Fanfare For the Uncommon Woman” and Rimsky-Korsakov’s “Scheherezade.”

• July 16: Violinist Brian Reagin is soloist in a concert including music from “Schindler’s List”; Stravinsky’s “The Firebird”; and Peter Boyer’s “Ellis Island,” with Andrew Borba as stage director.

• July 23: Stravinsky’s “Dumbarton Oaks”; Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7; and Schumann’s Piano Concerto, with Robert Plano as soloist.

• July 25: Carl Orff’s “Carmina Burana,” directed by Marty W. Merkley, in collaboration with the Charlotte Ballet, Buffalo Philharmonic Chorus, Rochester Oratorio Society and Chautauqua School of Dance. Performance repeats August 15.

• July 28: Violinist Reagin is the soloist in an “Into the Music” concert exploring the genius of Mozart.

• July 30: Karina Canellakis conducts a concert including Wagner’s overture to “Tannhäuser,” and Schumann’s “Rhenish” Symphony. Tim Fain is the soloist in Barber’s Violin Concerto.

• Aug. 1: Cellist Amit Peled plays Shostakovich’s Cello Concerto No. 2. Also, Sibelius’ “Pohjola’s Daughter” and Brahms’ Symphony No. 4.

• Aug. 6: Pianist Antonii Baryshevskyi plays Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No. 2. Also, Tchaikovsky’s “Little Russian” Symphony and Anna Clyne’s “Masquerade.”

• Aug. 8: Stuart Chafetz conducts a pops concert features the Chautauqua Opera Young Artists.

• Aug. 9, 2:30 p.m.: A special matinee concert is designated “Audience’s Choice.”

• Aug. 13: Case Scaglione conducts Giovanni Bottesini’s Concerto for Double Bass, with Owen Lee as soloist. Also, Kodaly’s “Hary Janos” Suite and Dvorak’s Symphony No. 6.

• Aug. 15: Repeat performance of Orff’s “Carmina Burana.” See July 25.

• Aug. 18: Soprano Dawn Upshaw sings the music of Osvaldo Golijov in this “Into the Music” concert. Also, Kodaly’s “Dances of Galanta.”

• August 20: Horacio Gutiérrez is the piano soloist in Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 4. Also, Borodin’s “In the Steppes of Central Asia” and Prokofiev’s Symphony No. 5.

• Aug. 22: Violinist Nicola Benedetti is the soloist of a preview performance of a violin concerto by Wynton Marsalis. Also, Ginastera’s “Variaciones Concertantes” and Ravel’s “La Valse.” Cristian Macelaru is guest conductor.

• Aug. 25: Macelaru returns to conduct Respighi’s “The Fountains of Rome”; Sibelius’ Symphony No. 1; and Chausson’s “Poème de l’amour et de la mer,” with mezzo-soprano Sasha Cooke as soloist.

Chautauqua Chamber Music

The Logan Chamber Music Series presents concerts in Lenna Hall on the Chautauqua Institution grounds. Concerts are at 4 p.m. Admission is free with gate pass.

• June 29: The Rose Ensemble, vocalists based in St. Paul, Minn., performs “Land of Three Faiths,” a program of music from medieval Spain and the Mediterranean.

• July 6: Music School Faculty Quartet.

• July 13: The Vienna Piano Trio, known for music from the German and Austrian traditions.

• July 20: The Chautauqua Quartet.

• July 27: The Chautauqua Chamber Winds.

• Aug. 3: The Ahn Trio, a classical/crossover sister act.

• Aug. 10: Musette Explosion, an ensemble specializing in French musette music.

• Aug. 17: PUBLIQuartet, a crossover group with jazz, world and electro-acoustic influences.

• Aug. 24: The Telegraph Quartet, a Bay Area group known for both Mozart and modern music.

For tickets or info, visit or call 357-6250.


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