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Garaud MacTaggart


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The Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra’s most recent program is loaded with music by heavy hitters. There’s Franz Schubert’s “Unfinished” Symphony no. 8, Aaron Copland’s Clarinet Concerto, and Robert Schumann’s second symphony – music from the 19th and 20th centuries that have proved their worth (in varying degrees) over time. Leon Botstein was the guest conductor and has q…

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It’s always interesting when you’re part of an enthusiastic audience, and such was the case for the Postmodern Jukebox (a.k.a. PMJ) concert at the Riviera Theatre on Tuesday night. The excitement generated onstage amped up the attending fan base,  which, to be frank, was already geeked for the show to begin with. For their “Welcome to the Twenties” tour, PMJ could hardl…

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For two days, and over the stretch of two concerts, musical metaphysics reigned in Kleinhans Music Hall. The Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra's current program features works — Alexander Scriabin's “Poem of Ecstasy," or fourth symphony, and Gustav Holst's “The Planets” — that have their philosophical underpinnings in the spiritual worlds of theosophy and astrology. The…

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John Morris Russell, the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra's principal pops conductor, has certainly taken the reins of the orchestra’s Holiday Pops concert with a vengeance. There was so much visible energy to his conducting at the opening performance on Thursday morning in Kleinhans Music Hall, that it is as if he had tapped into a monster quantity of caffeine before bounci…

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Bill Kirchen’s Americana music credentials are impeccable. As a guitarist and seminal member of irreverent hard-core country/rock legends Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen, Kirchen developed a reputation as one of the finest musicians in the genre. He has that “twang” guitar sound and an ingratiating sense of humor that comes through in Kirchen’s between-song patte…

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Every Christmas season finds chestnuts roasting by an open fire and being played in concert. This time JoAnn Falletta, along with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra and Chorus, tossed a slight wrinkle into proceedings and it helped differentiate it from other seasonal offerings they’ve performed in the past. Tchaikovsky’s “Nutcracker” ballet and Handel’s oratorio “Messi…

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The Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra’s December offerings got off to a great start over the weekend by programming a key score from Ludwig van Beethoven’s massive catalog of hits (the Piano Concerto no. 3 in C minor) and pairing it with what is arguably the finest orchestral work by Franz Schubert (his Symphony no. 9 in C major). Pianist Sara Buechner was the featured sol…

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The boldface title in the BPO program said “Paganini’s Violin” and that was appropriate. Even though Antonin Dvorak’s oeuvre contributed two out of the three pieces on Friday night’s concert, his pair of works – the “Carnival Overture” and the Czech composer’s Symphony no. 6 - acted more as a framing device for Nicolo Paganini’s first violin concerto. At one point in…

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The Buffalo Chamber Music Society’s 95th season is upon us and the lineups for its regular concerts (the free “Gift to the Community” programs began last Sunday) look promising. Tuesday evening found the Belcea Quartet taking to the stage in the Mary Seaton Room of Kleinhans Music Hall with an interesting program showcasing its versatility and the well-honed interplay o…

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Andre Rieu’s concert Saturday night wasn’t sold out but, when looking around at the audience in the vastness of the KeyBank Center, it was difficult to see the empty seats. The stage was set and the audience was primed. As Rieu led his Johann Strauss Orchestra down the aisle from the back of the arena, people stood up and cheered. The musicians waved, slapped hands with…

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Lewiston’s jazz gift to the world got underway Friday night with a festival showcasing a broad array of styles and talents. Five stages spread out over a few city blocks meant that jazz fans could weave their way through crowded streets surrounded by music while imbibing, consuming and celebrating summer. Most of the stages were fronted by folding chairs, some brough…

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Sunshine combined with beautiful blue skies, gentle breezes and moderate temperatures to provide a near perfect setting for the fourth of five summer Sunday jazz concerts at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery. While there were folks sitting close to the stage, shade was at a premium and the bulk of the formidable-sized audience sought comfort under the leafy canopy of trees …

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The idea of “contemporary” classical music is a slippery one at times because it embraces a host of stylistic options from the current and popularly accessible to the current and bracingly forward looking. This later approach has driven the June In Buffalo Festival (JIB) - under the guidance of Artistic Director David Felder - for more than 30 years. It’s about music wh…

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If you were looking for Waldo or Dora at the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra's “Star-Spangled Spectacular” performance Friday, chances were slim you’d find them unless you’d made prior arrangements or serendipity was involved. That’s another way of saying Kleinhans Music Hall was a packed house filled with folks primed to hear a musical celebration of Memorial Day and ho…

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Pianist Monty Alexander’s appearance Sunday as part of the Albright-Knox Art Gallery’s “Art of Jazz” series was sold out and anyone who attended the concert could probably rave about it for another week or two. It was that good. Not only is Alexander an incredibly talented pianist, he’s a raconteur of the first order. When his fingers weren’t flying over the keyboard or h…