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The not-to-miss event of the summer: enLIGHTen will illuminate the Richardson Olmsted Towers on Friday, July 28

In celebration of the first completed phase of development, and to show their gratitude for the community’s support, the Richardson Olmsted Campus is collaborating with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra to host an open air concert on the South Lawn of the Richardson Campus, Friday, July 28 beginning at 9 p.m.

The event titled, “enLIGHTen” was announced in May. After years of neglect, the campus is experiencing a renaissance. The title of the event is a clever play on “enlightenment” and “enlighten,” meaning to illuminate. Buffalo Rising has closely followed the stabilization and redevelopment efforts of the 145-year-old Richardson Olmsted Campus for almost a decade, so when we found out that this event was happening, we immediately called to ask how we could be apart of this once-in-a-lifetime event and were warmly welcomed aboard as a media sponsor.

Recently, Buffalo Rising reporter, Adam Boyd sat down with JoAnn Falletta, internationally celebrated Conductor and Music Director of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra to talk about enLIGHTen. Watch the video below to hear JoAnn Faletta describe the event:

Produced by @PhotographyByNico

The event on July 28, features an outdoor concert performed by the BPO on the renewed South Lawn of the Richardson Olmsted Campus. A light show created by Projex, under the artistic direction of Keith Harrington, will be projected onto the front and left side of the Towers Building. “For this program, PROJEX will use the latest light mapping technology to transform the historic Richardson with vivid visuals and lighting, while highlighting its architectural elements and the history of the Campus.”

Stefan Sanders will be conducting the concert which will spotlight the historical function of the Richardson as a “place of healing by featuring music by famous composers who lived with mental illness and created great works, including Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, and Handel, among others, brilliant displays of color, images, and light will trace the history of the Richardson and reflect the music being performed.” The event is FREE and open to the public.

The BPO’s performance was made possible through a Regional Economic Development Council Arts Implementation grant from the New York State Council for the Arts with additional support from the Ralph C. Wilson Legacy Funds at the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo, Iroquois Bar Corporation and National Grid.

According to the Richardson Olmsted Campus, the site is being transformed into “a cultural amenity for the city. Key features of a massive rehabilitation and adaptive reuse project began in 2017 with Hotel Henry Urban Resort Conference Center and the Lipsey Buffalo Architecture Center in the iconic Towers Building and two flanking buildings (about one third of the campus). Future phases of renovation and landscape improvements are continuing and will be directed by the nonprofit Richardson Center Corporation.”

The main building was completed in the late 1800s as the Buffalo State Asylum for the Insane and was designed by one of America’s premier architects, “Henry Hobson Richardson, in concert with the famed landscape team of Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux, over the years, as mental health treatment changed and resources were diverted, the buildings and grounds began a slow deterioration.”

Click here for more information on the behind-the-scenes tours that are currently being offered.

A special thank you to the BPO for providing the music featured in the above video, which is the final movement of Antonin Dvorak’s New World Symphony (formal title: Symphony No. 9 in E minor, Op. 95, “From the New World”) , conducted by JoAnn Falletta and performed and recorded by the BPO in 2012 for the Beau Fleuve house label.

(Fun side note: We learned from the BPO that this selection served as the inspiration for the “Jaws” theme).

enLIGHTen will be held Friday, July 28 @ 9 p.m. at the Richardson Olmsted Campus.

“enLIGHTen will spotlight the history of the Richardson as a place of healing and innovative treatment. It will feature music by famous composers who lived with mental illness and created astounding music, often finding healing properties in their work.”


  • HANDEL, Overture from Music for the Royal Fireworks
  • TCHAIKOVSKY, Valse from  Swan Lake, Op. 20a
  • SATIE / Debussy,Gymnopédie No. 1
  • BERLIOZ, Roman Carnival Overture
  • SCHUMANN, Movement 1 from Symphony No.3 in E-flat major, Op. 97 “Rhenish”
  • RACHMANINOFF, Vocalise, Op. 34, No. 14
  • BEETHOVEN, Movement 1 from Symphony No. 5 in C minor, Op. 67
  • MAHLER, Adagietto from Symphony No. 5 in C-sharp minor
  • MUSSORGSKY / Ravel, Selections from Pictures at an Exhibition, The Hut of Baba Yaga, The Great Gate of Kiev

You can enjoy the show from the renewed South Lawn of the historic Richardson Olmsted Campus located at 444 Forest Avenue. Enter at Forest Ave and Richmond.

enLIGHTen is free and open to the public. Bring your own blanket or lawn chairs and pick your favorite spot. Seating is open. The light show will be projected onto the front and left side of the Towers Building. Pick a spot where you can see both sides for the best view of the show.

Parking for enLIGHTen is available at Buffalo State College in any lot OR travel via Lyft and Uber!

For safety reasons, pets will not be admitted. Bikes must be locked outside of the gates to the event. Folding chairs, strollers, coolers and picnics are welcome. All bags are subject to inspection. Click here for a more complete list of restricted and prohibited items.

For more event details please visit

This content was produced in collaboration between Buffalo Rising and our sponsor, The enLIGHTen Event Committee. The facts and opinions published in Buffalo Rising express solely the thoughts and opinions of our respective authors.

Written by Jessica Marinelli

Jessica Marinelli

Jessica Marinelli is a WNY native, born and raised in the Lincoln Park area of Tonawanda. She has been involved in local politics from an early age and is currently a Tonawanda Democratic Committee Member. As an avid equestrian and animal-lover, she trained and re-homed over 40 horses. For over a decade, she was an event planner with the law firm, Hodgson Russ LLP, and now owns her own marketing and event management company. She has worked with international and national organizations on large and small scale events. Jessica writes on politics and local events, as well as working with Buffalo Rising as a social reporter.

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