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19, no, 20 trivia facts to kick off the BPO concert season

Fall is an exciting time for the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra as it prepares to dive into a brand new season. The 2019-2020 lineup celebrates a diversity of artists and styles, featuring everything from violin concertos to ragtime to doo wop and everyone from Marvin Hamlisch to Aretha Franklin.

The Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra was established in 1935, and as you can imagine there are endless stories and events in the archives. Working with renowned guest artists each year enriches the BPO’s story. Take a peek at some of the fascination with this upcoming season, featuring some trivia about the composers and performers behind the music.

Favorites & Friends: A Celebration of 20 Years of JoAnn Falletta

September 21, 2019 at 8:00 p.m.

Kleinhans Music Hall

Did you know…

JoAnn Falletta was the first woman to lead a major U.S. symphony orchestra.


Canadian Superstar James Ehnes

October 5, 2019 at 8:00 p.m.

October 6, 2019 at 2:30 p.m.

Kleinhans Music Hall

Did you know…

James Ehnes began violin studies at the age of four, became a protégé of the noted Canadian violinist Francis Chaplin at age nine, made his orchestral debut with Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal at age 13, and graduated from The Juilliard School in 1997, winning the Peter Mennin Prize for Outstanding Achievement and Leadership in Music.


The Paul Simon Songbook

October 12, 2019 at 8:00 p.m.

Kleinhans Music Hall

Did you know…

Graceland was Paul Simon’s bestselling album, released on August 25, 1986.


Danny Elfman’s Violin Concerto

October 18, 2019 at 10:30 a.m.

October 19, 2019 at 8:00 p.m.

Kleinhans Music Hall

Did you know…

Danny Elfman composed the theme song to The Simpsons. Edward Scissorhands, the Nightmare Before Christmas, and the 1989 Batman film score.


Byron’s Ragtime Jazz

October 26, 2019 at 8:00 p.m.

Kleinhans Music Hall

Did you know…

Byron Stripling was enrolled at the highly acclaimed Eastman School of Music in Rochester, NY, with plans to become a classical trumpeter.


Max Valdes’ Tour of Europe

November 15, 2019 at 10:30 a.m.

November 16, 2019 at 8:00 p.m.

Did you know…

Max Valdes of Santiago, Chile was the BPO conductor from 1987-1998, he established per-concert lectures as a BPO maestro tradition. Pre-concert lectures start one hour before Classics Concerts.


Classical Sax ft. Tony McAllister

December 7, 2019 at 8:00 p.m.

December 8, 2019 at 2:30 p.m.

Kleinhans Music Hall

Did you know…

At the 61st Grammy Awards, JoAnn Falletta won a Grammy for Best Classical Compendium for the recording of “Fuchs: Piano Concerto ‘Spiritualist’; Poems Of Life; Glacier; Rush.” Timothy McAllister was the soloist featured for Rush for Alto Saxophone.


Home Alone in Concert

December 11, 2019 at 7:00 p.m.

Kleinhans Music Hall

Did you know…

John Williams has composed the music and served as music director for over one hundred films. He composed the score for the 1990 film Home Alone.


A Midsummer Night’s Dream in Collaboration with Irish Classical Theatre

Starring Vincent O’Neill as Theseus/Oberon

January 17, 2020 at 8:00 p.m.

January 18, 2020 at 8:00 p.m.

January 19, 2020 at 2:30 p.m.

Kleinhans Music Hall

Did you know…

In 1990 Brothers Vincent O’Neill and the late Chris O’Neill co-founded the Irish Classical Theatre Company along with Josephine Hogan and the late Dr. James Warde.


RESPECT: A Tribute to Aretha Franklin

February 1, 2020 at 8:00 p.m.

Kleinhans Music Hall

Did you know…

Aretha Franklin’s father led the Friendship Baptist Church on Buffalo’s East Side before permanently relocating to Detroit, where Aretha first sang during church services at age 10.


Nobody Does It Better: The Music of Marvin Hamlisch

February 14, 2020 at 10:30 a.m.

February 15, 2020 at 8:00 p.m.

Kleinhans Music Hall

Did you know…

Marvin Hamlish was the BPO Pops conductor 2000-05. He is one of the 15 people in the world to win an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar & Tony Award (EGOT).


High Octane Classics

February 21, 2020 at 10:30 a.m.

February 22, 2020 at 8:00 p.m.

Kleinhans Music Hall

Did you know…

Composer Jennifer Higdon won a Pulitzer Prize in 2010 for her Violin Concerto, with the committee citing the work as “a deeply engaging piece that combines flowing lyricism with dazzling virtuosity.”


The Music of the Grateful Dead

February 25, 2020 at 7:30 p.m.

Kleinhans Music  Hall

Did you know…

The Grateful Dead’s legendary performance at Kleinhans Music Hall happened 50 years ago on Tuesday, March 17, 1970 with all the original members.


The Doo Wop Project

March 27, 2020 at 10:30 a.m.

March 28, 2020 at 8:00 p.m.

Kleinhans Music  Hall

Did you  know…

One of the Doo Wop Project creators, Dominic Scaglione Jr. is well known for his role as Frankie Valli in Jersey Boys on Broadway.


Portraits of England

Ms. Gemma New conducts Portraits of England

April 3, 2020 at 10:30 a.m.

April 4, 2020 at 8:00 p.m.

Kleinhans Music Hall

Did you know…

Gemma New became the conductor for the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra in 2015.


Jefferson Starship

April 24, 2020 at 8:00 p.m.

Kleinhans Music Hall

Did you know…

Jefferson Starship released eight gold and platinum selling albums and twenty hit singles, between 1974 and 1984.


Leslie Odom, Jr.

April 25, 2020 at 8:00 p.m.

Kleinhans Music Hall

Did you know…

Leslie Odom, Jr starred as ‘Burr’ in the sold out run of Hamilton at New York’s Public theatre in 2015.


Carnival of the Animals

May 3, 2020 at 2:30 p.m.

Kleinhans Music Hall

Did you know…

Buffalo Native and playwright Jon Elston, co-founder of Road Less Traveled Productions, interpreted Saint-Saens’ classic Carnival of the Animals with Buffalo-inspired poems.


Beethoven’s Pastoral

May 1, 2020 at 10:30 a.m.

May 2, 2020 at 8:00 p.m.

Beethoven’s Triumph

May 9, 2020 at 8:00 p.m.

May 10, 2020 at 2:30 p.m.

Kleinhans Music Hall

Did you know…

The first official concert the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra performed was Beethoven’s Egmont Overture on November 7, 1935.


JoAnn Falletta International Guitar Concerto Competition Finals

June 2-6, 2020

Did you know…

The JoAnn Falletta International Guitar Concerto Competition was launched in 2004 by PBS member station WNED and the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra. It was the world’s first concerto competition for classical guitarists with accompaniment by a full symphony orchestra.


The home of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra

Did you know…

The acoustic power of Kleinhans Music Hall can be showcased by a whisper being heard from the stage to the last row of the balcony; a distance of 145 feet!

To learn more about what the BPO has in store for the 2019-2020 season and to purchase event tickets, visit


This sponsored series is produced in partnership with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra.

Written by Sarah Maurer

Sarah Maurer

I moved to Buffalo to attend Canisius College in 2007 and began writing for Buffalo Rising as a journalism intern in 2010. Working with Newell and meeting numerous entrepreneurs, activists and everyday folks who were working to make their city better made a huge impact on my decision to stay here. After witnessing all the positive development and grassroots initiatives happening in neighborhoods throughout the city, I was inspired to pursue a term of service in AmeriCorps and a career in Buffalo's non-profit sector. I currently work in the housing department at the Lt. Col. Matt Urban Human Services Center of WNY and am excited to be a part of their ongoing efforts to revitalize the Broadway Fillmore neighborhood. I also volunteer as the project coordinator for Artfarms Buffalo. I continue to write for Buffalo Rising because I love having the opportunity to stay connected to those working toward positive changes for the Queen City.

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