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Buffalo Chamber Players, a BPO offshoot, kicks off their 13th season in a “new” venue

It’s happening! Just as the theater season kicked off last weekend with “Curtain Up!” the classical music season is taking off. In fact, tonight, Wednesday, September 25 at 7:30 pm, just four days after the Buffalo Philharmonic Opening opening night gala concert, the Buffalo Chamber Players, a small super-dedicated group of BPO performers, kicks off their own 2019-2020 concert season in their “new” digs at Kleinhans Music Hall.

“New?” Don’t these folks practically live at KMH? Well, after four very successful years in residence at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, the ensemble is moving to the Mary Seaton Room at Kleinhans during the AK’s closure for its two-year “AK360” renovation and expansion. And there’s 360 degrees of good news all around.

First off, except for the Buffalo Chamber Music Society’s Tuesday night series, and the pre-concert events for the BPO, the beautiful and acoustically perfect Mary Seaton Room is under-utilized, especially on Wednesday nights. Acoustically perfect? Yes, because it’s all wood, the same substance as most of the BCP’s instruments, and, what can I say? It works.

Another reason is muscle memory. People who know classical music know Kleinhans. The same performing group, playing different nights, one night at Kleinhans, and one, say, across town, can get up to four times the attendance at “the mother ship.”

And yet another reason that this is good news is something you might not know. Orchestra musicians love to play chamber music (small ensembles such as duets, trios, quartets, and such). Self-directed, with often only one player to a part, it revives their souls. Not that they don’t love their orchestra gigs, but that’s a whole different job. Hey, even JoAnn Falletta loves to play chamber music (and has joined her peeps in the Buffalo Chamber Players in the past).

And she’s a fan: “The Buffalo Chamber Players is a most welcome addition to the cultural scene in our region. A vibrant and diverse group of extremely talented musicians, they bring palpable excitement, creativity and passion to their performances, and are a breath of fresh musical air in Western New York.”

So, what’s in store tonight?

The well-loved classical crossover fiddler/composer Mark O’Connor’s “F.C.’s Jig for violin and cello” will open.

Then, Caroline Mallonée’s “When I Am Dead” for soprano and harpsichord will showcase another interesting work by a Buffalo composer whose works have been recorded by the BPO. And, it will be chance for “the harpsichord” to come back home to Kleinhans, where it was discovered deep in the basement by BCP Artistic Director Janz Castelo, who oversaw a fund-raising campaign to get it repaired.

Many have heard the name Niccolò Paganini and the story that his talent came from a bargain he made with the devil. What you may not know is that Paganini was an avid guitarist, played constantly, and, along with his fiddle, carried his guitar with him wherever he went. Tonight we’ll hear an interesting “Terzetto Concertante for viola, cello, and guitar” featuring Ricardo Saeb, director of the Hispani Heritage Council Guitar Initiative. So all you guitar pickers, you might want to check this out.

While the BCP typically branches out and introduces their appreciative audience to little known works, they also rock the classics.

And, while the BCP typically branches out and introduces their appreciative audience to little known works, they also rock the classics, and will wrap up tonight’s program with Johannes Brahms’ “String Quintet in F Major, op. 88”.

As in all BCP concerts, the connection between the works and the rest of the BCP season will be made clear from the stage by the ensemble’s artistic director and resident raconteur, BPO violist Janz Castelo. Says Castelo, “We are thrilled to bring our music to the Mary Seaton Room at Kleinhans. The venue has a prestigious history of hosting the finest national and international chamber musicians and we are honored to join and continue this tradition of musical excellence.”

Season subscriptions for the Buffalo Chamber Players series at Kleinhans are $90 for the four concerts. Individual concert tickets are $25/$5 for students. Tickets can be purchased online at www.buffalochamberplayers.org or in person at the Kleinhans box office.

Kleinhans Music Hall is located at “3 Symphony Circle” Buffalo, 14201 where Porter Avenue, Richmond Avenue, North Street and Wadsworth meet at a traffic circle.

Written by Peter Hall

Peter Hall

Peter Hall continues trying to figure out how "it" all works. For 20 years, as program host on Classical 94.5 WNED and continuing on-stage with the Buffalo Chamber Music Society, he's conducted over 1,000 interviews with artists as he asks them to explain, in layman's terms, "what's the big picture here?"

As mentioned recently in Buffalo Spree magazine, Peter's "Buffalo Rising reviews are the no-holds barred 'everyman's' take." And, on “Theater Talk” (heard Friday mornings at 6:45 and 8:45 a.m. on WBFO 88.7 FM and Saturday afternoons at 5:55 p.m. on Classical 94.5 WNED) his favorite question of co-host Anthony Chase is simply "What's goin' on?"

A member of Buffalo's Artie Awards Committee, Peter holds a B.A. in Comparative Literature from Columbia University and an M.B.A. from SUNY at Buffalo. For over twenty-five years he has been an adjunct professor for Canisius College’s Richard J. Wehle School of Business.

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