In light of ongoing New York State restrictions for live music venues, the BPO recently announced its plans to move forward with the 2020-2021 season virtually. The orchestra will offer its patrons video-streamed concerts in place of live performances at Kleinhans Music Hall through the holidays while they monitor the pandemic situation and look to create alternative programs that would adhere to social distancing guidelines for 2021.
The orchestra plans to use state-of-the-art video and audio recording technology in order to offer their audience members at home the closest thing to being in the seats at Kleinhans: “BPOnDemand.” The BPO will broadcast the shows at 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday evenings and will keep them available on demand for a short time afterward for ticket holders to enjoy. Current subscribers to the BPO will be able to stream these performances for free. One can also purchase a ticket to an individual performance to view it via BPOnDemand.
“Working with our audio and video experts, we are certain that we will be able to present the next best option to live performances—streamed video performances that make use of the magical acoustics of Kleinhans and also provide a rarely seen up-close-and-personal perspective on the concert experience with our incredible musicians,” said JoAnn Falletta, music director, “but the musicians and I still hold hope that we will be able to perform for live audiences soon.”
Additionally, the BPO had to make some changes to its concert schedule in order to accommodate a reduction in the number of performers in the orchestra (to adhere to social distancing requirements). However, proceeding with this streamed performance plan for the fall and holiday shows allows all 73 of their musicians to remain employed and playing for their beloved patrons during this pandemic. They will attempt to re-engage with their guest performers later on in the season, and the performances scheduled for January-June 2021 currently remain as scheduled until further notice.
Those who subscribed to the 2020-2021 season and purchased tickets to a concert between September and December 2020 will have their tickets converted to a “FLEX pass” which can be used for a live performance once the BPO returns to Kleinhans. BPO Box Office staff will be contacting subscribers to discuss how they prefer to enjoy the BPO this season.
Those interested in purchasing a ticket to a single BPOnDemand performance can do so beginning Sept. 1, 2020 by visiting bpo.org. For those who are still interested in subscribing to the BPO’s 2020-2021 season, FLEX Packs are available for purchase, which offers the option to subscribe now and choose your concerts later. This subscription also includes access to BPOnDemand shows in the fall and winter.
Those with questions may call the Box Office at (716) 885-5000. Their staff are working remotely and are available Monday-Friday from 10:00 a.m to 5:00 p.m. and Saturday 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
See below for the revised schedule for the 2020-21 BPO Season, including Classics and Pops fall and holiday concert programming:
A Celebration of the Seasons
A theme of joyful rebirth takes center stage as JoAnn Falletta conducts the opening of the BPO season. Copland’s Appalachian Spring, an enduring portrait of the American landscape, and Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons, an exquisite musical narrative of nature’s seasons played by concertmaster Nikki Chooi and set to a visual display of Vivaldi’s poetry, are paired with a contemporary work, Starburst by Jessie Montgomery, a past finalist of the national Sphinx Competition for young Black and Latinx classical string players.
Love & Longing
Two works originally composed for keyboard and later transcribed for orchestra, Bach’s Concerto for Piano and Orchestra in D is a virtuosic display of technique and interpretation played by principal pianist for the New York Philharmonic, Eric Huebner, while Grieg’s Holberg Suite invokes dancing rhythms. Dvořák’s Serenade for Winds, Op. 44 in D was composed in only two weeks, capturing the lyrical and lively flavor of his native Bohemia. JoAnn Falletta conducts.
Tartan & Tango
Intoxicating Spanish rhythms highlight the performance by hometown favorite, guitarist Jason Vieaux, in this program conducted by JoAnn Falletta featuring two tangos from Argentinean master Astor Piazzolla: Las Cuatro Estaciones Porteñas (The Four Seasons of Buenos Aires) and Libertango. Combined with Puccini’s Crisantemi, a poignant and dramatic elegy for a fallen friend, and the beauty and yearning for the Highlands in Bantock’s Celtic Symphony, this program expresses a full range of emotion.
A String Serenade
As the first African American to be awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Music (1996), it is fitting that George Walker’s Lyric for Strings is included on a program of works brimming with inspiration. Mozart’s Wind Serenade No. 11 K. 375 is pleasingly playful yet heartfelt, Handel’s Harp Concerto No. 6, played by principal harpist Madeline Olson, lends the harp a delicate magic, and Bach’s Air is celestial with the instantly-recognizable second movement of his Baroque masterpiece. JoAnn Falletta conducts.
Bach, Beethoven & Beyond
Two early 20th century composers have grand masters to thank in this classic program conducted by JoAnn Falletta. Beethoven’s Septet led to increased early fame for the young composer. The extraordinary and familiar Brandenburg Concerto No. 3 by J.S. Bach was an inspiration for Stravinsky’s Dumbarton Oaks, and Respighi’s Ancient Airs and Dances Suite No. 3 was influenced by Baroque-era Italian works.
Streaming Dec. 12, 7 p.m.
Baroque takes center stage as JoAnn Falletta conducts Handel’s Music for the Royal Fireworks with its iconic and lavish score, Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 6, and Marcello’s Oboe Concerto in C minor played by principal oboist Henry Ward, which echoes the lyricism of an aria. Your BPO brass plays an exciting work by the influential 16th century organist Giovanni Gabrieli, and Wagner’s Siegfried Idyll, a delicate musical love letter to his new wife on her Christmas birthday, complete this Baroque program.
JoAnn’s Classical Christmas
Streaming Sat. Dec. 15, 7 p.m.
BPO musicians highlight our annual offering when Sal Andolina presents a special saxophone rendition of holiday favorites, and the BPO Brass shine in Darin Kelly’s Of Nights and Lights, a sparkling Hanukkah composition. Perennial classics including selections from Menotti’s Amahl and the Night Visitors, Respighi’s “The Adoration of the Magi,” Vaughan-Williams Fantasia on Greensleeves, and more bring the spirit of the season to life.
The Pops season opens with the new generation of Broadway stars along with Buffalo’s Second Generation Theatre Company, as Principal Pops Conductor John Morris Russell conducts beloved musical theatre favorites including classics from Rogers and Hammerstein, Bernstein and Andrew Lloyd Webber to Kander and Ebb, Schwartz and Miranda. An evening of song and celebration!
That Studio Sound: Jazz Classics for Lovers
From the famed recording studios at Capitol Records in Los Angeles, arranger Nelson Riddle and the biggest singing sensations of the era created a body of work that defines the cool sophistication of popular jazz in the 1950s and 60s. The BPO brings arrangements of classics by Gershwin, Porter and Jobim, recorded by the likes of Frank, Nat, and Ella, back to life in all their original splendor with Buffalo crooners Katy Miner and Chris Vasquez. A romantic evening of sultry swing
From Hollywood horror, chilling orchestral classics and creepy musical tales, you’ll be spellbound by the magic of your BPO. Music from Psycho, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and autumnal favorites weave together an enchanted night of thrills and chills.
A Brass Act
Thrill to the power and majesty of the BPO Brass as they perform popular classics, from splendid fanfares and marches, to ragtime and jazz. A jamboree of musical styles from the world over that will be glorious, tuneful, irreverent, and fun. You won’t want to miss a beat!
John Morris Russell’s Holiday Pops
Streaming Sat. Dec. 22, 7:00 p.m.
Celebrate the holidays with “Mr. Christmas” himself, Maestro John Morris Russell, with festive Pops favorites from your BPO! It’s Western New York’s most celebrated holiday tradition with an eclectic variety of seasonal music from popular song, film, musical theatre, gospel and jazz. As heartwarming as it is fun, it’s a concert for everyone, featuring guest appearances by soulful Buffalo singers Zoe Scruggs and George Brown and maybe even the “man with the bag” himself… if you’re nice!
All artists and repertoire are subject to change. For more information on the performance options for the 2020-2021 season, visit www.bpo.org.
This content is part of a sponsored series in partnership with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra.