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BPO Out of the Box at Buffalo River and Grain Elevators

There is no doubt that Buffalo’s grain elevators and silos are a part of the cityscape as much as any other building located downtown. They are a site that can be seen from the skyway, 190 and Lake Erie. Growing up I often associated the smell of Cheerios with them. What people don’t realize is that they played a huge role in Buffalo’s history. Because of Buffalo’s location on Lake Erie and because it was a starting point on the Erie Canal, Buffalo became important in getting grain to eastern cities like New York City, Boston and Philadelphia. Invented in Buffalo in 1842-1843 by merchant Joseph Dart and engineer Robert Dunbar, these grain elevators revolutionized how grain was handled and processed and helped to give Buffalo its beloved moniker “The Queen City.” It is here that the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra will present the second concert in its “Out of the Box” concert series on January 5, 2021.

Industrial and entrepreneurial acumen were hallmarks of Buffalo’s claim to fame throughout the 19th century. One remaining vestige of industrial achievement are the downtown grain elevators on the Buffalo River, a fitting location for a performance of Dvorak’s String Quartet No. 12 in F major, “American.” BPO musicians Nikki Chooi (violin), Antoine Lefebvre (violin), Caroline Gilbert (viola), and Roman Mekinulov (cello), undertake the vibrant and poetic piece symbolic of the times.

2020 has presented many challenges for those in performing arts and no one has overcome those challenges better than the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra. Having to switch to virtual concerts through their BPOnDemand series has allowed both regular ticket holders and newcomers alike to enjoy their beautiful and evocative performances from the comfort of our homes. Beginning December 29 and continuing through January 2021, as part of its BPO Out of the Box: Virtual Version series, they will be offering 4 chamber ensemble performances at 4 of Western New York’s more prominent sites: Graycliff, Buffalo’s Grain Elevator’s and Silos, Frank Lloyd Wright’s Martin House, and Niagara Falls. BPO Out of the Box was originally intended to be a series of live music performances at unique locations however it evolved into safe, socially distanced videotaped performances without live audiences. The series highlights the beauty of our region, showcases the talent of their musicians, recognizes the inspirational and healing power of music, and celebrates the resilient spirit of the City of Good Neighbors. Despite being currently unable to physically “take the show on the road” to unique locations in Western New York or perform in their renowned home, Kleinhans Music Hall, they hope you enjoy these virtual performances and the promise they invoke for the new year.

BPO Out of the Box at Buffalo’s Grain Elevators and Silos will be released on Tuesday, January 5 at 7 PM on the BPO’s YouTube channel. Check back to access the video performances on each release date. These broadcasts are free and open to the public for 30 days – no tickets or reservations required. Be sure to mark your calendars! If you are interested in financially supporting a virtual performance, please contact BPO’s Vice President of Special Projects, Wendy Diina, at

For 85 years, the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra has been providing Western New York with some amazing music. Over the years, they have performed the classics from the greats like Beethoven, Bach and Mozart but have also performed more contemporary selections by such musicians as The Beatles, The Grateful Dead, and The Eagles. They’ve done concerts catering to both the Harry Potter and Star Wars fandoms. There is literally something for everyone!

Founded in 1935, the BPO has been an integral part of Buffalo. It moved to its permanent home at Kleinhans music hall in 1940. During the Great Depression, the orchestra was initially supported by funds from the Works Progress Administration and the Emergency Relief Bureau. Over the decades, the orchestra has matured in stature under outstanding music directors including William Steinberg, Josef Krips, Lukas Foss, Michael Tilson Thomas, Julius Rudel, Semyon Bychkov, and Maximiano Valdes. Many distinguished guest performers have graced the orchestra’s stage, including Sergei Rachmaninoff, Isaac Stern, Aaron Copland, Van Cliburn, and Yo-Yo Ma. The Buffalo Philharmonic has issued more than 50 recordings in its history. It has toured abroad twice: a six-city European tour in 1988, and a four-city tour of Poland in 2018.


BPO Out of the Box is a traveling music video series that showcases the talent of our musicians, recognizes the power of music, and celebrates the resilient spirit of the City of Good Neighbors. Details at Website | Facebook | Instagram.

  • December 29, 2020 | Bask in the setting sun on the evening of the summer solstice at Graycliff Conservancy
  • January 5, 2021 | Honor Buffalo’s historic past and celebrate its rebirth at Buffalo River and Grain Elevators
  • January 12, 2021 | Experience the restoration and marvel at the architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Darwin Martin House
  • January 18, 2021 | Fall in love all over again with the magnificent power of Niagara Falls

Broadcast at 7:00 PM, these free videos can be streamed as often as you wish for an additional 30 days following each week’s performance. Sign up to receive information and announcement about upcoming events.

Sponsored by Hodgson Russ LLP | Buffalo Common Council Member Mitch Nowakowski, Fillmore District | Buffalo Common Council Member Joel Feroleto, Delaware District | Niagara Falls State Park | Media Sponsor, Buffalo Rising

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