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Meet the BPO's new associate conductor


By Mary Kunz Goldman

Stefan Sanders, former Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra trombonist, is going to be returning to the orchestra in triumph, as its new associate conductor. Sanders, pictured above, will be succeeding Matthew Kraemer, who is leaving at the end of this season.

Sanders was one of five very qualified candidates who auditioned a few weeks ago for the high-profile position.

He is featured in a video The Buffalo News made of those auditions. Watch for him at about 1:10.

And, of course, watch for him on the podium of Kleinhans Music Hall, in the near future.

June brings new season for Roycroft Chamber Music Festival

Mcfarland gaub

By Mary Kunz Goldman

You know summer is on the way when the Roycroft Chamber Music Festival announces its season. The group of musicians who get together every June to perform four concerts in East Aurora have lovely things planned for this year.

8 p.m. Sat., June 7: Mozart's "Hunt" Quartet; Shostakovich's String Quartet No. 8; Mendelssohn's Piano Trio in D Minor.

7 p.m. Sunday, June 8: Frank Bridge's "Miniatures"; the 1933 String Trio of Jean Francaix; Schumann's Quartet No. 3 in A.

8 p.m. Friday, June 13: Max Bruch's Pieces for Clarinet, Viola and Piano, Op. 84; Beethoven's Piano Trio in E Flat, Op. 70; Smetana's Quartet No. 1, "From My Life."

8 p.m. Sat., June 14: Ravel's Sonata for Violin and Piano; Grieg's String Quartet No. 2; Poulenc's Sextet for Piano and Winds.

All the above concerts take place at St. Matthias Episcopal Church, 374 Main St., East Aurora. Admission is $15 in advance or $20 at the door. Tickets may be had at the Roycroft Inn in East Aurora, as well as at the East Aurora Tops Market and the Copper Shop. You may also order tickets by mail from Roycroft Chamber Music Festival, P.O. Box 281, East Aurora, N.Y. 14052.

The two dozen or so Roycroft musicians, who assemble under the leadership of pianist Eugene Gaub and his wife, Nancy McFarland Gaub (pictured at top), are also planning a Buffalo concert at 7 p.m. Fri., June 6 at Good Shepherd Church across from the Darwin Martin House, 125 Jewett Parkway. They will play the Bridge, Francaix and Mendelssohn. Admission is $25 and includes a dessert and wine reception afterward at the Darwin Martin House.

BPO Group Awards Scholarships to 3 Young Musicians

By Mary Kunz Goldman

Three students are the recipients of Young Musicians Scholarship Awards, given out by the Friends of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra. The awards go to promising high school students who are going to be pursuing music study in college.

Duo Xu, a pianist from Williamsville East High School, was awarded $3,000. As a small girl, she made several appearances with the BPO, once playing Chopin on stage at a Holiday Pops concert conducted by Marvin Hamlisch. She is also a 2014 Amherst Symphony Orchestra scholarship winner.

Teagan Faran, a violinist also from Williamsville East High School, was awarded $2,000. She is also the winner of a Buffalo Chamber Music Society Silverman Scholarship.

Awarded $1,000 was Alexander Cousins, a cellist from Grand Island High School. He is a student of BPO Principal Cellist Roman Mekinulov.

All three students will be off to college in the fall.

Sam Roberts Band, Gord Downie among concerts announced for Canalside

Free Thursday concerts

Shows start at 6 p.m. They still are free, but now VIP tickets ($40) offer front-of-stage access, plus a VIP tent with beer, wine, appetizers and VIP restrooms.

Continue reading "Sam Roberts Band, Gord Downie among concerts announced for Canalside" »

Orchard Park Chorale to sing Brahms, Faure and 'The Sound of Music'

By Mary Kunz Goldman

It is not every day that you get to hear Brahms' beautiful "Liebeslieder Waltzes." (Liebeslieder, in case you are new to the wonderful world of Johannes Brahms, means "love songs.")

The Orchard Park Chorale will be singing this glorious music as part of its upcoming concert called "Rivers of Song: A European Journey." Also on the program is Brahms' dramatic "Nanie" and Gabriel Faure's lovely "Cantique de Jean Racine," performed in the clip above by the Cambridge Singers. A medley from "The Sound of Music" is also promised.

The concert takes place at 7 p.m. Sunday, May 18 at Orchard Park Presbyterian Church, 4369 S. Buffalo St., Orchard Park. Admission is $10, preferred seating $20.

Joining the chorus for this occasion will be the Grand Island Community Chorus. 

Buffalo Chamber Music Society unveils exciting new season


By Mary Kunz Goldman

The Buffalo Chamber Music Society, which wrapped up its triumphant 90th anniversary season on Tuesday with a lovely concert by the Kalichstein-Laredo-Robinson Trio, celebrated the occasion by announcing its 2014-2015 lineup. Here it is:

Oct. 14: The Jerusalem Quartet, praised by the magazine the Strad as "one of the young, yet great quartets of our time," performs a program to be announced.

Nov. 11: The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center is offering a program that includes the Piano Quintet by the great American Romantic composer Erich Wolfgang Korngold. 

Dec. 9: The Amadeus Trio, together 22 years, plays a program including the Tchaikovsky Piano Trio.

Jan. 20, 2015: The Ariel String Quartet, pictured above, is a young group formed in Israel that moved to America in 2004 and is currently the quartet in residence at the University of Cincinnati's College-Conservatory of Music. The group's program is yet to be announced.

Feb. 17, 2015: Trio Settecento presents "An Italian Sojourn,"which focuses on the Baroque era.

March 17, 2015: Going head-to-head with St. Patrick's Day celebrations will be the Elias String Quartet, praised by the Washington Post for its "shimmering beauty." Program to be announced.

April 28, 2015: The Buffalo Chamber Music Society likes to end seasons on an especially high note, and the 2014-2015 season closes with the distinguished Juilliard Quartet. The group has a memorable motto: "Play new works as if they are established masterpieces, and play established masterpieces as if they are new." The program is as yet undetermined.

The aforementioned concerts all take place Tuesdays at 8 p.m. in the Mary Seaton Room of Kleinhans Music Hall. Tickets are $20, with the exception of the last concert, by the Juilliard Quartet, which is $30. Season subscriptions are available for $100 and include all seven concerts. Student subscriptions are $40.

The Gift to the Community Concerts have also been announced. These are free concerts on three Sundays at 3 p.m. that feature up-and-coming talent scouted personally by Clementina Fleshler, the head of the Buffalo Chamber Music Society.

Sept. 21: Pianist Andrew Tyson. Next month, just to give an idea of his promise, he is performing Rachmaninoff's Second Piano Concerto at New York's Alice Tully Hall with the Orchestra of St. Luke's.

Nov. 9: Violinist Stephen Waarts. Born in 1996 in the San Francisco Bay Area, Waarts studies at the Curtis Institute and is also a star mathematician, winning various math awards.

March 1, 2015: The Hermes Quartet.

For info on the Buffalo Chamber Music Society, call (716) 462-4939.

Britain-bound Vocalis warms up with Broadway gala


By Mary Kunz Goldman

Buffalo's virtuosic Vocalis Chamber Singers, pictured above, are bound for Britain, where they will be performing this summer at the prestigious Cambridge Summer Music Festival. They are preparing for the trip with a fundraiser Thursday, May 8, on in the beautiful lobby of Shea's Performing Arts Center. 

Cocktails and hors d’oeuvres will be served and the singers are performing classic Broadway songs. A silent auction features prizes including artisan jewelry, weekend stays at a Chautauqua Lake condo, the 1837 Cobblestone Cottage Bed & Breakfast in Canandaigua, and Salvatore’s Grand Hotel. Other prizes include theater and concert tickets, a custom-designed dinner for six with a “Downton Abbey” theme, and an "English pub" dinner for up to 18 guests.

The gala takes place Thursday, May 8, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Shea's, 646 Main St. in downtown Buffalo. Tickets are $50 and may be had at


The Madrigal Mystery Tour is waiting to take you away

Bravos in advance to the Freudig Singers just on the strength of the title of their next concert.

At 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, May 10, at Buffalo Seminary, their Madrigal Mystery Tour will pair Beatles tunes with madrigals. You will get a Beatles tune, then a madrigal, then a Beatles tune, then a madrigal, and so forthe. Will "Summer is icumen in," here performed by a group called the Greenleaf Singers ...

... be paired with "Hear Comes the Sun"? Perhaps.

In any case, a wonderful concept. Tickets are $10. Details may be found on the Freudig Singers' website.

- Mary Kunz Goldman

Upbeat BPO concerts put swing into spring


By Mary Kunz Goldman

The Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra has a couple of snazzy concerts planned for Kleinhans Music hall over the next couple of weeks. This weekend features percussionist Colin Currie on Saturday and Sunday with a percussion concerto by Jennifer Higdon that has sparkle. And Saturday, May 3, brings a big band salute with conductor Matt Catingub, pictured above.

The orchestra likes to do big band salutes around this time of year -- maybe it's a way of warming things up when the weather seems slow to change. Conductor Matt Catingub is presiding over a concert including numbers associated with Count Basie, Dizzy Gillespie, Ella Fitzgerald, Rosemary Clooney and other legends. Catingub, conductor of California's new Glendale Pops Orchestra, has a flair for the retro. One jazz disc a few years ago by the Honolulu Symphony (Catingub is of Polynesian descent) featured arrangements of his featuring florid strings that could take you back to the 1940s and '50s.

We give you the sultry sounds of the Matt Catingub Big Band.

Catingub and the BPO play the blues, and other big band delights, at 8 p.m. on Saturday, May 3.

Tickets are $28-$76. For info on BPO events, call 885-5000.

Rare Gershwin opera is half of downtown double bill

By Mary Kunz Goldman

Buffalo Opera Unlimited has an unusual double bill planned for May 16 and 18 at the 710 Main Theatre downtown. That is the swanky little theater by Shea's Performing Arts Center.

The company is performing a little-known jazz opera by George Gershwin called "Blue Monday." I found this little clip of the one-act opera on YouTube -- a production from Italy, the video info suggests.

The other opera on Buffalo Opera Unlimited's bill is the premiere of "The Fall of Stag Lee" by Darryl Glenn Nettles.

Led by Tim Kennedy, Buffalo Opera Unlimited has done a fine job in the past with off-the-beaten-track American music. One enjoyable concert centered on the music of William Grant Still. It is great that they are forging forward with this new adventure.

Performances are 8 p.m. Fri., May 16 and 2:30 p.m. Sun., May 18. Tickets are $30 and more details are on the 710 Main theater's website.


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