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RPO's 2020-21 season offers balance of old, new

Feb 11, 2020
ERICH CAMPING

The Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra’s 2020-21 season will inevitably be viewed through the lens of Ward Stare’s final season as music director.

In six full seasons with the RPO, Stare has helped to create a period of stable artistic leadership following the uncertainty left in the wake of Arild Remmereit’s firing in 2013. On Tuesday, M&T Bank announced that it is awarding the RPO with a $110,000 grant over three years to bolster the orchestra’s resources for concert programming.

www.wardstare.com

American Rapture, a recording featuring the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra under the direction of Music Director Ward Stare with soloist Yolanda Kondonassis, was nominated for two Grammy awards on Wednesday.  This album includes the world premiere recording of Pulitzer Prize-winner Jennifer Higdon’s Harp Concerto, written for and dedicated to Yolanda Kondonassis.

The recording received the following nominations:

Best Classical Instrumental Solo - HIGDON: HARP CONCERTO--Yolanda Kondonassis; Ward Stare, conductor (The Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra)

Provided

The Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra has played contemporary music on their concerts alongside older classics before -- but this weekend’s concert is the first time that the whole program is dedicated to the work of living composers.

Leila Josefowicz is the violin soloist for the RPO's concert this weekend. She says that she no longer plays the older classics and wants to work with music that is "more unexpected, more edgy, more contemporary."

Suzy Gorman/RPO

Ward Stare will be stepping down from his position as music director of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra at the end of the summer 2021, after seven years.

Stare announced his decision to the board late last week, and to the musicians on Monday. He will continue to lead the orchestra through its upcoming two seasons.

Stare will have led the RPO for seven years, a tenure that only five other music directors in the 97-year history of the Philharmonic have reached.

Suzy Gorman/RPO

The music director and conductor of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra will be around for a while longer.

The RPO announced on Monday that Ward Stare has renewed his contract for three more years, through the end of the 2020/21 season.

The 35 year old Rochester native became the RPO’s youngest-ever music director in 2014.

The United States has a long and rich music history, but here's a question: what is the American identity in classical and symphonic music? Even classical music lovers don't know much about Piston and his colleagues. Why not?

The RPO's Ward Stare has put together a series of events to showcase American composition. We talk about great American music -- the kind that tends to get ignored by professional orchestras. Our guests:

  • Ward Stare, music director for the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra
  • Alan Fletcher, president and CEO of the Aspen Music Festival and School, and music administrator and composer

Ward Stare: The Backstory of the RPO's Music Director

Dec 4, 2014

Connections: Ward Stare

Aug 1, 2014

On Tuesday, Pittsford's own Ward Stare was named the new Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra principal conductor and musical director. The 31-year-old is played trombone with the Rochester Philharmonic Youth Orchestra at the age of 11, later going on to Juilliard, and eventually, even at his very young age, to conducting opportunities around the world. He is currently a frequent guest conductor at the Lyric Opera of Chicago. Ward and RPO Trombonist Mark Kellogg sat down to talk with Frank Cegelski and WXXI Classical 91.5 Morning Host Brenda Tremblay.