What better way to celebrate Eastman Theatre’s reopening than with a schedule of great concerts? The newly renovated performance hall in the theatre will reopen as Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre with a new sound and ambience come October and the Eastman School of Music has an exciting line-up of fall concerts by guest artists, Eastman faculty, and students.
Performances by Eastman ensembles highlight the Kodak Hall schedule, beginning on Friday, Oct. 9, with a concert by the Eastman Philharmonia during the hall’s opening weekend. The concert, conducted by Eastman Professor of Conducting and Ensembles Neil Varon, includes performances of Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 5 in D minor, the overture to Beethoven’s Consecration of the House, and Variations on a Rococo Theme by Tchaikovsky.
Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre will be the venue for another great event in October, a concert to benefit a new scholarship fund in memory of jazz saxophonist and Eastman alumnus Gerry Niewood. “Eastman Celebrates the Musical Legacy of Gerry Niewood” on Wednesday, Oct. 14, will feature special guests Chuck Mangione, Lew Soloff, Pat LaBarbera, and Adam Niewood, who will perform with the Eastman Jazz and Eastman New Jazz Ensembles. Mr. Niewood earned his Bachelor of Music degree in music education, with an emphasis in saxophone, at Eastman in 1970, and was a lifelong friend and musical associate of Chuck Mangione.
The extraordinary setting of nearby Kilbourn Hall will also feature concert series and opera performances for every musical taste. The Ying Quartet, Eastman’s string quartet-in-residence, opens the Eastman-Ranlet Series of Sunday afternoon concerts with new first violinist Frank Huang on Oct. 11. This concert is the first of six recitals devoted to the complete cycle of Beethoven quartets to be performed over two seasons. The quartet will perform three more times in Kilbourn Hall: on Nov. 15, Feb. 21 (the group’s annual LifeMusic concert of commissioned work), and March 28. The Pacifica Quartet, Musical America’s 2009 Ensemble of the Year, will perform on Oct. 25, and the Eastman-Ranlet series concludes in the spring with a concert by pianist Peter Serkin and the Orion String Quartet on April 11.
The Kilbourn Concert Series opens Tuesday, Sept. 29, with the Sphinx Chamber Orchestra, an ensemble composed of the top alumni of the national Sphinx Competition for young black and Latino string players. On Tuesday, Dec. 8, the series will feature a favorite Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra guest soloist, violinist Leila Josefowicz, in her Kilbourn series recital debut. The series continues with the American Brass Quintet on Tuesday, Jan. 26. The Amernet String Quartet closes out the series on Tuesday, Feb. 9, in a varied program of chamber masterworks with distinguished guests violinist Arnold Steinhardt, formerly of the Guarneri Quartet, and Eastman faculty pianist Barry Snyder.
The World Music Series kicks off on Tuesday, Oct. 13, with a performance by Omar Faruk Tekbilek and his ensemble that will feature a range of interpretations of traditional Turkish Sufi and folk music and contemporary sounds of the Middle East. Wu Man, acclaimed virtuoso on the Chinese pipa (four-stringed lute), joins forces with Ugandan James Makubuya and American Lee Knight on Friday, Jan. 22, in an unlikely convergence of music from China, Uganda, and the southern Appalachian Mountains. Framed as a series of lyrical dialogues between the pipa, banjo, and harp-like Ugandan endongo, this concert will celebrate the affinity and variety of the world’s plucked instruments. Wu Man is known for her collaborations with cellist Yo-Yo Ma, the Kronos Quartet, Philip Glass, and many of the world’s great orchestras. In the spring, Eastman’s Gamelan Lila Muni, a Balinese percussion ensemble, will perform traditional and contemporary gamelan music and ceremonial dances on Monday, April 26.
For its fall production, Eastman Opera Theatre will present The Secret Garden, an adaptation of the classic novel by Francis Hodgson Burnett by Pulitzer Prize-winning dramatist Marsha Norman, with music by Lucy Simon. Running from Thursday, Nov. 5, through Sunday, Nov. 8, Eastman’s production will bring together student singers and two young people from the community in the pivotal roles of Mary Lennox and her cousin Colin.
Eastman School faculty members are world-renowned soloists and chamber musicians, and recitals in Kilbourn Hall are an important part of their performing schedules. The Faculty Artist Series will feature debut Faculty Series performances by bass-baritone and New York City Opera principal artist Jan Opalach on Sunday, Oct. 18; Frank Huang, first violin of the Ying Quartet, on Tuesday, Nov. 10; and Carol Rodland, associate professor of viola, on Tuesday, Jan. 12. In addition to the Faculty Series Recitals, Eastman faculty member Katherine Ciesinski, mezzo-soprano, will be featured in her first Kilbourn Hall recital on Saturday, Oct. 17, as part of the New York State Music Teachers Association Conference.
The fall season includes a multitude of concerts — most of them free — by Eastman’s impressive vocal and instrumental student ensembles, with repertoires ranging from early music to jazz. The high-level, enthusiastic presentations by the talented student orchestras, wind and jazz ensembles, and choral and chamber groups give local audiences many unbeatable opportunities to hear great music. In addition to the Eastman Philharmonia’s performance during the opening weekend of Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre, the Eastman Rochester Chorus and Eastman School Symphony Orchestra concert featuring music of J.S. Bach and Poulenc on Friday, Dec. 4, is a must-see-and-hear in the newly renovated venue.
At the University of Rochester’s Memorial Art Gallery, the Italian Baroque Organ will continue to be featured in short recitals every Sunday at 1 and 3 p.m. In addition, there will be a guest artist recital on the 18th century instrument on Sunday, Nov. 15, and the ever-popular “Christmas at the Memorial Art Gallery” concert on Sunday, Dec. 20, will feature organist David Higgs, chair of the Eastman School’s organ department, and guest musicians. Continuing the long-range project to make Rochester a global center for organ research and performance, the Eastman Rochester Organ Initiative (EROI) Festival will celebrate the 200th anniversary of the birth of Felix Mendelssohn with concerts featuring Mendelssohn’s choral music, and his complete works for organ will be presented on the Craighead-Saunders Organ in Christ Church Episcopal from hursday, Oct. 29, through Saturday, Oct. 31.
A full listing of concerts and events can be found on the web by visiting Eastman’s homepage at www.esm.rochester.edu. All are open to the public, and many are free. Tickets for concerts that require paid admission, with the exception of tickets for the Faculty Artist Series and organ concerts at the Memorial Art Gallery, are available at by calling (585) 454-2100, at the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra box office at 108 East Ave., and online at www.esm.rochester.edu/concerts. The 24-hour MusicLine at (585) 274-1100 offers recorded information on concerts in the coming four-to-seven days. Information is also available by calling the Concert Office at (585) 274-1110 during business hours Monday-Friday 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
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