Summer concerts can be brutal. There’s the oppressive heat, the unruly crowds, the squeal of amplifiers resounding miles away – it’s enough to wear you out after just one concert.
So if you’re looking for sweeter, swankier sounds for your summer, the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, as usual, has you covered. The BPO has 12 performances scheduled for the summer season, from free outdoor concerts around the city to the return of the Summer Nights@Kleinhans series. Whether you’re looking for Bach, Broadway tunes or the “Batman” theme song, the BPO is prepared to accompany your summer days and nights.
The BPO, for free
The BPO kicks off its summer season with two free outdoor concerts. These performances explore a mix of Americana classics, from Broadway themes to Hollywood hits to Motown singles. Both shows start at 7 p.m., and are conducted by Matthew Kraemer.
June 25: Bidwell Park in the Elmwood Village.
June 27: Knox Farm State Park in East Aurora.
BPO takes the Fort
Old Fort Niagara in Youngstown, one of the oldest and most cherished historic sites in Western New York, will have its roof rattled and its walls shaken at this June 29 concert, featuring bombastic favorites from Rossini, Copland, Dvorak and Beethoven. It concludes with Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture. The show starts at 7 p.m., and will be conducted by Kraemer. Tickets are $20 general admission, $10 for students and free for children under 6; family four-packs are $49. Tickets can be purchased through bpo.org, or by calling 885-5000.
In July, keep your Friday and Saturday nights open for Summer Nights@Kleinhans, the second season of the BPO’s concerts at Kleinhans Music Hall, 3 Symphony Circle. Audiences are urged to make the most of these summer night serenades by packing picnic dinners and sampling from visiting food trucks. All concerts start at 7 p.m. Tickets are $19-$49 and can be purchased through bpo.org or by calling 885-5000.
July 6: Tchaikovsky Spectacular, featuring selections from the popular Romantic era composer. Conducted by Kraemer.
July 19: A Tribute to Dave Brubeck, featuring the Brubeck Brothers Quartet, which is formed by the sons of the jazz legend who died last year.
July 26: JoAnn Falletta conducts the España concert, with guitarist Celil Refik Kaya performing Spanish-influenced works by Chabrier, Falla and Rimsky-Korsakov.
Stars and stripes
It’s one of Buffalo’s greatest Independence Eve traditions: The BPO, the Bisons and a whole lot of fireworks. After the Bisons finish their July 3 game against the Rochester Red Wings at Coca-Cola Field, the BPO will play its annual concert with the Buffalo Philharmonic Chorus, led by Paul Ferington and featuring several patriotic favorites. It will be followed by a fireworks bonanza. Tickets for the game – one of the season’s biggest sellers – are available through bisons.com.
Celebration of music
The BPO lets its hair down for a weekend of free and casual performances downtown at Canalside (44 Prime St.).
On the afternoon of July 13, there will be a series of performances from chamber groups, jazz quartets and percussion ensembles featuring BPO members. At 7 p.m., the BPO performs a Broadway-themed concert with soloists Gary Mauer and Elizabeth Southard, husband-and-wife Broadway veterans who performed together in several touring productions and symphonic shows.
On the afternoon of July 14, the BPO will flaunt its family-friendly powers for a superhero-themed concert including music from “X-Men,” “Batman” and “The Incredibles.” The afternoon will also feature instrument demonstrations and workshops.
Lunch with the BPO
Can’t make any of the evening shows? Fit the BPO into your lunch break. At noon July 16, Ferington leads the orchestra in its performance at the 44th M&T Bank Plaza summer concert series (1 M&T Plaza). It’s free.
This isn’t your typical BPO concert at Artpark. To celebrate Artpark’s 40th anniversary, the BPO will host a star-studded show on July 25, which re-creates the park’s opening concert in 1974.
Buffalo-bred Broadway star Michele Ragusa will sing selections from “The Phantom of the Opera,” “Music Man” and “My Fair Lady”; pianist Norman Krieger will perform Chopin’s “Andante Spianato” and “Grande Polonaise Brillante,” and dancers from the Festival Ballet Providence and Neglia Ballet Artists will dance to selections from Tchaikovsky and Rimsky-Korsakov ballets. Tickets are $25-$75 and can be purchased through artpark.net, or by calling 754-4375.
If you’re looking for another dose of classical for the summer, the Cheektowaga Community Symphony Orchestra presents its annual Flag Day concert at 7:30 p.m. June 9 at the Cheektowaga Town Park. Conductor John Landis will lead a selection of classical, popular and patriotic works. The free concert will be followed by a fireworks show.