For the second year in a row, the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra has been honored for its adventurous programming.
The orchestra won a 2013-2014 ASCAP Award for Adventurous Programming at the League of American Orchestras National Conference, taking place this week in Seattle, Wash. As a press release put it, “The League and ASCAP present the awards each year to orchestras of all sizes for programs that challenge the audience, build the repertoire, and increase interest in music of our time.”
The BPO has played several diverse pieces of new music in the last season, including:
• Miguel del Aguila’s colorful Concierto en Tango, performed a few weeks ago by BPO Principal Cellist Roman Mekinulov.
• Film composer Zhao Jiping’s Concerto for Pipa and Orchestra, performed by Wu Man.
• The American premiere of “Eurydice,” Russell Platt’s lovely serenade for strings.
• Jennifer Higdon’s enjoyable Percussion Concerto, played this past April by Scottish percussionist Colin Currie.
Just as importantly, the BPO has performed forgotten or otherwise neglected music from the past. A recent example was the short but enchanting piece by Tsarist Russian composer Nikolai Tcherepnin, which preceded last weekend’s performance by Jon Kimura Parker of Rachmaninoff’s “Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini.” Another recently heard rarity was Jerome Moross’ Symphony No. 1, written in 1941 to lift people’s spirits in the face of a looming world war.
Buffalo is lucky in that our orchestra keeps in mind its responsibility to the community to perform music the public will not find hopelessly onerous. Such consideration keeps people involved and invested with the orchestra, it helps fill the hall and it is one of the significant reasons that the BPO is doing well financially.
Intelligent and discriminating programming also encourages composers to write music of quality.
“The story of classical music is still being written,” BPO music director JoAnn Falletta said in a statement. “So much exciting music has been composed in the 20th and 21st century. The musicians and I love to showcase this music, and the audience has loved making these musical discoveries with us. It’s gratifying to be recognized for our commitment to the music of our time, and to be in the company of so many other orchestras that share this commitment.”