Why do people think they do not identify with classical music? It amuses and puzzles me when friends tell me they do not attend the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra because they “don’t know” classical music. I tell them that couldn’t be further from the truth. Most people don’t realize the background music they are listening to in movies, television shows and commercials is some of the greatest classical music scores ever written. The music subconsciously sits in the back of their mind without them ever knowing the name of the composer or the particular piece they are enjoying listening to time after time.

Classical music surrounds us from an early age and throughout our entire life. Anybody who has ever watched a Looney Toons cartoon or a Disney animated movie will be familiar with some great classical music. In the Disney movie “Fantasia,” there are familiar pieces by Bach, Beethoven, Tchaikovsky and many others.

Classical music movements are also in countless major motion pictures. If you’ve seen “Apocalypse Now,” you will recognize “The Ride of the Valkyries” by Richard Wagner. In the closing scene of “Ocean’s Eleven” at the water fountain, you hear Claude Debussy’s “Clair de Lune.” The opening scene of Woody Allen’s movie “Manhattan” plays George Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue.”

If you watch television, you are bombarded with commercials that routinely use classical music. An American Express commercial plays Bach’s “Cello Suite No. 1.” One of the funniest commercials last year was a Doritos commercial that played Franz Schubert’s “Scherzo” in B-Flat Major D. These are just a few of the countless examples of classical music we think we “don’t know.”

The Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra is beginning the second half of its 2013-14 season. If you haven’t been there in many years, now is the time. Going to the BPO is for everyone – the young, middle-aged and elderly. The BPO doesn’t just play classical music. It plays all varieties of music from classical to pops, rock and even concerts for children. I tell my friends it is the best ticket for my money in town.

As a season subscriber of the BPO, I’ve been to countless classical and pops concerts over the years and can honestly say I have never left Kleinhans Music Hall disappointed. On the other hand, I’ve also been to my share of Bills and Sabres games and can definitely not say the same thing upon leaving the stadium or arena. These days I’d rather spend my hard-earned money to be entertained by professional musicians than overpaid professional athletes.

Classical music has survived and thrived for almost 1,000 years, with the Baroque, Classical and Romantic periods from 1600 to the 1920s being the most popular. Classical music doesn’t need lyrics to show the passion and emotion of the composer’s thoughts. It can be felt through a single violin playing or through 80-plus musicians performing on a variety of instruments all at once while the conductor leads the ensemble.

Musically speaking, the BPO is the most treasured cultural asset in Western New York. I would be lying if I said I could tell the difference between Bach, Beethoven or Berlioz music when I go to the BPO. The point is I go because it is such a pleasurable experience. I just sit back in my seat and enjoy the ride while the most beautiful music ever written is played live before me.