The BPO is heading to the Sunshine State for a week of performances at the end of March.
This venture comes just over a year after the BPO’s successful tour of Poland, and is its fourth tour of Florida since 2010. The Florida Friends tours have allowed the BPO to carry out its mission of serving as Western New York’s cultural ambassador, and to reconnect with supporters who have left Western New York for Florida.
JoAnn Falletta will conduct all five performances. Italian pianist Fabio Bidini, who has performed with the BPO many times, will be the guest soloist on the tour, performing Brahms’ Piano Concerto No. 2 in a program that also features Borodin’s Overture to “Prince Igor” and Prokofiev’s “Romeo and Juliet Suite.” On March 23 and 24, they will perform the program for a hometown audience at Kleinhans Music Hall. As in previous tours, this concert will be recorded for a disc to be released on the BPO’s Beau Fleuve label this spring.
“This is music that is perfect for the BPO’s personality— romantic, large-scale storytelling that really suits our imaginative musicians,” Falletta said. “Fabio Bidini has become a friend of mine and a Buffalo favorite — I’m certain that the Florida audiences will enjoy experiencing his talents, as well. It truly is a privilege for an orchestra the size of the BPO to mount a tour like this. I’m particularly eager to return to Sarasota, as we have not played there since 2010.”
The tour schedule is as follows:
Saturday, March 30, 7:30 PM: St. Augustine, Flagler College’s Lewis Auditorium (presented by EMMA Concert Association)
Sunday, March 31, 3 PM: Daytona Beach, Peabody Auditorium (presented by Daytona Beach Symphony Society)
Monday, April 1, 8 PM: West Palm Beach, Kravis Center
Tuesday, April 2: free day
Wednesday, April 3, 7:30 PM: Sarasota, Van Wezel Performing Arts Center (first time since 2010)
Thursday, April 4, 7:30 PM: Vero Beach, Community Church of Vero Beach (Presented by Indian River Symphonic Association)
During the free day, the musicians will enjoy a sight-seeing cruise thanks to the generosity of Carolyn and John Yurtchuk. Several other supporters have stepped forward to organize private dinners and parties at their homes or at local venues.
“The name of the tour — Florida Friends — is very appropriate,” said Daniel Hart, BPO Executive Director. “On these trips, we’ve renewed our bonds with so many of our old friends. We’ve made so many new friends, from the staff and volunteers at the venues and concert associations, to the local classical music communities, and more. Together, we’ve shared wonderful experiences both in the concert hall and at gatherings like the ones planned for this tour. We can’t wait to see what’s in store for the 2019 Florida Friends Tour.”
The lead sponsors of the tour are M&T Bank, Carolyn and John Yurtchuk (also tour chairs), ABC – Amega, and Aleron. Tour sponsors are Calspan, Largo Capital, and The Baird Foundation. Regional sponsors are Peter W. and Belmore Bridgford, Willow and Gary Brost, Jim and Denise Daly / McKeen Fund, Barbara and John Drenning, Sally and Don Dussing, Gernatt Asphalt Products, Inc., Frances and William Hudson, Pat and Arlinda Marrano, Mrs. Reginald Newman, II, Mr. and Mrs. Edwin Polokoff, Kathleen and Gerald Saxe, and the Steinwachs Family Foundation (Sharon and Paul Steinwachs)