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RPO to give 100 free concerts next season


Music Director Andreas Delfs leads the RPO at Perinton Center Stage Amphitheater  on June 3, 2021. - PHOTO BY DANIEL J. KUSHNER
  • Music Director Andreas Delfs leads the RPO at Perinton Center Stage Amphitheater on June 3, 2021.
The Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra announced Monday that it will give 100 free concerts in the coming year to celebrate its centennial season.

The free performances are part of a two-pronged initiative by the orchestra to reach out to an audience beyond concert hall regulars. That includes starting a music education partnership with several city schools.

The efforts are meant to align with the RPO’s 2023-24 season, which the orchestra named “Music That Moves” and opens in September. But the series of free concerts kicks off March 21 at Hochstein Performance Hall with a celebration of ragtime and Rochester music legend Cab Calloway.

“We strive to move our audience in every single concert we do — their hearts and their minds,” RPO Music Director Adreas Delfs said during the announcement in Eastman Theatre’s Kodak Hall. “But in this particular anniversary season, we especially strive to move the orchestra forward, to move the community closer to the orchestra and the orchestra closer to the community.”

The new music education program is called OPUS, or Orchestral Program for Urban Students. OPUS will be a collaboration with three Rochester city schools — School 19, World of Inquiry School 58, and School of the Arts. The partnership also includes existing community education organizations such as ROCmusic and Eastman Community Music School.

The free concerts, called “100 Acts of Giving Back,” will be given throughout the area. The series will include the RPO’s first sensory-friendly concert and feature performances at community locations such as the Golisano Autism Center, the Mary Cariola Center, and Monroe Community Hospital.

Mayor Malik Evans, who was on hand to support the centennial initiatives, emphasized their importance.

“We can’t expect that everyone will come here,” Evans said. “We sometimes have to bring the music to people and where they are.”

Daniel J. Kushner is CITY's arts editor. He can be reached at [email protected].