Chopin and an American Debut with the BPO

On November 5 the Buffalo skies were pouring down a cold rain but the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra was performing warm and bright music inside Kleinhans Music Hall.

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After opening the afternoon’s program with the Richard Strauss piece “Till Eulenspiegel’s Merry Pranks, Op 28”, Polish born pianist Konrad Sholarski join the BPO for a performance of the “Concerto No. 2 in F minor for Piano and Orchestra” by Fredric Chopin.

While titled Concerto number two, the piece was actually the first Concerto that was composed by the young prodigy when he was only 19 years old.

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Making not only his debut with the BPO, but also his U.S. Debut, Sholarski fluently spoke the language of music as his fingers floated up and down the keyboard. BPO Classical conductor Joann Falletta describes Sholarski’s playing as free and organic. Sholarski’s playing was indeed free as he interpreted Chopin’s composition with passion and feeling, never afraid to exaggerate his movements.

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Sholarski gave an impressive performance that resulted in three returns to the stage for bows and an encore performance of the “Prelude in F sharp minor” by Sergei Rachmaninoff.

After the intermission the BPO returned to the stage for a performance of the “Symphony No. 1 in C minor, Op 68” by Johannes Brahms – a work in four movements.

When Joann Falletta takes the podium to conduct the Orchestra, she creates more than just an aural picture of the music. Her movements also create a visual expression of those notes. She is far from a stiff conductor who simply waves the baton to the beat. She uses her entire body as she conducts and does far more than just hold the beat. She leads the musicians through the compositions that also captures the attention of the audience.


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