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BPO Unveils New Season Amid Funding Cloud

By Joyce Kryszak

Buffalo, NY – It was a day of mixed emotions for the Buffalo Philharmonic Thursday. A bold schedule for the 2005-2006 classics season was unveiled, along with the release of the BPO's Carnegie Hall CD. But later in the day came news that the county's budget crisis could over shadow the orchestra's time in the sun.

BPO fans have plenty to look forward to in the year ahead. Next season promises the return of some old favorites, as well as some old friends. Opening the season in September will be Yo-Yo Ma, playing the Elgar Cello Concerto. Renee Fleming will also return to the Kleinhan's Stage. As will Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg.

The season will be a salute to Mozart during his 250th birthday year. But there's so much more -- from Beethoven to Stravinsky, and Respighi to Dvorak, and even some new music sprinkled in. Music Director JoAnn Falletta says they've prepared a feast they want everyone to sample.

One of the biggest thrills for the BPO was their return to Carnegie Hall last year. Now, a long awaited recording of that milestone is available on C-D. Falletta says this is "must have BPO music."

The New York performance and CD are examples of the BPO efforts to step up promotion and marketing. Added to the list are the BPO's recent stream of recordings on the Naxo's label. And this year, the earliest ever unveiling of the new season. Those efforts will become increasingly important as the orchestra struggles to cope with the county budget crisis. Following the announcement yesterday of the triumphant new season, was news that cultural funding was cut dramatically by the legislature. BPO Executive Director Dan Hart says region's arts reputation is at stake. He says this year, the BPO had been relying on the county for about $700,000 -- or about eight percent of its budget.

The BPO's Carnegie Hall CD is available now, through the BPO web site. And you can find information there now as well for reserving tickets for all or a portion of the 2005-2006 Classics Seasons.

Click the "listen" icon above to hear Joyce Kryszak's report.