BPO starts Carnegie Hall sales pitch

December 5, 2012 Updated Dec 5, 2012 at 7:51 AM EDT

By WKBW News
By Business First by James Fink

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December 5, 2012 Updated Dec 5, 2012 at 7:51 AM EDT

With six months to go before it hits the stage at New York's famed Carnegie Hall, the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra has started a major push to secure corporate and individual funding and to sell tickets for what promises to be a landmark performance.

BPO officials said they need to generate at least $600,000 to help underwrite the May 8 performance. Additionally, they hope to sell at least 1,350 tickets for the 2,800-seat concert venue. Last year, the Toledo Symphony Orchestra sold more than 2,000 seats for their Carnegie Hall show and, privately, BPO leaders would love to top that mark.

M&T Bank has agreed to serve as the major corporate sponsor for the bank, not only for its support of the BPO but also to take advantage of its soon-to-be completed acquisition of Hudson City Bank in the New York market.

"It's just because we love their music, and we do," said James Beardi, M&T Bank executive vice president. "We also support the BPO because we think it is good business."

At least 14 other businesses and individuals have also contributed to the "All Roads Lead to Carnegie Hall" fund raising effort the BPO has undertaken.

The concert will mark the 24th time the BPO has played at Carnegie Hall, but the first since 2004. The show, featuring rarely-heard works by Russian composers Giya Kancheli and Reinhold Gliere, are being recorded and will be released by the Naxos label.

"Just saying Carnegie Hall gives us the chills," said JoAnn Falletta, BPO music director and principal conductor. "The idea that we are playing Carnegie Hall is something that will resonant for many years after our performance. Carnegie Hall is a destination for all of us."

Howard Rich, Rich Products Corp. vice president, said the show could go a long way towards breaking the myth that so many New Yorkers have about Buffalo. The BPO can demonstrate to a large, elite audience just how vibrant the city when it comes to arts and culture.

Rich Products is also a major sponsor of the Carnegie Hall date.

"It will certainly shine a bright light on Buffalo," Rich said. "You really can't think of a bigger stage than Carnegie Hall."

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