Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, Buffalo Philharmonic Chorus in the running for GRAMMY awards

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BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – The Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra and the Buffalo Philharmonic Chorus are getting high praises for a recording they performed last year. 

The BPO recorded Richard Danielpour’s ‘The Passion of Yeshua” in 2019 with the help of the Buffalo Philharmonic Chorus. 

The recording has earned the organizations three GRAMMY nominations- for Best Contemporary Classical Composition, Best Choral Performance, and “Best Engineered Album, Classical”, for the BPO’s longtime audio engineer, Bernd Gottinger.

The good news comes at a time when it’s needed.

“It meant a lot to us this year,” BPO music director Jo Ann Falletta says.

The orchestra has been playing concerts every week since September, but since Kleinhans Music Hall isn’t currently open to the public, they’ve been filmed and streamed.

“We’re glad we can play together on the stage, but it’s not the same as having our audience,” Falletta said. “We felt this was something we can share with our audience, and they can share with us.”

The Buffalo Philharmonic Chorus is still practicing weekly via Zoom, BPC music director Adam Lubke said.

When the news of the GRAMMY nominations came out, the chorus celebrated with a Zoom toast.

“It feels great- it’s a true honor for me and for the chorus,” Luebke said. “We’re just so excited to be able to share in this excitement.”

“The Passion of Yeshua” follows the last hours of Christ, Falletta said.

“I thought it was wonderful that Richard included the voices of women,” Falletta said. “In telling the story in the scripture, women don’t say anything, and Richard gives them a voice- not only Mary, God’s mother, but Mary Magdalene, and they sing in Hebrew.”

The Passion of Yeshua was a challenging piece for the BPC, Luebke said, describing the piece as a “real modern choral masterpiece”.

“[Danielpour] really pueshes the chorus to the limits on this piece- we’re singing over a full orchestra, and also pianissimo (very quietly) a capella,” Luebke said.

The winners of the 63rd GRAMMY awards will be announced when the award ceremony takes place on Jan. 31.

While you can’t take in a BPO or BPC concert in person right now, there are ways to watch their performances virtually- and support both organizations.

The BPO is offering a weekly  BPOnDemand series through December, and subscribers to the orchestra’s 2020-2021 season can watch the filmed performances as much as they’d like. Click here for more information and a full calendar of performances.

The BPC put together a video performance of the group’s annual performance of Handel’s “Messiah”, which will air on WNED on the week of Christmas, Luebke said. More video projects are lined up for the spring.

You can also make a donation or sign up to audition here.

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