What can one say about one of the finest orchestras in the world? Sitting right in our backyard is the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, otherwise known as the RPO, which is known for its great shows and excellent programs of both classical and pop music. I was lucky enough to take the easy trip over there to see the Red Carpet Spectacular: Celebrate Jeff Tyzik, and let me tell you that when the RPO says it is rolling out the red carpet, it isn’t messing around.

The event was in honor of RPO conductor Jeff Tyzik, who has been working with the RPO for 15 years. A world-renowned and often in-demand conductor, Tyzik has brought his unparallelled enthusiasm and energy to the RPO, but his talents and contributions to the orchestra do not stop there. He is also a composer and trumpet player, and at this performance we got to see all of these different sides of Tyzik; they all shone.

Joining Tyzik on stage was his daughter, Jami Tyzik, mezzo-soprano, who accompanied the orchestra on several pieces. Also of note at the performance was trumpet extradonaire Allen Vizzutti. Vizzutti, a long-time friend of Tyzik, returned to help celebrate the performance and the 15 years that Tyzik has given to the RPO and to Rochester.

However, the list of celebrities attending the event did not end there. Before the second act, Danni Wegman himself came on stage to offer his personal congratulations to Tyzik, as well as a 15-year pin that is given to Wegman’s employees.

But the most important thing is the music. And, as usual, the RPO came through with an evening of great music, as I have come to expect, and they have yet to disappoint. The orchestra played as I have always seen it play with unrivaled enthusiasm and energy. There is a reason that the RPO is held in such high esteem and, let me tell you, it isn’t for the conformability of the theater’s seats.

The first half included guest vocalist Jami Tyzik, who shone with her vocal performance of Carmen. It was a great performance, and you could tell just how proud Tyzik was to get to share the stage with his daughter.

Again, it is also hard to find the right words to describe Allen Vizzutti’s trumpet playing. Amazing comes to mind, as does mind blowing. His playing of Carnival of Venice was stunning, and he even at one point managed to play while flipping the trumpet upside down. Dare I say that classical music rocked, but, backed by the RPO, this performance was something that you need not be a fan of classical music to enjoy.

The RPO also got to debut a piece composed by Tyzik that offered a musical look through different time periods and sections of New York City. The first movement, a traffic jam, rock laden movement of sound portrayed the city during the busy traffic hours, and it included whistles and other city sounds in the piece. The second movement took you through NYC while it was the center of the slave trade, and the last movement finished the piece off on yet another strong note. Tyzik’s composition was a tour of sounds that bring NYC right to mind and showed off his versatility as a composer as well as a conductor.

I hate beating the proverbial dead horse here, but if you live in Rochester, there is no reason you should not be going to attend at least one of the RPO’s shows this season. Time in and out, people complain about the lack of stuff in Rochester, but here is an orchestra that is world famous and play music of the highest caliber. Students also get discounted tickets to almost all of the shows, so if that doesn’t give you another reason to take a night and go enjoy this orchestra, I am not sure what will. Even at full price, the RPO is well worth it and well worth the short trip over to Eastman to enjoy world-class music and entertainment for the night.

And, for the record, they did have an actual red carpet going down Gibbs Street. Now that’s class.

Clark is a member of the class of 2012.



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