GSO embarks on 'Musical Safari'

Feb 23, 2012



Robert Knipe is looking forward to unleashing some of his animal instincts this Sunday afternoon while performing with the Genesee Symphony Orchestra.



"In 'Peter and the Wolf,' the French horn section plays the wolf so we get to growl," said Knipe, an 18-year member of the GSO who also serves on its board of directors. "I'm really looking forward to it."



The concert, titled "Musical Safari," is scheduled for 4 p.m. in Stuart Steiner Theater in the Genesee Center for the Arts at Genesee Community College, 1 College Rd., Batavia. It continues the GSO's celebration of its 65th year.



Knipe said the "kid-friendly program" takes him back to his childhood, growing up in a musical family.



"My father was a violist and my mother played the piano," he said. "I can remember at the age of 5 or 6, listening to classical music with my dad. 'Peter and the Wolf' was one of my favorites in that the various animals were represented by different instruments."



Raffaele Ponti, conductor of the GSO since 1997, said the "Musical Safari" theme is appropriate in that all of the selections relate to animals.



"From 'Flight of the Bumblebee' to 'The Firebird' to 'Peter and the Wolf,' all were inspired by animals and all, despite being composed by people of different backgrounds, represent fabulous pieces of music," Ponti said. "The colors and ideas are wonderful. In 'Bumblebee,' you can actually hear the buzzing of its wings."



The program include Prokofiev's "Peter and the Wolf," Op.67 (Petya i volk); Rimsky-Korsakov's "Flight of the Bumblebee," from "Tale of the Tsar Saltan"; Debussy's Prelude a "L'apres-midi d'un faune"; Haydn's Symphony No.45 , F-sharp minor (Abschieds-Symphonie; Farewell Symphony); and Stravinsky's Berceuse & Finale, from "The Firebird."



A highlight of "Peter and the Wolf" is the narration provided by local actress-singer Nikole Marone.



"Nikole has a wonderful sense of humor and provides a great voice that adds much to the performance," Knipe said.



Ponti said that the combination of narrative and music makes the story of Peter and the Wolf as "effective today as it was when it was originally composed."



Marone has an extensive list of acting and singing credits. She has appeared in numerous shows by Batavia Players, GCC's student acting troupe, The Forum Players, and Rotary Club of Batavia productions. In October 2009, she earned an excellence in acting award from the Theater Association of New York State for her portrayal of Lady in Red as part of the Forum Players production, "For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When the Rainbow is Enuf."



All in all, Ponti said the orchestra is primed for this weekend.



"I'm pleased. The orchestra is sounding very fine, and this concert gives them a chance to show off their range. We have an eclectic mix of composers with different style of music under one main theme -- a musical safari. It should be a lot of fun."



A Quick Look



WHAT: "Musical Safari," the Genesee Symphony Orchestra, in concert.



WHERE: Stuart Steiner Theater in the Genesee Center for the Arts at Genesee Community College, 1 College Rd., Batavia.



WHEN: 4 p.m. Sunday.



TICKETS: $12 for adults, $8 for seniors (62 and over), $5 for students (18 and under) or $30 for a family (parents plus children 12 and under).



Available at Roxy's Music Store, 228 West Main St., Genesee-Orleans Regional Arts Council, 201 East Main St., Enchanted Florist, and the Center for the Arts box office, all in Batavia; Bank of Castile, 29 Main St., Le Roy; Water Street Printing, 14 Water St., Oakfield.



ONLINE: www.geneseesymphony.com .